One of the great things about living in Europe, as any expat will tell you, is the fact that some of the most beautiful places in the world are cheaply and easily accessible. I’m speaking as someone who flew to Italy for €40 round trip two years ago. That’s all well and good, yes, but sometimes we get so caught up in wanting to jet off to far-flung foreign lands that we often forget what we have in our own backyard.
For example, take the humble little town of Almodóvar del Río. (“Where?”) Exactly, but don’t knock it till you see it for yourself. The historic village just half an hour outside of Córdoba teems with history, especially its most imposing monument: the awe-inspiring castle towering over the town.
Look familiar? If you’ve seen Game of Thrones, it probably does. The castle’s recent claim to fame was its status as a season 7 filming location.
I’m a fan of the show, but the stunning structure is so much more than Highgarden. In fact, it dates back to Spain’s Moorish days—the 8th century—and, remarkably, looks much the same as it originally did thanks to careful restorations in the early 20th century.
Its strategic location overlooking the Guadalquivir River made it essential to ensuring the safety of powerful nearby Córdoba. The castle also boasts nine towers, all of which offer incredible views of the village of Almodóvar and the surrounding countryside.
There’s even an Excalibur sword in a stone! (We were unsuccessful in pulling it out.)
As far as Game of Thrones goes, the castle was only used for exterior shots. The famous “tell Cersei” scene, which takes place at Highgarden, was actually filmed on a soundstage that was created to look like the castle’s interior.
However, that doesn’t mean the actual interior of the castle isn’t worth checking out. Be sure to get a picture out on the famous balcony, too.
So many people never stay longer than a day in Córdoba itself, opting to tack it on as a day trip from Seville or Granada. But the Castillo de Almodóvar is proof that there’s so much more to experience in this gem of a region. Give yourself an extra day here in Córdoba to drive out to the castle or one of the other many beautiful surrounding villages—I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
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