Let me share my recent off-the-beaten-path discovery in the Province of Valencia – the small town of Bocairente. It was supposed to be a quick stop on my way from Castellon to Alicante. However, while strolling down the streets of Bocairente (or Bocairent in Valencian) every corner was so beautiful that I ended up taking thousands of pictures, including the smallest details.
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Bocairente, a small town near Valencia
Are you interested in archaeological finds and the region´s history? Do you love places off the beaten track? Are you on a mission to explore more of the most beautiful villages in Spain? – Then Bocairente fits your bill.
I can’t avoid creating a separate photo-inspirational post about Bocairente, as it is one of Spain’s most beautiful villages I´ve ever been to.
If you don’t want to limit your sightseeing plan to Valencia city only, Bocairente could also be a great Valencia day trip idea (or even an Alicante day trip). It´s hard to reach by public transport, so to visit Bocairente you either need to travel by car, or book an organized day tour.
One day in Bocairente
This hidden little town surprisingly offers a whole heap of amazing things to explore: the historic quarter, the Moorish caves, the ice caves, the bullring, the fountains and bridges, the parish church…
Yes! I´ve told you it was supposed to be our quick stop on the road, but things rarely go as planned in my case! It´s already a fact. Besides, isn´t going with the flow the best travel experience anyway?!
We eventually ended up spending in Bocairente the whole day. But honestly, who wouldn´t?
Let´s talk about all the cool places you can visit in Bocairente.
Must-See Places in Bocairente
1. The Moorish Caves
Before visiting Bocairente, I had never heard of the Moorish Caves.
The Moorish Caves are a group of artificial caves with window-like openings. It is the most complex and numerous group of cave windows in the area with over 50 windows leading to an equal number of chambers and distributed on 3-4 different levels.
“Les Covetes de Los Moros” (e.g. the Moorish Caves) are surrounded by various theories explaining their origins: burial chambers from ancient times, or granaries, or even Visigoth monasteries. They are tough to date back, although it is quite possible they were created during the Hispano-Arabic period. The interior of the caves may be visited (if you don´t mind a climb), which makes the whole experience even more interesting.
Also read: The Most Beautiful Villages in Teruel, Spain
By the way, similar examples of the cave-windows can be found around the world. They used to be discovered in places, populated by the tamazigth (Berber) tribes in the pre-Saharan area of the Maghreb. French historians have identified these caves as primitive forms of what later became collective granary buildings called agadir (in Morocco) or gorfas (in Tunisia), and which were in use up until the turn of the 20th century.
2. The Colomer Caves
Once in Bocairente, do not miss The Colomer Caves! This location was adopted for a small exposition where you could watch a documentary and get more of the historical data. Unlike the Moorish Caves, these are smaller and were reformed into the so-called interpretation
Like most of the caves located in the Medieval Quarter of Bocairente, this one was carved out of the rock manually. It used to be an obligatory stop when entering the town. On market days traders had to pay the corresponding tax to the collector, called el consumer, who would shelter from the inclement weather inside this cave.
3. Remains of the Ice Industry / Ice Caves
Before the arrival of fridge-freezer technology, nature’s cold was harnessed through the development of commerce in snow and ice – a business that reached its peak during the XVII and XIX centuries.
Collecting snow, conserving it, transporting it, selling it, and consuming it – all these have formed part of an activity now lost in time! The rare testimony to this once-flourishing business – is the remains of the enormous deposits used to store snow (called ice wells, ice caves, or ice cellars).
I´ve never been inside an Ice Cave before, have you?
And you know what? – Despite all these years, it was still cold inside. So, the Sant Blai Ice Cave could probably serve its initial purpose even nowadays. Seriously, constructions like this one often make me question humanity´s progress. Like those out-of-this-world Roman mosaics I´ve recently seen in Cyprus, they dated back to the 2nd century A.D and yet looked better than some of the floor tiles in modern public buildings!
4. The streets of Bocairente
Bocairente’s peculiar geographical location has favored the development of different cultures throughout its long history, from the remains of Neolithic human settlements to the Romans, Arabs, and finally, the Spanish.
The old town itself is an artistic-historical heritage site. A walk through the streets of Bocairente will reveal hidden corners of great beauty.
I think my photos will do better than words…
More articles about the Province of Valencia
- Top Valencia Day Trips by train
- 10 Places in The Province of Valencia You´ve Never Heard Of
- Historical Valencia: The Borgia Route in Spain
- Top 10 Places to Visit in The Province of Castellon, Spain
- Art Lovers: The Ducal Palace of Gandia
- Gastronomic Weeks in Spain: Hazelnut
- The Largest Palm Grove in Europe: Elche
- All Colors of The Rainbow: Jardin del Papagayo in Benicarlo
- Hikes in Valencia: The route of the hanging bridges of Chulilla
- Fanzara: Graffiti everywhere
- The Millenary Olive Trees Route in Canet lo Roig
- Undiscovered Spain: Visiting Morella
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