The Costa del Azahar or “Orange Blossom Coast” is the Spanish Costa that makes up the province of Castellón. This Costa extends from the town of Vinaròs in the north, some 115 km south to the town of Almenara. This coastal area shares a border with the Costa Dorada to the north and Costa Blanca to the south.
Costa del Azahar Towns and Villages
The Costa del Azahar is more unspoiled than some of the other areas to the north and south. This area also retains much of rich history and culture. This beautiful stretch of coastline boasts some magnificent beaches. Overcrowding is rarely a problem here, not even during the summer months.
There are historic castles and architecture here, reminiscent of the Moorish occupation. Below is more information about the popular towns and villages found on the Costa del Azahar.
Benicarló is a pretty seafaring town located to the north of Peñíscola to the south of Vinaròs. The small port houses some 50 fishing boats and small yachts. Benicarló is famous for it’s production of Artichokes. Some 7,500,000 Kg produced each year.
There are three main beaches in this small town. These include Mar Chica, Playa del Morrongo and Playa la Caracola. Mar Chica is a pebble beach whilst the other two are fine golden sand beaches. Both sandy beach have blue flag certification.
There are several popular markets that are worth checking out. The central market is lies in the market square. The two smaller markets that open on Wednesdays. The beautiful Iglesia de San Bartolomé (picture above) is one of the top attractions here. Hiking and cycling are popular activities in this area also.
Costa de Azahar Map
Click to enlarge image.
Peñíscola: Costa del Azahar´s Castle In The Sea
Peñíscola is a popular tourist destination on the eastern coastline of Spain. This picturesque town lies on the Costa del Azahar coast in the Province of Castellon. A narrow strip of land connects this town to the mainland. Some refer to this pretty place as “Gibraltar of Valencia” and other as “City in the Sea” .
This fascinating Spanish town is a fortified Sea Port with a Lighthouse on a rocky headland. This town covers an area of 79 km’s and has a small population of 8,500 people. Peñiscola is one of the most beautiful towns in this part of Spain. The town Morella lies 80 km inland to the west. Morella is also part of the Province of Castellon.
Peñíscola Castle, Province of Castellon
The top attraction here is Peñiscola Castle which was built between 1294 – 1307. The Knights Templar were responsible for it’s creation and outer walls. These walls were to help fortify the town from pirates and other attacks. It’s believed that the Templars built the castle on top of the ruins from an old Moors fortress.
The Castle has seen plenty of restoration work completed,. Especially in 1960 when new walls were added and improved. This was before the filming of El Cid, one of the many famous motion pictures here.
Peñiscola Castle looks spectacular whether viewed from up close or at a distance. Especially at night time when the castle and town is illuminated. Climbing to the top of the castle will reward you with stunning 360 degree panoramic views. Spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and local towns below. Visitors can roam the exterior of the castle for free. Ticket prices to enter the castle are 5 Euros at time of writing. The are some discounts for Pensioners and Children.
Beaches and Attractions
The castle and town are by far the most popular things to experience here. There are also some fantastic beaches and other attractions. The coastline of Peniscola contains 5 km’s of sandy beaches to enjoy. The most popular of the beaches being the north beach. The north beach often receives the Blue Flag for cleanliness and safety. Running alongside this beach is the beautiful palm tree lined promenade.
Other notable things to experience are the windy streets. These streets is where many of the shops and restaurants are. The Sea Museum here depicts the Sea-Faring history of this popular town.
Peñiscola on the Silver Screen
Peñiscola was the location used for the epic movie “El Cid” way back in 1961. El Cid starred the well known actors Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. The movie about a fabled Spanish hero Rodrigo Diaz. Defender of Christian Spain against the Moors.
The filming crew and actors of Game of Thrones were in Peñiscola in October 2015. They came here to shoot episodes for series 6 in which the town plays the role of Meereen. The very first episode shows Tyrion and Varys walking through the streets of Meereen. Other scenes include various battles and 300 extras for episode 4. The extras walk through the streets of Meereen in this scene.