Grades 1, 2 & 3 - Leisurely grades
Grades 4, 5 & 6 - Moderate grades
Grades 7, 8 & 9 - Challenging grades
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Spain’s Castellon region, in north Valencia, is relatively unknown outside of Spain. The miles upon miles of soft sandy beaches, traditional villages, numerous natural parks and protected areas are a well kept secret. This area offers walkers spectacular trails in the hills and along the coast, Moorish history and wonderful cuisine.
From Benicassim, a coastal town with a delightful beach front and impressive Belle Époque architecture, walks with our local guides take us into the hills of the Serra d’Espada and Serra d’Irta as well as into the Desert of Palms.
This region is known as the Pantry of Spain due to its abundance of vegetable produce and plentiful fruit trees, especially oranges, and in spring the hills and plains are bursting with cherry, almond and fruit blossoms and the air spectacularly fragrant. Autumn brings the fruits with an abundance of figs, almonds and avocados.
We arrive into Valencia airport, meet our coach, and transfer by road (approx. 1 hour) to our hotel in the lovely sea-side resort of Benicassim. Depending on our arrival time, there may be the opportunity of an orientation walk before we have dinner in the hotel's restaurant.
Located inland, behind Benicassim, lies the Desert de les Palmes Natural Park, which is our destination for today. Our walk takes us into the evergreen NP where we see the remains of a Carmelite monastery, old hermitage and wonderful views over the Castellon coastline, including the thousands of orange trees, from where this part of the Spanish coast gets its name. 6 miles/10kms; 4 hours; A/D 450m. Later this afternoon can enjoy a walk along the extensive Benicassim promenade alongside the blue-flag beach and seeing the Belle Epoque architecture of the impressive sea front villas and historical buildings.
Today we'll explore the Serra d'Irta, the last and longest unspoilt stretch of the coastline. As we walk in the direction of the town of Peniscola we'll discover the Mediterranean shrub eco-system, view old defensive towers and see impressive limestone cliffs. The undulating path passes small secluded coves, set against the backdrop of the hillside. 7.5 miles/13kms; 5 hours; A/D 90m The medieval city and castle of Peniscola can be seen in the distance as we walk and we'll have time to explore the town and enjoy a tasting of locally produced artisan beer before returning to Benicassim.
A slightly longer drive today takes us to the Serra d'Espada Natural Park, described as a Mediterranean jungle. Our route takes us through a vast array of vegetation and wildlife. We'll see oak forests, water mills, ravines and learn about the old cork industry. We also have time for a visit to the medieval Muslim village of Ain. Today's walk is top of grade, perhaps venturing into a grade 5, but it will be taken at a gentle pace. 7.5 miles/13kms, 6 hours, A/D 600m
Today is a free day for you to explore on your own. You may wish to relax by the hotel pool, go to the beach or follow part of the Via Verde along the coast from Benicassim to Orpesa. The cities of Castellon and Valencia can be reached by train if you prefer a day of culture and tapas.
Today we travel furthest from Benicassim to explore the Millennial Olive Tree route in the north of the province. This part of the region, as well as producing a wide variety of olives and oils, is also an area that produces grapes and cereals. Our route meanders through the olive groves, with some of the trees hundreds of years old, to a Royal Sanctuary, where we have time for a visit and a wonderful lunch of locally sourced ingredients. This is an area of history, nature and legends as we will discover with our guide, on our mainly cultural walking day. 6 miles/9kms; 4 hours A/D 110 As we include lunch today, dinner will be on your own giving you the opportunity to wander into the old town for tapas.
The Serra d'Engalceran offers a typical Castellon rural landscape with great examples of dry and wet vegetation, remains of countryside architecture and an insight to the inner part of this province and its old crafts. It is a different landscape than we have visited so far. Vilafames is considered one of the prettiest villages of the region, built almost entirely in red sandstone, and we will have time to stop here to see the village and the Paleolithic rock paintings. 9.5kms; 4 hours; A/D 450m
After breakfast, we say our farewells to Castellon, and travel by coach to Valencia airport.
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Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.
The four-star Hotel Bonaire is located 100 yards from the Playa de Heliópolis beach and a 15 minute stroll into the centre of Benicassim, where you will find a good selection of cafes, restaurants and shops. The hotel offers a large outdoor swimming pool, located in its lush, well maintained gardens, an small indoor pool and a wellness centre. You will also find a bar and restaurant within the hotel. The hotel's decor is in a contemporary style, painted in relaxing colours and with plenty of areas to relax.
The hotel bedrooms are all ensuite and can offer 1 or 2 beds. You will find a TV in the room along with air conditioning/heating, an in-room safe, hairdryer, and minibar. There is free wi-fi in the hotel.
Land Only Price
Single Room Price
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