Alcossebre-Alcalà de Xivert Travel Guide
Alcalà de Xivert and Alcossebre belong to the same municipality, so that’s the reason they are paired in this feature. What makes this pair interesting is the contrast between them – Alcossebre is a beach town that is quite developed for tourism, but only to a pleasant level, and Alcalà de Xivert is a typical town, which has plenty of its own charm also. For the average sun seeking tourist, the obvious choice is Alcossebre to be close to the beach, port and a good choice of amenities, but for those who want to experience more typical town life, then Alcalà de Xivert is an interesting choice. Surprisingly Alcalà de Xivert has an Australian bar – check out the photo below, complete with kangaroos!!
The drive from there to Alcossebre is about 4km and actually the descent into the town is lovely, with the sea in front of you as you drive. There’s a long promenade, lots of lovely residential areas that are full of trees, and some very attractive properties. It has the feeling of a town where one can expect to enjoy the finer things in life, without being over the top or pretentious. If you do stay there however, be sure to drive the short journey to Alcalà de Xivert.
As you get closer to either of them, on the N340 national road or the motorway, you can’t help but notice the large dome of the Church of Saint John the Baptist, on the right if you’re driving towards Valencia or the left if you’re on the road to Barcelona. Alcalà de Xivert is slightly inland, located in a flat valley. This church is very impressive, with some remarkable stone carving work on the exterior. The town has some attractive streets………………and as mentioned earlier, an Australian Bar. This bar also has live music some of the time.
Historically Alcossebre belonged to Alcalà de Xivert since the 13th century, and in fact much of it remained controlled by Alcalà de Xivert landowners until the 20th century. Tourism started to take off in the 1960s and today Alcossebre is a favourite spot for visitors. Located on the Orange Blossom Coast (Costa Azahar), on one side you have the valley, set against a backdrop of mountains and on the other, there is a 10km stretch of sea and beaches.
Brief History Alcalà de Xivert and Alcossebre
Archaeological excavations around the castle of Alcalà de Xivert, have shown a sequence of occupation that can be traced back at least to the 2nd century BC, and which lasted until the 17th century AD. Findings in the area and its surroundings include Neolithic, Phoenician, Iberian and Bronze Age articles, such as arrow flints, ceramics, metals and graves.
Between the 11th and 13th centuries, there are archaeological finds which span the last years of Muslim rule and the early period of Christian power. It was in 1234 that the Moors surrendered and Alcossebre’s history can be traced to the 13th century, at which stage it belonged to the municipality of Alcalà de Xivert. In 1251 a town charter had been granted to those who had settled in Alcalà de Xivert which put them gradually in charge of the overall municipality. 1260 the area was repopulated, by the order from the Knights Templar Master.
Up until 1319 the Templar Knights held the area, until they were replaced by area’s lordships of the various territories under St. George of Alfama and the Order of St. Mary of Montesa. During the 1521 Germania revolt, Moorish inhabitants were forced into religious conversion or expulsion. In 1592 the Order then became dependent on the country’s crown.
Pope Benedict XIII used both the ports of Alcossebre, as well as Peñiscola, for trading with Italy, supplying wool to the Medicis in Florence, as well as nuts, wine and wood. Their importance as ports, did of course make them a target for pirates. During the 19th century there was military action in Alcala de Xivert.
Right up until the early part of the 20th century, the Alcala landowners controlled the land of Alcossebre. However by the 1960s tourism started to take off, which of course changed the dynamic of both the people and the place.
Check out the Alcossebre weather averages.
Things To Do
With 10km of coastline at Alcossebre, there is a fine choice of larger beaches and small coves.
Playa del Carregador – Carregador Beach
This is a blue flag beach, which is the largest in the zone at around 720 metres in length and 70 metres wide. It is a fine sandy beach with quite a lot going on during the season, plus the sailing school is situated there. There is good access for those with reduced mobility.
Playa Romana – Romana Beach
Separated by sand dunes from Playa del Carregarod, Play Romana is a blue flag beach shaped like a shell, which is around 500 metres long and 40 metres wide. In summer there are beach football competitions, as well as pedalo hire and a children’s play area.
