The small town of Benicassim is one of the all-time favorites in my family, especially when it comes to a relaxing beach getaway in Spain. I hope you´ll enjoy the picture-perfect views of the Mediterranean coast and learn more about his beautiful small town.
Relaxing Beach Getaway in Spain
Relax, reset, and recharge
If you´re dreaming of a relaxing beach getaway in Spain, I have a new inspiring travel story up my sleeve – our long family weekend in Benicassim.
While exploring top Spanish landmarks and roaming the undiscovered regions of Spain is what sets my soul on fire, I do feel the urge to slow down every once in a while. This is how my occasional beach getaways in Spain often take place. Even the most passionate globetrotter sometimes needs to relax, reset, and recharge.
While I´ve always loved Spanish beaches, vacations on the Mediterranean coast were quickly lifted to the top of my Spain Bucket List after having kids. Seaside is currently the only place I can get some me-time without having to leave the little ones with someone else. We spend some time swimming and playing together, and then my girls get into their own games with sand and water, while I enjoy a quiet moment with a new wanderlust book in my hands. My husband is less into reading, so we make a wonderful team on vacation (lol as he is often the one keeping an eye on the kids at the beach).
This post describes only one of our magical long weekends in Benicassim (there were quite a few over the recent years). But I hope it will provide you with more ideas to plan an epic beach getaway in Spain for yourself.
Where is Benicassim
Benicassim is one of the popular beach towns in Spain.
It forms part of the Costa Azahar seaside area. Despite being a popular vacation spot for the Spaniards, Benicassim is relatively undiscovered for international visitors (especially compared to Costa Brava, Costa del Sol, and Costa Blanca).
Benicassim Tourism Office is located on the main street of Sant Tomas,74 – I recommend you drop by to get free maps and more info on local events and festivals.
How to get to Benicassim
The best way to get to Benicassim is to travel by car or van (there are a few really nice van areas).
The second option is to get train tickets to Castellon and then take a taxi to Benicassim (which costs around 15 euros). While there´s a bus from Castellon to Benicassim, it leaves from avda.Hermanos Bou / Plaza J.Borrul in the city center of Castellon (meaning you´ll need to walk for a while from the Castellon train station, but here´s the schedule just in case). Keep in mind, that the train from Barcelona sometimes makes an actual stop in Benicassim, but you´ll need to call a taxi to pick you up (while in Castellon you´ll find lots of taxis waiting by the entrance).
If you plan to travel by plane, the nearest airports to Benicassim are Castellon Airport (40km) and Valencia Airport (71 km). Then you have Barcelona Airport (250km), Alicante Airport (266km), and Madrid (437km). But don´t let the distance with Madrid discourage you: you might as well catch a high-speed train from Madrid to Valencia (1h50) and then either rent a car or switch a train station in Valencia (from Joaquin Sorolla to Valencia Nord) to get on a regional express to Castellon. Both Valencia Train Stations are actually located next to each other, and while there´s a free shuttle bus connecting them, I almost always walk to save time.
Also, during the summer months, Alza Bus offers 2 daily routes from Madrid to Benicassim.
What is Benicassim known for
For international visitors, Benicassim is mostly known for its festivals – FIB (July) and Rototom Sunsplash (August). However, in this IG post, I share with you 3 other cool festivals of Benicassim – Blues Festival (June 3-5), Francisco Tarrega Guitar Competition (Aug 28 -Sep 2),and Belle Epoque (Sep 2-4) – don´t miss them, in case your travel dates overlap.
For the Spaniards, Benicassim is a popular beach getaway in Spain (especially, for those living in Madrid or Zaragoza). Lots of restaurants in the small town of Benicassim are open for the summer season only, and the coastal area is full of apartments, usually rented for the whole summer.
Benicassim is one and only when it comes to the best sandy beaches in Spain. It´s a popular destination for kayaking, kitesurfing, and windsurfing (with rentals at the seafront during the summer months).
Want more landscape inspiration from Benicassim? – Check this Benicassim Tourism Office Video shot with a drone.
Where to Stay in Benicassim
When I had my Spanish wedding, some of my guests stayed at Palasiet Thalasso Hotel and Intur Bonaire (even though the ceremony took place 30 km away from Benicassim, everyone loved living at the beach).
Also, there are lots of cute budget-friendly hotels in Benicassim – Montreal, Solea House, Hotel Sunna. Plus the holiday village of Marina D´Or is another popular vacation spot in the nearest village of Oropesa. If you are planning to stay in Benicassim longer – renting an apartment is the best idea (although you´ll need to do it in advance, as Benicassim is a popular beach getaway in Spain, especially during the summer months).
My trips to Benicassim
Not only have I visited Benicassim on numerous occasions, this charming small town has been my first expat home in Spain.
Take my word for it, Benicassim really has a unique atmosphere. Therefore, before we built a house of our own, Benicassim was my favorite place to live in the Province of Castellon. You can´t imagine how much I actually enjoyed waking up to the sea views of Benicassim every morning all year round.
Even though this small town usually gets popular during the summer months, I am more of an off-season traveler. In May/June and September/October, the weather in Benicassim is already perfect for a beach getaway in Spain, but there’s literally no one around. From December to March, Benicassim is still a perfect place to enjoy the winter sun in Spain.
