Steve's World Blog Information and articles on cities, towns and villages around the world.

March 21, 2012

Valencia Fallas 2012

Filed under: Costa Blanca,Costa del Azahar,Events,Spain — Tags: , , , , — needahand @ 8:05 am
Valencia Fallas 2012 Effigy of Elvis Presley

Valencia Fallas 2012 Effigy of Elvis Presley

Valencia Fallas 2012 – On Monday we took a coach trip to see the final evening of the Fallas celebrations in Valencia. We picked up in various places along the way ending in Gran Alacant which was the final pick-up. We then headed along the Costa Blanca coast passing the airport and going up the A31 past many of the old historic towns with castles such as Novelda, Sax, Petrer and Villena, then cutting through to the Font de la Figuera (Spring of the Fig Picker), and picking up the A35 past Moixent, Montesa, L’Alcudia de Crispins and Xativa before reaching Valencia, for us a journey of 4 hours (we got on at Cabo Roig).

While there are many different celebrations in the Fallas, the star of the show is the building of giant effigies which are burnt on the final night together with a massive firework display. Some of the effigies are huge (up to 20 metres high) and make fun of famous people mostly Spanish, though one of the best this year featured Elvis Presley with a number of other famous pop stars such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Freddie Mercury etc. I must say the giants are amazing an it seems a shame to burn them though they do hand out some smaller sections of the figures to local children.

There was some concern over the weather on the day as rain was expected and in the event the celebrations went on in fine weather (though a bit chilly) and it actually started to rain as we got back on the coach for the journey home (and on through the night, some 6 inches of rain in all!).

We really enjoyed the whole event and the burnings are amazing, if rather smelly and dangerous, with burning pices of polystyrene flying everywhere, the fireworks were excellent, the display of flowers was amazing.

Valencia Road Map.

Learn lots more about Valencia here:

November 14, 2010

Benicassim Tickets 2011 Festival

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,Events,Spain — Tags: , , — needahand @ 12:22 pm

Tickets are now available for the 2011 FIB Heineken Benicassim Music Festival, which is scheduled for the 14th– 16th July 2011 in Benicassim. Make sure that you get your tickets booked early for this fabulous event which takes place in the coastal resort of Benicassim, on the Costa del Azahar, Valencia, Spain. The line up for the 2011 festival is yet to be announced, but as always, expect plenty of talent to be on show. Benicassim is a popular seaside resort, close to Castellon de la Plana, it has excellent sandy beaches and plenty of amenities and accommodation, though the offered tickets include 8 days camping on-site, if you prefer to rough it and take in the festival atmosphere. The currently offered £125 tickets are for ‘early bird’ Benicassim tickets only, and will not be around for long, expect to pay more once these tickets have gone.

May 16, 2010

Orpesa Valencia

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,Spain — Tags: , , — needahand @ 10:44 am

One of the more peaceful resorts of the Costa del Azahar, Orpesa can be reached by taking the scenic coast road from Benicassim. The main attraction of Orpesa is its two main beaches, La Concha and Morro de Gos, though it has some historic monuments including the ruined Arabic castle and a couple of 16th century watchtowers. The nearby Prat de Cabanes-Torreblanca Natural Park, will be attractive to nature lovers and has some rare bird species in its environs. Orpesa is situated to the north of Benicassim in the Comunitat de Valencia, Spain.

May 14, 2010

Vilafames Valencia Spain

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , , — needahand @ 9:16 am

The ancient town of Vilafames climbs a steep hill at the northern tip of the Sierra de la Conteses, culminating in its restored Moorish castle which dominates the surrounding landscape. Located around twenty five kilometres north of the regional capital, Castellon de la Plana in the Comunidad de Valencia, Spain, Vilafames has a population of about 2,000 and a municipal area of 74 square kilometres. The old upper part of the town comprises a maze of narrow streets and alleys, lined with charming white-washed houses, looking much as it has for centuries, and is a popular tourist destination for those visiting the coastal resorts of the Costa del Azahar. Apart from the castle (Castillo) which offers a fine panorama of the area and has undergone many reparations since being conquered by Jaime I in 1233, you can visit the museum of contemporary art, located in the Palacio del Baile (originally 15th century), and displaying works by such artists as Miro, you could also visit the eighteenth century Iglesia de la Asunción church, the Ermita de San Miguel (17th century), or the Ermita de San Ramon (18th century). Vilafames is a little off the beaten track but can be accessed from the CV-15 (CV-10), nearby coastal resorts include Benicassim, Orpesa, and Marina D’Or.