Playa de las Fuentes – The Fountains Beach
This beach gets its name because it has fresh sweet water springs which bubbles from the bottom of the beach. It is around 400 metres in length and 40 or so wide, and during the height of the summer season is home to various activities, such as volleyball, both day and night, trampolines for children, play areas for children and pedalo hire.
Playa del Moro – Moro Beach
Nested between two rocky areas, Moro Beach is around 500 metres long and 30 metres wide. This fine sandy beach gets its name from the large emerging rock close by of the same name.
Tres Playas – Three Beaches
These are three small coves that are interconnected, they have a mixture of sand and shingle.
Playa Mañetes o Tropicana – either called Mañetes or Tropicana Beach
If you are looking to get a bit more peace during the season, this beach can be a good choice as it tends to be less crowded. It is a fine sandy beach, around 400 metres long and 40 metres wide.
Playa Serradal – Serradal Beach
South of Mañetes Beach lies Serradal Beach, which is close to the mouth of the Saint Michael (San Miguel) river, by the protected marshlands.
Playas Ribamar – Ribamar Beaches
A great place for those who want to go underwater diving, these coves contrast with the busier sandy beaches closer to Alcossebre centre. You’ll find small quiet bays of lovely transparent water, and towards the north large rocky outcrops. Sailing is also possible, at Les Fonts marina there’s a sailing school.
Apart from the beaches mentioned, there are also smaller coves.
Castillo de Xivert – Xivert Castle>
Southwest Sierra de Irta
Perched on the top of the mountain, with views over the sea and plains, Xivert Castle was originally a Moorish construction, that is thought to have been built in the late 11th century or early 12th century. It was re-modelled after the reconquest by the Knights of the Templar. Various modifications happened down through the subsequent centuries on this 8000 metre construction.
There are three distinctive areas, which are the castle fortress (Alcazaba), the walled area where the locals and their animals would go if there was conflict (Albacar) and the walled settlement on the southeast of the mountain (Alijama). Within the castle you’ll also see a Gothic chapel, twin towers, the homage tower and the Gothic cistern.
Torre Cap i Corb – Cap i Corb Tower Alcalà de Xivert
Cap i Corb
There was a large network of surveillance towers which formed a network around Xivert Castle and Torre Cap i Corb was the best known of these. It is located in the area of the town of the same name. 13 metres in height, today it preserves little of its original structure and is privately owned.
Torre Ebrí – Ebrí Tower
Sierra de Irta
On a clear day you can see the beautiful Delta D’Ebro River and park area, from this tower which is located 496 metres above sea level. Originally constructed to watch out for attacks by Turkish or Barbary pirates, it is a round tower, 8.5 metres high and 5.5 metres in diameter. The ground floor was originally stables and above were the living quarters for the watchmen.
Iglesia San Juan Bautista – Church of Saint John the Baptist Alcalà de Xivert
Plaza la Iglesia, 12570 Alcalà de Xivert, Phone: 964412205, firstname.lastname@example.org
The dome and church are quite striking in the setting of the valley as you come closer to Alcalà de Xivert. This great classical Baroque church had its very first foundation stone laid on 14th April 1736, and the work on the church took around 40 years. To fund it, there was a tax of a thirteenth of the local peoples’ incomes, as well as voluntary work. It is a very important architectural complex however, which is made up of the church itself, the bell tower and the parish museum.
The church has a splendid facade and the interior has three naves which are divided into five vaulted sections. Antonio Granjer, José Herrero, and Joan Barceló were the architects and in 1996 painter, Vicente Traver Calzada, painted a large central altarpiece, which depicts the beheading of St. John the Baptist. This choice of illustration is meant to reflect the timelessness of evil and violence. Inside the church you’ll also find the museum, which has treasures of religious and artistic importance.