In this post, I´m sharing one of our family weekends in Benicassim (when we have already moved out to a new house). This relaxing trip took place in early September during the Belle Epoque Festival.
Our family weekend in Benicassim
Day 1 – Beach + Desierto de Las Palmas + Grau de Castellon
You know how it usually happens on a holiday – you promise yourself to take it easy and stay in bed till late morning and then suddenly wake up with the sunrise.
So, it was 6.30 a.m when I was ready to hit the beach. But the rest of my family was obviously sleeping. So, I looked out of the window to the beautiful seaside views and felt the urge to catch the first sun rays of the day in person.
It´s curious how waking up early often feels like one of the best parts of any relaxing beach getaway in Spain. The beach sunrise and sunsets look so serene.
As one of the Spain travel quotes by Hemingway states: “There is no nightlife in Spain. They stay up late, but they get up late. That is not nightlife. That is delaying the day.” You probably don´t feel it in Madrid or Barcelona, but places like Benicassim literally live by this quote. You won´t see anyone at the beach before 10 a.m., and even the beach rescuers will appear around 11 a.m.
So, while the rest of the world was sleeping – I quickly put on my trainers and went jogging at the beach. Photos honestly don´t do justice to how surreal it all felt…
After the run, I got back on time to have breakfast with my husband and kids, and then we spend the morning at Gurugu Beach. It´s such a stunning seaside location, awarded with a blue flag (a local award given to the best beaches in Spain).
In the afternoon, we drove to visit Desierto de Las Palmas to enjoy the panoramic views of Benicassim and the mountains surrounding it. The area of Desierto de Las Palmas is also known for lots of beautiful places to have a picnic. Plus, you have a few amazing hikes – Agulles de Santa Agueda and Subida al Bartolo.
However, the weather felt a bit too hot for hiking with kids. So, we left this active plan for future visits.
For dinner, we headed to Grau de Castellon port to try local seafood. It´s a great place to try paella as well. From the restaurants there I especially love Mirador del Port (their sea urchins are to die for), Mediterraneo (their specialty is a local dish arroz a banda), and El Galeon. The last one does not accept reservations, but for the first two – you should try to book a table, especially on weekends (during the week they usually have places).
Day 2 – Via Verde + Aquarama
On the second day of our beach getaway in Spain, I still wanted to enjoy the Mediterranean coast, but to do something slightly more active as well,
We stopped at a cute cafe La Corretgera in Benicassim city center for breakfast. Then, we took bikes to explore the popular Via Verde, connecting the small towns of Benicassim and Oropesa. This 6 km-long trail starts behind Voramar Hotel: there´s a huge parking area to leave your car. Most people do Via Verde by bike, although others prefer walking (some even bring kids with baby strollers). So, it´s the ultimate family plan in the region of Castellon.
There are a few bike rentals in Benicassim. If you do speak basic Spanish – the Benicassim City Council has its own bike loan. Plus, there are a few self-service bike rentals by the seaside (for instance this one – Bicicas Station 32 Avda. Ferrandis Salvador).
In the afternoon, we took the kids to the water park Aquarama, a popular day trip from Valencia (especially with kids). They absolutely loved it.
Even though most of the visitors easily spend the whole day inside this aquapark, an afternoon was more than enough for me (even though my girls could have spent there the whole weekend). Note, that if visiting in August – you need to buy tickets in advance since Aquarama gets completely full (in July and September we usually buy tickets once get there). Also, from 15.30 you get a reduced half-day price.
Day 3 – Plaza del Trenet + Paseo de las Villas / Belle Epoque Festival
On the third day of our beach getaway in Spain, we had more cultural plans at the beach.
Firstly, we took the kids to ride Benicassim´s tiny locomotives at Plaza del Trenet. Essentially, it is a railway station in miniature, where you seat on the tiny train wagons and ride around the park. This is such a cool thing to try in Spain with kids.
While it is usually open on Sundays all year round ( from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), during the months of July and August the schedule is extended to 3 extra days per week – Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (from 6.30 p.m. to 9 p.m.). It´s a similar experience to the one of Riba-roja de Turia, which is a must in Valencia with kids.
Later on, we headed to Paseo de las Villas or Route of Las Villas, where the Festival Belle Epoque was taking place.
Paseo de las Villas is one of the most iconic and historical areas of Benicassim, often called Valencian Biarritz. In the late XIXth and early XXth centuries, rich local families built here a bunch of unique luxury villas. You can check the list and map via the Benicassim Tourism website.
While Paseo de las Villas is a nice area to have a seaside walk all year round, during the Belle Epoque Festival (usually around Sep 2-4) you can enjoy the artisan market, temporary expositions at Villa Elisa, and lots of vintage cars, bikes, costumes, and any other attributes of the XIXth century vacation.
While everywhere was busy with visitors, I honestly enjoyed the experience (at times it felt like time-traveling). You can check more details of the Festival via IG Highlight Benicassim and this IG post.
Also, this IG post has a few more recent capture from Benicassim Beach.
In case you are a fan of the Beach getaways in Spain and plan to stay longer in Benicassim, next week I´ll add another post with lots of day trip ideas in the region.