- MAP Travel
The Comunidad De Valenciana (also written as La Comunitat de Valenciana in the local version of Catalan) is the coastal region between Catalonia in the North and Murcia in the south. It consists of 3 provinces: Castellon, Valencia and Alicante all of which rise from the Mediterranean coastline to the high central plain. Typical of the region are the blue domes on the churches in the small towns. Murcia is a province and also an autonomous region in its own right, but as it lies between the province of Alicante in Valenciana and the province of Almeria in Andalucia I am writing about the two regions together as they are close to each other.
There are flights to Alicante and Murcia all year and at certain times of year to Reus (for Benicarlo) and Valencia.
Castellon is the province which is divided from Catalonia close to the River Ebro and its delta. It is a combination of fertile plains which are a picture in early Spring when almond blossom stretches as far as the eye can see, pretty inland villages and walled towns, an industrial area around the city of Castellon and a string of small resorts, golf courses and fishing harbours on the Costa Azahar.
One of its claims to fame was the filming of “El Cid” in the historic town of Peñiscola and on the beach below. This picturesque town, built by the Knights Templar in the 14th century, winds its way up narrow streets to the castle where Pope Benedict 13th, known as Papa Luna, lived.
Valencia - a name known for decades by the song of the same name. From the time that the song was written there have been dramatic changes in the city of Valencia. “The city of Arts and Sciences” is a modern architectural miracle as the works of Santiago Calatrava, its famous son, are seen alongside magnificent parks and gardens filling the old river bed which leads to the historic centre around the Cathedral. The River Turia was diverted to make way for the new developments which have been so tastefully designed to blend the old with the new.
There are coastal resorts along the long sandy beaches on either side of the city, an industrial area around Sagunto and small rural towns in the hills surrounded by vineyards, olive and almond groves and orange and lemon trees.
Alicante is one of the best-known provinces to visitors in Spain, as many resorts of the Costa Blanca line the coast on either side of the city, but there are still some unspoilt villages and beaches on the coast at the Northern end of the province where natural parks cover the headlands of Cabo de Nau and Cabo de Sant Antoni. The city, port and busy airport of Alicante are in the south of the province and are crowned by the Medieval fortress of Santa Barbara on top of the Benacantil mountain behind the city.The castle can be reached by road or by an elevator in a tunnel carved through the mountain. Inland is some spectacular scenery as the rural roads descend from the plateau through acres of almond, olive, orange and lemon groves. The town of Jijona (Xixona in Catalan) is the home of turron, the nougat for which Alicante is so famous.
Valenciana Paradores Hotels
The Parador De Benicarlo
This is a modern Parador is located by a sandy beach. It is surrounded by gardens with a tennis court, pitch and putt course and large pool leading to the sea. This is a good base for exploring the Ebro delta and the interesting inland countryside. It is the only Parador in the province but combines well with the 10th century castle at Tortosa, only 50 Km from Benicarlo for a holiday on the beach and in a castle.
The Parador de El Saler
Eighteen Kilometres south of the city is the only Parador in the province at El Saler. This is in one of the loveliest areas as it lies on a spit between the undeveloped coastline and the Albufera Nature Reserve famous for its flora and fauna and for being the main rice-growing area in Spain. The vast areas of rice paddies in the salt water lagoon has led to Valencia being the paella capital of the country. The Parador has recently been rebuilt as a superb modern hotel surrounded by a championship 27-hole golf course which has hosted some of the major European tournaments. With its new spa, a large pool and tennis court in the gardens, a seemingly endless beach, and a football pitch where some of the top Spanish teams train, this Parador has something for everyone.
The Parador de Javea
This is the only Parador in the province. Javea is a tourist town and small harbour lying between the two headlands, away from the larger resorts. It is, like most of the coastal Paradores, a modern hotel with a large pool in gardens leading to the sea and a good base for a relaxing holiday, or for the more energetic there are many excellent golf courses in the area and good walking country on both sides of the town. On the other side of Cabo de San Antoni is the attractive port of Denia from where ferries leave for the Balearic Islands.