Continuing our exploration of the country which is now our home, we chose in June another tour from our book ‘The Back Roads of Spain’, covering an area about 3 hours north of us near Castellon. The tour was called ‘The Land of the Templars’, after the Grand Masters of the Knights Templar, who controlled this region, straddling the Aragon and Valencia borders, during the war against the Muslims in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Our first night was spent in Morella, a magnificent, medieval, walled town, perched on a high rock outcrop and dominated by a ruined castle. The town has retained its ancient charm and has a collonaded street where our hotel, Cardenal Ram, was situated. Our visit to the castle in the afternoon was interrupted by a heavy rain shower but we to had already explored the rest of the town
The next day, after a breakfast of freshly-made, local hazel nut meringues, we set off to visit a series of medieval towns and villages that have been frozen in time, with castles and beautiful churches, old walls and gateways, narrow cobbled streets of three-story houses, many with balconies colourfully decorated with flowers. In Mirambel and Cantavieja we walked around streets as if we were still in the middle ages.
We spent our second night at Mora de Rubielos in another old town centre hotel, Jaime 1, at which we were the only guests!
We set off the next morning along some of the twistiest and worst-paved roads we have experienced in Spain, encountering more charming and ancient towns and villages – Mosqueruela, Iglesuala del Cid and ending our tour in Ares del Maestre, which is perched 1500m up with a castle commanding a magnificent view for 50kms+ in all directions.
We had decided to spend the last night of our trip in the coastal resort of Peniscola, which we had never visited before. Our hotel, MuvaBeach, was right on the beach and our room had a fantastic sea view. Peniscola is built on a peninsula, the headland of which is dominated by a wonderfully-restored castle in which is situated the narrow streets of the old town.
The following day before returning home, we spent a number of hours exploring the castle and enjoying the magnificent views over the town and along the coast. Enjoy the photo slideshow below or a slideshow set to music here.