Secrets of Spain: majestic, magnificent Morella

 

I want to let you into a secret. I want to tell you about a town that is like a film set, but not so many people have heard of it, as yet. This town is worlds removed from some of the “popular” towns on the Costas of Spain. Although it gets its fair share of tourists, it has entirely kept its magnificent feel, authenticity and character. Welcome to Morella – a spectacular town that foodies and culture vultures will love! This article is the second in the series – Secrets of Spain.

Morella

Majestic Morella – one of Spain’s officially prettiest towns

Sitting majestically overlooking the plains of Castellon, lies Morella – a medieval walled town, which is featured on the official list of Spain’s prettiest towns. When you enter Morella, you feel as if you’ve walked onto a film set. The town is filled with character and absolutely saturated in history. It somehow seduces and devours you at the same time.

Morella at night - Castellon

Making a striking entrance

I had seen a number of photos of Morella before going there the first time, so I knew that it was impressive to see from a distance. However nothing could have prepared me for the impact of the striking entrance, that you feel in person. The castle and fortified walls rise up ahead of you, like a great stone deity. In front of them is a wonderful sprawl of whitewashed houses, with earthy terracotta roofs.

Take your breath away

Once you arrive to the pretty sign at the entrance of Morella, the views over the surrounding countryside will take your breathe away. It’s hard to decide what to check out first, the amazing stone constructions that lie ahead of you, or the breathtaking countryside views, that you can enjoy from various vantage points.

Morella fort views

The hills are alive with amazing food produce

As you check out the wonderful views, you can let yourself think about the food that is sourced from there, which has nourished and delighted people for centuries. The traditional cuisine of Morella is directly linked to being in tune with the beautiful, rich environment that surrounds the town. The cuisine traditions have been handed down with love and wisdom from generation to generation. The result is seriously good, hearty food that is in tune with the seasons and the festivities.

Traditional festivals and fun fiestas

Depending on the time of year you decide to visit Morella, you can experience the culture and personality in a deeper way, by going to one of the town’s traditional festivals or fiestas. From the important traditional festival of St. Anthony around the 17th January, right through to the summer fun fiesta in August, pilgrimmages, or the annual carnival – there’s something for everyone.

Beaches under 1 hour away

Although Morella is an inland town, it’s located less than an hour’s drive from Spain’s Orange Blossom Coast (Costa Azahar). The closest seaside town is Vinaros, which I will tell you more about during this series. A little further away, perhaps around 1 hour and 10 minutes drive, is Peñiscola that I featured in the first post of this series.

Morella Castle – a monument of historical and artistic importance

Once you’ve seen the castle up close and personal, it won’t suprise you to know that this has been a monument of historical and artistic importance since 1931. Although the castle ruins and fortified walls are the visual highlight of the town, it has many other charms.

Morella castle views

Walk along gorgeous stone streets

Morella has gorgeous stone streets and stairways that connect some of these streets. The streets of Morella absolutely ooze history and romance.

See the cutest authentic shops

Sweet, cute authentic shops tell another part of the story that is Morella. The artisan and foodie culture of the town is evident in its lovely little shops. During the winter, truffles are traded in the local markets, but all year round you can enjoy gourmet food shops, with local cheeses, meat and honey products.

Morella shops

Don’t leave without your colourful Morella blanket

The town’s best known artisan product is the Morella blanket. The textile tradition of Morella, in particular wool, has been one of the longest running economic activities of the town and region. It can be traced back to the 13th century. Morella blankets are rich, warm and colourful. They are cheerful and comforting in the winter, and make a lovely reminder of your visit to one of the prettiest towns I have seen so far in my life.

Pink sky over Morella

Jackie de Burca is Co-owner of Catalonia Valencia.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Marcia says:

    Beautiful views. Morella is indeed a magnificent place. I would really like to visit such a place and take a Morella blanket as a memory.

  2. It is absolutely gorgeous Marcia. I hope you can manage to visit, and make sure you treat yourself to at least one lovely Morella blanket.

  3. Nora Quilty says:

    Sounds absolutely glorious! Will be putting that place on my bucket list for Espana!
    I love spain and especially the quieter off beaten hidden towns to explore.

  4. Thanks Nora. I know you would love it. The food is excellent, and it is such a special place, and the shops are so cute….and of course the views are spectacular.

  5. Paul Johnson says:

    Looks like a beautiful town, Jackie, full of character. I understand they hold quite a big celebration there every six years to commemorate the plague in the 17th century (see http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexenio_de_Morella ). Next one is in 2018 so maybe that’s a good time to visit!

  6. Yes Paul, you’re right, and thanks for mentioning it also. Definitely, if people aren’t in a rush to go there, then 2018 would be a good one to put in the diary! :)

  7. David Marsh says:

    We have homes both in the UK and here in Cervera del Maestre. We often spend a lot of time in Vinaros, Peniscola and Morella. We come over to our place here in Spain twice a year and no matter what time of the year it is the weather, the people are just fantastic. Restaurants in most towns are inexpensive as you can have a really good three course dinner for anything between €8 and the skies the limit depending on how deep your pockets are. At the moment the almond and olive blossom is bursting upon us. A lovely place to be and with sterling being where it is against the Euro our pennies go just that bit further making the experience that bit more enjoyable.

  8. noel says:

    I’ve never heard of this gorgeous city and castle, it is marvelous. I think the vistas must really be spectacular from different vantage points at the fortress and looking down into the valley and surrounding landscape

  9. Hi David, thanks so much for your helpful, informative comment, which I have also found to be the truth of this area. I am here a lot of the year, although I go to Dublin & the UK for both pleasure and business x amount of times during the year. We have land on the road between Sant Rafael del Riu and Traiguera. So we’re not neighbours, but not too far away either. Myself and my partner, plus other foreigners that we know here are all hopeful that the Castellon airport won’t spoil the friendliness and authenticity of many of the places within a certain radius of you and I. Let’s see.

    Many thanks
    Jackie

  10. Thanks Noel. As the great photographer that you are, I know you would absolutely love those vistas without a doubt. I am happy to have been able to introduce you to a place as wonderful as Morella.

  11. anna parker says:

    Stunning – I have visited a few perched villages in France, but this looks like more of something good! Thank you for the recommendation!

  12. You’re very welcome Anna! Hope to see you visiting there one day :) Do let me know if you plan it in the future.

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