The Orange Blossom Coast, Peniscola & the High Villages of the Maestrazgo

8 Days from £699 | September, October 699

Just to the north of Valencia is the Costa del Azahar, the ‘Orange Blossom Coast’, so-called because of the abundance of orange groves in the area. The coast is speckled with watchtowers and lighthouses, while inland there are fortified castles and villages – especially in the inland Sierra del Maestrazgo, where white villages cling precariously to rocky outcrops – spectacular indeed! You will also see the unusual landscapes of the Ebro Delta, complete with the paddy-fields where rice for paella is grown.

The Orange Blossom Coast, Peniscola & the High Villages of the Maestrazgo

New Holiday. Our Overall Holiday Satisfaction Score, as measured across all our holidays, up to December 2018, was 90.3%*
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

  • 7 nights hb in Benicassim
  • Excursion to Morella and the hilltop villages of the Maestrazgo
  • Excursion up the coast to Peniscola & the Ebro Delta
  • Visit to the Desert of Palms Natural Area, with superb views of the coast
  • Orientation walk by the modernist villas of Benicassim

DAY ONE: Flight to Valencia or Castellon. Transfer to your hotel in Benicassim (an hour from Valencia, 30 minutes from Castellon), for seven nights’ half-board accommodation.

Benicassim has a pleasant town centre a mile inland from the beach, but its pride and joy are the splendid Modernista villas towards the northern end of the seaside avenue. It also has a 3 ½ -mile Via Verde Greenway linking the resort with Oropesa del Mar – this is a disused coastal railway line suitable for walking or cycling and featuring spectacular sea views. Take a torch for the tunnel! There are train and bus services from Benicassim to surrounding areas, and neighbouring Castellon has both a main line station and also frequent suburban services to Valencia.

DAYS TWO TO SEVEN: In resort, with one half-day and two full-day included excursions.

Half-day excursion to the Desert of the Palms and the Villas of Benicassim. You drive the short distance inland and up into the Palms Desert Natural Park, just behind your resort. Rising to over 2000ft. the park is a land of rich Mediterranean vegetation and wildlife, scattered with castles and hermitages, and offering fantastic views of the coast. You will make a stop to visit the monastery, in a spectacular setting and where the monks developed a jealously-guarded recipe for a liqueur. You then return to Benicassim and alight at the edge of town, to walk along the seafront promenade. In just one mile, walking towards St Vincent’s Tower, you will pass 27 of the spectacular  modernist/Belle Epoque Villas with wonderful gardens. One is a hotel where Hemingway stayed.

Full-day excursion to the Ebro Delta and Peniscola. The Ebro Delta, just over an hour to the north, is one of Europe’s most attractive and delicately balanced wildlife sanctuaries. The visit begins with a short presentation at the Eco-Museum in Deltebre, with an explanation of the relationship between man, agriculture and wildlife of the area. Much of the marshy area is covered by watery rice fields which support the local fauna. There are vast areas of beaches, dunes, reeded lagoons and riverside woods. Over the year, between 50,000 and 100,000 birds of 300 species (more than half the species in Europe) visit the Delta. You will also stop in Poblenou del Delta, established under Franco as the home village for farmers, in an attempt to increase national food production.

The afternoon is spent in Peñiscola. Founded by the Phoenicians, Peñiscola was an important port: Hamilcar, father of Hannibal, imported his elephants through here on his way to wage war against Rome. The town’s name is a corruption of ‘Peninsula’ and the castle is indeed, almost an island. It was built by the Knights Templar in the late 13th century, but in the 15th became the home of Papa Luna, Pope Benedict XIII, the last of the Avignon Popes of the Great Schism, who took refuge here after being deposed. Part of the movie ‘El Cid’ was filmed here. The town itself has a pleasant white painted centre and then spreads along the excellent beach. 154 miles today.

Morella and the Villages of the Maestrazgo. Your other full-day excursion takes you inland into the spectacular Sierra mountain landscapes of El Maestrazgo. The mountain scenery is wonderful; the villages and towns, perched on rocky hilltops in unlikely fashion, even more so. Today’s main stop will be at Morella, a medieval fortress town rising from the plain below, surrounded by its walls, and featuring narrow streets clustering along the contours below the apparently impregnable hilltop castle. Within the town are tapas bars, craft shops, the Gothic cloister of the monastery, the impressive Santa Maria la Mayor church, and a 13th-century aqueduct. The hilltop fortress offers amazing views all around. The city was recovered from the Moors by King James’ steward, in the 13th century. The story goes that he didn’t want to return it to the crown- the King apparently came to blows with him for possession of the city – when you see Morella, you’ll understand why! On the way back to the hotel, you stop in historic Sant Mateu, from where James I of Aragon, set out to take back the region from the Moors in the 13th century. The sturdy Gothic mansions around the main square bear witness to the town’s significant royal past. The Catalan Gothic church is impressive – with a wide column-free vault a particular feature. 142 miles today.

