Spain has a plethora of beautiful cities, wonderful towns and gorgeous, charming villages. There are still villages here, where people leave their front door wide open, and Spain has so many beautiful cities, that it’s a struggle to whittle them down to a top 10 list! One that came into the news recently is the city of Castellon de la Plana. Located on Spain’s Orange Blossom Coast, the city is capital of the province of the same name. The reason that it was in the news was because Ryanair announced that they will start flying from the Castellon airport, in mid September 2015. Initially the routes will be to London Stansted and Bristol. Before this, the airport had been a ghost airport ever since its construction in 2011.
Castellon city and province are packed with possibilities
While Ryanair doesn’t target the luxury market, there are a number of reasons to consider checking out the charming city of Castellon, as well as exploring many other towns and villages in the province of Castellon. Unlike the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca, the Costa Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast) has not been overrun with tourists.
This means that there are still plenty of unspoilt places to visit. Or you could consider buying yourself an olive, almond or orange farm …like we have done! For now there are still good deals on land here. Both the city and province are packed with all sorts of possibilities!
Castellon – an amazing blend of landscapes
From orange groves, to wetlands, and from majestic mountains to beautiful beaches – the area has an amazing blend of landscapes. So much of the land in the area just oozes fertility, and depending on the time of year, the aroma and vibrant colours of the orange groves are blissful pleasures for the senses. After a few years in the area, I now look forward to the seasonal overlap of colours and aromas, as we move from the orange season into the pretty-in-pink almond blossom season.
Three beaches to choose from
There are three beaches to choose from within the city limits, and heaps more within the entire province. Two of the city’s beaches have been blue flag beaches since 2009. Gurugu beach is the one that gets busiest in the summertime, with some people hanging out there after dusk falls. The Serradal beach has had a sand dune regeneration project on the go since 1990.
Fine architecture in the old quarter
Wander your way around the old historic quarter of the city of Castellon de la Plana. See fine architecture such as the Fadrí Tower, the Cathedral and the City Hall. Sit down and relax, at a café where you can feel embraced by the city’s architecture, as you have a refreshing drink.
Heading away from the Plaza Mayor, you can head down the street called Calle Caballeros, which will take you to the city’s pedestrianised area. There you can enjoy some more handsome architecture, such as the main theatre, the Correos (post office), and the Lonja del Canamo (the Hemp Exchange).
The city of sculptures and squares
Apart from the fine architecture, the city has a generous amount of squares, where you can sit down and relax. Castellon de la Plana also has a surprising amount of sculptures, with over 200 sculptures dotted around the city.
Take a romantic stroll in the Ribalta Park
The city’s main park is one to be proud of! Ribalta Park is a beautiful, romantic park, where you can stroll, surrounded by shady trees and around 450 different types of botanic species. See the pond, the statues of famous artists and the exquisitve bandstand, then relax for a while on one of the Baroque style benches.
Did you know that the city of Castellon lies on the Greenwich Meridian? In fact there’s a special park called El Parc del Meridiano (the Park of the Meridian).
A pretty port – El Grao de Castellon
It’s possible to walk from the city centre to the port area, El Grao de Castellon – it’s a pleasant 4km walk. Also both avenues that lead to the port have cycle paths – Avenida Hermanos Bou & Avenida Mar.
Whenever I have been there, there’s a nice buzz, without the area seeming too overrun. It’s a pleasant port with some restaurants and cafés where you can check out the people watching and yacht scene! The marina has 200 moorings.
Visit the Columbretes Islands
From the port you can visit the Columbretes Islands, which are a protected archipelago around 30 miles off the coast. This series of reefs and islets are of great ecological interest.
Castellon de la Plana – a gateway to the Orange Blossom Coast
Until mid September 2015, the province of Castellon and the Orange Blossom Coast (Costa Azahar) have only been served by the airport at Valencia, or sometimes Reus. We know of others who use Barcelona, even though it’s bit of a trip away, because of how well it is served.
A hop, skip and a jump to postcard pretty Peñiscola
To make a few comparisons, the airport of Reus is 132km from Peñiscola – the magical place that I featured in the first of this series – Secrets of Spain: postcard pretty Peñiscola. Valencia is around 150km from Peñiscola, whereas the airport at Castellon is more like a distance of 50km.
In a recent interview with the Mayor of Peñiscola, Mr. Andrés Martinez, he told me that currently their foreign tourism only amounts to 20%. If you refer to my previous article that features this wonderful place, the photos alone will show you what you are missing! The Mayor and many others in Peñiscola are waiting, and very much looking forward to sharing their culture, heritage, wonderful food and surroundings with you.
Only an hour away from magical Morella
The same applies to the second place I wrote about for this series: Secrets of Spain: majestic, magnficent Morella. It is 74km from Castellon airport, which takes around an hour to drive, as there are some mountain roads involved. From Valencia this is a 2 hour trip of 175km, and from Reus, it’s a bit under 2 hours, at a distance of 167km.
Keep reading this series to find out about a number of other cities, towns and villages, some of which are even closer to the Castellon Airport… I leave you with this photo of Almassora beach, which is around 40km from the airport.
Jackie de Burca is Co-owner of Catalonia Valencia.