Alcossebre (Spanish: Alcocébre or Alcocéber) is a seaside village on the Costa del Azahar of Castellón province, south of Peñiscola. For visitors it is best known for its excellent beaches. It is surrounded by natural parks: Sierra de Irta on the north, Islas Columbretes on the east and Prat de Cabanes on the south. In Serra de Irta there are many small beaches.
The village of Alcossebre is administratively part of the municipality of the neighbouring inland town of Alcalà de Xivert. Traditionally sons would inherit fertile lands around Alcala, while daughters inherited less valuable property on the seafront. Today however the daughters are the winners of this arrangement, as beginning in the 1980s the tranquil fishing village began to develop into a seaside resort.
The village has largely kept its Spanish identity, however, by maintaining its charming historic centre with narrow alleys and romantic shops and cafés, and by avoiding the worst of the over-development and mass tourism common in other areas of the Spanish coastline. In the summer, its winter population of 5,000 doubles, with mostly Spanish and French visitors as well as a few Germans and Dutch.
- 1 Oficina de Turismo, Passeig de Vista Alegre, s/n, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 10:00-14:00, 16:00-19:00.
- 1 Estació d'Alcalà de Xivert (Estación de Alcalá de Chivert / Alcalá de Chivert Train Station), Passeig dels Herois del Marroc (Alcalà de Xivert). Medium-distance Renfe trains connecting Valencia with Castellón, Peñiscola, and Barcelona stop here. To reach Alcossebre from this point travellers will have to take a bus or hire a taxi.
The same company also runs multiple daily buses between Castellón and Alcalà de Xivert, stopping at the train station and at a 2 bus stop near the football pitch on Carrer del General Cucala. As an alternate option, and provided you do not have too much luggage, you can then transfer at either of these stops to the local bus service, detailed below in 'get around'. A bus route and schedule can be downloaded here.
Autos Mediterráneo (☏ ) operates a route connecting Alcossebre with Alcalà de Xivert and points in between. On weekdays, buses run every 15 min from 07:15-22:00, and on weekends and holidays every couple of hours; a schedule is available at the tourist office or can be downloaded here.
- Taxi Antonio, ☏ .
- Taxi Millan, ☏ .
- Taxi Bassi, ☏ .
- Taxi Alcalà-Alcossebre, ☏ .
- 1 Ermita de Sant Antoni (Ermita de San Antonio / Hermitage of Saint Anthony) (Capicorb). The small, simple chapel was built in 1773 on the site where in 1690 an image of Saint of Padua was found on the beach.
- 2 Viveros Alcossebre Garden Center (http://www.viverosalcossebre.es/index.html), Ctra CV-142, km 2 (near the only petrol station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-14:00, 15:30-19:00; Sa 09:00-14:00; Su and holidays 10:00-13:00. The garden centre has the unusual addition of a small petting zoo – go through the nursery and out the back. The animals are kept outside in enclosures, and include ornamental chickens, turtles, goats, a peacock and goose, and there is also a small aviary.
With the exception of Tres Platges, the following are designated as blue-flag beaches.
- 1 Platja de les Fonts (Playa de las Fuentes) (by the port). The smaller, arc-shaped beach has clear, ice-cold water which is fed by groundwater from the nearby mountain nature reserve. Facilities include a lifeguard and first aid station, toilets, showers, volleyball nets, snack bars, and disabled access. Jetskis can be rented here. There are restaurants and snack bars next to the beach, and a nearby bus stop and paid carpark.
- 2 Platja del Carregador (Playa del Cargador) (near the village centre). At 720 m this is Alcossebre's largest beach. Has lifeguard and first aid stations, toilets, showers, volleyball nets, paddleboat rental, disabled access, and a playground. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available to rent, and there are restaurants and snack bars next to the beach. There is a nearby bus stop and paid carpark.
- 3 Platja Romana (Playa Romana) (just S of Platja del Carregador). The second-largest beach is separated from Carregador by protected sand dunes. There are lifeguard and first aid stations, toilets, showers, disabled access, volleyball nets, and rental facilities for a variety of water sport. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available to rent (in high season €5/day), as are paddleboats (€15/hr). There are plenty of restaurants and snack bars nearby, as well as a bus stop and free parking (usually full in high season).
