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Located far and wide throughout Spain, the state-run hotels called paradores represent a hotel chain whose originality and value are unequalled. These hotels and inns with historical impact have been 'created' in the lesser-visited areas that have an unquestionable tourist appeal. So paradores are preferably not to be found in the crowded Costa's but for example near (or in) Toledo or Sevilla. Even the hot and empty province of Extremadura has its paradores. The basic philosophy of the paradores was, and continues to be, that of state providing hotel accommodation in areas where it would not be profitable for private initiative to do so.

Ancient castles, palaces, monasteries and convents have been faithfully restored and they combine a maximum respect for tradition and history with modern services in order to meet present-day demands. You may read this rightfully as: very beautiful and very expensive. You can spend the night in a castle but it'll cost you. Some cases involve a totally new construction.

All these official government tourist lodgings are located in peaceful sites of scenic beauty. A good example is Parador Virrey Toledo: Located in Oropesa, about 120 km from Toledo, occupying a castle-palace in a small town with medieval charm. The castle, converted into a parador in 1930, represents a blend of elegant, historical surroundings and the modern comforts of hotelkeeping. Historical value also means you can sleep in the same room in the Castle of Jarandilla de la Vera where Charles V is said to have stayed while waiting for his lodgings in the nearby Yuste monastery to be prepared.

Parador literally means stopping place.

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