Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana on the Costa del Azahar
The town was founded in the mid-13th century when, with the permission of King James I of Aragon, the inhabitants left their mountains of Cerro de la Madeleine to settle in the plain.
Declared of international tourist interest, the Magdalena Commemorations commemorate this event. Castellón de la Plana is a seaside town between mountains and the Mediterranean, with 10 kilometres of coastline on the Costa del Azahar.
On the Plaza Mayor, the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria de l’ Asunción was built in the 13th century. At that time, the city was surrounded by defensive ditches and surrounded by walls dominated by towers.
Chosen as a cathedral in the 15th century, it was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War and then rebuilt. From the original there are only three portals left.
Next to it, separated from the cathedral, stands the bell tower of the city, popularly called El Fadrí. This tower, which dates from the 17th century and is 58 m high, shelters on its terrace, surmounted by a niche, the bells used to mark the hours and to call the faithful to prayer. Of octagonal shape and Valencian Gothic style, it has four floors with well-defined functions.
Numerous squares and gardens characterize the city centre, from which two avenues with bicycle paths lead to the maritime district of Grao de Castellón, 4 km away.
On the quays, hotels and restaurants, grilled fish, bars and discotheques, shops and cinemas… Nautical club, fishing port and marina, it is the place of marine meeting place.
Visits and monuments of Castellón de la Plana
El Fadrí. Cathedral of Santa María
El Fadri is the popular name given to this bell tower. An emblematic tower of Castellón, it is located on the Plaza Mayor and is characterized by the fact that it is separated from the register of Santa María Cathedral.
It has an octagonal plan, five bodies and a terrace crowned by a niche. Destroyed during the Civil War of 1936, it was rebuilt in 1939 and retains only the gothic portals and some interior elements of its original Gothic style.
The 13th century cathedral houses precious pieces of silverware, a Ribalta painting and a sculpture by Vergara.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 8am to 12:45pm and from 5pm to 8:45pm (from 6pm from June 23rd to September 23rd), Sundays and public holidays from 8:30am to 1pm and from 6pm to 8:45pm (from 7pm from June 23rd to September 23rd). Free admission.
Museum of Fine Arts
Avenida Hermanos Bou, 28.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Castellón is housed in a cloister lined with cypress trees belonging to the former Serra Espadá College. The archaeology section displays objects dating from the Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages, most of which were discovered in the province of Castellón.
The second section presents a thousand ceramics, the majority of which come from the factories of Ribesalabes, Alcora, Onda or Teruel and Manises.
The third part shows paintings by Ribera, Ribalta, Rodrigo de Osona, Porcar, Puig Roda to name but a few, and sculptures by Viciano, Gandarias, Adsuara and Vicent.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm and then from 4pm to 8pm, Sundays and holidays from 10am to 2pm. Free admission.
The Planetarium is located on the promenade at El Grau Beach and is distinguished by its white dome. Next to the main entrance is the statue’ La Femella del Mar’ by the Spanish sculptor Juan Ripollés. The entrance hall has a showroom and the Foucault Pendulum is on display. There are three other showrooms on the first floor and the planetarium.
Opening hours: all year round from Tuesday to Friday from 9.30am to 2.45pm. Afternoons of March, April, May, June and October from 4:30 pm to 8 pm. Saturdays from 10:30am to 2pm and 4:30pm to 8pm and Sundays from 10:30am to 2pm.
Admission: free for exhibitions, for planetary projections: 4 €.
Basilica of the Virgen de Lledó Basilica
Avenida Virgen de Lledó.
Outside, this sanctuary dedicated to the patron saint of Castelló, whose cult dates back to 1366, is now a Basilica. The Basílica de la Mare de Déu del, as it is called here, was built during the 18th century on a site of medieval origin.
Opening hours: every day from 8h30 to 20h, until 19h in autumn and winter.
Museum of the Sea
Calle Juan de Austria, 18B, El Grao.
Located near the port, this museum offers a permanent exhibition on maritime customs and customs. Among the many items on display are maps, fishing tools, navigation equipment and models.
Opening hours: every day except Monday from 10am to 2pm.
Sierra d’ Espadàn Natural Park
25 km southwest of Castellón.
With 32,000 hectares, the Sierra de Espadán Park, created in 1998, is the second largest protected area in the Valencian Community.
The massif is made up of numerous ravines, rivers and springs, and the overhanging outcrops that characterize it have given rise to a steep and rugged relief.
