Discover Old Spain in this little-known province, which is filled with gorgeous medieval architecture, stunning natural beauty and authentic Spanish charm.Browse property
Join barefoot pilgrims, local artisans and fun-loving revellers in this enchanting province which blends history with bohemian vibes.
Castellon is the smallest of Valencia’s three provinces; there is less tourism here compared with other parts of Spain. The Spanish and the French both holiday here but it is relatively unknown to the rest of the world. Clearly, the rest of the world are missing out; the area is steeped in history: medieval hill towns, old farms set in orange groves and beautiful castles pepper this land where the very last Moors in Spain – the Moriscos – had once settled.
Consider the medieval walled town of Peniscola, whose striking 14th-century castle sits proudly upon a rugged peninsula. Built by the Knights Templar on the remains of an Arab fortress, the castle later became home to Pope Benedict XIII. There’s also the strikingly pretty medieval town of Morella in the Maestrazgo mountains, a 14th-century walled town with little winding streets leading to the ancient castle.
If it’s authenticity that you crave, head for the inland hills – this is the land where barefoot pilgrims tread, praying for rain and forgiveness. This may sound poetic, but these kind of Romerías, or pilgrimages, are common across Spain. This one in particular has been taking place for more than 700 years in the village of Les Useres. On the last Friday in April, a group of Pelegrins (pilgrims) – some barefoot – set out on a 43-mile round trip to the sacred mountain of Penyagolosa, where they hope their dedication and fortitude will be rewarded with plentiful rainfall and the abundant harvest it produces.
These old ways have been beautifully preserved in many of the provinces mountainous areas, such as the Maestrazgo. History is alive here, preserved in the people: nomadic shepherds, artisan cheesemakers, cloth weavers and elderly locals filled with knowledge of healing mountainside plants. Their rural cuisine is delicious, hearty and filling – rabbit, lamb, snails, almonds and anything else the land has to offer are thrown into rugged earthenware pots and baked until unctuous. Thanks to Moorish irrigation, a lot of the land is green and fertile, filled with fragrant citrus and olive groves and thick emerald pine forests.
If it’s sea air you crave, you should head to the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast), which has plenty of unspoilt beaches thanks to the area being less well known (though no less beautiful) than other parts of Spain. Here you will find Benicàssim, with its bohemian vibes and mega popular festival (FIB) and Castellon de la Plana, the province’s historic capital.