- 4 Platja del Moro (Playa del Moro). The much smaller beach is separated from Platja Romana by a pebble beach and a quiet bay, and is surrounded by picturesque red sandstone cliffs. It has a lifeguard station and showers. There is a nearby small park with pine trees and lookout tower, as well as a bus stop and free parking.
- 5 Tres Platges (Tres Playas). Has several nudist areas.
- 6 Platja de Manyetes (Playa Mañetes / Playa Tropicana).
Natural pebble beaches stretch further south of this point with water clear enough to see fish, and caravans are permitted to camp here. Noteworthy is the kilometre-long nudist beach of 7 Platja del Serrradal (Playa Serradal); dogs are permitted on the beach near the dry mouth of the 8 Riu de les Coves. The next beach, 9 Platja de Capicorb (Playa Cap y Corp), terminates near the Disco Tunel nightclub (described below under 'drink'), where there is a footpath to the 10 Platja de Torrenostra (Playa de Terrenostra, in the neighbouring village of Terrenostra), with good surfing and few people.
Hiking and biking
- 11 Parc Natural de la Serra d'Irta (Parque natural de la Sierra de Irta / Natural Park of Serra d'Irta). The combined mountain park and marine reserve offers good opportunities for hiking and mountain biking, and has several sights of historic and architectural interest. The park can be also be accessed from Peñiscola; the Peñiscola tourist office has an online list of hiking trails with trail descriptions in English; an official trail map (in Spanish) can be downloaded here.
- 3 Castell de Xivert (Castillo de Chivert / Chivert Castle) (access by footpath or dirt track). This Muslim fortress was built in the 10th and 11th centuries atop Bronze Age remains, and surrounded by a small fortified settlement. In 1264 the castle and settlement were conquered by the Knights Templar, who modified the castle, and allowed the Muslim residents to remain. In 1609 Felipe III ordered the expulsion of all Moriscos, and the town and castle were subsequently abandoned. The castle offers excellent views of the surrounding area. Free.
- 4 Ermita de Sant Benet i Santa Llúcia (Ermita de Santa Lucía y San Benito / Hermitage of Saint Lucia and Saint Benedict). Accessible via a serpentine road from the neighbourhood of El Pinar, or from a signed footpath beginning on the Les Fonts road, this small white-washed chapel dates from the 17th century and has been restored. Also in the complex are an old pilgrims' hostel, a stable, two wells, and the remains of a 16th-century watchtower. At an elevation of 315 m, the site offers excellent views of the Costa de Azahar as far south as Oropesa de Mar, and on clear days it is possible to see the volcanic Columbretes Islands without binoculars, some 50-60 km distant. It is especially lovely at sunset and twilight. A number of picturesque signposted hiking trails lead directly from the complex into the mountains.
- 5 Far d'Irta (Faro de Irta / Irta Lighthouse). The lighthouse was built in 1985, and can be accessed from Platja de les Fonts.
- 6 Torre Ebrí (Ebrí Tower). The watchtower from the 16th century was built as part of a defensive network of coastal forts and towers against Barbary pirates.
Diving and snorkeling
- 12 Parc Natural de Illes Columbretes (Parque Natural de las Islas Columbretes / Columbretes Islands Natural Park).
- (Carnival) (Alcalà de Xivert). Before Lent, usually in late February or early March. Features parades for children and adults. Most noteworthy is the Saturday evening parade, in which all the town participates with floats and elaborate costumes.
- Fiesta Patronal Alcalà de Xivert (Alcalà de Xivert). Last 2 weeks of August. Held annually in honour of San Juan Bautista (St John the Baptist), the fiesta features a musical and Spanish films shown for free outdoors in the main plazas. A schedule of events (in Spanish) can be picked up at the tourist information office, or downloaded from the Alcalà de Xivert website. Free.
- Fiesta Patronal Alcossebre. September. The village's annual fiesta features live music, parades, street markets, running of the bulls (with no bullfights!), etc. There is also a village chess competition for kids and adults, and other similar events. Free.
