Top 10 Places to Visit in The Province of Castellon
The Province of Castellon has been my home for 8 years an
d I feel like I´ve collected so much information and travel tips that I just can´t keep it all for myself any longer! Most likely, I didn´t share it all before because I simply had no idea where to start…
Therefore, it is impossible to fit it all in one post – but sharing my Top 10 places in the Province is a great start, right?! And if you still want more details – the upcoming posts A Guide to The Province Castellon, The Most Beautiful Villages in Castellon and The City of Castellon, will give you a broader vision of the region and also, will help you to plan your visit much better.
Why You Should Visit Castellon
As surprising as it sounds (including the fact that Castellon´s neighboring regions are the very touristic Alicante and Valencia) – Castellon is one of the top sources for my Blog Series Undiscovered Spain. At the same time, I believe it is one of the regions with the biggest touristic potential, due to its perfect weather, stunning coastline, fair prices, and very local Spanish lifestyle.
Moreover, I feel like The Province of Castellon is a perfect match for travelers looking for a more authentic Spanish vibe or frequent visitors who´ve already seen the country´s biggest capitals and now crave to experience something slightly different or my likeminded globetrotters with a passion for places off the beaten track. Well, Castellon is your answer to all of the above!
The Province of Castellon has around 580 000 inhabitants, while it’s capital, the city of Castellon, only – 170 000. So if besides searching for unique travel experiences, you also love avoiding crowds – place Castellon on your travel bucket! This Spanish province is for you!
Top 10 Places to Visit in The Province of Castellon
What can´t you miss and where to start?! Check the list of my favorite places:
Peñiscola has become quite touristic in these past years. Recently, it was one of the “Game of Thrones” filming locations, which brought a lot of international fans to this small Spanish city. Nevertheless, Peñiscola is hardly as internationally famous as Barcelona or Granada. We all know that the best gems are often hidden: Peñiscola is not an exception. Its tiny little streets are full of old charm and the views from the castle are simply breathtaking!
Rising 67m above the Mediterranean, the Peñiscola castle was a residence of Benedict XIII (Papa Luna) from 1417 till 1423. Built in 13 century on the remains of the Arabic fortress, “El Castillo de Papa Luna” is an important monument of our history which survived several époques… (Read more)
Arab Thermal Baths in Montanejos
Montanejos is a beautiful natural area which long ago was chosen by the Arabs as a perfect leisure spot – here they´ve built their thermal baths. Since 1863 locals could enjoy the Montanejos hot springs all year round – the temperature is always around 25 ºC.
A Bird´s eye view: Desierto de Las Palmas
Desierto de Las Palmas is one of my favorite Nature Parks in Castellon. In fact, it´s impossible to include all the natural wonders, hikes and parks of the province in one post. I´ve mainly chosen Desierto de Las Palmas because of its beautiful lookout easy to access by car. Note that there is a monastery and a restaurant nearby – gorgeous views of Benicassim are everywhere. In one of the upcoming posts, I´ll share with you more detailed insights to the Castellon Province, including all the parks and hikes so that you could choose your own favorites.
Morella: A city behind medieval walls
A city behind medieval walls, Morella – one of the most beautiful places in Spain. As you approach the city by car – the scenic views of Morella Castle on the top of the mountain leave you speechless.
In these recent years, I´ve been to this tiny magical city at least 4 times. Morella is one of these unique places in Spain, which makes you coming back again and again. Rising 984 meters above sea level and fortified by 2 km of walls, Morella has always been of great strategical importance through history. Its murals have seen various civilizations – Romans, Arabs, Christians… I guess, all these cultural influences have given Morella its uniqueness. Gothic buildings, handicrafts, artisans and antiques – the streets of Morella are full of history and old charm… (Read more)
Benicassim, Festivals and Playa Serradal
Benicassim is a small city located in the province of Castellon. If you´re a festivals fan, you might have actually heard of it, because of FIB or Rototom Sunsplash.
Benicassim is truly a sandy Mediterranean paradise. However, here comes the best part: it is relatively undiscovered by international tourists yet. Especially, when compared to Costa Brava, Oropesa or Benidorm.
