The Region of Valencia: a land of boundless curiosities
The Region of Valencia: a land of boundless curiosities
The Region of Valencia is home to great treasures. From the narrowest façade in València to the tallest hotel in Europe, the sights here are so intriguing that they will leave you lost for words.
Some destinations are so awe-inspiring that they will take you aback, rob you of your words and imprint themselves on your memory. The Region of Valencia is one such place. The treasures here are so great that your imagination couldn’t dream them up. Keep reading to go on an exploration of the three provinces in the region and discover the curiosities that you can discover here.
Curious sights in the province of Castellón
Santuario de la Balma
In Zorita del Maestrazgo, you will find a shrine that is nestled into the mountain. Yes, you read that right. Santuario de la Balma is a place of worship and pilgrimage that will leave you lost for words.
Situated on the banks of the river Bergantes, the shrine is carved out of the rockface of La Tossa hill. Legend has it that at this site the Virgin Mary appeared; ever since, hundreds of people have come to the shrine in pilgrimage to worship Virgin de la Balma. The views from this part of the mountain are absolutely spectacular.
Castillo de Todolella…Does anybody live up there?
Todolella will transport you back to Medieval times. And nowhere is this more true than at the castle, which overlooks the village from its lofty position. As you walk up the steep streets, you will soon reach this great fortress that was built in the 14th century.
But does anybody live here? Well, the answer is yes. Paris-based organist Ricardo Miravet and researcher Livia Fergola moved to Els Ports county and bought the castle in 1966. Livia passed away in 2017, but Ricardo continues to live in the fortress. Are you not curious to know what it would be like to live like a king and queen? The castle is open to visits for small groups so you can discover all the secrets of the castle.
La Valltorta gorge
El Maestrazgo is home to an incredible prehistoric site. In La Valltorta gorge, you can see some excellent examples of Levantine art: cave paintings that depict what life was like thousands of years ago in this part of the Region of Valencia.
The sight of these paintings will leave you speechless. Levantine art is found in rocky caves and outdoor cavities. The main subjects depicted are human figures and the animals that lived with them, particularly deer and horses. Prehistoric humans painted what they saw with their fingers. An incredible way to see through our ancestors’ eyes.
Culla and its mines
Just 8km from Culla, you can discover all the secrets of the local mining industry. How did the miners live? What was the work like? Find out at Parc Miner del Maestrat. You will hop onto a little train and venture deep into the underbelly of the earth, travelling from Esperanza mine to Victoria mine. With your safety helmet on, you will discover just how tough the work was for miners hundreds of years ago.
You will also see the trucks and tools that were used and discover what everyday life was like at Parc Miner del Maestrat. If all this piques your interest, you can also find out everything you want to know about geological phenomena, and even see centenarian stalactites, in the Esperanza mine.
Curious sights in the province of Valencia
Literally meaning “the narrow one”, the name of the narrowest façade in València and Europe couldn’t be more apt. In the past, it was also the narrowest building, but today only the façade remains to commemorate its past life. The façade is located in Plaza Lope de Vega and always evokes the same question: how could you possibly live in there?
Coming in at just 107cm wide, the façade catches the eye of passersby. The building was originally a jewellery shop, which belonged to a family that lived in the flats above. It has had various incarnations in its lifetime, transforming from a kiosk to a gift shop and latterly a bar, which made it famous. If you walk past the façade, make sure you get a photo.
The secret nooks and crannies of the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències
Not only will the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències take you aback with its great architecture, it also has secret nooks and crannies that not all travellers know about. One of these is in Museu de les Ciències, the Science Museum. In the eastern and western access points, there is a large arch with a special secret. Take your friend and each stand on either end of the door. Now turn to the wall and speak to it: your friend will be able to hear you perfectly on the other end. Yet another reason to visit this architectural masterpiece.
Les Covetes dels Moros
Bocairent is an enchanting town that sits at the foot of the Sierra de Mariola mountainscape. One of the destination’s most intriguing sights is Les Covetes dels Moros, the small caves carved into the vertical rockface of the mountain.
To access the caves, follow the pathway. As you look up, you will see a sheer wall that is perforated with 53 openings. Once inside, you will feel like a little ant exploring these labyrinthian spaces.
The streets of València city will often leave you muttering wow as there are plenty of architectural treasures found here. One is Casa Judía, in Castellón Street, which is a clear example of the Art Deco style of the 1920s and 1930s. Its pagoda-shape, colourful columns adorned with Egyptian ornamentation, pointy windows and extravagant finishing will leave you lost for words.
If you want to see this treasure and more, wander the streets of the city and keep your eyes peeled. You never know when these unique buildings will appear.
Curious sights in the province of Alicante
The tallest hotel in Europe
Benidorm is renowned for its high-rises. If you are staying in the town, make sure you turn your gaze upwards: you will be surprised by just how high the buildings here really are. It is fitting, therefore, that the popular seaside destination is home to the tallest hotel in Europe.
Coming in at 186m tall, Torre de Bali has 52 floors and over 700 rooms. Work started on the building in 1987. Its windows afford stunning outlooks over the bay of Benidorm. And the viewing point, or mirador, is a wonderful place to breathe in panoramic vistas that will leave you speechless.
Museo de Microminiaturas
What would you expect to find in the eye of a needle? Can you see the object which measures no more than a couple of millimetres? Museo de Microminiaturas, the Museum of Micro-Miniatures, in El Castell de Guadalest is a place like no other. The exhibition comprises the most peculiar selection of items. For instance, Picasso’s Guernica painted on a seed, Goya’s Third of May 1808 on a grain of rice and the Naked Maja on the wing of a fly. A museum that shows you that nothing is impossible.
Head on over to the village and go on the most extraordinary journey. You might think your eyes are playing tricks on you, but we assure you they are not: everything in El Castell de Guadalest is real.
The most historic procession in Spain
The Three Wise Men have been visiting the Region of Valencia for many years and Alcoy has borne witness to it. Each year, this pretty town hosts the most historic Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, a parade dedicated to the Three Wise Men, in Spain. It has been declared an event of national tourist interest.
Full of lights, colour and excitement, this magical procession is a highly anticipated event in the Christmas calendar. Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar have walked the streets of the town since 1885 while the pages scale up long ladders to deliver the local residents gifts.
Calendura and Calendureta
If you ask for Calendura and Calendureta in Elche, everyone will know who you’re talking about. These two figures inhabit the top of the council building clocktower and are in charge of chiming the bells. Calendura strikes the hour while Calendureta marks the quarter of the hour.
Their names stem from the Latin calendas, which comes from the word calendar: they are clearly connected to the world of timetelling. In the past, the town bells were of great importance as they were the residents’ way of knowing what time it was.
These are just some of the boundless curiosities that you can discover during your exploration of the Region of Valencia. Start planning your getaway and share everything you come across with us. As you will see, things will get curiouser and curiouser…