After all of the climbing from the previous day we though we would take a ride around the area and look at castles again. The weather looked a little cloudy and in case of rain, this was our best bet.
We looked at our Coast Blanca map and decided to head North along the back main road. There were three castles in the nearby vicinity and we wanted to take a shorter day out so we would have time to come back for dinner and a little dip in the Mediterranean in Calpe.
We took the N332 north to the castles but returned on the highway which was quicker but required tolls.
This castle was kept up like the castle in Alacante, complete with rest rooms and a small gift shop where you can buy post cards as well as a museum and lots of cats.
Getting to the castle looked easy on the map, but was a little more difficult once we got to Denia. Of course, none of the info centers were open.
To get there we followed signs for the Marines/Marina because we thought the castle should be strategically placed on the water. Once we followed the signs, we saw the castle up on our right one road over. We saw no place to park so we came to the harbor and turned right to head towards the castle. That was when we saw the purple tourist sign for the castle. We followed the sign and found a parking lot at the base of the cliff that the castle was on.
This castle had a tunnel cut right through the cliff to he other side, so we figured that was where we were supposed to go. At the end of the tunnel, we turned back around to go up some stairs to a road that ran along the outside of the castle. We walked left until we saw an entrance on our right. We bough tickets for 400 ptas each at the booth next to the large Moorish entrance way. The Archeology Museum located inside the castle requires the ticket for you to get in. We thought it was a nice museum.
We spent hours trying to get to this castle. Driving up the little streets of Oliva was frustrating, adventurous, and downright difficult. Tiny one way streets. Tiny two way streets. Horrible horrible. To the town's credit, the other drivers were VERY patient with us.
We could never reproduce our steps and we got to the parking lot of the castle by surprise. All of a sudden we were there.
The stairs getting up to the castle were nice and had stops along the way for the stations of the cross. The view of the city was really nice, too. Unfortunately, the remains of the castle were not great. There was a hole in the ground that someone had moved a couch into and a fenced off area with the remains in it along with a radio tower with a neon cross and moon representing both the Christians and Muslims in the town.
Getting back to the highway was another challenge. We would not recommend this castle for most people. We were ready to go home, but we did not want the day to end with this, so we continued north to Gandia.
Castillo de Bayren in Gandia
I think this will always be our favorite castle in Spain. It was the final castle the we visited before we left, and we are glad that it was a good one. It is not highly visited by tourists; we saw none. It is very nice for photography, both of the castle, of the various plant life, and the view of the city below.
I can still smell the orchards along the base of the hill and see the cactus along the paths. I still have the scars from some plant that acts like a poison ivy in that you get blisters, but they did not itch, they hurt. Scars can sometimes bring back good memories.
We saw the castle from the highway. That is how we spotted the last castle. Again, we had no idea how to get there. We drove past it on N332 and got off the highway and turned around to come back. As we passed the castle again, we exited to Gandia and drove to the Elf station on the right to ask directions.
Our luck had changed. The man at the station showed us that the little obscure, unmarked road on the side of the gas station leading in the direction of the castle was the road we needed.
We followed that road though the field and went under an underpass into the overflow duct for rain. At this point you can go left or right. The correct thing to do is go right, which we figured out on our second try. We followed the road which lead to a parking lot. There are no facilities at this place.
There was a long path along the side of the orange orchard that we followed for a while. It started to switch back and wind its way up to the castle. The walk was about 15 minutes, but we stopped to take a lot of pictures.
The castle itself was a lot of fun for us. It was not touristy, but it was not completely ruined either so there was some things to explore. As long as you do not step or climb on the walls, you are allowed to walk around freely. We spent a good amount of time here looking out over the city below and the Mediterranean in the background. Life is good.