Xátiva Castle was built by the Romans (Saetabis Augusta), it was known as the Chateba Medina during the five centuries of Islam. King James I extended the castle after the conquest of the city in 1244 and built a wall for protection with thirty towers. For more than three centuries (1347-1707) Xativa was as important as Valencia, which was the main city in the Valencia area.
The castle grounds can be visited freely but the interior requires a guide. Inside the castle grounds you will find a restaurant and bar with stunning views. During Easter and good weather there are guides tours and theater shows which portray the secret corners of the castle.
Xativa itself is also worth a visit with following places of interest: Churches of San Felix, San Francisco and San Pedro, the beneficiencia and the Almodí museum.
The Palace of Gandía
The Palace of Santo Duque is the former palace of the Borga family. The catholic Ferdinando made the Borjas dukes of Gandia in 1492. This family gave two Popes to Rome. The Duke Rodrigo, Archbishop of Valencia, was pope in 1492 under the name of Alexander VI. His great-grandson, San Francisco Borgia (as he was called in Rome) was also made Pope.
The Palace can be visited with a guide, but you can also walk around on your own using an audio earpiece. The main room has theatrical scenes which are a delight to children.
Also of interest in Gandia: Santa Maria girl’s school, magnificent examples of Gothic architecture from the thirteenth century.
Corbera Medieval Castle
Corbera Castle, although in ruins, it is still a great place of interest. A main room with arches is still standing; also a tower and three successive walls built on top of each other that were used to defend the castle in case of attack. The view from the top is amazing; start with a nice family walk to the top and finish with a picnic under the trees whilst admiring the magnificent views and surroundings.
The oldest known story of this castle comes from Ibn al- Khatib, who in 1229 mentioned that it was a castle belonging to Alzira (C. Barceló, 1982, p. 144).
Cullera Castle was built during the Caliphal era (10th century), it was built for control and defense of the territory, especially the coastal area and Júcar estuary. At the beginning of the eleventh century it was part of the defensive system for the fight for the independence of Valencia.
The castle museum houses an extensive collection of works of great archaeological and historical value ranging from prehistoric times to the Modern Age.
La Reina Mora tower has been restored and can now be visited. It contains a small museum which shows the constructive evolution of both the tower and the defenses of the castle and its subsequent transformation into a chapel.
Apart from its cultural charm, it’s worth a walk through its lush gardens overlooking the sea, it’s a real pleasure.
You can have a drink at the bar on arrival, having made the effort to walk up the zigzag walkway. There is also access by road on the other side of the mountain which finishes in a parking area and a glass lift is available up to the top.
The Santa Maria de la Valldigna Monastory
Founded by King Jaume I el in 1298 for the Cistercian order, it is found in the town of Simat of Valldigna.
In 1999, by agreement of the Valencian Government, the Jaume II foundation was created, for the management and improvements to the monastery complex. From this moment, the proceedings for the restoration took a strong momentum, restoring the l’ Almassera and Portal Nou and various interventions to the Church of Santa Maria, enabling the main building of the complex to be open to the public. Today it is a gem worth a visit without a doubt.
The cultural program of the Santa María de la Valldigna is extensive : art exhibitions, concerts, theater, dance and Music Festivals.
The San Jerónimo Monastery
El San Jeronimo de Cotalba Royal Monastery is located in the town of Alfauir and in the past it belonged to the Jeronimos. Its construction dates from 1388 and it contains important Mudejar, Gothic, Baroque and neo classical elements.
You can admire its courtyard entrance with a Gothic tower, the ‘los naranjos’ Patio, Mudejar cloister, the old church with its baroque chapel, the old chapel hall with the image of the Virgin de la Salud, the old mill, the silo, the winery, the stables, the old monk’s kitchen and also the impressive gothic and romantic gardens surrounded by a gothic aqueduct.
As it is a private memorial, it is only open for tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 1130 am and in summer until 1800. No reservation required.
Dragut Caves and Museum in Cullera
The Dragut Caves show the historical event of the assault on Cullera by the pirate Dragut, the right hand man of Barbarossa, carried out in 1550.
According to legend, the cave was used to exchange prisoners during the attack. The tour of the cave museum arouses the curiosity of children with a reproduction ship, antique nautical instruments, artillery, maps, clothing and coins. This collection of pieces allows you a glimpse into the world of piracy on the Mediterranean Sea during the sixteenth century and advances in navigation techniques.
Rice Museum in Cullera
It is located in the Chapel of the Sants de la Pedra . It stores all the tools that have been used since ancient times to cultivate rice and that have great historical value. All exhibits are from traditional rice growing in the local area and they date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It shows the whole cultivation process from seed until harvest. There is another room dedicated to rice cuisine and contains all the Valencian kitchen utensils. The Museum is situated in a 16th century chapel with a rich historical past, in a privileged location, at the top of an island, in the middle of the flooded rice fields in a conservation area. Each year they celebrate a pilgrimage on July 30, dedicated to the Holy Stone, Abdon and Senen, patrons of the farmers.
The rice museum is closed in winter, from October to January