Set about 3 hours south of Barcelona and an hour north of Valencia, this long stretch of coast has everything from seaside resorts and hidden coves to modernist buildings and 15th century palaces. Called the “orange blossom coast” (the Costa Azahar), this 75-mile sweep of the Mediterranean is a tapestry of Azurian brilliance, well-maintained beaches, sleepy villages, mountainous walks and medieval history. An easy city to stroll around, streets are lined with orange trees, particularly in the more pedestrian areas. View more
The province of Castellón stretches along the Mediterranean coast of Spain forming the so-called Costa Azahar. On the coast, the beautiful, well maintained beaches receive thousands of visitors every year. Castellón de la Plana is a historical city dating back to medieval times; learn first-hand the rich history and beauty of this area up close and personal.
Depart the port and drive to the "Paseo Ribalta", the only community park of Castellón. Continue your panoramic tour of Castellón and arrive at Plaza Cardona Vives for a guided walk around town. Experience many pleasant surprises from beautiful modernist buildings, modern shops, shady parks and important Gothic and Renaissance monuments.
All the main sights are within minutes from each other around Plaza Mayor. View churches, cathedrals and convents as well as a 15th century palace and a 16th century bell tower that today continues to ring on the hour.
The Llotja del Cànem' (Hemp Exchange Market), built during the first half of the 17th century was used by traders in cloth and ropes, which was a very important activity in the area at the time. Today this building is used by the University for cultural events and temporary exhibitions and therefore an explanation will be given outside.
Approximately 30 minutes away you will visit Benicassim, one of the most beautiful villages on the "Costa de Azahar". Along the Mediterranean and in the middle of high mountains at the beginning of the 18th century the Carmelite monks founded their monastery here.
Carmelite Monks Distillery
Following the age-old monastic tradition, they began to produce the incomparable strong spirit beverage, "Licor Carmelitano" (Carmelite Liquor), which brought National and International fame to Benicassim. At the beginning of the 20th century the distillery was moved directly to Benicassim village and now is located close to the sea. Discover the facilities of this modern distillery where all liqueurs are still produced according to traditional monk's recipes. Have a taste of this local product before you complete your tour.
Your tour concludes back at the pier after your drive back to Castellón.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking for approximately 3 hours total in the city centre and at the distillery. Some surfaces are uneven with cobblestones and there are steps at the distillery. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. We recommend wearing lightweight clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes. Bring a hat, sunscreen and bottled water. Minimum age for tasting at the distillery is 18 years old.
Located south of Castellón, the Region of Valencia is the perfect union between the mountains and the sea. It has over 120 km (75 miles) of coastline and some of the most fascinating beaches in the Valencian Community.
Region of Valencia
Depart the port for the approximate 60-minute beautifully scenic drive to the 'City of Porcelain', Valencia.
Upon arrival at the Lladró Factory, take a tour through the production process, and learn about the porcelain history and family business. Included is a documentary about the origins of the company and the founding Lladró brothers.
After touring the factory, a stop is made to view the large display of figurines in the Exhibition Room. Before leaving, some free time is made available to browse the shop for a special souvenir of your own.
Following your visit, re-board your coach for a panoramic tour through Valencia's Old Town, pass by the Quart Towers, Serrano Towers and the historical city centre.
An approximate one-hour return drive takes you directly to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking only in the factory. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair as the production area in the factory is not adapted to accommodate. We recommend wearing lightweight clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes.
The tiny walled peninsula of Peñíscola looks firmly out to sea and is known for its most cherished monument; the gothic castle of Pope Pedro Luna (Benedict XIII). Surrounding the citadel are what used to be the houses of local fishermen, located along the narrow, winding cobbled streets. At the foot of the town are broad sandy beaches and fertile lands to the north. The southern stretch is ultimately bordered by cliffs that extend down the coast to form attractive coves.
Take a drive directly from the port to the often called "Gibraltar of Valencia," a fortified seaport with a lighthouse built on a rocky headland about 67 metres (220 feet) high and joined to the mainland by only a narrow strip of land. Peñiscola is on Spain's official list of most beautiful towns and is dominated by the Castle of Peñiscola.
Upon arrival, begin your guided walk passing the Plaza de Armadura to visit the Castle. Rising 64 metres (210 feet) 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. 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.
Castle of Peñiscola
Before entering you are greeted by an impressive bronze statue of Pope Luna at the entrance of the Templar fortress castle, which was constructed between 1294 and 1307. Pope Luna (originally Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor, of one of the 12 noble families of Aragon) was Pope between 1394 and 1417, and due to the Great Schism he was anti-Pope from 1417 until he died in 1423. He came to Peñíscola in 1415, after he had refused to surrender his Papal tiara to the Council of Perpignan. The Master of the Order of Montesa, Romeu de Cabrera, offered him the fortress and Pope Luna accepted and turned it into his Papal court.
