On Saturday June 4th we visited a place called Peñíscola (“town by the sea”). It is known for its nice beach and castle, located on the highest part of the coast. This castle/fortress was constructed mostly between the 13th and 16th centuries, and was utilized by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and Moors. In 1223, King Jaime I gave the castle to the Knights Templar who transformed it similar to how it looks present-day. For Pope Luna (Pope Benedict XIII), Peñíscola was his get-away castle. He retreated here when he realized he was no longer supported as the people favored Roman Popes Urban VI and Boniface VII. Here he established a court, chapel, library, a meeting room for the conclave, and his own chambers. He lived the rest of his life there from 1415 to 1425.
We walked around the castle for a couple hours taking numerous photos of the gorgeous coastline and city, along with a few selfies. The parts of the castle we visited included a kitchen, chapel area, a few lookout spots near the top and a dungeon at the bottom of a long staircase.
After this we had freetime to explore. Some made their way down to the beach to enjoy it for about a half-hour before it started raining. Then most of us gathered at a café to enjoy icecream and coffee. Once the rain calmed down to a sprinkle we roamed around the narrow streets of the old city, buying some souvenirs and postcards.
Finally, most of us ended our stay by enjoying the beautiful botanical garden attached to the castle that opened up an hour before our leave time. It was filled with tall palm trees and flowers that lined edge of the overlook along the coast and a winding path that had numerous tunnels and arches.
Though it wasn’t the best day for the beach, the views at Peñíscola did not disappoint!