Requena is a town in the west of Valencia (province).
Requena (from Arabic rakka'na – 'strong') was first established by the Iberians in the 7th century BCE, and was later occupied by the Romans. During the Moorish period it was part of the Muslim kingdom of Valencia, but after the Christian reconquista in the 13th century it became part of the kingdom of Castille, to which it belonged until the mid-19th century when it rejoined Valencia. Largely for this reason the principal language spoken here is Spanish, not Valencian as in other parts of the province.
In the Middle Ages the town grew wealthy from the silk trade. Following the collapse of the silk economy in the 19th century it became more known for its excellent wines, a reputation which continues to the present.
- 1 Tourist Info, C/ García Montés, s/n, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 17:00-20:00, Su 10:00-14:00; closed 6, 24, 25 Jan and 31 Dec.
- 1 Estación de Tren de Requena (Requena Train Station). From Valencia's Estació de València Nord, Renfe regional train line C3 departs several times a day. Has an onsite cafeteria.
- 2 Estación de Tren de Requena-Utiel (Requena-Utiel Train Station), Autovia A3, exit 285, ☎ (station info), (tickets). Ticket office: M-F 06:30-22:45, Sa Su and holidays 07:45-22:45. High-speed trains between Valencia and Madrid stop at this station, inconveniently located several kilometres outside of town. Has an onsite cafeteria.
Monbus (tel. +34 902 292 900) operates routes from Valencia, Cuenca, and nearby Utiel, with buses stopping at the 3 parada de autobuses, a block away from the regional train station. Avanza (tel. +34 902 020 052) runs a line between Madrid and Valencia, with buses stopping near 1 Bar Puerta de Alcalá on C/ Desvío Carretera, 46.
The old centre of Requena is quite small, and if you're reasonably fit you can get around just fine by foot. To visit any of the nearby wineries, though, you'll need a set of wheels.
Most sights are clustered in the Barrio de la Villa (aka Recena Medieval), the former Muslim quarter in the heart of town which is still enclosed by the surviving remnants of the medieval city wall.
- 1 Torre del Homenaje (Tribute Tower), C/ Castillo s/n, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:30-12:00 19:00-20:00. The only remaining portion of the Moorish castle, built around the 10th century as a border fortification and later modified by during the Christian era. €2 (adults), €1 (concessions).
- 2 Cuevas de la Villa (La Villa Caves), Plaza de Albornoz, 6, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-F 12:00-14:00 17:00-19:00, Sa 12:00-14:00 17:00-20:00, Su 12:00-14:00 17:00-19:00. First built by the Arabs, the maze of caves and tunnels run underneath almost the entirety of La Villa. At various times they were used as granaries, war-time shelters, wine cellars, and an ossuary. €4 (adults), €3 (seniors/youth/students).
- 3 Iglesia de San Nicolás (Church of St. Nicholas), C/ San Nicolás, 9, ☎ . Tu-Su 10:30-14:00 17:00-20:00. First built in the 13th century, the church was modified and rebuilt several times, most recently in the early 18th century. Free.
- 4 Iglesia de Santa María (Church of St. Mary), C/ Santa María, s/n. F-Su 11:00-14:00 16:00-19:00. Construction of this church began in the 14th century and was completed in the 18th century. Especially noteworthy is the Flamboyant Gothic portal of the Annunciation; the interior is mostly Baroque. Free.
- 5 Iglesia del Salvador (Church of el Salvador), Plaza del Salvador, s/n. This 15th-century church was extensively remodeled in the 18th century, but the Flamboyant Gothic portal has survived. It is currently the only church in La Villa still used for worship.
- 6 Túneles (Tunnels), C/ García Montes, 1 (entrance near the tourist office). M-Sa 10:30-14:00 17:00-20:00, Su 10:30-14:00. Excavated during the Spanish War of Succession in the early 18th century, the tunnels were used as a bomb shelter during the Civil War, and most recently for growing mushrooms. The city has now opened them to visitors. €2 (aduls), €1.50 (concessions).
- 7 Ermita de San Sebastián (Hermitage of San Sebastian), Plaza de San Sebastián s/n (Las Peñas). The small chapel was built in the mid- to late 14th century to convert Moors to Christianity. Despite a number of later alterations, the Mudejár ceiling has been restored.
- 8 Museo de Arte Contemporáneo 'Florencio de la Fuente' (Florencio de la Fuente Contemporary Art Museum), C/ Cuesta del Ángel, 2, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:30-14:00 17:00-20:00. €2 (adults), €1.50 (concessions).
- 9 Museo del Vino (Palacio del Cid / Wine Museum), C/ Somera, 13 (Palacio del Cid), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. W-F 12:00-14:00, Sa 10:30-14:00 17:00-19:00, Su 17:00-20:00. So named in reference to the 11th-century mercenary Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, the well-preserved 15th-century palace now houses a museum showcasing to the history and process of wine-making in Requena. €2 (adults), €1.50 (concessions).
- 10 Casa-Museo de la Seda (House of Silk), C/ Castillo, 5, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 11:00-14:00 17:30-20:30, Su 11:00-14:00. Formerly the seat of the Silk-Weavers Guild, the museum is dedicated to illustrating the history of silk production in Requena, which stretched from the 17th century to collapse of the silk trade at the end of the 19th century. €2 (adults).
- 11 Museo Municipal (City Museum), C/ del Carmen, 15, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Sa 10:30-12:00. Located in a former royal convent, the museum showcases archaeological finds from the region. €2 (adults), €1.50 (concessions).
- 12 Sala Antiguo Mercado (Municipal Market Exhibit Hall), Avda Arrabal, 7, ☎ . Tu-Su 17:00-20:00. Hosts temporary art exhibits. Free.
