Peralada Castle, built in the ninth century with the name Castell Toló, was once at the heart of the county of Peralada, and today it's a declared national asset of cultural interest. The palace as it now stands was built following a fire during the French invasion of the Empordà as part of the crusade against Catalunya by Felip l'Ardit (Philip the Bold of France) in 1285. Towards the 14th century the Gothic palace started to be built - there's little left of the original construction nowadays. The palace was acquired in 1923 by Miquel Mateu i Pla, a Catalan politician and businessman, and the castle is still in the Mateu family. During the months of July and August, the gardens are opened for the Festival Castell de Peralada.
Montjuïc Castle was constructed in 1653, on the highest point of the mountain of Montjuïc on the orders of King Phillip IV and with the aim of assuring the security of the lands of the Pla de Girona along with four defensive towers: Sant Joan, Sant Daniel, Sant Narcís and Sant Lluís. The castle was put to good use during the three sieges that the city suffered during the Peninsular War (1807-1814). Its current state, completely destroyed, is a consequence of an attack it suffered in 1877.
The Castle of Sant Miquel is situated at the top of the hill of Sant Miquel, which lies between Celrà and Girona on one of the most popular cycling and walking routes in the Girona area. The oldest remains date from the medieval period and are made up of building that's thought to have been a watchtower, part of a wall and an hermitage with a polygonal, fortified apse. There's no written record referring to the tower, whereas the hermitage was dedicated to Sant Miquel and built in a Gothic style in the mid-15th century. During the Second Carlist War (1846-1849), on the site of the remains of the apse of the hermitage, a tower of the military optical telegraph line between Madrid and the French border was built. The castle's location is strategic - it has an excellent vantage point over the valleys of Sant Daniel and Celrà.
Tossa de Mar is the site of one of Girona's most emblematic castles. Its construction originates in 1187 with the proclamation of Alfons el Cast that any person who fished close to the castle had to pay taxes to the monastery in Ripoll. Nowadays, it's the only example of a fortified medieval village that still exists on the Catalan coast. Built at the start of the 13th century with battlements for walls, it still has almost the entire original perimetre area. The wall includes four fortified towers and three cylindrical towers topped with machicolations (openings through which stones, hot oil or similar could be dropped onto attackers). The most famous towers are: the tower of Joanàs, which overlooks the town's bay; the tower of Hours, situated at the entrance to the weapons courtyard and which takes its name from the fact that it's the only place where there was a public clock; and the tower of Codolar, which is also known as the tower of Homage ('Homenatge') and looks over the beach of es Codolar. The Castle of Tossa de Mar was important thanks to the part it played as a defensive tower in the face of pirates from the north, helped by its privileged views over the surrounding area.
The construction of the Castle of Requesens dates approximately from the 10th century, and it wasn't long before it was involved in an important battle: the war of Requesens (1047-1072), which began with the taking of the castle by count Ponç II d'Empúries. Unfortunately, little remains of the building that stood during this historical event - only the parts located in its upper section. Centuries later, in 1402, it became the property of the counts of Barcelona. And not long afterwards, Alfons el Magnànim gave the castle to Dalmau de Rocaberti, viscount of Peralada. From the 16th century onwards, the castle was abandoned, until in the 19th century, Tomàs de Rocaberti, the then count of Peralada, decided to rebuild it. The man in charge of the restoration was the Figueres local Alexandre Comalat. The aim? Re-create the castle to look as much as possible like the original building, in terms of its exterior. Inside are rooms decorated in the 19th-century modernista style, and there are also gardens and lakes, with a complicated but lovely water distribution system. It's been restored and you can stay there as well as have lunch or dinner in the restaurant - it's well worth it.
This castle was built at the end of the 11th century and start of the 12th by the bishops of Girona, and is one of the most important examples of a civil Catalan Romanesque building. The castle was extended in the 14th century with exterior walls and other additional structures. It's the most iconic building in the city and one of the identifying symbols for inhabitants. It has played, in addition, a key part in the history of La Bisbal and the wider county itself; it's been the scene of sieges and conflicts, and it's also been employed as a gaol at different periods, the most recent of which was during the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath.
'Le château de Gala, la Gala du château', ('The chateau of Gala, the Gala of the chateau') is how Salvador Dalí described Púbol Castle. A Gothic-Renaissance fortification from the 11th century, it became the centre of the barony of Púbol, and, in the '70s, the residence and refuge of Gala Éluard Dalí, the artist's lifelong partner. The castle was closed, mysterious, private, austere and restrained. In fact, Dalí wasn't allowed to enter if he hadn't written in advance for permission to do so. Despite this, he was in charge of its interior design: when he bought the castle, it was in a state of serious disrepair, with collapsed roofs, significant cracks and a garden that had run wild. The artist decided not to hide its dilapidated state, and used the semi-destroyed roofs and walls to create unexpected spaces and contrasting dimensions. If you go, pay attention particular to the pictorial representations on the walls, the fake architecture, the baroque-style textiles and romantic symbology. It's not to be missed. And did you know that Gala is actually buried there? Dalí designed a mausoleum for the two of them, but in the end, he decided to be interred in his Teatre-Museu in Figueres.