Boutique hotels in Spain with a sense of history

The Parador range of boutique hotels in Spain is an imaginative way of preserving and restoring some of the country's most impressive historic buildings, and allowing people to sleep in them. You can follow in the footsteps of princes and pilgrims, and enjoy some of Spain's most luxurious and atmospheric ccommodation.

There is a wide range of Paradors covering all parts of Spain. The website at paradores-spain.com lists them and offers a full description of the buildings and the amenities, and allows you to book directly with no booking fees.

Prices range widely depending on the establishment, with double rooms starting from the bargain rate of 75 euros in the cheapest hotels ranging up to over 300 euros in the most prestigious. Look out for the special offers which allow you to combine 5 night stays in different paradors for a substantially discounted rate or get discounts on 2 night half board stays. There are also discounts for over 55s and for those aged 18-35.

Standout paradors include the Monasterio de Santo Estevo in Ribas De Sil, a beautiful monastery in the heart of the Galician countryside in the north-west. It's perfect for a tranquil escape, or as the base for exploring gorges, vineyards and mountains that are well off the normal tourist trail.

In Caceres the parador is an elegant 14th century Gothic palace with many original features still intact. It is a stylish base from which to explore the historic city and the region of Extremadura.

Most of the coastal paradors are modern and architecturally dull, but you can forgive that in Aiguablava, near Begur in Catalonia, where the hotel is located on a spectacular rocky promontory overlooking the Mediterranean. With the Pyrenees a short drive away, it's ideal for a combined sea and mountain break.

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