Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Costa Azahar - The Orange Blossom Coast - Spain

The Costa del Azahar – known as the Orange Blossom Coast – is located in the province of Castellon, the most northerly part of Valencia. It lies between Catalonia in the north and the Costa Blanca in the south. This picturesque coastline is around 115 kms long and is where rugged mountain back drops, nature parks and lovely golden beaches are abound.

Although the most popular holiday resorts are Denia and Gandia in the southern part, the Costa del Azahar offers much more than just beaches and holiday resorts and is a land of many contrasts. It`s excellent location is within easy reach of the cities of Valencia, Barcelona and Castellon.

Some of the best beaches can be found at Benicassim, Castello-Grao, Alcossebre, Peniscola, Oropesa, Torreblanca, Benicarló y Vinarós

As in all other parts of Spain there are many fiestas to enjoy in towns all along the Orange blossom coast Costa Azahar including San Antonio in Benicassim on the 17th January. The Vinarós carnivals in February, the Magdalena during March in Castellón, the fiestas of San Juan are on the 24th of June. The Oropesa fiestas from the 25th of July, Santo Tomás is on the 22nd of September in Benicassim, and the Peníscola fiestas between the 7th to the 16th of October.

The top holiday resorts along the coast include:

Càlig is set inland from Vinarôs and Benicarlo and is a tranquil Spar village offering an ideal blend of modern and traditional. There is a good nightlife, a decent smuttering of shops and has easy access to all other facilities. The annual fiesta in Calig is celebrated during August with a 10 day fest…. not to be missed.
Vinarôs – is the first town you come across when entering the Costa Azahar. This ancient town offers a fine beach at El Forti which runs from the port to the mouth of the River Servol which is famous for its langostinos ( prawns). For fiestas lovers the two major ones are the San Antonio in January, carnivals are held in February each year.

Peñiscola – This historic city is replete with medieval architecture and has a fine monumental heritage. Located in the northern part of the Costa Azahar, Pensicola has some amazing beaches and superb choice of Leisure facilities. There are is also plenty of shops, restaurants and bars along its long beach front area to please everyone. The medieval fortification gives the town real historic feel with the castle dating from the 13th and 15th centuries. Built originally by the Knights Templar it was completed by the Montesianos in the 14th century. The castle was particularly famous for being the home of Pope Benedicte XIII, Pedro de Luna from 1411 to 1423 and is a fine example of military architecture dating from the early Middle Ages. A visit here is highly recommended as much of it still remains including the stables, a grand hall and a beautiful interior plaza.

Cullera - lies on the bank of the River Xuqer at the base of the Zorros mountain range and is a typical Spanish village popular to both local residents and international travelers alike. Cullera has some fine beaches located in the Raco, San Antonio and Santa Marta areas of the town. The town is famous for its rice production, grown in the wetlands around the area, a local produce which forms the substance of many of the traditional Valencian rice dishes, there is even a small museum in the town dedicated to rice . There are also some large freshwater lagoons populated with carpe and eels, great for fishing lovers.

Denia - lies around 7 km north of Javea reached along a stunning and spectacular mounting road. It is a picturesque town popular and resort with international travelers and offers magnificent beaches and a superb collection of fine restaurants. Although the town has an medieval castle the undoubted attraction here are the beaches and trying out some of the mouth watering local rice dishes in one of the many restaurants located along the beach front area.

Javea - is probably the most important holiday resorts in the area with some of the best beaches along he Costa Azahar. Javea is divied into 3 areas. Javea Pueblo (the old town). Javea Puerto (the port area), and Playa de Arenal (the main beach area). It is well worth spending a few hours walking around the old town taking in the atmosphere and charm of its history including a few Gothic style buildings. There is also a busy food market which is well worth a visit during the morning hours. Although the harbor area is still used as a fishing port it is also a trendy marina with the modern yachts mixing with the local fishing fleet. The port area has a splendid promenade with many open air terraced restaurants to enjoy during the long warm nights of summer.