Vinaros Spain Travel Guide
When I first relocated from Nerja in the Costa del Sol, I lived in Vinaros Spain for a year. The friendliness of the people struck me immediately, it’s a pleasure to go to the shops and indoor market because of it. I took a particular liking to a woman on one of the fish stalls who thought my reaction to having to clean a fish myself was hilarious.
Vinaros A Popular Seaside Town | Cycling Friendly
Vinaros is the capital of the comarque, Baix Maestrat, and is a popular seaside destination for many nationalities, with Spanish, French, Germans and Dutch being the predominant ones. It has a beautiful promenade, a working port, an old town and plenty of ongoing activities. Even in the winter it seems like something happens every other weekend.
It is extremely cycling friendly, you’ll see people of all ages, types and nationalities cycling around Vinaros. There is one man in particular, who really makes me smile, as he looks so happy cycling around with his shirt off. It’s hard to put an age on him, but he could be close to 70, he’s quite tall and impressive looking on his bike. He was last spotted with a shirt on for the first time in early November!
Like many of the places here in the province of Castellón, it has not been overrun with the type of crowds that enjoy some of the tackier areas of the Costa del Sol, and hopefully this will never happen. Don’t expect to have many people speak English to you and don’t even think about an English or Irish breakfast!
At least for now that is the case! That said you will hear a few other ex pats around the area, as well as a variety of other nationalities.
Like most other towns it also has its rather plain parts, and some buildings here and there are a little run down. The promenade, the market square (which is really called Plaza San Agustin), Plaza San Antonio, the old town and lots of other streets more than make up for this. Although it gets very busy during the height of the season, it is not spoilt.
As you can see from the photo, the promenade in Vinaros is a fine one. During the summer, there are some stalls at night time also, in this area.
Things To Do
Even though seats on a promenade wouldn’t normally fall into a section about architecture, I love these so much, that I wanted to include a photo of them. It’s fun to snuggle your bum into one of these lovely stone sculptured seats and then let the sea seduce you. They’re also ideal for people watching.
Ayuntamiento – Town Hall
Although it was built in 1784, the Town Hall still retains its original facade today, although inside it has been changed at various stages to suit whatever the current requirements happened to be at any given time.
Plaza de Toros Vinaros-Bull Ring
Avenida Pablo Béjar – Phone: 964 451 648
The bull ring is easy to find, as it is on the right just in the area where the port is. Building started in January 1863 and it was inaugurated in 1867. Although I have been living in Spain since 2003, I have to admit I was never tempted to go to any bullfights, however this summer I went in Vinaros, as it was a bull fight with a difference. It was a national competition between many bullfighters, where they showed their skills without any violence. A few of the guys were in the ring at the same time and each would use different tactics to get the bull to run towards him and then it was a case of skill and acrobatics. It was an enjoyable evening, exciting enough without any violence.
I missed this one, but the pictures look great:
Torre de los Moros – Tower of the Moors
Located on the mountain slope by the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia Vinaroz y San Sebastián (The Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy and Saint Sebastian) is the Torre de los Moros. It has perfect visibility over Vinaros and the surrounding area, and it was used for defensive purposes by the Moors, between the 11th to 16th centuries. However it is believed that the settlement of the Moors in this area can be traced as far back as VII – VI (7th to 6th) centuries B.C. Constructed using bricks fashioned from earth, the tower measures 6.4 metres by 5.9 metres.
Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market)
Plaza de San Agustín
The architect, Francisco Tomás Traver, was responsible for the project of the Mercado Municipal, which commenced in 1928. A basilica outline was built which took into account the functional characteristics necessary for its purpose as municipal market.
Casa del Consell – Council House
Here you can see a well preserved, unique Gothic window in the facade of this building which dates back to the late 14th/early 15th century. There is also a small chapel in honour of Saint Domingo de Guzmán.
Casa de Ángel Giner (Ángel Giner House)
Calle Mayor 4
Although Casa de Ángel Giner is a private house, it is considered to be very symbolic of Vinarós. The facade has clean straight lines, which make the decorative elements stand out in all their glory. These are made up of musical elements, with their vegetable scrolls, along with the cast iron railings, it’s altogether aristocratic.
Of course, I have mentioned the main buildings that interest the average tourist, that enjoys this type of sightseeing, but as you’ll notice I have also included some photos taken around the town to give you a feel. The town is not full of mosaic, but here and there, are a few nice mosaic features, such as the fountain above at the roundabout.
The main beach, Playa del Fortí, is in the town centre by the lovely promenade. However as you go either onto the north of south coast there are lots of little coves also. Some of these on the south coast have interesting wooden structures (wooden solariums) that are perfect to relax on and watch the sea.