April 20, 2010

Onda Spain

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,Spain — Tags: , , — needahand @ 9:33 am

One of the lesser known towns in the Valencia region of Spain, Onda is located just inland from the Costa del Azahar coastline and is approximately seventeen kilometres from Castellon de la Plana. Onda is overlooked by a ruined castle which was built by the Moors during their time in Spain. Onda is well worth a visit if only to take a look at its Natural Sciences Museum, which was founded and filled by a group of Carmelite monks and now has on show many thousands of creatures of all types and from all continents, forming an amazing and interesting exhibition. Also worth a look in Onda is the old town, which still has a medieval feel, and comprises many winding alleys and streets. Map of Onda.

April 17, 2010

Morella Valencia

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,History,Spain — Tags: , — needahand @ 1:49 pm

One of the most distinctive towns in the Valencia region of eastern Spain, Morella is a medieval walled town, overlooked by a 13th century Moorish castle. Its ancient fortified walls are intact and unbroken (save for seven entrance gates), and behind these walls lies a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and streets largely unchanged for centuries. The castle which is now in ruins, dated from the Arab occupation, although the current castle was built upon earlier Iberian and Roman fortifications. Morella has a number of interesting historical monuments and some fine museums.

March 26, 2010

Peniscola Castle Costa del Azahar

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,History,Spain — Tags: , , — needahand @ 9:38 am

The town of Peniscola, located on the Costa del Azahar, Valencia, Spain, is dominated by its charismatic castle, in fact the old part of the town is within the castle walls, where it would have been safe from pirate attacks, way back in more dangerous times. Often called the Castle of Papa Luna, Peniscola castle dates from the times of the Moors and was later conquered by Jaime I and ceded to the Knights Templar who changed and improved the fortification. The castle subsequently came under the control of the Order of Montesa, who gave it to Pope Luna (Benedict XIII) and it became his home for many years. The castle of Peniscola saw action in many conflicts including the War of Succession. The castle took on a different role in the 20th century and was the location for some of the scenes in the famous film ‘El Cid’, directed by Anthony Mann. The castle today is well preserved and worth a visit if you are in the Costa del Azahar area.

February 2, 2010

Benicassim Costa del Azahar

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,Spain — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 5:02 pm

A popular coastal resort on the Costa del Azahar, Valencia, Spain, Benicassim is also the location of the annual “International Festival of Rock Music” which is held during July/August each year, attracting thousands of visitors to the town from far and wide. Some bands have already been confirmed for the 2010 festival which this year takes place on 15th-18th July, and these include The Prodigy, The Specials, Ian Brown, Dizzee Rascal, PiL and Kasabian. Benicassim is situated in the province of Castellon between Orpesa and Castellon de la Plana, and is a busy holiday resort in the summer months, it has some excellent sandy beaches and a good choice of amenities. Benicassim has a history going back to Roman times and beyond (possibly Iron Age), its ruined castle was built in the 10th century by the occupying Moors, it became one of El Cid’s connquests during the late 11th century, and was overun by Jaime I in the 13th century. Benicassim can be accessed from the A-7 motorway.

February 1, 2010

Vinaros Costa del Azahar

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , , — needahand @ 7:42 pm

An ancient fishing port in the Castellon province of eastern Spain, Vinaros was originally just a small hamlet founded by the Moors near to the coast. Developed as a port after the Christian reconquest, Vinaros survived largely through fishing and later vine growing. Its municipality includes some 12 kilometres of Costa del Azahar coastline, beginning at the River Senia and ending at Aiguadoliva, it includes numerous small coves and some excellent beaches, which are of course attractive to modern day tourists, who now provide an alternative income for the town. Renowned for its seafood and in particular its king prawns, Vinaros is a great place to try out some traditional Valencian dishes, in an attractive setting. Vinaros enjoys some wondeful weather, especially during the months May to October. Along the main promenade visitors will find plenty of bars, restaurants and hotels, further afield there are lots of attractive walks to enjoy, a visit to the harbour, is of course a must and here you can watch the fishermen arrive with their daily catch. Vinaros Map.

November 25, 2009

Sagunt Costa del Azahar

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,History,Spain — Tags: , , — needahand @ 10:41 am

An important ancient city in the Comunitat de Valencia, Spain, Sagunt (Sagunto) is located in the fertile region of Camp de Morvedre. Built on a raised hill site approximately 25 kilometres north of the city of Valencia, Sagunt was founded as a fortified settlement by the ancient Iberians (early Spanish peoples) in the fifth century BC, some of the original settlement remains, notably limestone slabs from the Temple of Diana. The year 219 BC is the most notable for Sagunt, as it was then that Hannibal and his Carthaginian troops put the town under a siege which lasted some months and ended with the town being severely damaged and its people put to death. This directly led to the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, leading to the defeat of the Carthaginians and the occupation of Spain by the Romans. Sagunt is located on the Costa del Azahar and can be reached via the A-7 motorway or from the A-23. Map of Sagunt.

