Castellón de la Plana with a population of 173,000 in Valencia is another popular destination for travellers searching for beautiful rural and mountainous Spain or wanting to relax on the beaches on the Costa Azahar (the Orange blossom coast). The most northern of the Valencia capitals, dating back to the 13th century, with the perfect Mediterranean climate, attracts visitors from all over. With a diverse mix of old and new, modern constructions to Gothic monuments, you will find plenty to gaze at on a stroll around the provincial capital. You may coincide a visit with one of the many fiestas which happen year round. Relatively undeveloped, The Costa Azahar is a part of the coast where you will find un-crowded beaches known for its clean clear water. Castellón de la Plana’s well looked after beaches are located either side of the port, a key to the region’s industry, as well as a popular place for all types of water sports. Head inland from Castellón to discover the magnificent scenery (the second most mountainous in Spain) and an array of outdoor pursuits which can be enjoyed at any time of the year, given the mild climate of this coastal province. If you head out of the city, you will notice the endless orange groves and pine woods, complementing the equally appealing beaches.
Situated on the Desert Mountains, Fadrell, the Moorish castle, bears great importance on the history of Castellón where the founders of the city first occupied. After the conquest of James I in 1233, the region was given to Ximén Pérez d’Arenós and the centre of the new town was located on the site of the Benirabe farmstead. The Middle Ages was an important era for the history of the town, as it was during this time when much of the city was constructed. The church that was built became a pro cathedral in the middle of the 15th century. The Virgin of Lledó is the patron saint of Castellón, and her body was mistakenly dug up in 1366 by a ploughman.
Castellón took part in the revolt of the Germanies and the War of the Spanish Succession between 1701 and 1714, when they supported Charles of Austria. However Castellón met its fate and like the rest of the Kingdom of Valencia was taken by Philip V’s troops. As a result, the city grew when the walls were torn down. The War of Independence (1804-1814) and the Carlist wars (1833-1863) set back the progression of Castellón. Since 1833, the province has been acknowledged and Castellón de la Plana has been the capital.
Many of the newer constructions including the Provincial hospital, the Ribalta Park the port, the Castellón railway and the Panderola, a second railway which links Castellón to surrounding towns, have been built since the second half of the 19th century. It has a busy University Campus and a population of 140,000, still growing to make the most of its industrial side.
Things to do in Castellón
Museums and Monuments
- Your first taste of Castellón should begin in the Plaza Mayor. Around the centre of the city is where you will find the majority of historical buildings. Worthwhile sights to see include the town hall, (el ayuntamiento) which has a Tuscan style façade and was built at the start of the 18th century. Inside you will find many impressive sculptures and paintings.
- The Procathedral of Santa Maria was originally erected in the 13th century. It was once considered to best represent Gothic architecture in the region until destroyed by a fire, and it was reconstructed in the 14th century. It holds a collection of oil paintings, fine silver and gold work and statues from various centuries. Standing separately from the cathedral is the bell tower, El Fadrí, which was constructed at the end of the 16th century, and a landmark of Castellón.
- A visit to the Hemp Exchange Market (La Llotla del Cánem) represents what was once a very important part of the Castellon de la Plana culture. Nowadays, it holds exhibitions and events put on by the University.
- Surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, Basilica of Santa Maria de Lledó located to the northwest of the city is devoted to the patron saint of the city. As a 14th century chapel, it was extended in the 16th century and further works took place during the 18th century. Another sight full of sculpture, silverware and oil paintings.
- The main theatre (El Teatro Principal) is another place to dig out paintings, b Pedro Ferrer and Francisco Pérez Olmos. The theatre takes a neo-classical style and was constructed late 19th century.
- The museum of fine arts represents the main industry of the region, ceramics. There is a large collection from workshops all over. The museum is laid out in an orderly fashion, divided by themes, Archaeological, Ceramic, Painting and sculptures. This collection is housed in an impressive 18th century building which was built for a nobleman.
Fish and rice are the main options in Castellón de la Plana. Parrilladas (grilled fish) and seafood platters are popular amongst tourists and locals. The paella is also a great option with the freshest fish, rabbit, chicken or vegetables.