Winter Holiday in Spain: 5-Day in Peñiscola Castellón

My first winter holiday in Spain was in Peñiscola, a town in the Provence of Castellón. The picturesque coastal town of Peñiscola is on the Costa del Azahar with long stretches of inviting beaches. One of the standout features is the magnificent castle, proudly resting on a rocky perch about 64 meters above the sea, adding a touch of grandeur to the scenic landscape.

Itinerary of the winter holiday in Spain

It all started with a promotion from the hotel, Peñiscola Plaza Suites. Given the mere two and a half hours’ drive from Barcelona, the hotel offer was too tempting to resist. With the year-end looming and our annual leave quota nearly exhausted, we swiftly arranged for a 5-day sojourn in Peñiscola. 

Without wasting any time, we snagged last-minute flight tickets from Frankfurt to Barcelona at a surprisingly affordable rate. It appeared that winter holidays in Spain were a rarity, reflected in the budget-friendly ticket prices. Our rental car for a 5-day duration came at a mere 23 Euros, complemented by a 5 Euro voucher, and this inclusive of mandatory insurance.

The final task on the agenda was to craft an itinerary for our inaugural winter holiday in Spain:

  • 1st Day: Arrival
  • 2ed Day: Peñiscola
  • 3rd Day: Ebro Delta nature reserve
  • 4th Day: Morella, Castellón
  • 5th Day: Alcossebre
  • 6th Day: Departure

1st Day: Arrival

The flight from Frankfurt to Barcelona was a brief two-hour journey, and upon our arrival, we proceeded to collect our rental car, encountering no delays. The drive to Peñiscola was pleasantly uneventful, with a noticeable absence of RVs or caravans, typical of beach holiday traffic. In the pre-Christmas quiet of December, the surroundings appeared peacefully deserted.

Upon reaching our accommodation, Peñiscola Plaza Suites, we were met with a bustling atmosphere, and had to wait for the check-in process. Once settled into our balcony-equipped room, the late hour limited our exploration to a casual survey of the hotel grounds. With dinner included in the room rate, we headed to the dining room to enjoy our evening meal.

The Long City Beach of Peñiscola

2ed Day: Peñiscola

Peñiscola boasts a mild winter climate, with temperatures consistently staying above 10 degrees during our visit. The sunny weather set the perfect backdrop for our explorations. We took the opportunity to visit the castle, meander through the charming old town, and enjoy a leisurely walk along the expansive city beach. The beach offered a serene setting, and as the only family on the shore, we could capture stunning photos undisturbed.

Peñiscola Castle; Winter Holiday in Spain

3rd Day: Ebro Delta nature reserve

The Ebro Delta Nature Reserve, approximately 83 kilometres from Peñiscola, stands out as one of Europe’s humid havens. Within this protected expanse, you’ll encounter a diverse tapestry of landscapes, featuring gardens, orchards, rice fields, and a thriving bird habitat with migratory and nesting species. Along the coastal stretch, expansive deserted sandy beaches with dunes add to the natural allure. Given its extensive scope, a single day hardly suffices to explore its wonders, making cycling the ideal mode to intimately connect with the rich biodiversity it harbors.

The winter season offers an excellent opportunity for observing flamingos in the Ebro Delta, and during our visit, we saw substantial flocks of these elegant birds. Regrettably, we hadn’t anticipated birdwatching and could only admire them from a distance.

During the winter season, the majority of local restaurants were closed, but we were fortunate to find a charming spot for lunch. We ordered several local rice dishes in a quaint restaurant where, interestingly, all the other patrons were from the local communities, giving us a more authentic dining experience.

Catalan Food; Winter Holiday in Spain

4th Day: Morella, Castellón

Morella is one of Spain’s most picturesque villages, situated approximately 80 kilometres away from Peñiscola via N-232. As we ascended the mountain, the road gradually narrowed. However, our journey took an unexpected turn when we ran into a truck accident shortly before reaching Morella. Anticipating delays due to the road conditions and the ongoing rescue efforts, we turned around and opted for alternative, albeit narrower, routes to reach Morella before additional traffic complications arose.

Morella is not just picturesque but also majestic. Wandering through the streets lined with whitewashed houses rustic terracotta-coloured roofs, we discovered the town’s unique charm. The Morella Town Hall, an architectural gem, and Saint Mary’s Church, featuring two fabulous doors, were among the main points of interest we explored.

Additionally, the Morella Castle, with three levels, gates, and towers, provided a fascinating exploration as we walked along the city wall, enjoying the panoramic view of the surrounding area.

5th Day: Alcossebre

A short walk on the beach of Alcossebre

Alcossebre has a well-established tourism infrastructure, offering a diverse landscape that includes mountains, beaches, and rocky coastal areas, reminiscent of the picturesque scenery in Cadaques. The beaches in Alcossebre range from charming small coves to expansive, fully-equipped ones with all necessary amenities and services. The town center features four blue flag beaches, where we spent some leisure time before heading to our next destination, the Serra d’Irta Natural Park.

A short hike in the Serra d’Irta Natural Park

The Serra d’Irta Natural Park has historical Arab constructions, and during a brief stroll, we encountered the charming Hermitage of Saint Lucia and Saint Benedict. The site offered breathtaking views, and further exploration led us to discover the impressive Xivert Castle. This holiday retreat provides ample opportunities for various activities within the park’s scenic surroundings.

A short walk on the beach of Alcossebre

Travel Tips for a winter holiday in Spain

Travel Experience

Our first winter holiday in Spain quickly ended, revealing both advantages and disadvantages. The absence of tourist crowds and lower travel costs were definite perks. The mild climate ensured we didn’t feel chilly, and the reduced risk of sunburn added to the comfort. Engaging in outdoor activities amidst nature was still enjoyable. We believe exploring the Ebro Delta Nature Reserve and the Serra d’Irta Natural Park in the off-season is preferable, considering the potentially scorching temperatures during the summer holiday.

Travel Resource

Should you desire to explore beyond the beach throughout your holiday, renting a car could be a wise choice.

It’s worth noting that the nearest airport is not Barcelona but Valencia. The journey from Valencia to Peñiscola takes approximately 90 minutes.


  1. Winter in Spain is a great time for a visit. Definitely less crouded and with just the right weather to walk the streets, enjoy some hot coffee without much discomfort. Very nice route as well, the region is very curious, I would love to follow your steps in here without any changes

  2. Your article on spending winter holidays in Spain’s Peniscola Castellon is a delightful read! The detailed itinerary, picturesque photos, and helpful tips make it easy for readers to plan their own adventure. I especially appreciated the suggestions for local cuisine and activities off the beaten path.

  3. I’ve been to Spain a few times but have never been to the Peniscola Castellon. The place is heaven, just amazing….

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