September 6, 2009

Gandia Spain

Filed under: Costa Blanca,Costa del Azahar,History,Spain — needahand @ 4:25 pm

The northernmost town on the Costa Blanca or the southernmost on the Costa del Azahar (depending on your allegiance) is the industrial town of Gandia, I am calling it a town but it is generally regarded as a city. With a population of around 77,000, Gandia sits on the River Serpis about 65 kilometres south of Valencia, and has two separate areas – the town and the beach. Not so well known to International tourists, the wonderful sandy beaches of Gandia have long been popular with the Spanish who flock there in their thousands each year. The town itself does not have much appeal as a holiday destination, being more of a working town, but it does have an interesting history and a number of fascinating places to visit, the best known being the Palau Ducal former home of the Borja family. Gandia was originally settled by Iberians and later by Romans and Moors and was later a university town, becoming an important cultural and commercial centre in the 15th and 16th centuries. One of Gandia’s famous residents was Ausiàs March born in 1397 and considered by many the finest Valencian poet. The port of Gandia was founded in 1886, the railway line to Alcoy in 1893. These days Gandia is a bustling, modern city surrounded by orange groves and still sporting a considerable fishing fleet. Gandia Map.

September 4, 2009

Cullera Valencia

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,Spain — Tags: , — needahand @ 11:58 am

A popular coastal resort and town on the Costa del Azahar coastline of eastern Spain, Cullera is situated just south of Valencia, and south east of Sueca, close to the L’Albufera Natural park. Cullera has a history going back to the Arab occupation, and its 13th century fortress dated from this time. The fortress of Cullera stands on a mountain above the town as a reminder of Cullera’s historic past, when there was constant conflict between Moors and Christians. Cullera today is a popular holiday resort with numerous wonderful sandy beaches, a fabulous water park and some interesting places to visit. Cullera Map.

September 1, 2009

Castellon de la Plana Valencia

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,History,Spain — Tags: , , — needahand @ 9:34 am

Capital city of the Castellon province of the Comunitat de Valencia, Castellon de la Plana has a population of around 170,000 and a history stretching back to the Moorish occupation of Spain, when the Arab castle of Fadrell was built to defend the town from the Christian reconquest. The castle did not do the trick for the Moors and the town was recaptured in around 1251, and the town moved from its mountain location to its present position close to the coast. During the Middle Ages, Castellon de la Plana was protected by fortified walls, moats and defensive towers, most of which was demolished during the 19th century, as the town grew and expanded. It became a university city in 1991, with the founding of the Jaume I University. Castellon de la Plana is a busy industrial town, with a significant port area – El Grau de Castellon, it also has a number of fine beaches to the north of the harbour and attracts an increasing number of holidaymakers, as the surrounding Costa del Azahar becomes ever more popular. Map of Castellon de la Plana.

August 27, 2009

Burriana Costa del Azahar

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , — needahand @ 4:04 pm

Located just 13 km from Castellon de la Plana, the town of Burriana lies near the Clot de la Mare, at the mouth of the Anna River on the Costa del Azahar, Spain. A good sized town, Burriana, which is a couple of kilometres inland from its port, has a population of over 35,000 and a history going back to the Arab occupation of Spain. Re-conquered for the Christians in 1233, Burriana was subsequently fortified and walled to ward off attacks by pirates. The town walls were eventually demolished during the 18th century to allow the town to expand. In the coastal area of Burriana, there are several fine beaches and a significant harbour area, which is these days a marina for pleasure craft and a Nautical Club. Places to visit in Burriana include the famous Orange Museum, the El Salvador church and the San José de los Carmelitas church. Burriana Map.

August 24, 2009

Benicarlo Spain

Filed under: Costa del Azahar,Spain — Tags: , , — needahand @ 3:05 pm

A coastal town and resort situated between Peniscola and Vinaros, Benicarlo is on the “Orange Blossom Coast” (Costa del Azahar) in eastern Spain. Settled since the Bronze Age, Benicarlo was just a small hamlet when the Moors ruled the region in the 8th to 13th centuries, it was later surrounded by a fortified wall after the Christian reconquest. Present day Benicarlo survives economically on agriculture and manufacturing and also has a budding tourism industry, as this stretch of coast gains in popularity. Benicarlo celebrates a couple of interesting festivals during the year, the first one being the Artichoke Fair, which is held in January and celebrates one of the most important crops for the town, during August the festival in honour of Benicarlo’s patron saint, includes the “bous a la mar” (Bulls in the sea) event.

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