Finally, my explorings for the Blog Series: Undiscovered Spain continue. While checking out the lists of the most beautiful Spanish villages I came across Xativa. I should admit I´ve heard of it before, but so far it was always one of these places “on the way to somewhere” and I decided it was finally time to make a stop in Xativa. I´ve never thought I could find a real-life Castle in the Clouds in the heart of Valencian Community…
Xativa (Jativa) is a small rural town with no more than 30.000 inhabitants and only 60 km far from Valencia. It´s a perfect day-trip idea when visiting Valencia and I still wonder why it took me so long to finally visit this place. From now on I could claim with all certainty: together with Morella and Peñiscola, – the Xativa Castle is one of my favorites in Spain.
Due to its strategical location, through centuries Xativa played an important role in the area.
The main site of the city is the Xativa Castle. You could see it on the top of the mountain while approaching the city by car. Nevertheless, once you reach it – these amazing views blow your mind. I couldn´t help the feeling of being in the clouds. It´s not the highest mountain I´ve climbed, but probably the plain landscape all around it – which gives you this “out of this world” feeling.
The views of Castillo Menor
The Xativa Castle consists of two parts – Castillo Menor and Castillo Mayor – from each one you get a wonderful panorama of another part. I expected the castle interiors would be empty. However, in Castillo Mayor I´ve discovered some interesting expositions dedicated to life, defense and historic figures.
Capilla de San Jorge
Another interesting fact about Xativa is that it was a birth place of two Popes – Calixtus 3rd and Alexander 6th, both members of the famous Borja (Borgia) family. Within a castle, you could find a small exposition dedicated to Borja.
What a castle without stunning Mediterranean tiles?!
Even though the Borja exposition only has several rooms, from the first glimpse of it you could notice everything is decorated so elegantly…
While heading to the top of Castillo Mayor, I went across the garden (or what´s left from it). No flowers around, but the fountains looked nice anyway.
What´s left from the Xativa governer´s room: it should have had quite a view…
Another curious fact about the Xativa Castle that has surprised me a lot: in 1150 Europe´s first paper mill was found here, using rice and straw as the raw materials. First paper was brought to Europe all the way from China across the Middle East. It´s incredible that this small city has played such an important role in the history of papermaking.
- Xativa could be reached from Valencia both by car and train
- the Xativa Castle is open from 10 a.m to 18 p.m for the winter season and from 10 a.m to 19 p.m for the summer season. Entrance price: 2,40 euros
- there are several parkings, one of them right by the entrance to the Castle (it is almost always full). Most people leave cars at the Parking Subida al Castillo and walk 20 min upwards to the castle
- there is a tourist train departing from the TouristInfo of Xativa (Font del Lleó) at 12:30 and 16:30. Once there, you have an hour for a visit (it took me 2h though) Train price:4,20 euros
- The Xativa Castle has a restaurant inside and another cafe near the Parking Subida al Castillo (both used to be full, book in advance or grab a bite outside the typical Spanish schedule 1.30 p.m – 4 p.m)
With love 💗