6th of December
A nice route near the sea, starting from Simat de la Valldigna, with a mild ascent along Ruta del Agua, followed by a flat section in Mondúver range. At the end of this section there is a lookout point with excellent views of the sea and the famous mountains like El Montgó and, obviously, Mondúver. The final part of the route is the descent to the castle, which gives the name to the route.
Also known as Moorish Queen Castle o Benifairó Castle this is an ancient muslim fort located in the Benifairó de la Valldigna municipality. The castle is protected as Bien de Interés Cultural.
The castle itself consists of a fort with Arabic origins, constructed in the end of XI century, with later Christian reforms done by Cistercian monks. It has to walled enclosures conserved in the part accessed by the Albacar gate. The first enclosure, well adapted to the topography was used as village housing, made with tapial. The second enclosure, located in the higher part of the castle, is a gothic chapel from XIV century made of ashlar with a ribbed vault and the wall gaps typical for gothic style. This part also has two cisterns: one rectangular and one square, just like the other buildings made of ashlar.
Initially this castle served the purpose of a shelter for the nearby farmhouse inhabitants. In the book of Repartimiento (distribution), this castle has the name Marignen or Marynen while the name Moorish Queen is derived from a legend according to which a queen jumped from a precipice in this castle. Jaime II granted the lordship to the Cistercian monks in 1287, building different structures in the highest part of the building. This castle served as a shelter for the monks during Union War between Castilla and Aragón in 1364 since these lands were invaded by castillian troops. Since XVII century, with the expulsion of moors, the castle has lost its significance.
Source – Wikipedia: Castillo de Marinyen
Santa María de la Valldigna Monastery
Santa María de la Valldigna monastery is located in Simat de la Valldigna (beginning of the route) and was founded by Jaime II of Aragon on 15th of March 1298. There were three building stages: the first one – a XIV century Valencian Gothic style consturction, which shapes the whole structure set around the cloister, following Cistercian canons; an important renovation carried out in the wake of severe destructions caused by 1396 earthquake; and the second renovation and fortification after another earthquake in 1644, with new constructions, this time in XVII-XVIII century Baroque style, with examples like the current temple and Virgen de la Gracia chapel.
More info on Wikipedia: Monasterio de Santa María de la Valldigna
Difficulty: medium (14km with 450m of elevation gain).
Technical level: medium (rocky descent towards the end).
Transportation: 9-seater minibus (alternatively, you can drive to the hike starting point in your own vehicle)
Price: 20 euros (includes professional guide, transportation, accident and public liability insurances).
Meeting point: Mestalla, parking lot on av. Aragón, 9:30 (return to Valencia ~17:30)
Bring at least 1l of water, lunch, warm clothes and hiking shoes.
COVID-19 Safety Measures:
- the temperature of all the participants will be measured prior to getting in the minibus
- hand gel use (provided) is mandatory
- wearing a mask is mandatory in all closed spaces