In the north of the Valencia region, the Castelló province has a coastline of 120 km lining the shores of the Mediterranean. This doesn’t prevent it from being Spain’s second most-mountainous province, located between the foothills of the Iberian System and the Catalan coastal mountain range.
From the city of Castelló, Penyagolosa Trails travels a long way to Sant Joan de Penyagolosa, which provides an opportunity to get to know Castelló inland. Nature, mountains and historic trails and routes allow you to discover countless towns with a rich natural, historical, artistic, gastronomic and cultural heritage.
Among all Castelló’s mountains, Penyagolosa Trails has the privilege of enjoying the most mythical one. The Penyagolosa, known as Gegant de Pedra (Stone Giant), is a peak 1814 meters high and located in the Penyagolosa Natural Park, with a land mass of about 1,100 hectares between L’Alcalatén and L’Alt Millars regions, is a magical setting for the MiM and the CSP.
At the heart of the Penyagolosa stands the Ermitorio de Sant Joan de Penyagolosa, which is the destination of pilgrimages from surrounding villages, and which is enveloped by a myriad of stories and legends.
Surrounded by great natural wealth, the trail runs through a landscape formed by steep hills parallel to the coast, with deep ravines and wide swaths of shrub, holms and pine forests. Its significant elevation change affords a progressive change in vegetation, which has gradually adapted to the altitude and, therefore, to the mountain’s harsh continental climate.
CAMINS DE PENYAGOLOSA
The Penyagolosa wants to go one step further and, for that, they are working toward international recognition. Camins de Penyagolosa hopes to have the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare it a World Heritage site.
This place has significance. It is the sanctuary dedicated to San Juan Bautista and is in the outskirts of the Penyagolosa. A symbolic sanctuary that has been the destination of pilgrimages that date back to the XIV century and to which routes originate from different municipalities. It motivated even top tier sports competitions as the MiM and the CSP are.
Today, many of these routes have disappeared. But others have survived over time or have been restored through the commitment of surrounding villages. This is the case of Els Pelegrins of Les Useres or the pilgrimages of Culla, Vistabella, Puertomingalvo and Xodos. Religious routes and historic means of communication await declaration as a World Heritage site in order to continue guarding it as an archaeological, architectural, ecological and ethnological heritage.