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The typical city and municipality of Burriana is only 13 km from Castellon, and is beautifully surrounded by fields of orange trees. It has a glorious 11 km coastline, where you can dig your toes into the fine sandy beaches, and paddle or swim in lovely clear waters. The town and its surrounding countryside are at the mouth of the River Mijares, so there is plenty of natural beauty, as well as interesting cultural heritage and sights. Burriana comes across as a normal Spanish working city, that has a certain amount of tourism, mainly Spanish, but with other nationalities mixed in as well. Some of you may have heard of it as it plays host to the Festival Arenal Sound each year.
Sun-kissed and blessed with fertile orange groves, the town of Burriana is the place to go if you want to understand more about oranges – as it has its very own Orange Museum. In fact, this is the only Orange Museum currently in Europe. It also has its own archaeological museum, plus interesting routes to enjoy around the rural landscape, where you can discover historic monuments and hermitages.
Do be aware that the surroundings and outskirts of Burriana are pretty industrialised. It seems like almost a continuation of Castellon itself in that sense. Around town, if like me you love modernist buildings, you will really enjoy wandering around Burriana. Additionally there is the 13th century Gothic El Salvador Church, and the St. Joseph Church of the Barefoot Carmelites, to be seen.
If you want to make any day trips to other cities, the beautiful city of Valencia is only 45 minutes drive away, 62 km, and if you’re curious you can read more about it in our Valencia Travel Guide. Very close by, there is the thriving and growing city of Castellón, which also has heaps to see and do, including its own lovely marina and casino – more information can be found about that interesting place in the Castellón Travel Guide.
The area of Burriana has a mix of plenty of normal city life, alongside its beaches. It hasn’t any kind of a resort feeling to it, and will appeal more to those who wish to be in a city/big town environment, where normal life is going on regardless of tourism. You won’t see (at least we didn’t spot any) English or Irish breakfasts.
Check out the average weather in Burriana Castellon Spain
The Central Market of Burriana was the project of Enrique Pecourt in 1930, who managed to create a stunning building, which integrates the very best values of Rationalism and Expressionism architectural styles. This is combined with the contemporary tradition of Valencian markets, and blended in with the excellence of the brickwork of that time. The structure is a large nave, with clear walls which rest on iron columns.
There’s a splendid arch which embraces the entrance doors, which is topped with beautiful polychrome stain-glass windows, where images from Burriana’s agricultural heritage and culture are depicted – in fact, quite similar to what you can also see in the central market of Amposta in Catalonia. Years ago, there also used to be a gorgeous water fountain in the centre, which was produced by Ricardo Romero Baixauri, the sculptor.
It won’t surprise you to know that among Burriana’s main attractions are its beaches: which are Arenal and Malvarrosa-Grao. For now the town still has a reputation of having relatively quiet beaches, where you can just kick back and relax, popping into the lovely clear water to cool off from the summer sunshine.
Arenal Beach has the Blue Flag qualification, so you know that it’s a good beach, with high standards of cleanliness and it’s pro-active environmentally. The beach additionally holds the Q for Quality credentials, which is basically a seal of approval on the quality of the beach’s services, awarded by the Spanish Institute for Tourist Quality. Among its highlights is that it’s an easily accessible beach, with pathways and large-sized toilets.
If you want to be closer to the main tourist attractions and facilities for and around the Arenal beach, then head to the southern part, near the port. No matter which part of the beach you choose, throughout many months of the year you should be almost guaranteed lovely blue skies and sea, sparkling sunshine and the Mediterranean Sea breeze.
This seaside is the prolongation of the Arenal Beach heading to the north. It has a peaceful atmosphere and is broken down by a breakwater which provides it with sand to the south, yet pebbles on the northern part. It has also got the Blue Flag and the Q for Quality certifications. Malvarrosa-Grao has an accessible beach for individuals with mobility challenges.
