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.


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,


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

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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


Weekly Markets

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.

Outdoor Activities

Water Activities

Club de Vela Alcossebre – Alcossebre Sailing Club

The Alcossebre Sailing Club is located at Playa del Carregador.



Yacht Clubs

Puerto Deportivo de Alcossebre – Alcossebre Marina

Las Fuentes

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.



Other Travel Ideas


Parc Guell Barcelona



Sa Tuna Begur Costa Brava



Cadaques Costa Brava Fishing Boats and View At Night



Lloret de Mar boat at beach



Cambrils Catalonia beaches



Pals Girona Catalonia Picturesque medieval village



Chert Spain arch in old quarter-1



Mantis Shrimp Gastronomic Festival Alcanar Catalonia



Vinaros Spain Cala Puntal



Figueres Dali Theatre Museum Catalonia ed2



Wine routes Catalonia Penedes-1



Beach at Delta de l'Ebre Natural Park


27 Responses to Alcossebre-Alcalà de Xivert Travel Guide

  1. Kathryn Burrington March 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    Once again you tempt us with some beautiful buildings. The castle looks fascinating and after wondering around there for a few hours I might just fancy a cold beer in the Aussie bar!

    • Jackie De Burca March 5, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

      Thanks Kathryn, I have to say I was really surprised about the Aussie bar, it was really funny to see it the first time, with the kangaroos and everything. We live a little far to take a drink and drive, but would like to incorporate it into a trip when they’re doing some live music, which they do, and stay somewhere close by.

  2. Paul (@luxury__travel) March 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    That Aussie bar looks like it has lots of character!!! I imagine I’d be quite torn between the two places – one for the more authentic experience, the other for just being able to relax (and, I imagine, it would be a little more family friendly?). Once again, it’s looking like there’s lots to see and do. I had no idea there was this much in the area.

    • Jackie De Burca March 6, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      It does Paul. I think for a family Alcossebre would definitely need to be the main base, but going from time to time to Alcala de Xivert for more authenticity would work well. Also their main festival in the summer runs between the two towns, from the last week in August until 1st week/10 days of September.

  3. anna parker March 5, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    I am definitely learning a lot about this part of the world in your articles – they are very interesting and act like short guide books about an area, with great photos! Always a fan of visiting yacht clubs – many have reciprocal memberships with other sailing clubs – we often take advantage of that on holiday and the food and drink is often less expensive and less likely to bump into too many English tourists!! love what looks like a Moroccan influence on some of the architecture too

    • Jackie De Burca March 6, 2014 at 9:29 am #

      Thanks Anna, for both the positive comment and what you’ve said about yacht clubs, as I wouldn’t have known that, so definitely something to research further down the line.

  4. Lee Briggs March 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    I think I’d choose Alcalà de Xivert and head to Alcossebre if I decide I want a day at the beach.The castles, the heritages and the churches all look like great places to explore the various architectural styles, especially the Moorish style which reflects the long Arabian presence here.
    Looks like this could be a good stop on a trip from Barcelona to Valencia.

    • Jackie De Burca March 8, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      Yes Lee, it would be a good stop en route from Barcelona to Valencia. If you start planning a trip let me know and I will suggest other ideas for you. Have a great weekend.

  5. Chris Boothman March 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    I have to admit that before I started reading your series, I had no real idea about this particular region but now thanks to you I feel like I am getting a much better sense of the history, heritage and beautiful architecture that is present here!

    Sounds to me like a perfect day could include a trip exploring the historic Xivert Castle followed by a relaxing afternoon to recover either on one of those gorgeous beaches or in a local bar or coffee shop reflecting on your earlier expedition!

    • Jackie De Burca March 8, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      Hey Chris, it’s only the tip of the iceberg really! But I’m really glad that it’s opening you up to this area. Have a great weekend.

  6. Michael buell August 9, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    The town of Alcala is a delight to discover,lots of typical Spanish things that are not evident on the coast. Should anyone wish to take a walking tour of the place I would be only too pleased to show you round. Michael (resident)

    • Jackie De Burca August 9, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      Thanks Michael, well that’s a great offer for anyone thinking of coming over. Very good of you, Michael. If someone wants to do so just pop on a message here and we’ll email Michael on your behalf.