What I love so much about this tiny city (aside from its amazing coastline, green palms, fine sands, and blue water) is that you can always find a quiet place at the beach, but at the same time in summer Benicassim is full of life: bars, clubs, restaurants, multiple activities, festivals etc. There are some really great routes for roller skating or riding a bike. It seems far away from big city life. Nevertheless, the small port area (Grao de Castellon) is also nearby and this means a lot of fresh fish and seafood.
The best beach area, in my opinion, is Playa Serradal, located between Benicassim and Grao de Castellon. It is relatively far from the Benicassim city center, there is not much space to park around and almost no apartments in the area, so it is never overcrowded. Moreover, there is a protected bird recreation area there, so it reminds more of a wild beach, rather than a public city beach. Simply, love it …
Jardin del Papagayo in Benicarlo
Animal and nature lovers – this is your must stop! Despite my conflicted attitude towards the zoos, Jardin del Papagayo was one of my favorite discoveries in the province of Castellon. My husband adores birds and parrots, so you can imagine it was not even my idea to visit the place.
Nevertheless, to my surprise, at Jardin del Papagayo I felt like the birds were having a blast. Not only did they allow you to touch and feed them – they were fighting for this attention. By the entrance, you could buy pipes to feed them, which I was not interested in doing (ok, I was a bit afraid lol). But after a random bird shamelessly jumped on my shoulder and gave me this “where-is-my-food” look – I went back for the pipes.
As one of the local guides explained to us: they are all grown up with people and used to interact with the zoo´s workers a lot. Moreover, as parrots are so intelligent – they recognize potential friends immediately. So, not only aren´t these birds afraid of people, they love being around humans, expect and adore their attention.
Jardin del Papagayo post is also most likely one of the most beautiful photo galleries on my blog – check it here.
Sant Joan de Penyagolosa
The Sant Joan de Penyagolosa Mount is the highest peak (1,814 meters) of the Valencian Community and the heart of the Penyagolosa Nature Park. It is actually quite a hike through the woods (mostly pinewoods) all the way to the top (approx. 4.30-5h). Years ago you could leave your car halfway through and now the road to Penyagolosa Peak is restricted. The parking area is in the small village of Sant Joan de Penyagolosa.
Your turn Art Lovers: Welcome to Fanzara
Never heard of Fanzara? – You´re not the only one. Tourists mostly end up heading to the same places, while the best stories are always the most local and authentic ones. I´d say 90% of the Spanish people won’t be able to point out this little village on the map. But what makes Fanzara special?!
Home to more or less 300 people, Fanzara was about to make it to the list of “Spain’s dying villages” until its streets were converted to an open-air Museum. Around 15 graffiti artists were invited by the young generation of locals to transform the village. Thanks to their amazing works the small village gained its unique identity and become an ultimate stop for the art lovers of the region… (Read more)
2000-year-old Olive Trees in Canet lo Roig
So-called The Millenary Olive Trees route (“Ruta de los olivos milenarios”) is a circular hiking trail from the city of Canet lo Roig towards the monumental olive trees. Some of these have more than 2000 years old and have been present in the region since the times of the Roman Empire. For centuries, these olive trees were a source of olive oil for the locals. It´s unbelievable how many generations have passed away during these 2000 years and these giants are still there. However, some olive trees in Crete are estimated at over 3000 years old. Therefore, it appears those at Canet lo Roig still have a lot to catch up on. And no one knows how many years will they remain there and how many generations will they witness…
So, for all the nature lovers and explorers – this hike is highly recommended. It´s relatively unknown yet, so you will not meet the crowds of tourists everywhere taking pictures. And it is a huge plus: 5,8 km(1,5-2h) of nature, history, silence, and peace.
Navajas / 60m-high waterfall with a creepy legend
Years ago I´ve come across someone´s pictures on the internet of a 60m-high waterfall in the small village of Navajas (Valencian Community, Spain). Such a beautiful landscape, not quite typical for the area considered a “sandy Mediterranean paradise” – I was already eager to learn more… I quickly found out this place had a strange name – The Jump of the Bride (in Spanish “Salto de la Novia” in Spanish), and it all came from an old local legend…
Before you start reading – this legend is a bit creepy! I mean, you could figure it out from the waterfall´s name – The Bride´s Jump. Why on earth would a happy bride jump into rushing water?! So… Many years ago there was a local tradition for the brides…(Read more)