The Carabona Tower can be found south west of the town of Burriana, just head along the “Camí del Palmeral” and once you’re about 250 metres from the “Camí Vell de Valencia”, you’ll stumble upon the Torre de Carabona – the Carabona Tower. It has a rectangular layout, of 10.95 m by 6.10 m; comprised of a ground floor and 2 heights, reaching an overall elevation of 9.20 m and covered by a framework which assists a gabled roofing. The floors are linked using a vaulted stairs. The floor’s circulation, separated by a wall found six metres from the front view, bring about the thought that the initial tower may have been smaller sized than the present construction.
It is believed that the preliminary structure was constructed in the 13th century, however elements such as the loopholes, the pillar of the top floor and the roof covering are thought to date to the 18th century.
The ground floor, with its existing configuration, is reminiscent to that of a country house, and inside rooms include a living-room and cooking area within one space, which are attached to the stables, with the bedrooms located on the upper floor. The first floor houses two bedrooms of different elevations.
(The above photo is of the Flamenco singer Juan Varea)
The Torre del Mar was constructed by the Regional Government in 1547, with its construction paid for by the taxes on silk. The Torre del Mar – or the Tower of the Sea is typical of the numerous watchtowers which filled up the Valencian coast, pretty much any place the rough coastline called for the visibility and security of these structures. Of course the mission was to safeguard the coast from adversary vessels. In the case of detecting a boat which appeared to pose a threat, the local population were alerted, as were the closest neighbouring towns and communities. These notifications were often done through smoke signals or even carrier pigeons. This meant the alerts were handed down along the coastline from tower to tower, and population to population.
Despite its closeness to the river spring, offered its area alongside the Clot de la Mare de Deu establishing, its water was sourced from its own well located on the n. part of the ground floor, likewise highlighting its mangers and its voussoir door with straight lintel.
It rises like a square-based tower with an elevation of 14 metres and with a 25-metre border. The ground floor consists of a little secure and is covered by a barrel vault with three square loopholes for the soldiers to safeguard themselves in the event of being occupied. The 2nd floor includes 2 loophole home windows, highlighting the one facing the northeast, which has two side openings for the cross fire from its protectors.
On the exterior, on the southwestern façade, there is a primitive door with tough ashlar jambs and a lobbed dintel in brick. On a more interested note, the external wall surface on the south side at the height of the 2nd flooring maintains a primitive door, which has been shut out, with a lobbed lintel of Mudejar style. This building is secured by the common Declaration of the Decree of 22 April 1949, and Law 16/1985 on Spanish Historic Heritage.
In 1969 the church was declared a monument of national importance both historically and artistically. The Church of the Saviour in Burriana was commissioned by King James I, in 1233, to celebrate the first big victory of the conquest of Valencia. The large temple commenced construction in the early Gothic style, and along the way several Roman elements were also integrated. In its earlier days, the church was originally dedicated to St Mary by King James I, but around the middle of the 14th century it was dedicated, instead, to El Salvador – the Saviour.
Erected in 1363 as a fortified tower, the Burriana Bell Tower had dual uses of being both a public clock and a communications tower. It has two doors to access it, but it was never linked to the church since its inception. Its design draws on an octagon shape spread over a square base, in the interior you’ll find a spiral staircase which leads up to the bell room. Originally there were eight Windows there, however in the latter part of the 17th century it suffered severe damage which meant that both the parapet and the bell room had to be demolished.
When it was rebuilt, the design was in tune with the trends of the times that could be seen throughout the towns in the area, as well as within the city of Valencia itself. However on 5 July 1938, in the wee hours, Burriana experienced three dramatic explosions, which could be felt across the entire region of Castellon La Plana. The Republican Army had placed 32 boxes of dynamite inside the Burriana Bell Tower. Naturally enough the tower itself was destroyed, as were a number of homes around the square, and the El Salvador church also suffered some damage.
In 1942 the reconstruction work began, on the Bell tower of which had of course been of huge importance to the people of the area. The project was entrusted to Vicente Piqueres, a carpenter-artisan, who directed the work in accordance with drawings that were given to him by the town architect of that time, Enrique Pecourt.
