Parador de Cardona - Medieval fortress (4*)
This famous Parador de Cardona is a 14th-century medieval castle perched high above the town, surrounded by 9th-century fortified walls which also contain an 11-century church and an 11th-century tower. Viewable from afar as you approach the town, this is a picture-postcard castle with a great deal of atmosphere and charm. Striking colours are often used in the interior decoration of the public areas, many of these being genuine colours of the original era of the castle, often extracted from local vegetation and mining. Vaulted ceilings, wood beams, numerous archways and exposed stonework are all key features of Cardona’s Parador, carefully restored and maintained for your interest.
The views from the battlements across the town, the river and the surrounding countryside are spectacular. The moats, turrets, arches and Romanesque walls will delight visitors with an interest in history. With magnificent Catalan-inspired medieval furniture, drapes and tapestries, and some bedrooms furnished with four-poster beds, this Parador is steeped in history and atmosphere. The original fortress has been extended and rebuilt through the centuries, leaving it a rather busy complex of halls, towers and defences, and giving it a particular appeal. Occasional concerts take place in the grounds of the Parador and in the church; such is the attraction of the site.
The Parador's medieval-style restaurant specialises in typical Catalan cooking, particularly good hearty cuisine from the region using wild mushrooms, meats and sausages, such as Butifarra con mongetes (Catalan sausage served with haricot beans). Local truffles can be enjoyed seasonally. The Parador de Cardona’s restaurant, however, also serves lighter dishes including fish and poultry, along with some French influence from the other side of the Pyrenees.
- Book room 712 on the top floor of the castle and see whether you receive a visit from the ghost that reputedly appears only in the presence of women, and has been seen by staff and clients alike. The rest of the castle isn’t enchanted, rest assured, but occasional residents of this particular room have reported the sight of a male ghost in period dress.
- For film buffs, see if you recognise any scenes from Orson Welles’ production of Falstaff, filmed in the castle before it was fully restored and converted into a Parador.