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Visit Castillo de Burgalimar, Europe’s Best-Preserved & Hidden Castle

Castillo de Burgalimar / Burgalimar Castle
Castillo de Burgalimar / Burgalimar Castle [Image Wikimedia Commons]
Spain is home to thousands of castles, some in better condition than others, but one in Baños de la Encina close to Jaén in Andalucía is the best. Meanwhile, despite the fact that most travelers haven’t heard of the fortification, the Castillo de Burgalimar is considered to be the best-preserved in Europe and the oldest in Spain. Read on to find out more about Burgalimar Castle and its history.

Castillo de Burgalimar ‘hidden’ away in Andalucía, Spain

According to data from the Spanish Association of Friends of Castles, there are around 10,000 castles in Spain. However, many speculate that the real number is in excess of 20,000 castles. Most of them are located in the autonomous regions of Andalucía, Aragon, Castile and Leon, Catalunya and Castile-La Mancha.

Burgalimar Castle
Burgalimar Castle, Spain [Image Wikimedia Commons]
Among the best-known fortifications are Ponferrada Castle in Castile and León and Butrón Castle in Spain’s Basque Country. However, many more impressive examples are virtually hidden from travelers. One of the best is Burgalimar Castle in Andalucía.

In fact, Castillo de Burgalimar, as it is known in Spanish, is mostly unknown to travelers, despite the fact that it is considered to be the best preserved in Europe. According to Ok Diario, this castle is “hidden,” even though it is a hugely impressive fortified structure.

Burgalimar Castle in Baños de la Encina

Burgalimar Castle
Burgalimar Castle [Image Wikimedia Commons]
Known as the “Castle of the Seven Kings,” Castillo de Burgalimar is located in the small town of Baños de la Encina, around a 40-minute drive from Jaén. Meanwhile, besides being the best preserved, it is also considered to be the oldest fortress in Spain.

With its characteristic architecture, adapted to the terrain on which it was built, experts agree that a visit comes highly recommended. Meanwhile, the structure has two entrances, 14 rectangular towers, a 15th-century keep and a parade ground.

While it is the best-preserved of its kind in Europe, as it is built on a hill, the castle offers spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.

History of the castle

Castillo de Burgalimar, Spain
Castillo de Burgalimar [Image Wikimedia Commons]
Burgalimar Castle dates back to 968 when it was constructed by order of Al-Hakam II, the son and successor of Abderramán III. Meanwhile, the castle has a highly advanced military architecture for that time as it is completely surrounded by watchtowers. It is also protected by walls from possible attacks. During the Moorish occupation of Spain, the castle played an important role in the area’s defense and witnessed many battles.

The castle was taken by Spain in the mid-12th century by King Alfonso VII during the Reconquest of Spain. After that time, he was succeeded by Alfonso VIII, Alfonso IX, Pedro II, Sancho VII, Fernando III and Fernando the Catholic. As all these monarchs took up residence here, this has led to the nickname “Castle of Seven Kings.”

Visiting Castillo de Burgalimar

Burgalimar Castle
Burgalimar Castle [Image Wikimedia Commons]
The castle can be visited unaccompanied, but it is recommended to take a guided tour organized by the Baños de la Encina tourist office. The ticket price ranges from €2 ($2.25) to €4.50 ($5), with admission free for children under the age of six.

Meanwhile, the fortress is currently listed as a National Historic-Artistic Monument (1931). Moreover, it is part of the General Catalogue of Andalucían Historical Heritage. Find out more about Burgalimar Castle on its official website and enjoy spectacular views of the castle and its surrounds in the Spanish language video below.



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