After Burriana had been conquered from the Muslims, King James I gave away a number of properties to members of the Order of la Merced, which he had co-founded. Then in 1594 the town council gave the Hermitage of St Matthew to the Order of La Merced, and friars who wanted to live more strictly, in poorer conditions, went to live there.
However in 1738 it was agreed to demolish the old Hermitage, so that a larger temple could be built in its place, in neoclassical style. Then in 1812, French troops evicted the order, which enabled the confidence to become a barracks and the temple to be used as stables. Once the French had been evicted, the friars returned, however in 1836 because of the Decree of Confiscations, it was abandoned by the Mercedarians.
The town council used it for a variety of public uses, such as a public library, public schools housing for teachers, a prison and for the town council itself. It has also undergone a series of reforms, one of particular note was in 1991, when the cloister was converted into the Cultural Centre of La Merced – Centre Cultural la Mercé. This is where the town’s excellent Archaeological Museum can be found.
Calle Sant Joan de la Creu
In 1895 the Carmelite Convent of Burriana was set up, which led to the construction of this beautiful church a few years later. The Castellón town architect, Mr. Godofredo Ros de Ursinos, was in charge of the project, which was in keeping with the standards that governed Gothic architecture. It went through a variety of periods of construction, and it wasn’t until 17th April 1929 that it was consecrated.
It has a rectangular floorplan, elegant lines and a large transept, which has six side chapels and altars. It has moderate decoration, and it’s on the main alter that you cansee the image of St Joseph, to whom it is dedicated. You may notice that instead of wood, artificial stones and marble are used in some of the ornamental elements.
Calle de Sant Blai
There are two different legends about how this Hermitage came into being. One says the King James I commissioned Pedro Cornell to recruit people from his land in Aragon to inhabit the area of Burriana. It is said that he returned with people from Teruel, Albarracín, Aljaferia and Daroca. Those that came from the last two towns wanted to preserve the esteem that they had held traditionally, for the Bishop of San Blas. So the Hermitage was erected.
However the other legend says that some people from the town of Burriana itself found and alter which was floating in the waters after a very powerful storm, which had scared the living daylights out of the local people. The storm was seemingly pacified, and the people felt the miracle was thanks to the saint, who was made patron saint of the city and the hermitage was erected in his honour.
In 1882 the old Hermitage was demolished in order to make room for a new one. However in August 1936 the disturbances led to the image of the saint being destroyed.
The saint’s image that you will see today is actually by a sculptor called Julio Pascual Rubert Fuster, who was from the nearby town of Villareal. The hermitage is on the outskirts of Burriana, and although doesn’t follow one particular architectural style, you can see some neoclassical elements, for example the facade and also the bell tower.
On the 8th February 2002, this spectacular, magical space was proclaimed a Natural Municipal Park by Agreement of the Council of the Regional Government. The origins of the Clot de la Mare de Déu Natural Municipal Park come from the springs, which burble from the last stretch of the Riu Sec (Dry River) or Ana, which goes through Burriana.
It is an interesting, almost magical spot to wander through, being a riverside forest, and the elm tree is king of the river forest, with his loyal subjects being the willows, poplars, black poplars and European nettles! As well as these tree species there’s a huge amount of plants, including bushes, herbaceous selections, aquatic types, and there is just such an interesting and rich ecosystem living in fragile equilibrium. The park is well loved by the local people, who use it when they want to absorb the benefits of being in its wonderful natural environment.
The mouth of the river Mijares and Les Goles, the surrounding area between the Burriana and Almassora local areas, is a humid location with a large range of bird varieties – in fact at last count, up to 207 various varieties were signed up a couple of years earlier and despite the industrial and urban advancement of the past years, it still preserves the biggest populaces of Black-winged Stilt and Purple Gallinule in Castellón. There are also plant varieties such as grasses, canes and reeds, as well as marine vegetation. The Regional Government of Valencia has actually proclaimed the Mouth of the River Mijares a Protected Landscape.