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This area of the Mediterranean Sea has been settled for thousands of years. The first art forms can be seen in the natural caves of the Valltorta or Gassulla ravines, which feature the primeval cave paintings that were declared Heritage of Humanity.
The inland of Castellón is made of a great number of tiny villages surrounded by huge tract of land used for cattle farming and rain-fed agriculture. The medieval town of Morella is probably the most popular destination. Recently designated as “slow city”, Morella has preserved the local traditions and a rich artistic heritage: the castle, the remains of the ancient monastery of Sant Francesc, the Archpriest church Santa María la Mayor, the palaces and arcaded streets…
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Visitors may discover many more palaces and temples, even more beautiful because they can be visited without the tourists crowds: all the villages at Tinença de Benifassà or in the county of Matarranya, Ares, Culla, Castellfort, Sant Mateu, Vistabella, Xodos, Puertomingalvo, Cantavieja, Inglesuela del Cid… in all of them visitors will enjoy well-preserved pieces of several artistic styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance or Baroque, as well as popular culture. Most of these towns of Castellón province are located at more tan 1,000 metres height in dazzling landscapes where oaks forests host the delicious black truffle, the local culinary jewel, used with creativity in the traditional cuisine.
Between this high inland and the coast, thanks to the influence of Phoenicians and Greeks, olive trees were grown in Ancient times, now turned into stunning thousand-year old olive trees, that still produce an exceptional and delicate olive oil. In Castellón there are many trails to follow that run amongst these impressive trees. In those Ancient times, vine growing was also developed. You will surely enjoy visiting small cellars where the enthusiastic owners will show you his vineyards and will explain the traditional processes used to obtain unique wines. The area of Les Useres, Benlloch or Vilafamés are probably the most representative locations.
Vilafamés indeed features an old town built on the red mountain rocks, with a castle of Arab origin and some lovely churches, although the perfect plan is to get lost in its narrow charming streets. At the beginning of the 70s Vilafamés was overrun by international and Spanish artists and the Gothic palace del Batlle, an ancient Royal administrator, became the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art). Nowadays Vilafamés has joined the club of the so called “Pueblos más Bonitos de España”.
On the seaside, Peñíscola is a must. The old town is located in a small peninsula where the stunning fortress draws a beautiful skyline on the Mediterranean Sea. In the 15th century the castle was the house of the Pope Benedicto XIII, also known as Papa Luna (Moon Pope). All around the fortress, between narrow streets, tiny white houses were the shelter of fishermen. In the province of Castellón, the Mediterranean Sea has a strong influence on the local cuisine of the coastal villages: Peñíscola, Vinaròs, Benicarló, Alcossebre,… we will enjoy unforgettable meals based on the delicacies of the sea and we will have the chance to stop and relax in one of the little sandy beaches or lonely coves in Serra d’Irta or in Prat de Cabanes – Torreblanca.
For those city lovers, the wonderful Valencia, one of the most important Spanish cities, is just 70 km from Castellón. Completely adapted to the tourist’s needs, Valencia is worth a trip. Some tips will be going for a stroll in the old city, reaching the lovely and popular Malvarrosa beach, or eating an exceptional rice in la Albufera, natural wetlands of extraordinary ecologic value.