It’s always fun to be the first one out of your group of friends and family to discover somewhere new and interesting. You may have heard of Benicassim because of its famous music festival, but this gorgeous, stylish town on Spain’s Orange Blossom Coast has at least 18 reasons to encourage you to drop everything and come to visit.
1. It’s classy and relatively undiscovered
Benicassim is a classy, relatively undiscovered town on the Orange Blossom coast, located in the province of Castellon, Spain.
2. The Benicassim coast is a fine, sandy Mediterranean paradise
The sunlight sparkles on the azure blue Mediterranean sea, and the gentle waves lap up onto the exceptional Benicassim coastline. There are five blue flag beaches, each with their own charm and they never get overcrowded. Each beach has a beautiful colour contrast, with lush greenery from the trees in the backdrop, that highlights the light, fine sand and the striking blue of the Mediterranean.
3. The period villas on the backdrop of Voramar Beach
As you enjoy the golden sand at Voramar Beach, all of you have to do is glance behind you to the line of wonderful, period villas. These villas date from the late 19th and early 20th century, and many of them are architecturally glorious.
4. You can come up from the beach and do the villa route
There is a villa route, which really deserves to be done. In fact the villas are split into two categories – one which is the Hell Route and the other is the Heavenly Court. The Hell Route is the route of the villas which were notorious for their outrageous parties. Seeing these villas you can just imagine what it must have been like, partying by the sea in the roaring twenties. The Heavenly Court are the villas which oozed tranquillity.
5. You’ll want to slip over to the Carmelites to taste some of their famous liqueurs
The Carmelites sold their first bottle of their famous liqueur with herbs in 1896, and you can visit their distillery in the town in the mornings from 9am until 1.30pm, or in the afternoons from 3pm until 6.30pm. For a mere €2.50 you could pop there for a late afternoon tasting and tour.
6. Hanging out in the old quarter
Time for a drink after a long, lazy day on the beach – then the old quarter is a good choice. The heart of Benicassim has been built around the neoclassical church of Saint Thomas de Villanueva (1769-1776). It’s a wonderful spot to enjoy those balmy summer evenings, with a good buzz and plenty of spots to enjoy a drink or some food. Hanging out in Benicassim’s old quarter is the perfect ending to a perfect day.
7. The breathtaking views from and in the Desierto de las Palmas
The Desierto de las Palmas (Desert of the Palms) is a protected natural park close to Benicassim, where the barefoot Carmelites originally built their monastery. They were incredibly inspired by the beauty of the area, as are many other visitors. The views from there down over the surrounding countryside and the sea are truly spectacular, and on a clear day you can see the Columbretes Islands. Visit the ruins of the monastery and the Montornés Castle while there, and then go to the restaurant that serves excellent rice-based dishes.
8. Boat trips or scuba diving at the Columbretes Islands
During the season there are day trips to the Columbretes Islands, which are Spain’s best example of a volcanic formation and the Valencian Community’s most unique archipelago. The picturesque islands are a nature reserve, on an 80 metre deep seabed, which take up a space of around 5 nautical miles. The islands form a kind of horseshoe shape, with the lighthouse on the biggest island – L’Illa Grosa – standing out in the distance. A day trip to the islands is a lovely day out, a good chance to get some great photos and perfect for those who are into scuba diving.
9. The beautiful old railway line walk or cycle
The old railway line that ran between Barcelona and Valencia, goes along by the sea and is a wonderful walk or cycle route, now called Via Verde. The route is entirely flat, with beautiful views, the old watch-towers, coves, and cliffs which cut the coastal view towards the Cape of Oropesa. The distance is 5.5km each way, going to Oropesa’s promenade and then back to Benicassim.
10. The fun of 23rd June for the night Of San Juan
The night of San Juan is a big night throughout Spain, but as it is a festival that takes place on the beaches, Benicassim with its wonderful beaches is a great place to spend this night. The concept of this festival is to cleanse yourself of the last year’s “bad stuff” and then ask for what you desire for the coming year. Bonfires are lit on the beach, people party and dance and often jump through the fire, and then at midnight go to the sea to cleanse their feet as part of the ritual.
11. More fun at the local festival on 22nd September
The patron saint, St. Thomas of Villanueva has his feast day on the 22nd of September. Benicassim, like most other towns around here, needs a good few days to celebrate their saint, so if you visit at this time you’ll enjoy sardine tasting, bulls and general festivities.
12. Horse riding in beautiful surroundings
A short distance from Benicassim town is the horse riding centre and school – the Hípica de Castellón. It’s in the perfect setting for horse riding in beautiful surroundings.
13. Sailing or windsurfing at Els Terrers Beach
The pretty oval shaped Els Terrers Beach has a sailing club and school, where you can go sailing, windsurfing or kayaking. There are lessons for newbies and it opens from May to August.
14. Things to do with the children and not so young children
15. Peniscola Castle and town close by
Not very far from Benicassim is the lovely historic town of Peniscola. This is well worth a day trip to wander around the old town, in the interior of the ancient fortified walls, and see the Templar Castle which is magically set overlooking the sea. Part of El Cid was filmed there.
16. Excellent Mediterranean food
Benicassim has some fine restaurants, where you will find predominantly Mediterranean cuisine, fish and rice based dishes.
17. The famous music festival – FIB (Festival International Benicassim)
It would be rude not to mention the famous FIB (Festival International Benicassim) which has been running since 1995. Live music and partying on the beach, which is all great fun if you are young enough to enjoy a party that goes on for days.
18. Atmosphere and nightlife
You don’t need to be there during the festival, which may be too much for some visitors, to enjoy a lovely atmosphere plus good nightlife. The Orange Blossom Coast beach town of Benicassim has a delightful balance between elegant style, fun, gorgeous beaches, good atmosphere and outdoor activities to make it a new favourite of yours.