Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast) is a beautiful stretch of coastline and destination in Spain. The coast runs from Vinaròs to Almenara in the Valencian Community province of Castellón. Travelers may have heard of the Costa Brava in Catalunya and the Costa del Sol in Andalucia, Spain. However, not so many know about the Costa del Azahar, with its traditional coastal towns. Here, we explore five of the towns, nestling along the coastline.
1. Peñíscola and its iconic castle
The town of Peñíscola nestles on the Costa del Azahar in the north of the Valencian Community, overlooking the Mediterranean. The old town is a fascinating visit, with its 14th-century castle-fortress (pictured above). The castle was once home to Pope Benedict XIII and stands on a rocky hill above the ocean and the beach.
Meanwhile, the structure can be visited by a sandbar, connecting to the mainland. During rough seas, the town turns into an island as the waves wash over the sand.
In contrast to the old town, the newer part includes modern streets and avenues, with plenty of shops and restaurants to visit. To the north of the castle, fine sand beaches include pretty coves, backed by steep rocky cliffs.
The area surrounding the town features forests and warm-weather crops, such as its emblematic oranges, almonds and olives. When visiting in Spring, with all the blossom, it is clear to see how the coastline got its name.
2. Benicarló on the Costa del Azahar
The quaint town of Benicarló is a major fishing port on the Costa del Azahar, with a beautiful beach and historic quarter to visit. The town dates back to the Middle Ages when it was an Arab town, and the urban layout remains the same to this day. Strolling in the narrow, winding streets reveals beautiful houses and colorful pot plants.
Meanwhile, in the center of the village, the Baroque temple of Sant Bertomeu features a carved stone façade and beautiful spiral columns. Entering the church reveals the Parish Museum, featuring exhibits of Gothic artwork. On top of this, the hermitage of the Sant Gregori stands on a nearby hill, known for a popular pilgrimage on May 9 every year.
The town’s beach is well-cared for and backed with all necessary tourist amenities while surrounding the town, fields of artichokes and orange trees can be seen.
3. Oropesa del Mar on the Costa del Azahar
The historic town of Oropesa del Mar nestles in the heart of the Costa del Azahar and is set on a small bay. As for its beaches, Playa de la Concha and Playa Morro de Gos offer clean sand, pretty little coves and a marina.
In the old town, the notable architecture includes the Chuch of La Virgen de la Paciencia, with its beautiful 18th-century tiles. Meanwhile, the remains of the old castle (pictured above) still stand tall from when it was a strategic defense location. Further down the coast is the Torre del Rei (above), a typical Moorish watchtower.
4. Historic Benicàssim
Thanks to its 3.7 mi (6 km) of sandy beaches, Benicàssim is a popular and traditional Spanish resort town backed by mountains. The mountains protect the town from the wind and form part of the Sierra de Santa Agueda, including the Bartolo Peak. This is a spiritual retreat founded by the Carmelites, which now offers interesting hiking or cycling routes.
Meanwhile, in the Benicàssim beach area, Modernist and colonial-style 19th-century villas line a walking route. The oldest on the route is Villa Pilar, which dates from 1860. Moreover, other historic buildings in the town include the medieval castle of Montornés and the San Vicente watchtower.
5. Castellón de la Plana on the Costa del Azahar
Like Benicàssim, Castellón de la Plana is well known for its streets lined with striking, aristocratic houses. Meanwhile, the town also features beautiful public squares and gardens, lined by orange trees. When it comes to the town’s beach, a beautiful walk heads down to the sand, with beautiful views along the way.
Other attractions in the town include the Museum of Fine Arts and the beautiful Santa María de la Asunción Church-Procathedral. After being constructed in the 13th century, the original church was destroyed by fire. However, it went on to be rebuilt in the Gothic style during the 15th century. Sadly, the church was almost completely destroyed in the Spanish civil war in 1936. The latest version of the cathedral, as seen above, was restored in 1939.
Explore the beautiful Costa del Azahar this summer, taking in all the beautiful resort towns, beaches and historic architecture.