It’s open for visitors, and 100,000 come every year – for the wine.
In 1917, it became a national monument.
Few castles in Spain – and Spain has thousands of castles – are as striking and well-preserved as Peñafiel. It rises along the length of the tallest butte-like peak in Valladolid Province beside the River Duero. From there it can control movements in three river valleys, protecting an enclave at its feet.
Construction began in the 10th century at the site of an earlier fort known as Peña Falcón, “Falcon Peak.” The castle was taken and held by the Muslim ruler Almaznor for twenty years, and finally reconquered by Count Sancho García in 1013, who said, “Desde hoy en adelante esta será la peña más fiel de Castilla.” (“From now on this will be the most loyal peak in Castile.”) And so it became Peñafiel, Loyal Peak.
Over the next few centuries, the castle was expanded and often put to use. In 1112, King Alfonso I “The Battler” was besieged there by his wife, Queen Urraca, and in 1451 its owner, Juan of Aragón, led a revolt against Juan II of Castile. Although at times it served as a royal residence, it never lost its character as a military fortification.
Built directly on living rock, the castle takes the elongated shape of a ship: 150 meters/490 feet long and about 20 meters/66 feet wide. A three-storey high keep rises in the center.
These days it attracts visitors not just to admire its mighty stone walls. The north end of the castle houses the Provincial Wine Museum, which offers information about the history and culture of Ribera del Duero wines, along with guided tastings.
Location: 41.596574, -4.113969