Playa del Fortí – Fortí Beach
In an ideal location for a relaxing holiday, the main beach in Vinarós is a blue flag beach with golden coarse sand, set against the backdrop of the promenade with its palm trees, red metal sculptures and curvy, voluptuous stone sculptured armchairs. Around 200 metres long and 40 metres wide, it’s close to plenty of bars and restaurants. It does get busy during the height of the season but is really convenient for all amenities.
Playa del Fora del Forat – Fora del Forat Beach
This beach is like a continuation of Playa del Fortí, if you walk north. If you face north when standing on the promenade or on Fortí beach, you’ll see quite an unusual structure off in the distance – this is Limbo, a bar and restaurant. The beach is down from there, on the way from the main beach and although smaller than the main beach, it is very pretty with a mixture of palm trees and pine trees behind it.
Off the beach, beside Limbo there are some outdoor exercise machines amongst the pine trees. Limbo looks pretty funky when lit up at night, and it is a gorgeous setting to have a drink or something to eat. It is not the cheapest place in town, but you are paying for the location.
Playa del Clot – Clot Beach
Tbe third beach that is in the town centre is Playa del Clot. If you are on the promenade or on the main beach, you need to head a small bit south in the direction of the bull ring. So you head towards the port and as you come to where you see bull ring on your right, you’ll see a small beach, this is Playa del Clot. It seems like you can walk out into the sea there for quite a while before you feel the depth change. The sand on this beach is less golden but its semi circular shape seems to be nicely sheltered. Behind it are a couple of bars, and overlooking it is a wooden hut bar.
Playa Riu de la Senia – Nudist – River of La Senia Beach
This is the last beach in the north, and is a remote pebble beach used by nudists. There has been no development here so don’t expect any beach facilities. It’s the place to go if you want peace and quiet, and to sunbathe in your birthday suit.
Vinaros Church of our Lady of the assumption- The Archpriest Church of Our Lady of the Assumption
Plaza del Ayuntamiento
Located in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall Square) the church is an excellent example of Gothic- Renaissance architecture. Construction started on 31st March 1586 and was almost totally finished on 24th December 1597.
However the bell tower was built during the 17th century, between 1603. and 1608, and the communion chapel was constructed between 1657 and 1667. In 1978 it was declared a monument of artistic and historic importance. Restoration work was carried out in 2013.
Iglesia de San Agustín, Auditorio Municipal “Wenceslao Aiguals de Izco” (Church of Saint Augustine and Municipal Auditorium “Wenceslao Aiguals de Izco”)
Plaza de San Agustín
The Iglesia de San Agustín is no longer open as a church, but rather plays the role of municipal auditorium. It is beside the lovely indoor market, on the square of the same name.
There are plenty of cafés to sit at close by, some of which kind of spill over into the centre of the square. The church was originally constructed during the 17th and 18th centuries, in Baroque and Rococo architectural styles.
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia Vinaroz y San Sebastián – The Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy and Saint Sebastian
6km from Vinaros on a hill called El Puig
Even if you don’t normally bother to visit chapels, churches or other architectural monuments of religious interest, it is worth a trip here just for the spectacular views back down over Vinaros, the Delta d’Ebre and out over the sparkling blue sea. You can easily spend quite a bit of time at the Ermita in Vinaros on a nice day, as firstly you can visit the chapel, then have a drink at the bar and wander around the garden, enjoying the magnificent views.
Built in the late 18th century by the sculptor, Juan Bautista Nicolau, it is typical of its time with a central dome and Greek cross. Inside you can see frescoes and a preserved altarpiece.
Where to Sleep
Where to Eat
Food & Restaurants In Vinaros
If you want to experience the real Spain, in a proper working town that has a good feeling, then it is the perfect place to come. In terms of food, when I first moved here I was concerned about how it would be. However there are plenty of good restaurants, with a tendency towards fish and Mediterranean style offerings. We do have one favourite, when we’re in the mood for a good meat orientated meal, and this is Cha Sisco. My other half obsessively orders the meat on the stone each time we go there. They also do very good clams, amongst their offerings. The guys there are very friendly and open to having fun with you if you give them half a chance.
If you want anything from a super tasty burger, to amazing sandwiches made of freshly baked bread, to specials such as paella, another choice is Desperados, close to the sea on the south coast. You may get the idea that this is a bikers bar, but the crowd coming in are totally mixed, and it’s a great location with very good food. This is not a place to go if you want to be wined and dined of an evening, but it’s perfect for very tasty food. Depending on the day, and who is working, sometimes the service can be rather relaxed …always pleasant, but don’t go there if you’re on a tight schedule!
There are plenty of cafés to sit down and enjoy life going by, but another favourite is Mozart which is on the promenade on the corner that leads into Plaza San Agustín (where the municipal market is). They do homemade croissants there, and also crepes to die for. Normally it’s very busy, so be patient with the girls, as they are often rushed off their feet.
