After many years of seeing it as just another stop on the train journey between Barcelona and Valencia, I finally had the opportunity to spend a few days in Vinaròs. The friendliness of the people, the wonderful seafood, the absence of a crushing number of tourists and a truly relaxed atmosphere were welcome discoveries in a town only 90 minutes south of Barcelona.
Located on northernmost part of the Mediterranean Costa del Azahar, the town is known for its fishing harbor, canning industry and as an agricultural center. Vinaròs is on a plain at the northern end of the province of Castellón, on the border with Catalonia.
Vinaròs was first mentioned in a historical record in 1233 as Moorish town. It was under the rule of the Knights Templar order between 1294 and 1311 and had one the most important ports in the Mediterranean, with impressive shipyards. A large part of the more than 15,000 Moriscos expelled from the Kingdom in 1609 embarked on ships at the port of Vinaròs.
The promenade in Vinaròs town center, alongside the Playa del Fortí beach, has an outstanding design. It is a lengthy promenade is filled with comfortable and cleverly designed seats and lined with many welcoming bars, cafés and restaurants.
Café Mozart, located between the promenade and the market square, quickly became my favorite seaside spot for evening drinks and tapas.
The market square, Plaza de San Agustín, is very busy. The Municipal Market (Mercat), designed by Francisco Tomás Traver, was built in 1928. It is filled with local produce and has an especially impressive selection of fish and famous local prawns.
Two of the oldest and most interesting streets, Carrer Major and Carrer Sant Tomas, meet at Plaza de San Agustín. Full of small shops, these streets contain examples of architecture from centuries of history, including the striking Giner house (Casa Giner), located at number 4 Carrer Major. It is a private residence in the Valencian Modernist Style, built in 1914.
Located in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall Square) the church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Arcipestral de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora) is an excellent example of Valencian Gothic-Renaissance architecture. Construction started in March 1586 and finished on 24th December 1597.
Vinaròs is an off-the-beaten-path destination worth visiting any time of year.