Parador de Jaén
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- Single rooms (8)
- Twin rooms (31)
- Double rooms (6)
- Capacity (82)
- Conference room
- Central heating
- Air conditioning
- Canal plus
- Credit cards
- Currency exchange
- Swimming pool
- Station (4km)
Parador de Jaén - 13th century castle-fortress (4*)
Perched on top of the rugged hill of Santa Catalina and looking out across the historic city of Jaén, the magnificent Parador de Jaén– a favourite spot for the locals, especially for smart weddings - occupies a castle built after the reconquest of the city by Ferdinand III of Castile in 1246.
The Santa Catalina castle complex includes the remains of an earlier Moorish fortress and its towers, walls and castellations descend from the hill down into the steep narrow streets of the old city, whose origins go back to the time of the Carthaginians.
The Parador's interior boasts impressive arches and traditional furnishings and the views from the balconies of the bedrooms one may look out across the plain of the River Guadalquivir to the distant Sierra Morena, or south to the Sierra Nevada. Among the illustrious guests who have spent a night in this remarkable hotel are the present King of Spain as well as several other national and international personalities. Charles de Gaulle spent a prolonged period in Jaén as he set about writing his memoirs, and one of the Parador's rooms now bears his name.
The Parador de Jaén's grounds contain pleasant gardens and swimming pool, and the views from virtually every part of the hotel make spending a night in the Santa Catalina castle a simply unforgettable experience.
The province of Jaén contains the largest concentration of olive groves in Spain and these have played a prominent role in both the cultural and economic development of the city which has come to be known as world’s olive oil capital. The city’s economy is still based heavily on being a centre for the agricultural production so be sure to take advantage of the high quality olive oil and other fresh local produce on offer in the city's bars and restaurants.
Like many other parts of Andalucía, Jaen has seen the coming and going as well as coexistence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities which have left behind a rich architectural legacy. Among the real gems for today's visitor are the city's imposing xxth century cathedral as well as the largest Arab Baths in Europe.
The Cathedral of the Asunción in Jaén is considered one of the centepieces of Renaissance architecture in this part of Spain. Originally constructed on the site of a former mosque, a Gothic shrine was added in the 15th century to house the Holy Veil and the cathedral assumed its current Renaissance style following renovations by Andrés de Vandelvira in the 16th century. Click here to check opening hours and prices with the Spanish tourist office. The Cathedral is particularly impressive when illuminated at night so be sure to enjoy the views down from the Parador's observation point.
The city's Arab Baths are currently undergoing restoration works (as of April 2013) but be sure to check on progress when planning your trip as they. The complex which covers 45o square metres dates back to the 11th century and remains intact below a 16th century palace and is the largest and best-preserved collection of Arab Baths in Andalucía.
For those looking to explore further afield, Jaén is perfectly situated for heading on to explore nearby sites of interest such as the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Baeza and Ubeda, as well as for those moving on to explore other Andalucían cities such as Cordoba (120km) and Granada (92km).
Restaurant meal times & typical dishes
Breakfast is served from 8.00 to 11.00 and dinner from 20.30 to 23.00.
It may be possible to arrive up to 22.30 and still enjoy a meal.
In the restaurant: "Ajoblanco" (cold almond soup), spinach cooked with almonds, "Banos" style venison, young goat, peppers and egg and fresh cheese and quince jelly cake.
The Parador’s outdoor swimming pool is due to open from 1st June 2016 until 30 September 2016.
Please note the opening and closing dates will depend on the weather and availability of lifeguards.
How to get there
The Parador is located on top of the Cerro de Santa Catalina, just 5 km from the capital. The easiest way to reach the Parador de Jaén is by car.
The closest airports are those at Granada (97km) and Malaga International (214km).
From Cordoba, take the A4 east of the centre before joining the A306 which will take you almost to Jaen. This will then merge with the A316 and you should stay on this road until Junction 63 where you should take the turn-off signposted ‘Jaén Oeste´. Once on this road you should follow the signs for ´castillo-parador Santa Catalina’ which will take you to the door of the hotel.
From Madrid, take the A4 south. Exit at junction 292 to merge onto E-902-A44 toward Jaen/Granada/Malaga. Stay on this road until exit 36 where you need to merge onto the A-316 toward Torredelcampo. Look out for Junction 63 where you should follow the signs for ‘Jaén Oeste´. Once on this road you should follow the signs for ´Castillo-parador Santa Catalina’.
From Granada, that the A44 north which will take you almost all the way to Jaen, at Exit 42 follow signs for Jaen “Avda de Granada”. From here you should follow signs for the Castillo de Santa Catalina.