Prawns On The Orange Blossom Coast
Known for its prawns in particular, the town is the most northerly town of the Orange Blossom Coast (Costa Azahar) and only a few kilometres from the border into Catalonia. These prawns have an especially strong taste.
Apart from prawns you’ll find that many of the restaurants offer a range of seafood, and rice dishes. So typical choices are paella, but there are a few variations on the theme. If you are not familiar with paella, many restaurants give a choice of mixed paella, meat paella or seafood paella.
40 Days Before Lent Starts – Carnaval – Carnival
The carnival is an 11 day event with a wonderful parade, it is very well known in the area. It’s carnival is very well known and we went to it in February 2013, and were very impressed. I met an old man from Barcelona in the queue for the toilet, who said it was the best carnival he had ever seen. For a little more information go to Vinaros Carnival.
17th to 19th January San Antonio Abad – Saint Anthony Feast Day
There are a variety of festivities including fireworks and going to the hermitage. Here’s a little more information about the St. Anthony Abad feast day in Vinaros.
20th January San Sebastián – Saint Sebastian Patron Saint Feast Day
This is a big celebration with a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Mercy and Saint Sebastian, which is 6km from the town itself at El Puig. Once there mass is celebrated and afterwards the locals eat paella and enjoy the festivities. Find out more about St. Sebastian Fiesta Vinaros.
All of these events can be found on this page – Vinaros Spain Travel & Fiestas
Semana Santa – Easter Week<
Easter week is huge throughout Spain, and Vinaros is no different. If you visit during Easter week the best thing you can do is pick up information from the tourist office which is located on the promenade. Here is a more detailed overview of what to expect during Easter Week in Vinaros.
16th July – Virgen del Carmen
This is fabulous festival, which happens in many seaside locations in Spain, that is organised by the fishermen’s organisation. Floats are lit up on boats out at sea, with the image of the virgin. See more about the Vinaros Carmen Festival.
15th August – Fiestas del Langostino – Prawn/Langoustine Festival
This is a celebration of the prawn/langoustines that the locals are so proud of, find out why they are proud of their King Prawn Gastronomic Festival Vinaros
Vinaros Weekly Market
Thursday – 09.00 to 14.00 approx.
Paseo Fora del Forat
This is a varied market which travels down running parallel to one of the beaches.
Vinaros Municipal Market
Plaza San Agustín
The ideal place to buy your ingredients for making food at home, or in your rented holiday accommodation. There’s a good selection of fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, plus there’s also an ecological shop. Its location makes it ideal for a nice morning or evening’s shopping, as the square has a food few cafés directly outside the market. Also it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away from the promenade and the sea.
Passig de Colom
Phone: 964 453 334
Website:Vinaros Tourist Office
Facebook: Vinaros Tourism Facebook
Twitter: Vinaros Tourist Authority Twitter
Vinaros Bus Services
There’s a local bus service the runs between the north and south coast of Vinaros. You can see the schedule Vinaros Local Buses– please note it does say 2009 on it, but hopefully it is still correct. There are also some buses that run up to the pretty hermitage.
Going further afield, there are a range of lovely places you can visit if you hop on a bus in Vinaros. The route that goes all the way to Castellon, takes you through a range of places, such as Benicarlo Spain, Alcala de Xivert Spain, Torreblanca Spain, Oropesa del Mar Spain, Benicassim Spain and of course Castellon Spain itself. Check out the timetable for that Vinaros buses to Castellon.
All routes can be seen on the Autos Mediterraneo Website.
Trains To/From Vinaros
Vinaros is pretty well served on the main route that runs along the coast between Barcelona and Valencia Spain. Trains run every 2 hours, or so. The train station is a little out of the town centre, so you will need transport to get there. It’s approximately 2km or about 1 and a half miles from the centre. Always be careful to go to the right platform, which may sound obvious, but I have made that mistake before, through feeling disorientated. Ticket prices vary, obviously depending on how far you want to go. However to give you an example, you can get to Barcelona one way for a little under €15.00 if you choose the right train. Some are twice this price – as they are a different train service, with a bar area and a little faster journey time.
Renfe have been trying to improve their website, even for me, speaking enough Spanish, I haven’t found it all that user friendly over the years. These days the English section is much better than before, and if you intend doing a fair bit of train travel, do check out their Multiple Journeys Section.
Website: Trains Vinaros Renfe
Lugar Puerto de Vinarós, Phone: 964 45 19 73, Website: http://www.clubnauticvinaros.com/
Vinaroz is home to a working port and marina, which has been operational for hundreds of years. In fact the town started to experience growth during the 16th and 17th centuries when the navy yards were constructed, and for a couple of centuries afterwards its involvement in ship building and the wine trade made it prosperous. Today it continues as a fishing and working port, and also has its own yacht club.