As you might have guessed from my Twitter and IG – this August has been all about hiking in Castellon and Valencia Region. Let me share with you another cool trail for hiking in Castellon with kids – Castillo de Gaibiel.
Hiking in Castellon
Spain Off The Beaten Path
While summer in the Valencia Region is not my favorite time of the year, due to the peak season and hot temperatures, hiking in Castellon has ultimately been my local travel obsession. While most of the top sights in the Province of Castellon never get crowded, when it comes to hiking things get even better. Except for La Senda del Botanico Manuel Calduch in Villareal, all the other hikes in Castellon felt like an exclusive-access travel experience. We didn´t encounter a single person during our walks with nature. Which is a real catch for the summer months in Spain.
With or without kids
While our last cool hike, Senda del Rio in Teresa, had every attribute of the soul-filling outdoors, like the river, greenery, pine trees, birds singing, and the seasonal booms to soak it all in – the trail had slippery areas, so we didn’t bring the kids along. You know, I love exploring Spain with kids, but at the same time, I believe every getaway should have something to enjoy for each family member. So, in case I´m not sure they´ll have a blast – I take solo trips for myself or explore the romantic side of Spain with my husband.
One way or another, it’s been quite a few hikes in Valencia without kids and this time we were willing to unplug somewhere altogether as a family. Knowing my kids, we were about to choose something new from the dreamy Spanish castles, fairytale places, beautiful beaches, or magical forests. Parents will know what I mean here – small kids love the story behind every move they make: no matter whether it’s exploring an enchanted castle, searching for flower fairies, or building a new sand city. Hiking sounds more of an adventure to them if their imagination goes beyond following the hiking trail.
Therefore, I´ve pulled out my Valencia Hiking Checklist (blog subscribers can grab a copy) and discovered there was a new hike we could try&test in the Valencia Region – Castillo de Gaibiel or the Castle of Gaibiel. This route is easy and the castle comes as a big bonus for kids.
Castillo de Gaibiel
Where is Gaibiel?
While we already were able to discover lots of hidden Gems in the Valencia Region, there´s always more to the story. This day trip to Gaibiel was no exception.
Gaibiel is a small town in the Spanish Province of Castellon, with a population of fewer than 200 people. The beautiful natural setting owes its green palette of colors to the nearby La Sierra de Espadán Natural Park. Gaibiel is conveniently located near both cities of Valencia and Castellon (a 1h-long drive from both), so it’s a perfect Valencia day trip to clear up the mind and recharge.
The town of Gaibiel has a small castle, but in order to access it you need to hike through the local woods. According to the archeological finds some elements of the castle date back to the XII century. Despite the Spanish Reconquista of Valencia in 1238, the town´s population was Muslim till 1609, when The Expulsion of the Moriscos Decree was issued.
Officially, the castle is supposed to be open from 10.00 a.m to 19.00 p.m, but we visited around 18.30 p.m and the door was closed. On some Spanish sites, I´ve found information that one must ask for the key in a local City Hall, but others clearly stated the castle door was open back when they visited.
We were arriving in Gaibiel after visiting the nearby small town of Navajas and exploring its Bride´s Jump Waterfall. Right after entering the village of Gaibiel, there was a small parking area on the left. In theory, once you leave your car – you need to head left (follow the road towards Matet till the football field) to access the route towards the castle, but we headed right, descending towards the river and searching for green marks on the rock to find the trail.
The Trail towards Gaibiel Castle or Castillo de Gaibiel
The trail marked with green lines was a bit challenging for kids to go solo (ours are 2,5 and 4 y.o), but ironically this was the part they loved the most. But once we’ve reached the castle of Gaibiel, we followed the wide track with a slight incline to return, which was very child-friendly. So in case you want an easy walk towards the castle – this is your perfect match. By the way, it took us 30 min one way (from the village of Gaibiel to the castle).
To be precise about our itinerary: if you stand in front of the castle – we came from the left and then headed right to return to the Gaibiel village. If you take the wide track from the very beginning – you´ll get to the Gaibiel Castle from the right and then follow the same route in order to return to your car.
You´ll see the castle all the time so it is hard to get lost, although there are few other trails in the area.
We’ve spotted a white-yellow route PR-CV 417 that we really liked, but it was 14,3 km long and also looked quite steep for the kids. But we´ll be returning to test it one day, for sure. If the walk to the castle won´t be enough – you can check other hiking routes near Gaibiel here on the local website.
Embalse del Regajo
If you’re looking for a nice place for a picnic or kayaking – don’t miss the nearby reservoir Embalse del Regajo. We’ve made a quick stop for snacks and to show the local dam to the kids (as they’ve never seen one).