The vegetation is made up of pine forests, holm oak forests and cork oaks that are very representative of the park. There are also maritime pines that the Romans already exploited for their resin. Among the fauna, birds of prey such as the rare and threatened Bonelli’s eagles, the owl hulotte or the owl medium-horned owl are on display. On the mammalian side, wild boars, foxes, weasels, genets and badgers are common.
The Sierra d’ Espadán is also home to vestiges of prehistory and the Bronze Age as well as Iberian, Roman, medieval and castles from the Muslim period.
10 km from Castellón.
Borriol is crossed by the ancient Roman Via Augusta, where you can see numerous prehistoric and Iberian remains as well as a castle of Muslim origin. But Borriol is best known for its 18 hole golf course.
15 km south of Castellón.
In the heart of the Costa del Azahar, the small seaside town of Borriana is made up of modernist buildings, but nevertheless has interesting features such as the 13th century El Salvador Gothic church or the one of San José de los Carmelitas Descalzos, which houses polychrome wooden altars of great artistic value. The town is also home to an original and unique museum in Europe: the Orange Museum.
40 km northeast of Castellón.
The waters of the Mediterranean Sea bathe the beach of Torrenostra located on the Costa del Azahar three kilometres from Torreblanca. Equipped with a beautiful promenade, Torrenostra offers many services and facilities. To the south, the beach stretches its fine sand ribbon for several kilometres along the Natural Park of Prat Cabanes-Torreblanca.
Natural Park of Prat Cabanes-Torreblanca
40 km northeast of Castellón.
The 860 hectares of Prat Cabanes-Torreblanca Park benefit from the RAMSAR Convention for the protection of wetlands. This thin strip of land along the beach of Torreblanca is made up of marshes and water reservoirs that provide habitat for many animal and plant species. Viewpoints allow the observation of birds and swamps.
Sierra d’ Irta Natural Park
60 km northeast of Castellón.
Both terrestrial and marine, this area was declared a natural park by the Valencian government in 2002. The park consists of two small mountain ranges with a maximum altitude of 543 metres at the peak of Campanelles. These two ten-kilometre massifs, separated in two by the Estopet valley, are made up of cliffs, coves, ledges and marine reefs that fall abruptly into the sea.
In addition to its flora, many Mediterranean maquis, dwarf palm trees or kermes oaks, and a characteristic marine fauna, the park has an interesting archaeological and artistic heritage. The castles of Alcalá de Xivert and Santa Magdalena de Pulis are examples.
Remains of an Iberian settlement from the 7th century BC as well as a network of watchtower towers such as those of Ebrí and Badum are also to be discovered, as are the hermitages of Santa Lucía and San Antonio Abad, both from the 17th century.
65 km northeast of Castellón.
Peñiscola joined the association of the Most Beautiful Villages of Spain in 2013. This in the castle of this historical complex which belonged to the Knights Templar that Pope Benedict XIII found refuge following the Great Western Schism (XIVth and XVth centuries). He died there after 19 years of resistance in Rome.
The village, one of the most frequented by tourists visiting the Valencian Community, is located on a rocky peninsula that was originally separated from the land by a dune cord. Ancient fortifications dominated by the castle of Pope Luna, the name of Benedict of XIII, line this large rock which once saw, before the construction of its marina, this dune cord disappears under the water a week in the year and transform it into an island. The vast beaches of the Costa del Azahar stretch out to the north and south of the peninsula.
7 kilometres south of Peñiscola, between the Barranc del Volante and Pebret beach, the tower of Badum stands on a 97-metre high rock. This circular lookout tower was erected in the 16th century without it being clear whether this was for the benefit of Xivert Castle or Peñiscola fortress.
Among Peñiscola’s wealth of heritage is also the parish church of Santa María and the hermitages of the Mother of God and Sant Antoni.
Tinença de Benifassà Natural Park
135 km north of Castellón.
Surrounding the town of La Pobla de Benifassà in the extreme north of the province of Castellón, this protected area has remained the most unspoilt and wildest in the Valencian Community. Its great wealth of wildlife, botanical and environmental resources is of great scientific value.
This vast mountainous territory with its impressive limestone plateaus interspersed with deep passes is crossed by paths and small roads. It is part of the Puerto de los Puertos de Beceite massif, which straddles Catalonia, Aragon and the Valencian Community.
120 km north of Castellón.
This village located in the Upper Maestrazgo, whose main activities are agriculture and breeding, is home to one of the most beautiful examples of rock art in the Levant.
Nine hundred of these paintings, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, are located in the Valltorta ravine in different caves. These depicting human and animal forms mainly show hunting scenes. The museum of La Vallorta located in the village exhibits reproductions of paintings.