Usually unknown and unheard of Morella (Spain) is a small city in the province of Castellon that should be in any travelers bucket list when spending some time along the Mediterranean coast.
More than 2100 years of history have left their marks along the cobbled streets and castle that overlook the surrounding hills and valleys, a step back in time being the essence of any day trip here.
Throw in good quality food and some local souvenir shopping to do and you’ve got a full day of walking and sightseeing to do-spending a night at any of the available hotels will allow you to take some great night pictures.
You can only get to Morella by road, but this is easy as it is very well paved with plenty of signs guiding you along it. Perhaps the best option is to rent a car, but if traveling along it is easy to get here to by public bus from the province’s capital city Castellon which is about an hour away.
From Valencia you'll probably want to make your way to Castellon first, and then dirve inland along road N232.
Spending a Day in Morella
As you reach the city you’ll easily spot the castle from the road, perched atop the hill on which the city is built. Because of this getting around is very easy, as you know that ultimately you’ll be reaching the Castle which for many is the highlight of the visit- but not for me.
As soon as you cross the wall that surrounds the city, get off you car and slowly start making the way uphill, without following any particular street. You will eventually reach Calle Mayor street, the most important of them all where most of the restaurants, hotels and shops are to be found.
The architecture is distinctly medieval yet solid and well maintained despite having witnessed many wars against the Moors, Napoleon, Succession…
Walk into the shops that sell naturally made aromas, sandals and pastries, visit the Basilic Church of Santa Maria, the Cathedral and the convent of San Francisco.
Continue your walk uphill, and eventually you’ll reach Morella castle. There’s a 3.5 Euro fee which will be used to maintain it . Audio guides are available and there’s a couple of exhibitions in it, but I admit you’ll need some imagination to see how the castle may have looked like during the best of its time.
Still, don’t skip it, particularly if you come from a younger country where 1500 year old structure aren’t to be found.
Visiting Morella (Castellon) With Kids
If you're visiting Morella with kids don't worry, as this is one of those day trips that kids will love. The town itself has very little traffic, has plenty of space for them to run around and the uphill walking will wear them out .
If you're visiting Morella with a toddler a stroller will definitely come in handy, though it might be tricky to get it around the castle. It is here that a good toddler carrier will come handy.
Any kid will love walking to the top of a real castle, and if this was not enough there's a Morella Dinosaur Museum nearby with real fossils found in the area. Entrance ticket costs 2 EUR and opens Tuesday to Sunday (check website for timetable as it does close for lunch).
Where to Eat: Morella Restaurants
After visiting the castle I recommend you head back down for lunch and look no further than the restaurant you’ll find just a few meters to the left of the main entrance of the castle, Restaurante Marques de Cruilles.
It's simple, casual, and has a three course menu for around 13 Euros with over 20 local dishes to chose from. Make sure you try the croquellanas, the local version of typical croquettes to be found in Spain (see pictures and check the menu).
Inevitably you’ll meander your way back down the city, perhaps enjoying a coffee at on of the many cafes at Calle Mayor you already walked along the way up.
Accommodation in Morella
Morella is small enough to be visiting in a single day, but if you have the time it's worth spending a night just to sample the different vibe and see the town once the sun is down, specially if you're traveling solo or with your partner.
There are a few hotels in town including a former 16th century palace, and many apartments where to spend the night. Find great deals for Morella hotels and check for spacious Morella apartments on Airbnb.
Tips and Resources
Morella gets very hot in the summer months, and can get plenty of snow in winter (to the point of it being inaccessible) but also have warm ( t-shirt) days during the colder months. Make sure you check on weather conditions before heading there.
Restaurant Marques de Cruilles is right in front of the entrance to the castle, the phone number is 682270253.
Morella Tourism Website: http://www.morellaturistica.com/