      • Michael buell August 10, 2014 at 11:14 am #

        You are most welcome, I feel that the local ajuntamiento doesn’t promote the towns historical/architectural features as well as it might. I lived here for 4 years before i spotted the Stone commemorating the battle between the townspeople and a marauding band of “Moors”. Its just a Stone in a Wall with nothing to draw your attention…pity. Anyway the offer stands if anyone happens to be in Alcala and would like an informed walk I,d be happy to oblige. Michael.

        • Jackie De Burca August 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

          Thanks so much Michael. I think it very much depends on the town or village in question, but certainly with Castellon Airport hoping to open at the end of this year, this should change over time. That said, I sincerely hope that it doesn’t change in a bad way. I will definitely contact you Michael, it is kind of you and would be very helpful to some people. Thanks again, Jackie

  7. Carol Quinn October 11, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Hi, my husband, 2 dogs and myself are travelling to Ribamar with our caravan, arriving 1st February 2015 and staying for approx. 10 weeks. We stayed near to Benacassim (about 19 miles away) earlier this year and enjoyed the area.

    Could you tell us if dogs are allowed on the beaches and also if they are welcome at restaurants here! Last year we toured France and the dogs were allowed on the beaches and also inside restaurants but Spain did not appear to be so dog friendly.

    • Jackie De Burca October 12, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      Hi Carol, we have 4 dogs ourselves, but we don’t travel with them, as my Dad in law lives very close to us so he takes care of them when we travel. Unfortunately Spain is not that advanced as yet when it comes to dogs. Some restaurants may let you have them on the terrace, but you will have to check that as you find places – there isn’t really a general rule. Some people here see dogs purely as creatures to guard their land, and others would be more similar to ourselves, where they may see them as a furry family member. However in my experience this is not as frequent as back in Ireland or the UK.

      Taking your dogs on beaches is also not straightforward. On many beaches you can get a fine, and the amount of the fine differs from one town to the next. It’s a decision made at a local level. I had a bit of a dig around for you, and you may want to re-think your choice in your main destination. Right now there’s a lot of activity going on there about the issue of dogs on beaches. The maximum fine in Alcossebre is €1500!! It’s a shame obviously but it may just make your holiday more complicated than it needs to be. One place quite close to where we are based, Vinaros, is currently the only place in the province of Castellon to have set up a dog beach. Vinaros is not the same type of destination as Alcossebre. There is less English spoken, so if that’s important to you it may not be the right choice. Vinaros is the capital of the Baix Maestrat region, and is a typical town, that I like, but it definitely wouldn’t have as many English speaking ex pats as Alcossebre.

      Check the links below, using Google Translate.

      This first one gives a crystal clear view of how little official dog friendly beaches we have right now. If you haven’t been to the Delta de l’Ebre before, you may enjoy this. You’ve also got 3 quite close together in Girona, which is a lovely province. Personally that’s how I would plan this trip, if we were travelling in a caravan with our dogs. I think it would reduce stress, knowing that you don’t have to be keeping an eye out for the police…and a potentially hefty fine. 🙂

      Here is the link to our piece on the Delta de l’Ebre:

      This site is quite new, and soon the design will be more user friendly, but right now to find the destinations that we have already featured you need to use the dropdown menu from Catalonia and Valencian Community on the top menu. There’s more so far for Catalonia.

      Fines up to 1500eur

      Petition to allow dogs on the beaches

      Hotels for dogs

      I know you’re coming in a caravan, but the last link is at least interesting to have.

      I hope this is of some help for you, Carol. Do feel free to come back with any further questions you may have, I will be happy to help you.

      I would love to hear what decision you make, and also if after your trip you could comment, so that your experience would help other dog owners who are travelling by caravan or motorhome. Eventually we’ll have campings etc on the site also.

      Have a great trip whatever you decide to do,

      Kind regards,

  8. Francis July 20, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Pet Friendly accommodations in Spain, admission policy is published

    • Jackie De Burca July 21, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks Francis for this useful link.

