Paradise in a Parador: Costa Cálida’s Perfect Rural Retreat

Spending the night in a historic castle doesn’t have to cost the earth, with Costa Cálida’s paradors now open to British visitors to enjoy sun, culture, leisure and relaxation at a bargain price.

For the uninitiated, a parador is a type of luxury hotel – usually located in a converted historic building such as a monastery or castle, or in a modern building with a panoramic view of a historic and monumental city – which usually features impressive architecture.

Rather than simply being another faceless block contrasting with a beautiful environment, parador’s exist to protect Spanish cultural and the country’s historical heritage.

Costa Cálida Parador de Lorca spa

The Costa Cálida, or warm coast, in the region of Murcia, is home to the inland Parador de Lorca, which offers a great stay within the Lorca Castle estate. With spacious accommodation and a wide range of local activities, it’s a great option for those looking for a slightly different rural and cultural holiday.

In Lorca, there are plenty of magnificent pieces of architecture and monuments to visit, including free-to-enter museums, squares, palaces, buildings and churches, as well as idyllic walking and cycling hotspots and activities off the coast such as kayaking, scuba diving and cliff jumping.

Just 30 miles to the north-east, on the edge of the stunning Sierra Espuña Regional Park, is Hospedería Rural Bajo el Cejo. This charming, rustic accommodation is surrounded by nature, with beautiful hiking and cycling routes, as well as climbing, paragliding or birdwatching (where you will likely catch sight of the colony of eagles which live there) just a short distance away.

Costa Cálida Parador de Lorca pool

Spanish authorities have been working hard to ensure safety for visitors to Costa Cálida, and each parador has taken steps to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. Both sites are following thorough hygiene and cleaning requirements and providing handwashing and sanitising facilities and PPE, such as masks, where needed. You’ll also find online check-in, protective screens at reception, and a switch to à la carte from buffets in restaurants.

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“A parador is a great alternative to a busy major hotel to ease tourists back into holidays and get the break that everyone deserves after a tough period. They are a brilliant and safe option for a first family getaway,” explained a spokesperson for the Instituto de Turismo de la Región de Murcia.

“We want to give people the chance to relive the experiences they have missed so much in the safest destination possible, with all the guarantees, which is why we have introduced some fantastic offers for a great-value trip to kickstart your summer.”

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Phil Huff

Phil Huff has been writing for national newspapers, magazines, regional titles and countless websites since 2003. Specialising in travel and the automotive world, Phil is happiest when exploring foreign lands in foreign cars.