The mountain residents’ protectors
Today we propose another great Castles Route and this time we visit the Castles in the mountains.
This route teaches us part about the history of Costa Blanca and the province of Alicante. And it allows us to see some of the best views of the area. Because many of these fortresses stand high on mountain crests they show the valleys, villages, and rivers below them. An extra bonus on this route is to enjoy the traditional cuisine of the different municipalities after strolling through them.
We begin our route in the beautiful landscape in the region of l’Alcoia, and the first of several castles in the mountains is:
The Castle of Benifallim
This castle stands on the outskirts of the town of Benifallim. On the lower part of the hills of the Rontonar mountain range at about 374 meters above sea level. The road that starts from Benifallim to Torremanzanas brings us to a crossroad after about 2 kilometers. This semi-asphalted road on our left takes us to the dirt road that eventually leads to the foot of the castle.
This fortress is of Muslim origin and was conquered in the middle of the XVIIIth century by Jaime I the Conqueror. Before your visit to the Castle, we recommend that you visit one of the local bakeries. Because they sell delicious spinach empanadilla and pieces of pepper and tomato coca to take with you on your trip to the fortress.
Torre de les Maçanes
The next of the castles in the mountains is located in the town of Torremanzanas, at an approximate altitude of 780 meters and north of the Cabeçó d’Or mountain range. The town is located on the national road between Jijona and Benifallim. Any of the smaller roads that leave the main road south of the town lead to the foot of the tower. The “Casa Alta” (High House), another fortified construction that belongs to this town, is nearby. The name of the town has its origin in this building that was constructed in the Muslim era. The population was mainly Arab, like the majority of populations of the Valencian Community.
Castle of Torre Grossa
The Castle of Jijona stands in the highest area of Jijona, famous for its nougat and ice cream. When we come from Torremanzanas, the indications in Jijona show the way how to reach the castle. It is actually pretty easy to find the entrance of the Castle. There is even a recreational area in front of the fort that is worth a visit. Experts think the origin of the castle predates the Arab occupation.
Remember that you have to try the local nougat and ice cream before you leave Jijona. Read more about this interesting town in our other “A day in Jijona” Blog.
This monument stands outside the city of Tibi, a picturesque town worth a visit. The castle is located in the Loma de las Monjas, at a height of about 500 meters. Take the indicated exit on the main road to the right after a few kilometers when you have left Jijona. The way to the castle is perfectly signposted and in addition, this road also reaches the Tibi reservoir, one of the oldest in Europe. The origins of the castle and the population go back to the time of Muslim domination.
If you plan to stop for lunch in Tibi we recommend the local Gazpacho tibero.
Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas
This palace castle of the Marqués de Dos Aguas is located in the town of Onil. A town that spreads out at the foot of the Sierra del Reconco. The palace castle is in excellent condition, completely restored, and very well maintained. The access to this castle is behind the Plaza del Carmen in the historic center of Onil. The back street of the square next to the tourism office is where you find the entrance.
Contrary to the history in towns such as Castalla and Ibi or Biar this castle is not Arab, nor is Onil Muslim. It is a medieval construction and considered a castle because its construction included defensive elements from that era.
It is a sin to leave Onil without a taste of its gastronomy. We recommend the local gazpachos filled with meat, rice with rabbits, or garlic stew.
Castle of El Barxell
Another of the beautiful castles in the mountains is in the city of Alcoy. Here you will find the castle of El Barxell. To get to the fortress, it is necessary to take the regional road that goes from Alcoy to Bañeres de Mariola. About six kilometers from Alcoy we arrive at the Plá de Barxell ravine, where the castle of Muslim origin is. Our blog “A day in Alcoy” tells more about the local gastronomy of the town.
The castle of Les Penelles
The Castle of Les Penelles, also known as Penella Castle, is located on top of a small hill. It rises in the plain of the hamlet of Les Penelles, belonging to the municipality of Cocentaina. There is no problem to reach it, as we see it on our left on the main road CV-70 that connects the town of Alcoy to the town of Benilloba. Cocentaina was very important during the period of Muslim domination. As a result, this castle was one of the most important fortresses in the area. If you want to know more about Cocentaina and its surroundings you can visit our “A day in Cocentaina” Blog.
Castle of Agres
It is located in Agres, close to the border with the province of Valencia, you will find another of the castles in the mountains. It is located east of the municipality and is part of the Sanctuary of the Virgen del Castillo. The ruins of the castle stand on a rocky spur called Racó Vedat to the left of the sanctuary of the town. The population of Agres lived in old Muslim farmhouses, and in its vicinity, the Islamic fortress was built at the end of the 12th century.
And what better way to finish a visit with a gastronomic tribute. The typical dishes of Agres are the local gazpachos, the fried kinds of rice and lots more to discover.
The tower of Almudaina
This tower is located in the northern part of Almudaina, near Planes. It is very easy to reach it because it stands out above the rest buildings of the town. The town of Almudaina and the tower both have an Islamic origin.
The Castle of Planes
The castle of Planes is located on the top of a small mountain and dominates everything around it. As a result, it is no problem to get to the entrance. The history of Planes and its castle is intimately linked with the Torre de la Almudaina since both form a perfect historical and architectural unity. The origin of the population of Planes and Almudaina is part of the time of Muslim domination. They were conquered by the troops of Jaime I the Conqueror around 1.244.
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