17th to 21st September
5 days, 4 nights
Leaders: Lynn Clark and Sue Popkin Email Lynn
On this trip we will be visiting some of the 68 small towns and villages that have been awarded the designation ‘Most Beautiful Villages in Spain’. Four of these villages are in Comunidad Valenciana and we will visit three of them plus two more that are located just over the border with Aragon.
Tuesday 17th September
Our trip to the province of Castellon begins with a visit to the beautiful village of Vilafames. The old part of Vilafames is of Muslim origin, dating to around the 11th century. What remains of this period are the foundations of the castle and the enchanting urban layout, of winding, narrow streets. Whitewashed houses are enhanced and highlighted by pretty plants, which contribute to the town’s special ambiance. Since the 1970s, a community of artists has made Vilafames their home.
We will enjoy a guided tour of Vilafames. Entry to both the Iglesia de la Asuncion and the Museu d’Art Contemporani Vicente Aguilera Cerni is included. There will then be free time for independent sightseeing and lunch.
In the afternoon, we will continue on our journey to Morella for a four night stay at Hotel Rey Don Jaime. Our accommodation is on a half board basis, with two lunch included.
Wednesday 18th September
This morning we will enjoy a guided tour of Morella. Entry to the Gothic Halls of the Ayuntamiento and the Basilica of Santa Maria is included.
After the guided tour, the rest of the day is free. Many of you will take advantage of this opportunity to visit the castle.
Today lunch at the hotel is included.
Thursday 19th September
Today, we will enjoy a visit to Parc Minerdel Maestrat for a guided tour. It is the second most popular tourist attraction in inland Castellon after Morella Castle.
The Parc Miner del Maestrat are disused iron ore mines that are located in the natural setting of “La Fontanella” about 800 metres above sea level, from where you can contemplate some magnificent panoramic views of the l’Alt Maestrat region. The Parc Miner has 6 galleries open to the public and distributed in two independent mines, called Victoria and Esperanza.
The two mines are connected by a journey on a tren turistico. The guide will show the legacy left by the men who worked in the mines, based on the pick and drill. You can see the rails that carried the wagons full of minerals to the mine entrance and beyond.
Due to restrictions on the number of visitors allowed on a visit to Parc Miner delMaestrat, half of the tour group will visit Parc Miner on the Wednesday and have the guided tour of Morella on the Thursday.
Friday 20th September
Today we cross the border with Aragon and pass through some beautiful countryside on our way to Cantavieja, the historic capital of Alto Maestrazgo and home to a splendid heritage of architecture and monuments. Cantavieja has one of the most complete groups of Gothic Aragonese monuments. It is overlooked by the ruins of its old castle, which was blown up during the first Carlist War, when Cantavieja was the command centre of the Carlist general Ramón Cabrera, the “Tiger of Maestrazgo”.
Narrow streets lined by houses with a medieval feel take us to the main sites in Cantavieja. The colonnaded Plaza Mayor square includes the Town Hall, with a notable Gothic coffered ceiling in its legislative chamber, and the large La Asunción Church (18th century), which has a Gothic façade and doorway.
Other buildings of interest are the Gothic Church of San Miguel, the former Baroque Hospital of San Roque and stately homes such as Bayle House, Novales House and Mas Fortificado.
You will have time for independent sightseeing and lunch.
On our way back to Morella, we will stop at the beautiful walled village of Mirambel. It is the village used by Ken Loach as the location for his film ‘Land and Freedom’.
Mirambel is a place where time seems to have stopped, where the visitor will find tranquility and calm, ideal to rest and walk calmly through its streets. It has around 130 inhabitants who are proud of their past and are working to build a future linked to tourism and traditional agricultural and livestock activities.
You will have time for independent sightseeing and refreshments at the bar facing the main road.
Saturday 21st September
We leave Morella and head for the coast and the town of Peñiscola, famous for its Templar castle and the beautiful old town adjacent to the castle walls.
Rising 64 metres above the azure blue sea,the castle and city walls envelope gorgeous windy cobbled stone streets, which are throbbing with the memories of centuries gone by, but at the same time, are home to lots of little shops.
Walking along these historic streets of the old town of Peñíscola, you need to stop quite frequently to take in the breathtaking views over the Mediterranean Sea. Then it’s time to look back at the quaint aesthetic beauty of the old town.
After time for in dependent sightseeing and lunch, we leave Peñiscola and return to Moraira.
COST €260 PER PERSON
The single room supplement is €60
To secure a place on this trip, please pay a deposit of €60 at the Travel Desk at the next General Meeting