The northern area of Valencia, known as the Castellón province, boasts charming medieval towns and fascinating architecture that chronicles the rich history of the region. Peñíscola, Morella and Forcall are three of the most beautifully preserved cities in Castellón. The majestic fortified walls surrounding these ancient towns beckon visitors to enter their gates and explore the medieval legacy within.
To witness Peñíscola’s “Fortress by the Sea” is to see a heavily fortified promontory jutting straight into the blue waters of the Mediterranean. The impenetrable fortress was once an island and a refuge for Pope Benedict XIII – also known as Papa de Luna. Visitors today can climb the steep narrow streets, meander through its magnificent fortress and walk towards the surrounding golden beaches on the pathway that Pope Luna commissioned called “The Gateway to the Sea”. For event planners, Peñiscola Tourism notes that the historical city offers more than 9,500 hotel rooms and an impressive conference center.
According to the Valencia Region Tourist Board, the city of Morella (pictured above), has played host to every major civilization – including the Iberians, Celts, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians and Arabs. The massive 14th century ring of walls encompassing the city helped to not only defend the enormous hilltop castle, but to also protect the entire population that lived just below. Truly worth visiting is Saint Mary’s Church, as it is thought to be one of the most exquisite Gothic churches in the region.
Courtesy Turismo Castellón
While touring Morella, one must visit the monumental Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Balma (pictured above). The ancient shrine is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and has drawn religious pilgrims since XVIII. Completely carved from the rock of the mountain, this vast grotto holds a church, a belfry and now a public restaurant. The temple was declared an Artistic Historical Monument in 1979 and is a magical place to explore.
Courtesy Turismo Castellón
Another attraction in the Castellón region is the historical town of Forcall, located near Morella. The Valencia Region Tourist Board says Forcall contains large historical homes and typical, narrow cobblestoned streets that take travelers back in time. Interesting architectural details such as the arcades of the Plaza Mayor and the beautiful wooden eaves on the Palacio de Ossets-Miró are typical of the medieval Aragonese style that permeates the town. Additionally, Forcall is surrounded by majestic mountains cut by wide rivers that render it a dream location for nature lovers.
The Castellón province is a treasure trove of fortress towns filled with beautiful landscapes and architectural delights. Have you ever wanted to visit the northern area of Valencia? For more information on the picturesque towns and medieval jewels in the northern region of Valencia visit the Valencia Region Tourist Board.