Cycling The Coast - Peñiscola & Castellon
We hot footed across the middle Spain from the North Coast of the Basque country to the Mediterranean with just a couple of stops en route. First stop was in the town of Haro, in the heart of the Rioja wine country. It was a bit snoozy when we visited but we did get to try some delicious wines at Mugas. Our second stop was at Morella, a beautiful town with a castle perched a top of it. A fantastic free area de autocaravanas was the perfect base for a walk into town and a climb up to the castle. Such a pretty little town with some quality eateries which, of course we sampled.
A windy road down from Morella led us to the Mediterranean coast at last. We would be staying near the Med for the next month or so. Our first coastal destination was the pretty town of Peñiscola, staying at Camping Eden right on the beach. This was our first real taste of what some of the coastal towns can be like during this time of year. The beach front was mostly closed down for the season. We found this to be the same at many other locations along the coast.
The old town of Peñiscola was still fairly lively though and was only a ten minute walk from the site. The old town is very pretty with winding streets and stunning views of the sea. We stumbled on a Christmas market the first day we were there and lots of locals out enjoying themselves at the busy restaurants. It was a stark contrast to the waterfront where almost everything was shutdown.
We pedaled along the cycle path hugging the coast to Benicarló. It’s a joy to cycle the routes along a lot of the the coast in Spain since most have fabulous views with wide paths safely separated from car traffic. It goes without saying that any day spent cycling with the Mediterranean as you backdrop can’t be bad. We found Benicarló to be much busier, it’s a proper working town not geared around tourists.
We headed a few kilometers further down the coast to the city of Castellon. Here there is a fantastic free area de autocaravans right on the beach. From here we caught a tram in the center and found it to be a pretty working city with plenty of life. Not really enough going on for us to consider it as a potential home but still worth a visit for a day or two. Again, we took to the coastal paths and cycled from our camping spot to Benicássim. It was a complete ghost-town, making Peñiscola look like Las Vegas on a Saturday night. Maybe we hit it at just the wrong time. This happens often in Spain when somewhere seems completely dead one minute and then completely crazy one hour later but, in this place, there was a lot of vacation property lying empty for the winter.
The cycling was sublime and again the Mediterranean delivered as it never fails to do. We couldn’t wait to get more miles under our belt once we arrived for our month long stay in Oliva further down the coast. But, we had one last stop to make before then; one of favorite cities where we planned to meet up with some friends that we met last year and generally just enjoy the always fabulous city of Valencia.