- Reunión de Harley y Custom Alcossebre (Harley Davidson Biker Weekend). Last weekend of August or 1st weekend of September. Hundreds of bikers converge with their Harleys in the village and park their bikes for display on the seaside promenade. During the weekend there is live music with local bands, and market stalls selling all sorts of leather biking gear. Free.
Most shops, with a few exceptions, close for the midday siesta, which lasts from 14:00/15:00 until 16:00/17:00.
- 1 Mercadillo (street market), Passeig Marítim and Carrer del Camí de l'Atall (by the port). Jun-Oct: Tu 17:00-21:00. A weekly street market for local produce and other goods, including clothing, street food (like churros), toys, and imported art.
There are many restaurants and cafés, both for sit-down meals and takeaway, which run the gamut of Turkish to Chinese to pizzerias. Especially along the beach promenade of Platja del Carregador there are a number of cafés and tapas bars.
- 1 Restaurante Can Roig, Platja de Manyetes, s/n, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 13:30-16:00, 20:00-23:00. In a country house near the beach, the restaurant serves modern Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on rice and seafood. Set menu €27.
- 2 Restaurante Sancho Panza, Carrer Jai Alai, 3 (Les Fonts), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W-M 13:30-16:30, 20:00-23:00. Serves classic Spanish seafood dishes. Set menu €30-35.
- 3 Restaurante El Pinar, Carrer Isla Mancolibre, 4 (El Pinar), ☏ . Daily 10:30-15:30 19:00-22:30. The highly-regarded restaurant serves classic Spanish Mediterranean cuisine, in a mountainside setting with great views. €18-35.
- 4 Consum, Camí el Aljub, s/n (near the village centre), ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-21:30. Has fresh fish, meat, and an on-site bakery.
- 5 Supermercado Crisdan, Zona Campamento (Platja de la Romana), ☏ . M-Sa 08:30-14:00 16:00-20:30, Su 08:30-14:00. Has a good assortment of food, along with a selection of newspapers and magazines in English, German, French, and Russian.
- 6 Súper Isver S.L., Camí de l'Atall, 29 (near the port), ☏ . Daily 09:00-14:00 17:00-21:00. Has a fish, meat, and cheese counter.
- 7 Panadería Manel's (Manel's Bakery), Carrer de Joan Barceló, 6 (Alcalà de Xivert), ☏ .
- 1 Camping Playa Tropicana, Carrer del Camí de l'Atall, s/n, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. Has plots to accommodate tents, campervans, and caravans, as well as apartments and bungalows. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, restaurant, supermarket, laundromat, beauty salon, and playground. There are refrigerators for rent, and Wi-Fi is available. Dogs permitted in the campground, but not in rental apartments or bungalows. Prices vary by season.
- 2 [dead link] Ribamar Camping & Bungalows, Partida Ribamar, s/n (Parc Natural de la Serra d'Irta), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Has plots to accommodate tents, campervans, and caravans, as well as bungalows. Facilities include two pools, a restaurant, shop, library, and playground. Pets are permitted in both the campground and in bungalows for an extra fee. Prices vary by season.
- 3 Complejo Eurhostal, Carrer Jai Alai, 2 (Platja de les Fonts), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A large complex with full-service holiday apartments, some with disabled access. Has a pool and large cafeteria. Doubles €116-140.
- 4 Gran Hotel Las Fuentes, Avinguda de les Fonts, 26 (Platja de les Fonts), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Open from Easter week until October. Has non-smoking rooms, an onsite restaurant, pool, and spa. From €73, including breakfast.
There are many private holiday villas, townhouses, and apartments available for rent, most with private pool and garden. The most upscale and popular neighbourhoods are the areas around Marcolina, Les Fonts (Las Fuentes), and the Puerto (port).
Burglary rings are active in more upscale neighbourhoods, including Marcolina and especially Les Fonts. Don't leave valuables on the terrace or balcony table for even a short time. Most houses have alarm systems and security systems, but break-ins are still a frequent occurrence, and on checking in to your villa do not be surprised to see evidence of recent attempted break-ins even at the front door.