Castillo de Santa Catalina

Castle in Jaén

Castillo De Santa Catalina, Jaen Andalucia
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Alphacosmos

Castillo de Santa Catalina or Saint Catherine’s Castle sits on the top of the Cerro de Santa Catalina hill overlooking the city of Jaén in Andalucia, Spain. It is now the site of a parador hotel. There are five towers and a keep, with one of the towers holding the Chapel of Saint Catalina.  At the end of the ridge stands a large cross, on the spot where Fernando III had a cross planted after Jaén finally surrendered to him in 1246. Inside, the displays in English and Spanish give a good sense of the castle’s history.

History of the Castillo de Santa Catalina

Previously there had existed a 8th Century Moorish fortress which was last improved by the Nasrid King Abdallah ibn al-Ahmar, who also built the Alhambra. Some of the original ‘Abrehui’s castle’, still remain.

After the conquest of Jaén by King Ferdinand III of Castile in 1246 he built what was to become the New Castle on the eastern part of the hill.

In the early 19th century, the forces  of Napoleonic added a gunpowder store, stables, hospital, offices, kitchen, and artillery platform to the castle.

The construction in 1965 of the parador (state-owned luxury hotel)  resulted in destruction of many of the elements of the Old Castle.

Getting to the Castillo de Santa Catalina

It is about 5km from the city center, if you don’t have a car a taxi will cost under €10, or you can walk up in about 40 minutes from the cathedral via Calles Maestra, Parrilla and Buenavista.

Visit the Parador

If you aren’t staying at the parador, drop in for a drink to see the extraordinary vaulted, decorative ceilings in the main salon and restaurant. The castle and parador have a view over the valley of the Guadalquivir to the ridges of the Sierra Morena.

The Castillo de Santa Catalina appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Jaén!

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Visiting Castillo de Santa Catalina


10am-6pm Mon-Sat, to 3pm Sun


adult/reduced €3.50/1.50, 3-6pm Wed free

Address: Castillo de Santa Catalina Cerro Calle Sta. Catalina, s/n 23003 Jaén Spain
Duration: 40 minutes

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