Feb 9th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Choose: Paradores or Pousadas?

So do you know the difference between a “Parador” and and “Pousada?”  You do if you have been to Spain and Portugal and wanted to stay in an “upscale” accommodation. Initiated in 1920’s by the Spanish government, the paradores  program has successfully converted buildings of historical interest to first class hotels in select locations. They are your chance, senior traveler,  to experience Spain intimately through its rich history, local cultural life, and its extraordinarily flavored cuisine. Take your pick! Castle, convent, monastery, it could be yours for a few nights while you get to explore the surroundings.

They are Certainly NOT Run-of-the-Mill Seniors Learn

Bored with run-of-the-mill hotels? Suffering from delusions of grandeur and want to discover the aristocrat within? Fancy swanning around a magnificent castle for a few days, exploring a medieval walled town, waking up in a room that overlooks vineyards and orchards, or relaxing in the cloisters of a 16th-century monastery? Then turn to the historic homes of Spain, Portugal and France. An added bonus when booking a Paradores route, you won’t rub elbows with too many tourists.

Odysseys Unlimited offers a wide choice for seniors who want to stay in one of these stately places. Smithsonian Journeys offer seniors an opportunity to stay in historic inns in both Spain and Portugal where they can discover the spirit of Iberia’s rich Roman and Moorish past.


As diverse as Spain itself, the Paradores have been created inside medieval castles, ancient palaces, former convents, landmark country houses and, occasionally, in ultra modern buildings. They capture the spirit of this vibrant country in a series of natural, historical and cultural settings. The Paradores form the keynote to a fascinating journey through Regional Spain where echoes of the past harmonize with the comfort and quality of the present.


The history of the pousadas comes from the word “pousar”, meaning “to lodge at” or “to repose”. The regional Pousadas epitomize the religious heritage and culture of Portugal. An eclectic range of mainly character and historic buildings located in the most beautiful regions of the country. Gently transverse the routes used by pilgrims, Romans and the Moors through the green valleys and golden plains intermingled with sleepy villages and fascinating architecture. Wherever you stay, you can be assured of a traditional welcome.

The Pousadas of Portugal are a system of  historic accommodations located in some of  Portugal’s most interesting and beautiful locations. The pousadas were originally designed as rest houses for travelers in areas that did not offer other accommodation. From that early start the pousadas are now located in Castles, Palaces, Monasteries and Manor Houses. The Pousadas of Portugal are a way for seniors to step back in time, and enjoy the luxury of some of Portugal’s most precious resources.

Northwestern University offers seniors an opportunity to experience the grandeur of Spain and Portugal in their paradores and pousadas, which combine architecture, art, history and tradition to evoke a feeling of the past and the pull of its vibrant contemporary life. Yale further announces their program in Spain and Portugal that includes visits to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cordoba. Not to be outdone, UC Berkeley wants you to consider their tour.

So flip a coin and decide which it will be…a Parador or a Pousada. You can’t lose on this flip as either will fill your trip with a total adventure. jeb

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