Located on Spain’s Orange Blossom Coast (Costa Azahar), Torreblanca is an old fishing village that has become modernised and is promoting itself as a growing tourism destination. Compared to some of the other seaside towns, such as Les Cases d’Alcanar and Sant Carles de la Rapita, in Catalonia, Torreblanca is more developed for tourism, which is mostly concentrated at the blue flag beach of Torrenostra. This means that it’s more set up for family tourism, of course depending on what your family likes! Torrenostra has a fine promenade and a landscaped garden that has games for the younger family members, plus the town and its surroundings have some sites of cultural interest.
Yet although it’s more developed for tourism there’s plenty of the town that is pretty normal and is really just like another other working Spanish town. The most obvious part for tourists stands out clearly as the Torrenostra beach area. So there’s a bit of both going on. The town has a pleasant feel about it.
If like me you love really authentic old towns, then you can visit the old town of Oropesa del Mar – Oropesa Vella. In lots of places in this area, you’ll find old towns bordering or combined with new towns. However in the case of Oropesa Del Mar, Castellon, the contrast seems even more dramatic than normal. This is because of the Marina d’Or development, which is the kind tourism that isn’t my personal cup of tea, but does mean that everything is on hand for families who want that type of holiday.
Of course one way to get something extra out of your holiday is to travel during one of the fantastic fiestas. In Torreblanca the major summer festival in honour of the patron saint, St Bartholomew, is held during the last week in August – often kicking off around the 23rd/24th August. There’s plenty of fun for all the family, of course also some religious events because this is the tradition, plus bulls, parades, dinners, partying and a giant paella.
If it’s a relaxing beach holiday that you’re after, the beach and promenade of Torrenostra could be really all that you need. If you’re travelling during the height of the season you can expect it to be pretty busy, but it’s a big beach so there’s still room to relax without being entirely on top of other people. Also there is a little massage tent on the beach. On the promenade there’s a generous choice of restaurants, bars and shops, and if you feel too lazy to walk that tiny distance, there’s one or two things even closer to the beach.
Torreblanca Brief History
The town was founded sometime around the middle of the 13th century. In 1397 the town was raided and plundered by the Barbary pirates, and still jewels from the church, as well as the sacred host, which somehow other was miraculously recovered the following year.
Things To Do
Playa Torrenostra – Torrenostra Beach – 3km from the town
A blue flag, sandy beach which is suitable for children because of the two long breakwaters which slow the current down, making it perfect for swimming. This is where you’ll find the fine promenade and the big green area, where the kids can play. It’s around 600 metres long and 80 metres wide.
Torre del Marqués (Marquis Tower) Also known as Doña Blanca (White Lady)
Located about 2km from the town towards the coast, the medieval building belonged to Doña Blanca who was a descendant of King James I of Spain. It’s a large square tower with four floors, with four rectangular windows on the facade and a round box at its northwest corner.
Torre Nostra o Torre Nova – Our Tower or New Tower
Calle San Juan 118
The tower was built using sandstone and limestone, and when houses were being built in 1875 the first ones took on the same alignment as the tower, facing the sea. These days it’s surrounded by apartments.
Iglesia Parroquial de San Bartolomé – St. Barthomolew’s Parish Church
Calle de San Jaime, 29, Torreblanca 12596 Website: http://parroquiatorreblanca.org/
Constructed in the 18th century by Juan Barceló, the church is home to some important art, in particular a canvas of extraordinary dimensions of the assault by the Barbary pirates, by José Orient. The striking part of the Iglesia Parroquial de San Bartolomé as you approach, is its domed vault with its blue glazed tiles, which twinkle in the sunlight. When you go inside you’ll see that the roof is adorned with striking frescoes about the life of Saint Barthomolew, by Joaquin Oliet, the Valencian painter. St. Barthomolew is the patron saint of the town, and his feast is celebrated from the 23rd August to the 1st September – you can read about that in the festivals section below. On the exterior as you can see in one of the photos there’s a stone inscription that says 1692.
Iglesia de San Francisco de Asís – Church of Saint Francis of Assisi
Plaza de la Ermita
The church is dated to the 14th century because it existed at the time of the Berber raid of 1397. Used for defensive purposes, the Morellano Gothic church has one nave and is divided into four sections, by arches that rest on pillars. Throughout the church there’s evidence of its former defensive purpose; one example is the tower vestry, which has very well defined arches on both sides. The capacity of the church was to serve the 30 to 40 families who would have been living in the vicinity.
Ermita del Calvario – Hermitage of the Calvary
Plaza de la Ermita
On the same site as the Iglesia Parroquial de San Bartolomé is the Ermita del Calvario which is dedicated to crucified Christ, to whom the Torreblanquinos (people from Torreblanca) are very devout. It is one of the most interesting hermitages of the province, and as you go down the winding road there are small chapels scattered which represent the crucifixion. It is a monument of cultural interest. The views from the top of the hill where it is are great, and on a clear day you can see the Columbretes Islands.
Parque Natural del Prat de Cabanes – El Prat de Cabanes Natural Park
This is a very important Natural Park that is part of the municipality of Torreblanca and also Cabanes. It’s Castellon’s main wetlands and there’s a good selection of birds there, as well as fish, and a big treat for many of us is the European pond turtle. Click on El Prat de Cabanes Natural Park to find out more.
The two closest attractions to Torreblanca that are perfect for family days out with the kids are in Oropesa del Mar, at the Marina D’Or resort. These are:
Mundo Fantasia – Fantasy World
Marina d’Or Resort
This is a great kids theme park, with heaps of attractions, which has a medieval wall surrounding it, and has huge figures decorating it. Fun activities include speeding tree trunks, mini go-karts, jumping on trampolines and with harnesses, an inflatable play zone and a merry-go-round. There is also a 4D cinema and a pirate ship.
Aventura d’Or Parc Tematica – Gold Adventure Theme Park
Also at the Marina d’Or Resort, this is the perfect place for both young and older children! It opens during the high season of July and Augut, as well as during Easter Week. Forget the children, just joking… and get yourself onto the giant slide, the mixer or the spider. Or what about the free fall? There’s a quad circuit, a rock wall and much more.