Costa del Azahar

Guide to the Costa del Azahar, a still relatively unspoilt region of Spain.

Spanish Regions - The Costa del Azahar

The Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast) lies to the north of the better known Costa Blanca (White Coast) and forms part of the coastline of the provinces of Castellón and Valencia. Some of the best known towns on the Costa del Azahar include Peñíscola, Benicassim, Morella, Castellón de la Plana, Vinaros, Sagunt, Valencia and Cullera.

Unlike the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol, the Costa del Azahar is relatively unknown by British tourists and property buyers, in fact according to Spanish government statistics in 2005 there were just 900 British residents living in the Castellón province compared with some 40,000 in the Alicante province just 80 miles south.

The Costa del Azahar is relatively un-crowded and is easily accessible via the airport at Valencia, this stretch of the Mediterranean Sea coastline was formerly very popular with German buyers due to the fact that they could drive there from Germany in just one day. For mostly economic reasons the Germans have now largely disappeared from the region and their properties mostly snapped up by Spanish buyers rather than Brits.

The Costa del Azahar is a generally unspoilt area with white sandy beaches, fragrant orange and lemon groves, a pleasant climate and spectacular countryside. The region has the largest proportion of protected parks and nature reserves in the whole of Spain.

Whilst there is some heavy development in pockets of land near the coast the Costa del Azahar has not suffered this modern invasion to the same extent as the nearby Costa Blanca or the distant Costa del Sol.

The breathtaking countryside of the Costa del Azahar is ideal for ‘rural tourism’ and is a perfect location for such activities as hiking, mountain biking, climbing and rafting, though a shortage of decent roads in the region is still a bit of a drawback.

One of the best known and loved resorts along the Costa del Azahar is Peniscola, known as ‘The City of the Sea’ it sits on a rocky promontory which juts out into the sea. Its medieval castle is surrounded by white-walled houses and forms the area of the ‘old town’.

These days Peñíscola relies mostly on tourism for its economic survival although fishing is still important as it has been here for centuries. The ancient castle, Peñíscola’s most famous landmark, was begun in 1294 and amazingly finished by 1307 an astonishing feat for such a huge structure. The castle is notable for 2 reasons, firstly it was the seat of Pope Benedict XIII (Pope Luna) and secondly it was used in the making of the epic film ‘El Cid’.

Peñíscola however has much more to offer than just the castle and the ‘old town’, there is an excellent sandy beach to the north of the town which is some 5 km in length, the beach has ‘blue flag’ status and is clean and safe for families. A wide palm-lined promenade runs alongside the beach with a range of shops, cafés and restaurants.

Peñíscola is the location for a number of important cultural events including the ‘The City of Peñíscola Short Story Award’ judged by member of Spain’s Royal Language Academy, ‘The International Festival of Ancient and Baroque Music’ and ‘The International Festival of Cinema Comedy’.

Peñíscola can be easily reached by way of the N340 or the A-7 motorway and is clearly signposted.

Another of the better known resorts of the Costa del Azahar is Benicassim, located in the province of Castellón, some 13 kilometres north of Castellón de la Plana, Benicassim is probably best known for being the venue for the famous ‘International Festival of Rock Music’ held during August.

Benicassim has a population of around 14,000 and relies mostly on tourism for its economic survival. Benicassim has 2 fine sandy beaches (San Vicente and Playa Almadrava) and has excellent water sports facilities, it also has a water park, ‘Aquarama’.

Places of interest to visit in Benicassim include the ancient castle of Montremós built by the Moors in the 10th Century on top of an earlier Roman fortress, the 15th Century San Vicente Tower and the 18th Century Neoclassical parish church.

Benicassim can be easily accessed from the A-7 motorway, junction 45.

Costa del Azahar Links: Costa del Azahar Map - Costa del Azahar Weather

Costa del Azahar Golf: Oliva Nova Golf - More Spanish Golf

Costa del Azahar Hotels: Gran Hotel Peniscola

Costa del Azahar Places: Valencia - Alcala de la Selva - Alcossebre - Benicarlo - Benicassim - Burriana - Castellon de la Plana - Cullera - Morella - Onda - Orpesa - Peniscola - Sagunt - Teruel - Vilafames - Vinaros - Valdelinares

Related: Valencia Airport Transfers - Alicante - Barcelona - Murcia - Builders