Sailing into history at the Port of Castellón

A region of contrasts that ranges from unspoilt beaches to dramatic mountain ranges, Castellón offers the chance for a diverse range of shore excursions

Sailing into history at the Port of Castellón
Peñiscola Castle was recently used for filming in the TV series Game of Thrones (Image: Diputació De Castelló)

Castellón de la Plana, the capital of Spain’s Castellón region, is full of the relics of its past, enabling cruise operators to offer their guests the opportunity to discover a region full of history.

Cruise ships dock in the Port of Castellón at a dedicated berth, which was first opened in 2011 and is 350 metres long with a 16-metre draft. There is also a large parking area available for excursion buses and a free shuttle bus service from the port to the centre of town.

Castellón has made a concerted effort to attract cruise ships in recent years, forming the Castellón Cruise Club to bring together all the authorities in the area that are involved in cruise tourism. Among other initiatives, the association has developed the ‘Castellon Cruise Friendly’ quality certificate, which is granted to local businesses that meet multiple requirements when serving cruise visitors. This helps cruise lines plan their excursions when visiting the region.

An excursion into Castellón de la Plana allows visitors to explore the city’s architectural heritage by walking through the old streets and plazas. Highlights include the Old Casino, an ornate post office and theatre built in 1894, and the Santa Maria Cathedral, a Gothic church first constructed in the 13th century and rebuilt twice after it was destroyed by fire and conflict.

The city has extensive travel connections to the rest of Spain by road, train and air. Two motorways go north and south, allowing cruise guests to travel to the city of Valencia in less than an hour. The nearby airport at Vilanova d’Alcolea is 30 minutes away, while the high-speed train service will soon allow travel to any destination in Spain within four hours.

Following the road to the north will take cruise guests to the popular destination of Peñiscola. Here, they can see the castle that served as the papal palace of the Antipope Benedict XIII, whose coat of arms can still be seen on Saint Peter’s Gate at the entrance to the town. More recently, the castle’s original 14th century fortifications, which are almost entirely intact, have been used as a filming location for TV series Game of Thrones.

Another highlight of the region is the ancient hilltop town of Morella, which has traces of human habitation going back over 6,000 years. On the journey from Castellón, guests will travel through the Els Ports National Park, a mountainous region filled with rock formations and chasms. Upon arriving in the town, visitors will get a view of the 14th century castle, which dominates the skyline from its perch on top of the large rock that the rest of the town surrounds. Guided tours will take tourists through the narrow streets and steep alleyways, with sights including a house where St. Vincent Ferrer is reputed to have performed a miracle.

Thanks to these attractions, and many others, Castellón is a destination that will provide cruise lines with a wealth of opportunities for excursions that enable guests to explore the history of Spain.

This article was first published in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
11 February 2020

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