On your free days, there will be the chance to join optional excursions to Valencia, and to the St Joseph’s Caves near Vall d’Uxo for a boat trip along an underground river.

DAY EIGHT: Depart to the airport for your flight home.

A WALKING HOLIDAY is also available from this hotel. Please ask for a copy of our Walking Holidays brochure or visit preferredts.com.

The Orange Blossom Coast, Peniscola & the High Villages of the Maestrazgo

New Holiday. Our Overall Holiday Satisfaction Score, as measured across all our holidays, up to December 2018, was 90.3%*
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

HOTEL INTUR BONAIRE ****, Benicassim (seven nights)
The hotel is located just 200 yards from the beach and 1 ½ miles from the town centre of  Benicassim. Set in pleasant gardens, the hotel has a large outdoor swimming pool and a small indoor one. There is a bar and restaurant serving buffet meals. The comfortable bedrooms have bath/shower, wc, tv, air-conditioning, safe, hairdryer, and small fridge, as well as free wifi. Rooms with pool-view and terrace come at a supplement. Wellness facilities (charges apply) are available in a neighbouring sister hotel. (www.intur.com/hotel-bonaire-benicasim).
New Hotel for PTS. However, our overall hotel satisfaction score average, up to December 2018, was 83.1%.
Escorted Holiday - The Orange Blossom Coast, Peniscola & the High Villages of the Maestrazgo
Holiday code: 7BOB
Supplements per person:
Single Room: £140
Travel Insurance: £44.95
Travel insurance - Extra Week: £10
Supplements on some holidays vary by departure date - the applicable price will be shown when booking.

Fly FromDateDaysAirlineDep.Rtn.AvailabilityPriceFly ToSingle

Belfast IntlTue 01/10/20198Easyjet15502225Places Available699Valencia14050BFS17BOBA1

Belfast IntlTue 08/10/20198Easyjet15502225Places Available699Valencia14050BFS17BOBA2

BristolMon 30/09/20198Ryanair20051940Places Available699Valencia14050BRS17BOBA1

BristolMon 07/10/20198Ryanair20051940Places Available699Valencia14050BRS17BOBA2

East MidlandsMon 30/09/20198Ryanair10150950Places Available699Valencia14050EMA17BOBA1

East MidlandsMon 07/10/20198Ryanair10150950Places Available699Valencia14050EMA17BOBA2

EdinburghTue 01/10/20198Ryanair08251455Places Available699Valencia14050EDI17BOBA1

EdinburghTue 08/10/20198Ryanair08251455Places Available699Valencia14050EDI17BOBA2

HeathrowMon 30/09/20198BA07451335Places Available739Valencia14050LHR17BOBA1

HeathrowMon 07/10/20198BA07451335Places Available739Valencia14050LHR17BOBA2

London GatwickMon 30/09/20198Ryanair06201435Places Available699Valencia14050LGW17BOBA1

London GatwickMon 07/10/20198Ryanair06201435Places Available699Valencia14050LGW17BOBA2

LutonTue 01/10/20198Easyjet07001235Places Available699Valencia14050LTN17BOBA1

LutonTue 08/10/20198Easyjet07001235Places Available699Valencia14050LTN17BOBA2

ManchesterMon 30/09/20198Ryanair16401615Places Available699Valencia14050MAN17BOBA1

ManchesterMon 07/10/20198Ryanair16401615Places Available699Valencia14050MAN17BOBA2

StanstedTue 01/10/20198Ryanair14151945Places Available699Castellon14050STN17BOBA1

StanstedTue 08/10/20198Ryanair14151945Places Available699Castellon14050STN17BOBA2

Prices shown are based on the shared occupancy of twin/double standard rooms, and are subject to availability. Please refer to ‘Accommodation’ for details of any room supplements (including single rooms) and extended stay costs that apply to this holiday. Further details in our FAQ.

Data as at 19/01/2019 at 13:47:06

This is a new holiday. Comments arise from holidays elsewhere on the mediterranean coast.

PTS

Enjoyable holiday. I have stayed at hotel before.

Ms C, Cheshire

My first holiday with PTS, have enjoyed all aspects of the holiday.

Mrs G, Gloucs.

Its very reassuring to know there is someone to contact should we have any (unwanted) emergency. This is one of the reasons why we like Preferred Travel Services. Also like the way 'Different and Unusual' places are chosen. We have both thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and all our new 'experiences'. We have already enjoyed one or two previous holidays with Preferred Travel Services and every time have been impressed with everything. Many Thanks!

Mrs C, Devon.

Gloria, our guide, was excellent, as usual. Hotel food generally, excellent. The holiday overall was even better than expected. This was our seventh holiday with Preferred Travel Services.

Mr R, Aberdeen

TD & local guide knowledge - very sound.

Ms F, Leics

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Don't forget, we fly from 20 airports right across the UK.
Most of our holidays include half board as standard.
All of our holidays have included visits and tours.

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The Orange Blossom Coast, Peniscola & the High Villages of the Maestrazgo