There is also a direct train service between Cordoba and Jaen taking about 90 minutes.
Ubeda - 60km
Cordoba - 100km
Granada - 100km
Cazorla - 125km
Malaga Airport - 240km
Region & Cuisine
The second largest of Spain’s Autonomous Communities, Andalusia occupies a major part of the southern half of the country. The region’s eight provinces extend from the Portuguese border in the west, north to the neighbouring regions of Extremadura and Castilla La Mancha and to Almería, bordering Murcia, in the east.
Inevitably, Andalusia will be best known to many people for its beaches, notably along the Mediterranean ‘Costa de Sol’ and the Atlantic ‘Costa de la Luz’, and the coast certainly encompasses a good part of the region’s natural wealth. This is no doubt largely due to the exceptional climate – one of the warmest in Europe – that prevails all along the coastline, with hot dry summers, winters with mild temperatures and many ‘mini regions’ boasting their own microclimates. But it is a mistake to associate Andalusia only with its ‘Costas’, for this is a region that offers the visitor virtually everything in terms of history, art and nature.
Scenically, Andalusia is a land of contrasts. For example, in the province of Granada in winter one can experience 22°C on the coast and travel just 33 km north into the Sierra Nevada mountains to find a temperature of 10°C below zero. Further east , in the province of AlmerÍa, is an area unique in Europe – the Tabernas desert, where many of the ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ were filmed. To the north of Granada is the province of Jaén, the land of the olive with over 50 million olive trees planted and olive oil providing the main source of wealth in the province. Further south, some thirty municipalities form the famous ‘route of the white towns’, a string of picturesque little towns and villages extending across the northern part of the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga and all displaying the same picture- postcard white architecture so typical of rural Andalusia. Over 17% of the region of Andalusia is classified as a protected natural area, with its two national parks of Doñana and Sierra Nevada particularly well known for the preservation of their rich variety of flora and fauna.
Cádiz, Seville, Córdoba, Granada, Málaga – all these historic Andalusian cities display countless examples of the rich architectural and artistic legacy from over eight centuries of Moorish occupation of this region. Pride of place must go to the most emblematic monument in Granada (the capital of Spain’s last Moorish kingdom) – the incomparable Alhambra with its adjoining Generalife gardens, a unique complex of palaces, fortresses and royal quarters making this one of the most fascinating, and most visited, monuments in the world.
An essential feature of Andalusian art, and life, is of course the form of music and dance known as flamenco, an artistic expression of the most deeply rooted Andalusian culture. The precise origin of flamenco is unknown, but certainly it has Moorish influences and many of its most famous practitioners, both past and present, have been of gypsy origin. Wherever you are in Andalusia you are likely to hear flamenco, whether at an organised concert, or coming from inside someone’s house, or simply an impromptu performance in a village square. It’s in everyone’s blood, and it’s delightful.
Given the immense area of this region, gastronomic diversity best describes the cuisine of Andalusia. The so-called ‘Mediterranean diet’, with its basis of olive oil and considered by many experts to be the healthiest in the world, has its origin here. One of Spain’s most famous products, the Iberian Jabugo ham, is produced in Huelva province with the very finest hams reputedly cured ‘in a certain position in a certain room of a certain house in Huelva’. Gazpacho, the cold soup made with tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, bread and garlic originated in Andalusia and is found throughout the region as is ‘ajoblanco’, a delicious variation on gazpacho. Fruit and vegetables grow in profusion along the coastal region: mountains of strawberries in Huelva province; oranges, lemons, tropical and sub-tropical fruit (mango, papaya, banana, avocado) in Málaga and Granada provinces, and many varieties of vegetable in Almería province. In the mountains further inland, game dishes include partridge, rabbit, venison and wild boar, while anywhere near the sea you will find one of the most popular of all Andalusian dishes – ‘pescaito frito’ or mixed fried fish.
Not particularly renowned for the excellence of its wines, Andalusia does however produce the finest sherries in the world (the major establishments can be visited in Jerez de la Frontera) and – especially in Málaga province – several delicious dessert wines.
Please be aware of the following:
- 'Special Offers' are subject to the availability of a number of rooms per night and/or a specific meal basis.
- Age restrictions apply to the 'Golden Days' Offer (for those aged 55 and over) and the 'Young Persons' Offer (for those aged between 18 and 30). All reservations made using these tariffs are checked upon your arrival at the Parador(s) booked to ensure that at least one person in a room qualifies for the restricted tariff. In the case that you do not qualify for the restricted tariff, the Parador will apply the standard rate without exception and you will be required to pay a supplement locally. However only one person (per room) needs to qualify for either of these two reductions.