Capilla Virgen de los Desamparados, Alcalà de Xivert- Chapel of Our Lady of the Forsaken
C/ Virgen de los Desamparados at the corner that meets Alcalde Puig
Located on the street of the same name, this chapel was constructed in 1705 and a second phase of construction was carried out in 1863, with the latest restoration work taking place during 2004. The feast of Our Lady of the Forsaken is on the second Sunday of May.
Ermita de Santa Lucía y Sant Benet – Hermitage of Saint Lucy and Saint Benet
San Benet Mountain Alcossebre
Quite recently restored, the chapel originally dates back to the 17th century. As it is 312 metres above sea level, it is not only the Baroque Valencian style architecture that you can admire, but the most magnificent views over the Mediterranean. On a clear day, it is quite spectacular with views to the Columbretes islands, the peaks of Santa Agueda, the Desierto de las Palmas nature area, the marshes of Prat de Cabanes-Torreblanca, and if it is really clear it is possible to see the Cape of San Antonio, in Alicante.
The other building that butts against the chapel used to be a hostel for pilgrims. Today the traditions are preserved for both saint days, for Saint Benet on 11th June and Saint Lucy on 13th December. Mass and processions are held in honour of the respective saints.
On the way to and from Alcossebre centre to the hermitage, you won’t want to speed! There are parts of the road that are very narrow, steep and winding – so although it’s worth the trip, do drive safely.
Ermita de San Antonio – Hermitage of Saint Anthony
Cap i Corb, close to the mouth of the Cuevas River
A shepherd called Bartolomé Conesa was on the beach when he found an image of St. Anthony of Padua, in 1760. To honour the patron saint, Doctor Gabriel Ebrí, had the chapel built at his own expense.
Ermita del Calvario – Chapel of the Stations of the Cross
Work started on this Valencian Baroque chapel, in fact, a few years before the construction started on the parish church. However although construction began on 3rd May 1727, there were delays and the chapel was only blessed on 31st August 1779.
It has a typical Greek cross floor plan, on the left you’ll see the sacristy and on the right the chapel house; it is dominated by its dome and the space is centred. There is sculpted stucco work and paintings with themes from the Burial, the Passion, the Prayer in the Garden and the Flagellation. It is flanked by beautiful cypresses, and there is a recreational area outside.
Where to Eat
Alcossebre-Alcala de Xivert Carnival
Check out how the carnival works in the locality, as always it is held in the run up to Lent – carnival Alcala de Xivert-Alcossebre
Alcossebre – Tuesday 17.00 – 22.00 – Camí de l’Atall – a general market with around 140 stalls.
Alcala de Xivert- Friday mornings – Plaça Ricardo Cardona – this is a general market with around 50 stalls.
Club de Vela Alcossebre – Alcossebre Sailing Club
The Alcossebre Sailing Club is located at Playa del Carregador.
Puerto Deportivo de Alcossebre – Alcossebre Marina
1985 saw the opening of this marina, which is in total around 65,000m2 and can accommodate around 300 boats and has the capacity for 200 boats in dry dock. It has plenty of the services one would expect from a marina. The diving centre is also based there and it offers courses for all levels. Boat hire is also available in the marina.
Below are the most convenient airports for accessing Alcossebre & Alcala de Xivert
Distance from Alcossebre to Castellon Airport: 22 km
At the time of writing Ryanair will be serving this airport from September 2015, to begin with from/to London Stansted and Bristol.
Here is a feature about the Castellon Airport
Distance from Alcossebre to Valencia Airport: 122 km
A list of destinations and airlines/tour operators can be found at Valencia Manises Airport
Distance from Alcossebre to Reus Airport: 152 km
A list of destinations and airlines/tour operators can be found at Reus Airport
Distance from Alcossebre to Barcelona Airport: 233 km
A list of destinations and airlines/tour operators which serve the airport can be found here at Barcelona Airport
Castellon Airport will have some transport running to various locations, we will update this information when we receive it.
Valencia and Barcelona can be reached quite easily by train, in both cases you need to make just one change for the airport, in Valencia at Estacion Nord and in Barcelona in Sants.
Reus – I personally always drive there, but you can get a train to Salou and then get transport from there.