After a delightful drive through mountain roads you will reach the stunning city of Xativa. The city is split into two distinct parts - the old town and the modernised expansion. You can see the exact line between these two in the picture to the right. Nestled up against the slopes of a tall hill, the old town is a patchwork network of narrow streets and shining alleyways. Here you can find the main historical monuments and the old medieval and moorish street configurations. It can be a labyrinth so take a map!
There are beautiful cafes, bars and restaurants to be found, as well as market shopping, monestaries and churches.
The modern part and surrounding area, with all its traffic and daily bustle, there are plenty of shops, bars, restaurants, official buildings, parks, gardens and all the other services you will need.
Old and New
Xativa Castle is perhaps one of the most impressive in the whole of Europe (perhaps the world!). It is truly a bucket-list destination and will impress even the most seasoned of travellers.
There has been some sort of fortification here since before Roman times but it the Romans themselves who began to turn it into the castle we see now. Xativa (or Saetabis as it was called at the time) was a military outpost along the Via Augusta that runs from Narbonne in Southern France to Cadiz in South West Spain.
As Xativa has been involved in many conflicts over the years, the ownership of the castle has changed hands many times with the Romans, the Moorish dynasties, the Aragonese, the Hasburgs, the Bourbons (deposed and reinstated several times), the French under Napoleon, and the Savoys have all taken ownership. It is now owned by the Valencian government.
The British even fought here in 1707 on the side of the Grand Alliance against the future Felipe V.
Access is quite straight forward. The walk up to the castle is pleasant enough though do remember it gets hot during the summer months so water and a sun hat may be required. You will also need comfortable shoes and a degree of physical fitness as it is uphill all the way, however you will be rewarded once you get there as you will find the bar open. If you are thinking of driving up then there is free parking once you are there. The best route up is via Plaza de la Bassa and then follow the signs for Castell. There is also the tourist train which departs from outside the tourist office on the junction of Avenida de Selgas and Calle Portal de Lleo. Once through the castle gates there is free access to the bar/restaurant but you will need to pay a couple of euros to look around elsewhere. There are also plenty of places to have a picnic.
For those of you who want to take in the castle as part of a general walk/hike then there is also another exit which takes you into the valley south of the castle.
Be aware the castle is usually closed on Mondays!