Nearly all Spain’s paradores have a quirky history, a story to tell or a magnificent location – here’s our choice of the best, from former palaces to pilgrims’ hospitals.

Hostal dos Reis Católicos, Santiago de Compostela Apparently the oldest hotel in the world, impressively set in a fifteenth-century hospital at the end of the Camino de Santiago.

Parador Carlos V, Jarandilla Majestic former imperial palace, set in the verdant Vera valley.

Parador Castillo de Santa Catalina, Jaén Occupying a stunning, crag-bound thirteenth-century Moorish fortress, this is one of the most spectacular locations in Spain.

Parador Condes de Alba y Aliste, Zamora Occupying a grand palace in the middle of a quiet town, Zamora’s parador is gentility defined.

Parador Hostal San Marcos, León One of León’s major historic buildings, once a pilgrims’ hostel, later a very grand sixteenth-century monastery.

Parador de Lerma, Lerma A remarkable ducal palace facing a broad plaza of elegant beauty.

Parador Marqués de Villena, Alarcón Just fourteen rooms in this characterful Arabic castle perched on the rocky promontory above the Río Júcar.

Parador Nacional Castell de la Suda, Tortosa Tortosa’s highest point, the splendid Castillo de la Suda, looms majestically over the lush Ebre valley.

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