In every corner of Galicia, you can feel the presence of history and tradition, where medieval structures blend with the landscape. Among all these architectural gems, the iconic castles stand out for their imposing presence. In this post, we guide you through the most prominent ones so you can have them in mind on your next visit to the region.
Monterreal Castle is an impressive 12th-century fortress located in the coastal town of Baiona, in the south of the province of Pontevedra. This construction is a living testament to the region’s rich medieval heritage. From its privileged position on the coast, it offers panoramic views of the bay and the Atlantic Ocean, adding exceptional charm to its historical legacy. The castle has been carefully preserved and has become a place of tourist interest, allowing visitors to explore its ramparts and gardens. Today, the building has become the Parador del Conde de Gondomar, where events of all kinds are held.
If you’re visiting Baiona, this castle is a must-see. It will be sure to leave a lasting impression! And if you plan to spend more than a day in this beautiful city, we recommend exploring its historic centre and the surrounding areas, including the Cíes Islands, one of the most beautiful places in the area, and just an hour away by boat.
Soutomaior Castle is a medieval jewel that stands as the historical epicentre of the Soutomaior lineage, one of the most prominent families in medieval Galicia. This castle, located 20 kilometres from Vigo and 15 from Pontevedra, consists of a 12th-century fortress and a 19th-century neo-Gothic palace, protected by a double wall.
The most striking feature of the castle is its International Camellia Garden of Excellence, which houses a priceless collection of camellias whose flowering dazzles in the winter months, alongside a set of spectacular centuries-old trees.
The castle is open to visitors, offering the opportunity to explore its surroundings, stroll through its gardens, and visit its museum, all less than an hour from Vigo.
The Sobroso Castle is an impressive 12th-century fortress perched atop a hill in Vilasobroso, Mondariz, and representing another treasure of Pontevedra’s heritage. With more than eight centuries of history, this imposing medieval building has witnessed epic battles and power struggles over the centuries.
Every corner of this medieval fortress breathes history. Prominent figures from the region, such as Doña Urraca, Doña Teresa, Alfonso I of Portugal, and the illustrious families of Sobroso, Sarmiento, and Sotomayor, have left their mark on the stones of this fortress.
Its interior houses a highly interesting museum that provides a multisensory experience through light, sound, and audiovisual materials available to visitors, making it well worth a visit. And from its walls, you can enjoy a unique landscape with spectacular panoramic views of the Sobroso forest.
Monterrei Castle is located on one of the highest points of the Monterrei Valley, near Verín, Ourense, and lies 30 km from the border with Portugal.
This walled castle from the 12th century is one of the best-preserved fortresses in Galicia today and stands out for having an imposing structure with three defensive areas: a wall, an outer wall, and a large wall, which made it one of the best defensive strongholds of the time.
This castle was declared a National Monument in 1931. It currently houses the Parador Castillo de Monterrei.
San Antón Castle
San Antón Castle is an imposing fortification from the 16th century that was part of a strategic network of castles, along with Santa Cruz Castle and San Diego Castle, intended to safeguard the city of A Coruña.
In recognition of its historical value, it was designated a Historical-Artistic Monument in 1949 and later, in 1994, elevated to the status of a Cultural Heritage Site.
Today, this iconic castle houses the Archaeological and Historical Museum of A Coruña, providing visitors with a unique window into the region’s rich past and the importance of its historical heritage.
This castle is located in the heart of the city. So, when you go to visit it, you can also explore its streets and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Monforte de Lemos Castle
The castle of Monforte de Lemos is part of the Monumental Complex of San Vicente de Pino, located in Monforte de Lemos, Lugo. This complex consists of the Keep Tower and the ancient castle walls, the Count’s Palace and the Benedictine Monastery of San Vicente de Pino. Inside the enclosure, there is currently a National Tourist Parador where you can stay overnight and host events.
Of the castle, built in the 12th century, only the Keep Tower and the walls remain. The tower houses a museum displaying period furniture. As for the walls, only some parts are preserved because they suffered significant damage during the Imandiños revolt.
What’s interesting about this tourist attraction is not just the remains of the castle itself but the entire monumental complex that includes several buildings that narrate moments of the area’s significant history. If you’re visiting Monforte de Lemos, it’s definitely a must-see.
Santa Cruz Castle
Santa Cruz Castle, located in Oleiros, A Coruña, is a 16th-century building declared a Cultural Heritage Site. It was vital for strengthening maritime defences in the bay of A Coruña.
What sets this castle apart from all the others is its location. Set on a small islet, it offers breath-taking panoramic views and is accessed via a picturesque wooden walkway.
Once you cross the walkway, you can observe its circular wall and the main building, which now houses the CEIDA (Galician Centre for University Extension and Environmental Outreach), dedicated to promoting activities and exhibitions on environmental preservation.
This castle is open to the public. Once inside, you can explore its beautiful gardens, the cells of former prisoners and the casemates where the military weapons of the time were kept.
Ons Island Castle
Ons Island Castle, erected as a defensive fortification, consisted of a set of structures that protected the island from continuous attacks and enabled its repopulation. Although it now lies in ruins, reaching this place is a unique experience that allows you to contemplate a stunning panoramic view of the eastern area of the island.
Throughout the year, guided tours of the island are offered, passing through this location and immersing visitors in its fascinating history and the everyday details of life in this unique enclave.
If you want to travel to Ons Island to explore the remains of this castle, visit our Naviera de Mar de Ons website and book your guided tour with the foremost experts on the history and secrets of this beautiful place.
As you can see, this region has many fortified places, a historical legacy of medieval Galicia that is worth visiting. All these castles are truly impressive, not only for their architectural beauty, but also for their significance to the history of the Galician region. If you visit these areas, do not hesitate to explore them.