New walls were added in 1960 when Anthony Mann's film El Cid was partially filmed there.
Enjoy approximately 30 minutes of free time around the old quarter to spend as you please and shop for souvenirs.
Afteward, rejoin your coach to return to the pier and your ship.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking for approximately 3 hours total. Some surfaces are uneven with cobblestones and there are some steep steps and inclines at the castle. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. We recommend wearing lightweight clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes. Bring a hat, sunscreen and bottled water.
There are few cities like Valencia, able to harmoniously combine the remnants of its farthest past, dating to the year 138 BC, with the most innovative and avant-garde buildings from the new millennium.
Leave the port for an approximate 1-hour drive by coach to the old quarter of the city of Valencia, where-upon arrival you are introduced to your guide, issued a bicycle and briefed about safety and the route.
When touring around Valencia, you can feel the pulse of many centuries in its walls and under the ground. From the remains of the Roman forum founded by Junius Brutus and now in the Plaza de la Virgen which gave rise to Valencia, to the emblematic Arts and Sciences Centre, the city has transformed its appearance whilst rescuing monuments that are witness to past eras.
The city is virtually flat and contains many possibilities to stop almost anywhere, it is most enjoyable to see the city by bicycle.
The focus of this tour is on the old quarter and historic side of Valencia. Start at La Lonja, where the coach will leave you to meet with your guide who will provide you with your bicycle and give a short briefing and provide safety instructions. Slowly make your way through the inner part of Valencia seeing its historic buildings such as the Central Market which is right by La Lonja, the Miguelete Tower that is right by the Cathedral, the Provincial Palace and the Torres de Serrano. Often, stops will be made to give explanations and opportunity to take photos.
Several beautiful plazas will be passed such as Plaza de la Virgen, an area close to the Plaza de la Reina is where a refreshment stop will be made with drinks and a typical Valencian snack. Take a moment to relax and enjoy the special atmosphere of this beautiful city.
After having replenished your energy, continue on seeing the beautiful building of the Marques de dos Aguas, El Parterre and more beautiful plazas with their warm Spanish ambiance. Everything is at a leisurely pace and there is ample time to ask questions to guides about the history, monuments and traditions of Valencia.
Finishing at the Torres de Serrano, rejoin your awaiting coach and head back to the port and terminal building.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of activity for approximately 10km (6.2 miles) total in the city, approximately 2.5 hours. Guests participating in this tour should be in good physical condition and able to ride a bicycle. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Guests are advised to wear layered clothing and closed-toes walking shoes. Bring raingear, if weather may be unfavourable, sunscreen a hat and sunglasses from the ship. Helmets are provided and must be worn through the riding portion of the tour. Minimum age to participate is 10 years old.
Most cities have riverbanks to stroll along; Valencia has a whole river. The Jardín del Túria is a unique, long swathe of greenery through the city. The river Túria was diverted south and the former riverbed is now a landscaped parkland walk with trees, sculptures and water features, crisscrossed by 18 bridges - some designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava.
Departing from the pier and enjoy a short panoramic drive going through the City Centre where you can see the Bullring and Central Station. See the Central Market, an enormous metal, ceramic tile and glass Art Nouveau building. Built in 1928, it contains 1,300 stalls of fresh fish, meat and fruits, selling products from all over Spain. A must stop is made at the Silk Exchange monument, called La Lonja where the old quarter walking tour will begin. Admire this area that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is a Valencian Gothic-style civil building, built between 1482 and 1548, and one of the principal tourist attractions in the city. This building illustrates the power and wealth of one of the great Mediterranean mercantile cities.
Valencia's present is defined by the City of Arts and Science complex, designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. The City of Arts and Sciences is a unique complex devoted to science, technology, nature, and art, and is made up of five segments or centres: the Hemisfèric, the Umbracle, the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum, the Oceanográfico and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía. Enjoy a guided interior visit of Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia.
After your visit to the museum stroll to the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, an impressive theatre and opera house with a sculpted form is highly symbolic. Platforms project at different levels with passage ways and Mediterranean gardens, with a capacity to accommodate four venues for opera, music, ballet and theatre inside.
When finished the awaiting coach will transfer you back to the port.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking for approximately 3 hours total in the city. Some surfaces are uneven with cobblestones and steps in the old quarter. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. We recommend wearing lightweight clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes. Bring a hat, sunscreen and bottled water.