Spain’s luxurious Parador hotels have been enchanting travellers since 1928. Marqués de la Vega-Inclán, a Spanish aristocrat, military officer and politician, is credited with opening the first hotel 94 years ago in Navarredonda de Gredos (Ávila).
This was accompanied by the creation of the state-run company Junta de Paradores y Hosterías del Reino by King Alfonso XIII (the current Spanish monarch’s great-grandfather).
Their objective was to promote tourism in Spain through a chain of hotels set up in areas where private enterprise initiatives were still lacking, and to capitalise on these destinations’ natural beauty, and cultural, artistic and historic wealth.
Today, the Paradores de Turismo network comprises 96 establishments throughout Spain, some in historic urban centres (categorised as “Civia”), others in idyllic natural inland or coastal settings (“Naturia”), and many in refurbished and specially adapted heritage buildings (“Esentia”) including palaces, castles, fortresses and monasteries.
Thirty Paradores have been officially declared as “Assets of Cultural Interest”, and all are committed to preserving their iconic sites and promoting sustainable and quality tourism.
There are Parador hotels in 16 of Spain’s 17 regions (except for the Balearics, but also including the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Africa), and they can be found in nine cities declared World Heritage Sites.
The most recent Spanish Parador was opened in 2020 in Mugia (La Coruña), and a Portuguese franchise was launched in 2015.
Parador de Lorca
Located 65 kilometres (around 45 minutes by rented car) from Corvera Airport Murcia, in the region’s third largest city (after Murcia and Cartagena), the Parador de Lorca is built on the site of a castle dating to mediaeval times.
Archaeological remains have been integrated into the Parador building, complemented by modern amenities including an indoor swimming pool and spa.
Historical remnants include a 15th-century synagogue, Muslim cistern and Almohad walls, as well as a castle citadel known as the Fortaleza del Sol. This “Fortress of the Sun” has been converted into a themed cultural and entertainment space with exhibitions, living history reenactments, workshops and children’s areas.
The municipality of Lorca extends from the mountains to the sea, and it has the second largest surface area in Spain (1,675 square kilometres) after Cáceres (Extremadura).
The city itself is located in the south-western corner of the municipality, on the southern slopes of the Sierra del Cano mountain ridge, about 35 kilometres from the Mediterranean coast and twice that distance to Cartagena.
Spanning three different civilsations (Christian, Jewish and Muslim) its atrractions include mediaeval walls, Christian towers. Jewish quarters and diverse heraldic symbols – hence its popularly known moniker as the “City of 100 Blazons”.
In the heart of the city is the Plaza de España square, while other iconic cultural monuments include the Baroque building La Casa de Guevara and the Iglesia de San Mateo church with its imposing vaulted interior.
On the Mediterranean, Lorca’s eight kilometres of coastline features a mixed landscape of secluded coves and beaches, crystal-clear waters, lush vegetation, hilly backdrops and rocky cliffs.
Throughout the year, Paradores offer special rates and packages for both national and international tourists, as well as the opportunity to join their “Club Amigo”.
More information about the Parador de Lorca, and current offers, is available here (in English).