Parador de Ciudad Rodrigo - 14th century castle (4*)
Dramatically situated on a rocky rise above the River Águeda, this ivy-clad medieval castle – now the exceptional Parador de Ciudad Rodrigo – once guarded the main road between Salamanca and Portugal. The site of Ciudad Rodrigo has been occupied since Neolithic times and the city takes its name from Count Rodrigo González Girón, who re-founded it in 1110. Its strategic position meant that it was an important prize during the peninsular war: Marshall Ney captured the city in 1810 for the Napolenic forces and two years later it fell to the Duke of Wellington as he pushed the French out of Portugal and back across Spain. The castle as it now stands was constructed on the orders of Enrique de Trastámara in the 14th century – hence the name of the Parador: Enrique II, and the castle featured heavily in the fighting between the 2 forces. Ciudad Rodrigo's Parador, located in the historical centre of the city, is dominated by an imposing two-tier castellated tower and is surrounded by a well-tended garden. The interior maintains a very historic atmosphere with a fine courtyard and Castilian furniture.
In the restaurant – which features fine old stone arches – a range of dishes from the Salamanca region are on offer, such as local sausages, roast suckling pig, acorn-fed Iberian cured ham, and Repelaos (a dessert made from almonds, sugar and eggs). Meat, goat's cheese and peppers are also popular of this region.