Medieval castles in Galicia

Ribadavia Castle

Ribadavia Castle, sitting at what is the unofficial entry point to the old town, has relics dating back as far as the 9th century, but the main structure was erected during the 15th century at the behest of the then Count of Ribadavia. It was abandoned in the 17th century when the counts moved to the palace adjacent to main square of Ribadavia.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ribadavia, Spain

Monterreal Fortress

Monterreal Fortress is located on the Monte Boi peninsula, also know as Monterreal. This site has been known over the past 2000 years as the walled precinct. Pre-Christian civilisations such as the Celts, the Phoenicians and the Romans lived here in the past. During the present time, the place was occupied by many different people and it suffered a number of attacks and modifications. The village of Baiona was site here d ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Baiona, Spain

Torres de Oeste

Oeste Towers (Torres de Oeste) is located at the head of the Ría de Arousa. The towers remaining today are the ruins of Castellum Honesti. In the 9th century, King Alfonso III of Leon built the castle as a defense against Viking attacks. The two remaining towers are from this period, and have a pre-Roman style. Pre-Roman ceramics and bronze tools have been discovered at the site. Two centuries later, King Alfonso V ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Catoira, Spain

Lanzada Castle Ruins

Lanzada Castle dates from the c. 960 AD and it was built to the grounds of Phoenician or Roman lighthouse. The castle was built to protect the area against Viking and Norman raids and later for Moorish pirates. It was conquered by Irmandiño revolts and destroyed in 1467. Today one hermit and and part of the keep remains.
Founded: c. 960 AD | Location: A Lanzada, Spain

Monastery of San Vicente do Pino

Above the plain of Monforte de Lemos rises a small hill which overlooks its entire expanse. This was the site chosen in the 10th century for building what would subsequently become the current monastery. It is also said that this was the location for the well-known Castrum Dactonium, of the Celtic Lemavos tribe, mentioned by the historians Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder. Construction of the current San Vicente del Pino mona ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Monforte de Lemos, Spain

Castro Caldelas Castle

The typical Galician noble fortress in Castro Caldelas with medieval origins has been splendidly conserved and restored and today functions as a library, cultural centre and exhibition venue. The castle originally belonged to the House of the Counts of Lemos, and became part of the House of Alba in the 18th century. It was built in the 14th century as a fortress with a purely military function, and was renovated in the 1 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Castro Caldelas, Spain

Monterrei Castle

Monterrei Castle is located a high part of the valley, near the town of Verín. It was built in the 12th century by Alfonso Henríquez. It was extremely important in the epoch of Peter the Cruel. In the 16th century it was used by Philip the Handsome for a meeting with Cardinal Cisneros. It was built from stone with evenly dressed ashlars. The most notable exterior features are the two towers: the Ladies Tower and the Kee ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Monterrei, Spain

Soutomaior Castle

Built in the 12th century by Pedro Álvarez de Soutomaior it is one of the most important castles in Southern Galicia. Its origins can be traced back to the reign of Alfonso VII, when a military construction was built in a strategic location in the town of Soutomaior. On a hill at 119 metres above sea level at the bottom of the Ría de Vigo, the castle was near the coast but protected against the sea incursions of the Nor ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Soutomaior, Spain

Vimianzo Castle

Vimianzo Castle construction began in the 13th century and was completed during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is in an excellent state of preservation. Its walls are surrounded by a moat over which a drawbridge is lowered. The building was constructed in a polygonal design with four towers and an arms courtyard. Its walls, almost two metres thick, withstood numerous attacks during the Irmandiñas (Brotherhoods) Wars. It ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vimianzo, Spain

Nogueirosa Castle

Built in a strategic position on a crag, Nogueirosa Castle (or Andrade Castle) is a small fortress but one with magnificent views. From the keep there are extensive views of the mouth of the Eume and virtually all of the Ría de Ares y Betanzos. It was built in the 13th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pontedeume, Spain

Sobroso Castle

Due to its strategic position, the Sobroso castle was known as 'the key of the Kingdom of Galicia'. The name of the Castle, and the village itself, comes from the Latin SUBEROSUM, in reference to the "sobreiras", Quercus suber or cork trees that once surrounded it. The oldest reference to Sobroso Castle dates back to 1096. The castle that stands today dates back to the 14th or 15th century constr ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: A Pena, Spain

Castle da Rocha Forte

Castle da Rocha Forte was built by Archbishop Juan Arias around 1240 and has since served as an archbishop's and cabildo's residence, witnessing much of the medieval history of Santiago. In the year 1255 appears the first documentary mention of the fortress in relation to the capitular constitutions of Juan Arias. The castle was situated in a strategic location by road from Padrón village to Santiago. Pilgrims followed t ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Naraío Castle

Built on solid rock inside the spectacular protected area Xuvia-Castro, Naraío Castle dates from 14th century. Neverthless, it is said that the remains we can see nowadays are the result of the reconstruction of an ancient fortress. The precious castle was an unconquerable fortress. To get to the tower of homage we have to cross two doors where can still be seen the Andrade´s coat of arms. Around the tower were found se ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: San Saturnino, Spain

Torres de Altamira

Torres de Altamira is a ruined castle in Brión, connected to powerful Moscoco family. It was built in the 9th century AD and rebuilt in 1471. In the 17th century it was in bad condition and today mainly towers remain.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Brión, Spain

Maceda Castle

Originally built in the late 11th century, the Maceda Castle that we see today is a mixture of very different styles of construction. It comprises two concentric enclosures, the newer one dates from the 16th century.  
Founded: 11th century | Location: Maceda, Spain

Castrodouro Castle

Castelo do Castrodouro is a small castle which once belonged to Pardo de Cela"s family. It dates probably from the 14th century.   
Founded: 14th century | Location: Alfoz, Spain

Moeche Castle

Moeche Castle was built in the 14th century by the Andrades Family. It has an octogonal groundplan, and its walls are 10 m high and 3 m thick. Its gatekeep is 18 m tall and it is the only part of the castle protecting its walls from the outside. It was under siege and taken by the Irmandinos uprising. The Moeche Castle has been restored recently, but in order to visit the interior of the castle, you"ll have to requ ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Moeche, Spain

Carbedo Castle

The exact age of Carbedo Castle is unkown, but it was documented first time in 1181. The last restorations were made in 1558, but the castle was abandoned soon after that.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Folgoso de Caurel, Spain

Peroja Castle

The origins of Peroja Castle are uknown. It may be built as part of the defence line in 793 by the King of Asturia. The current ruins date probably from the 13th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: A Peroxa, Spain

Doiras Castle

Castillo de Doiras is one of the best preserved castles in Galicia. It is dated to the 15th century and has 16m high keep and curtain walls.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Lugo, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.