Are you familiar with the main castles in the Valencian Community? The region is famous for its beaches and the richness of its natural scenery, but also for its historical and cultural heritage, forged since ancient times by the civilisations that have inhabited its lands.
For centuries, the entire territory was the scene of countless great wars and battles. This is why, today, the Valencian Community is dotted with numerous defensive constructions that can be admired both at the top of its cliffs, watching over the sea, or in mountainous inland areas, overlooking its valleys and villages.
Of the countless castles that exist in the Valencian Community, we’ve selected seven that truly shouldn’t be missed. Read on!
1. Castillo de Santa Bárbara
Alicante is a city full of life, contrasts, beauty and surprises. Also known as the City of Light, Alicante is one of those destinations where you can lose yourself in sublime beaches and also experience exciting adventures with your family.
Its more than 3000 years of history allow us to discover real gems such as the emblematic Castillo de Santa Bárbara, one of the most visited castles in the Valencian Community. It offers guided tours of its interior and an impressive panoramic view of the city from the outside.
It is the emblem of the city of Alicante par excellence. An elevated fortress 200 metres from the coast with unquestionable historical value and exceptional panoramic views.
2. Castillo de Biar
In the interior of the province of Alicante, 650 metres above sea level, Biar has been the natural route from Castile to the Mediterranean Sea for years, marking the history of this town and its customs.
As soon as you arrive in Biar, you are welcomed by its imposing castle of Muslim origin, built in the 12th century. The views from the castle are spectacular and offer a great panoramic view of the remains of the wall, the medieval towers and the old town centre. A place worth stopping and enjoying.
The keep on one side of the fortress stands out, and it is surprisingly well preserved in comparison with the rest of the fortress, which was used as a cemetery during the 19th century.
Nowadays, the remains of cisterns can be seen, which were used to conserve rainwater in order for the town to be self-sufficient. It is included on the route of the castles of Vinalopó.
3. Castillo de Guadalest
One of the treasures of the inland area of the Alicante province is the Castell de Guadalest, one of the most beautiful castles in the Valencian Community. It is located on the top of a rocky outcrop and its houses are perfectly embedded in the rock. From this beautiful village, you can enjoy magnificent views of the Xortà, Serrella and Aitana mountain ranges.
Its streets are full of history, and it has been designated a “Conjunto Histórico Artístico” (Historic-Artistic Grouping) since 1974. It is divided into two areas: the Castle quarter, located on the top of the crag and surrounded by the castle walls, and the Arrabal quarter, which was created later and whose population is spread out along the slopes of the mountain.
One interesting fact is the amount of museums located in this small town. You can find a wide variety of themes, such as the Museum of Nativity Scenes and Dolls’ Houses, the Museum of Microminiatures, the Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers, the Museum of Historic Vehicles, and also its museums of Ethnology and Medieval History.
4. Castillo de Morella
The city of Morella, in the interior of the province of Castellón, was built at the foot of its castle and is surrounded by a robust wall. Its privileged enclave, porticoed streets, ancestral homes, magical corners, and rich cultural heritage are just some of the reasons why it has been declared a Historic-Artistic Grouping.
Among the castles in the Valencian Community, the castle of Morella is a must. In the past, it was one of the most imposing fortresses in the Mediterranean. The passage of numerous civilisations has left its mark on this impressive construction, which has been continuously inhabited since the third millennium BC.
The military fortress, built taking advantage of the natural rock, owes its importance and charm to this privileged location. Its construction has made it a prime strategic location, an impregnable fortress that has allowed the command and control of the natural passage from the interior to the coast.
The entrance gate to the castle is located in the bull ring, and the two monuments can be visited together.
5. Castillo de Peñíscola
In the province of Castellón, Pensicola is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sierra de Irta Natural Park. With vast beaches and hidden coves, its old quarter preserves the traces of its most remote past, linked to Pope Benedict XIII, otherwise known as Pope Luna, and attests to the importance of the city in the grandeur of its castle-fortress.
The Castillo de Peñíscola occupies the highest part of the rock on which the ancient city of Pensicola stands. Along with the Vatican and the Palais des Papes in Avignon (France), it shares the privilege of having been a Papal See, one of the three that have existed throughout history.
Its developers, the enigmatic Templars, built it in accordance with the canons of austerity and robustness that governed the Order of the Temple.
But the most important period of its more than 700 years of existence is undoubtedly that in which it was the refuge of Don Pedro Martínez de Luna—better known as Pope Luna, Benedict XIII.
Of great architectural interest, Pope Luna’s castle preserves important works from the pontiff’s time. The papal basilica is complemented by the throne room. The conclave hall, the study with windows overlooking the sea, and the pontifical rooms are also of particular note.
The castle has been a National Historic Artistic Monument since 1931 and was chosen to film different scenes from the well-known series “Game of Thrones“. Would you really want to miss one of the most famous castles in the Valencian Community?
6. Castillo de Xàtiva
In the province of Valencia, Xàtiva is a city full of history, legends, curiosities, battles and many secrets to be discovered. Great battles have been fought here, but nowadays peace and silence fill its corners. The Castillo de Xàtiva, a “Bien de Interés Cultural” (Asset of Cultural Interest), is one of the most impressive fortresses in the entire province of Valencia and brings magical beauty to a landscape surrounded by immense orange groves.
The fortress is divided into two: the Castillo Menor, built on the Iberian and Roman remains. A tour of the Castillo Menor will take you on a journey to relive the legends and wars that were fought on this side of the castle.
The other part is the Castillo Mayor, built after the medieval period. This is the largest and best-preserved part of the fortress. It has imposing walls and, after the conquest of King James I, became the main defensive fortress between Castile and the Kingdom of Valencia.
It’s very enriching to enjoy a guided tour in order to dive into the history and legends of this castle in the Valencian Community, which should absolutely be on your list.
7. Castillo de Sagunto
Sagunto is a destination steeped in history. Its monuments speak for themselves and its narrow streets are full of traces of the past. A place to travel back in time and discover fascinating places. In addition, its climate, cuisine and beaches make it a perfect destination.
Sagunto Castle – which, without doubt, needed to be included in this article along with the best castles in the Valencian Community – is a fortress that dates back two thousand years. It is surrounded by walls belonging to different cultures that settled in this area.
Next to the castle are monuments that attest to the many civilisations that settled here throughout its rich territory, such as the Roman Circus, which originally had a capacity of between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators, or the Sagunto Roman Theatre. It is located at the foot of the castle hill and is one of the most important gems of Roman culture in Spain.
Sagunto is also a place to enjoy the Mediterranean breeze and the fine sandy beach in the Port of Sagunto. A spectacular place to gaze out across the sea and enjoy seaside activities and cuisine.
Have you made a note of the Valencian Community castles to see on your trip? Don’t miss out and start planning your next getaway!