Only one hour from Valencia, history, gastronomy and stunning views
Leaving Valencia by private car I will be your driver and tour guide. Our first stop will be at the enigmatic ruins of the 13th century Cistercian Monastery Santa Maria de Valldigna. The history of this convent is a fascinating story and fine summary of the powers that shaped the transition from Moorish to Christian empires on the Iberian Peninsula. A windy but scenic 40 min drive takes us to Xativa. Xativa's history is colourful and spans the millenia, from Iberian settlement to Roman, Moorish and Christian conquest. We will take a walk through the historic main streets, starting at the ancient history museum to situate you a little in what was the historic significance of Xativa. Next we will visit one of the most charming regional museums that I know. Our street walk will continue past the statues of the two Borja Popes and then lunch. After lunch the castle, with time to take in the views and ambience of this historic site, and then back to Valencia in time for coctail hour.
Pick up from Valencia and drive to Xativa. The tour of Xativa town is a short distance, a walking tour. Depending on preferences, we either take the mini train (requiring us to be ready by 12. 30) up to the castle or walk ourselves. It is not far and is a very pleasant walk of about 20 mins. A stroll along the length of this magnificent castle and then lunch. Depending on your preferences we will either stay in the castle to eat in front of the huge restaurant windows or we will go back into town for a fully gourmet 4 star gastronomic experience. After lunch we take the car to the monastery where a highly specialised guide will explain the intricacies of the incredible mix of cultural influences that marked the both the history and architecture of the site. Then back to Valencia for cocktail hour.
Meeting Point + Tour Duration
Meeting Point Options: Rail or Bus Station, Cruise Ship Port, Airport, Hotel, Address or Intersection, Monument/Building
Duration: 8 hours 30 min.
This tour is a full day. It can be enjoyed as a day trip for a shore excursion but an early start is essential so as to be able to relax and see all there is to see in Xativa. Xativa is charming and really worth the visit but please note that during the months of July-Sept the weather can be particularly hot in this area due to the geography of the valley. In hot summer months it is not ideal, tours to Valencia city or Sagunto Castle would be much more comfortable and recommendable.
I prefer to use a Ford Focus because of the generous leg room and large windows for enjoying the passing countryside. As I have excellent contacts at a local transportation company I could also arrange the tour to be made with a vintage or luxury car, even a Rolls Royce! Of course such a change would require a re-calculation of costs and a company driver would also be included.
Estimated Local Cash Needed
25 euros - Depending on your choice for lunch the cash you need to carry will vary. I estimate 18 euros for the typical menu of the day in the castle restaurant, this includes wine, but the gourmet feast is also highly recommendable and is a different price range. Keep in mind that the quality : price ratio is excellent and the local wines are exquisite, but none of this is exorbitant. Also, museum and castle entry fees (minimal) plus the mini train fare are not included in the tour price.
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Marta is a gem. Her personality and guiding ability are above most professional guides that we have used. Our tour was totally changed because castle in Xativa was closed on the Monday of our tour. I gave her carte blanche to organize a new tour around the city of Valencia which she did masterfully. The tour was topped off by a paella lunch at a local restaurant Alqueria del Pou which was fabulous. Marta followed up by sending me a recipe for paella and tips to make it special.