      • Micky February 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

        There is now a dog friendly beach between alcove breaks and Cap I Corb

        • Jackie De Burca April 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

          Hi Micky,
          Thanks so much for that. If you happen to take any photos, I would love to feature one with your permission. My email is
          Warm regards, Jackie

  9. Sandra Goldsbrough November 20, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

    What a fascinating article and so much information. We stayed in our caravan in Alcossebre(Camping Ribamar) last year and loved it. We have now booked to stay over Christmas and New Year in one of their bungalows along with 2 friends and their dog(in their own bungalow).
    We are a little uncertain about the weather and also what is open at this time of year and starting to worry a bit about whether we have made a mistake? Do you have any advice about the climate? It all looks good on the climate websites(we are not bothered about too much heat, not being sun worshippers or even touristy shops being open but will want to go out and about in the area. We will want to eat out as well
    Do you have any advice? The other sites have little information as to what is and isn’t open in December/January. We will be there for 2 weeks

    • Jackie De Burca November 22, 2015 at 10:57 am #

      Hi Sandra,
      Thanks so much. Weather at that type of the year is unpredictable. I’ve had Christmas days where you could be on the beach, obviously not boiling, but pleasantly hot, and many people are out having tapas and drinks. You may be aware that here in Spain Xmas is celebrated on Xmas Eve, not the same as we do in England or Ireland. Alcossebre has a larger International community than some of the other coastal towns of the area, so although I haven’t been there personally during Xmas, I am sure there should be enough open to enjoy yourselves. Naturally it will be different to the busier parts of the season. Do let me know how you get on, I would love to hear.

      • Sandra Goldsbrough November 23, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

        Hi Jackie

        Thank you for getting back to me. Yes, we do know that Spain does Christmas Eve but would that be in the evening? The men in the party would probably like something fairly traditional on Christmas Day as well(unlike Jane and I). It’s just difficult trying to find when and where to book and where is open. In the UK if we are out on Christmas Day we have to book early but it may be that it isn’t necessary in Spain. The lady at Camping Ribamar didn’t seem to think so. We don’t have to be in Alcossebre of course, having cars. Do people book for their Christmas Eve meal well in advance? We are trying to get organised as we don’t get there until 21st. It may be that other towns have bars, restaurants etc open over the period. We are there for 2 weeks so hopefully will have ok weather.

        I have also enjoyed reading your other pages about the towns in the area. A website we would have loved had we found it before we came last year. The guide books are so limited about the area.


        • Jackie De Burca November 24, 2015 at 9:59 am #

          Hi Sandra
          Once again thanks for your kind comments. 🙂 The website is something that I am currently doing in my “spare” time. So last week when you left your comment, we were in transit to Dublin where I am from, and also where we are seeing some of our digital marketing agency clients. Hence my delay in coming back. Firstly yes you would definitely need to book something for Xmas Eve, otherwise you may be stuck. What I can do is have an online chat with their tourist authority, and see if they can make any suggestions at all that may help you and your party in making bookings and decisions.

          Leave this with me, and I will come back as soon as I have any news from them.


  10. Karen May 1, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

    Hi Jackie
    We are visiting end of may for a special birthday and wondered if you knew anywhere that would charter a boat for us (with driver) and some champagne to have on board etc. Or a restaurant that is a bit special that would host a gathering on a balcony or somewhere picturesque for a sunset meal/drinks?
    Thanks in advance,

    • Jackie De Burca May 3, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

      Hi Karen,
      What a lovely idea for a special celebration. I can’t vouch for this company personally, but they rent with and without skipper, so they may be worth a try.

      In terms of a restaurant like that, I’ll be honest and say that I am not sure of somewhere in that location that fits that bill. El Pinar has lovely views, but I’ve heard mixed feedback, some fabulous and some not. Out of Alcossebre, there are 2 restaurants that I would personally really rate, but neither has the type of location you are asking for – but may suit for another night out. In Peñiscola, there’s Carmen Guillemot – which moved there from Alcanar early 2015, and I have reviewed it here.

      Not far from Pe̱iscola, is Raul Resino Рin Benicarlo, who has just won Chef of the Year in Spain recently.

      I hope the celebrations and holiday are wonderful, and that my information is of some use.

  11. Karen May 10, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    Thank you Jackie!

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