What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Did you know that Spain is one of the world’s leading countries in terms of the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites within its borders? Learn more about these landmark locations and the special impact they have upon our common cultural heritage as you visit them during your upcoming holiday in Spain.

An 11th century wall that protects Ávila

Ranging from the Alhambra Palace in Granada, to the Altamira Paleolithic Cave or Barcelona’s modernist Palau de la Música Catalana, Spain’s 44 World Heritage Sites inevitably leave visitors dazzled. Discover them from Paradores’ luxury and historic hotels, located in close proximity to many of these astounding locations.

Our common heritage

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is the world’s leading agency in charge of –amongst other things– promoting the preservation of our common cultural heritage. As part of its continued efforts, since 1972 UNESCO has named World Heritage Sites, locations of “special cultural or physical significance” for humanity at large.

Paradores hotels are a great way to discover these sites thanks to their location in close proximity to, or often directly within, these incredible locations. Parador Alcalá de Henares –an ancient convent school– is, for instance, set within the UNESCO-recognised Alcalá de Henares Old Quarter, birthplace of legendary author Miguel de Cervantes and home to the eponymous University, which was founded in 1499.

Likewise, Parador Avila –located inside the elegant Piedras Albas Palace– is surrounded by the iconic 11th century defensive wall that protects the city, which has been a UNESCO site since 1985. And Parador Granada –a romantic convent– is not only set directly inside the Alhambra Palace, but offers great views of the Albayzín district, both of which are listed World Heritage Sites.

A view of Albayzín from Parador Granada

Discovering the past

When not directly within World Heritage Sites, Paradores hotels offer great lodgings from which to discover them.

Parador Santillana Gil Blas, for example, is just a few kilometres from the Altamira Cave, which contains exquisite examples of ancient cave paintings. Parador Toledo offers unrivalled views of the historic city of Toledo, with the serene Alcázar in the distance and Parador Santiago de Compostela is directly across Obradoiro Square from the city’s Cathedral, end-point of the Way of Saint James Pilgrimage Route.

Intrigued by these landmarks of our common heritage? Contact Paradores to learn more about UNESCO World Heritage Sites and to plan your visit around them, all from the comfort of these exceptional hotels.