We did not expect to find ourselves back in Peniscola almost exactly a year after the last visit. Due to a late start to our Winter trip, we had to change our itinerary and travel down the east side of Spain instead of coming down through Portugal. After our stay near Barcelona we decided that we would stop off at Peniscola and visit the castle. Last year we enjoyed the old town but did not go into the castle.
The sight of the castle from the promenade is still stunning, especially if you catch the sun shining on the white buildings.
The colourful letters proclaiming the name of the town with the old city as a backdrop is eye-catching. It was so popular with the tourists that I had to wait a long time to get an unadorned picture!
Peniscola is called “The City in the Sea” as the spur it sits on is surrounded by water everywhere except it’s northeast corner. Due to its position, it has been popular with a number of civilisations from the time of the Phoenicians. Between 1294 and 1307, the Knights Templar built the Castle upon the remains of The Arab citadel. The castle was the residence of Pope BenedictoXIII when he was in exile from Avignon in 1411. He changed the castle into a palace and papal library. Today the castle is a historical preservation area and is an interesting place to visit, with fantastic views.
We focussed on the castle on this visit and enjoyed the increasingly splendid views as we climbed up through the steep streets to the top. It is a bustling town with lots of touristy shops and plenty of restaurants. The residents have an interesting journey through the steep and narrow streets in their scratched and battered little cars!
Here are a few pictures from the trip.
The artillery gardens have been developed on the old artillery storage deep in the rocks below the castle. There are many old caves hewn into the rocks which have stood the test of time and were home to weapons and gunpowder. Today, the landscaped grounds are a peaceful spot and home to several birds of prey. We didn’t manage to ascertain why they are kept there but they seemed to be quite content on their perches in the shade of the palm trees.
The weather was a bit unsettled whilst we were here but, I managed to get the washing done, stir my lazy bones with some brisk walks along the promenade and excite my brain with a bit of history. It was definitely worth the return visit.