- 13 Museo de Fotografía (FOCAM / Photography Museum), C/ Piñuelo, 9, e-mail: email@example.com. First Sa of the month: 11:30-13:30; other times by appt only. The small museum is dedicated to the history of photography, from its invention in 1839 to the current era. Free.
- Fiesta de la Vendimia (Wine Harvest Festival). Late August to early September. Celebrated annually since 1948, this is the oldest wine harvest festival in Spain. Activities include numerous parades, fireworks and mascletás (gunpowder demonstrations), bullfights, and of course wine tastings.
Wine tastings are held M-Th at 12:30 in a 1 pavilion behind the Sala Antiguo Mercado (entrance through the mercado), and include four glasses of wine, a four-course meal, and a souvenir wine glass. Entry tickets are sold beginning at noon, but people usually start queuing about 20-30 beforehand as seats are limited. €10 (wine tastings).
- 2 Muestra del Embutido de Requena (Requena Sausage Festival), C/ Desvío Carretera, 152 (Recinto Ferial Requena / Requena Fairground). Mid-February: F 12:00-21:00, Sa 10:00-21, Su 10:00-19:00. This annual three-day festival is devoted to local artisanal sausages, as well as other regional specialties including cheeses and olive oils. Visitors arriving by train can present their train ticket for an additional 10% discount on purchases, and for this weekend the high-speed AVE train offers discounts 70% for travel between Madrid/Cuenca/Valencia and Requena-Utiel. A full schedule of tastings and other events (Spanish only) can be downloaded from the website. F €8, Sa Su €10; ticket includes sausage and wine tastings, a serving of roasted ham and a traditional dish, and free admission to a museum/monument.
Hiking and biking
The surrounding area offers a number of opportunities for hiking and mountain biking. The tourist office has an online list of hiking trails with trail descriptions in English.
- 1 Carnicería Emília 'La Villa' (Emília 'La Villa' Butchershop), C/ Fortaleza, 10 (across from the Torre del Homenaje), ☎ . Daily 10:00-15:00, including Su and holidays. Well-known for its artisanal sausages.
- 2 Ferevin (Feria Requenense del Vino), C/ Cuenta de las Carnicerías, s/n, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 11:00-14:00 16:00-19:00, Sa 11:00-14:30 16:00-19:00, Su 11:00-14:30. The local wine cooperative is a good place to pick up some of the award-winning regional wines, and also holds frequent wine-tastings.
- 3 Mercadillo (street market), Avda del Arrabal. Saturday mornings. Requena's lively street market is a good place to pick up fresh produce and locally-produced foods, as well as other miscellaneous items.
Given Requena's inland location, local cuisine unsurprisingly is more meat-based, with influences from the neighbouring region of Castile-La Mancha. Typical dishes include gazpacho manchego, a warm soup with bread (not to be confused with Andalusian-style cold gazpacho), morteruelo, a meat paté with breadcrumbs, and a wide variety of dried sausages.
- 2 Mesón La Villa, Plaza de Albornoz, 13, ☎ . Serves traditional Requena dishes including morteruelo and grilled meats and sausages.
- 3 Mesón del Vino, Avda de Arrabal, 11, ☎ . Th-Su 09:30-24:00, M 09:30-18:00, W 09:30-12:00. One of the oldest restaurants in Requena, it serves typical regional cuisine using ingredients from the local market.
- 4 La Posada de Águeda, Carretera Nacional III, km 282, ☎ . Hours vary by season. A highly-regarded restaurant, it serves Mediterranean cuisine with creative flair in an elegant setting. Reservations recommended. Set menu €24.
Requena, along with neighbouring Utiel, is a part of the Requena-Utiel wine-producing region, designated as a Spanish Denominación de Origen. Red wines are especially highly-regarded; the red Bobal grape which makes up nearly 80% of production is native to the region. Recently the region has also become noted for its sparkling wines, including whites and rosados.
- 1 Bodegas Murviedro, Ampliación Polígono El Romeral, s/n (take exit 285 off the Valencia-Madrid motorway), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. One of the larger wineries in the Requena-Utiel region; offers a tour and wine-tastings.
- 2 Bodegas Torre Oria, Crta Pontón, km 3 (Utiel), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-18:00. Another large winery with wine-tastings and tours.
- 3 Dominio de la Vega, Ctra Madrid-Valencia, km 270 (San Antonio), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Shop: M-F 09:00-14:00 15:30-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00; tours Mar-Dec: Sa 10:00-14:00. Known for its award-winning cavas and rosados, the winery also has an English-speaking guide. Wine tastings/tours €9-35; reservations can be made online.
- 4 Pago de Tharsys, Ctra Nacional III, km 274, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Shop: M-F 09:00-14:00 16:00-19:00, Sa 10:30-14:00 16:00-19:00, Su and holidays 10:30-14:00. The small family-run operation produced good cavas and rosados, and practices vendimia nocturna (night harvest) of its grapes. The vineyard also operates a small hotel rural with 8 rooms. English spoken. Wine tour with tasting €7, by prior reservation.
- 5 Vera de Estenas (Finca Casa Don Angel), Ctra Nacional III, km 266 (Utiel), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 10:00-18:00. The smaller family-run winery has some especially good Bobal wines. Wine tours (Spanish only) must be booked in advance.
- 1 Hotel Doña Anita, Plaza de Albornóz, 15 (Bajo Requena), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Facilities include an onsite bar-restaurant, nonsmoking rooms, and free Wi-Fi. Pets permitted on request for no extra charge, and free nearby parking is available. Doubles €62-79, breakfast €7.
- 2 Hotel Patilla Ciudad de Requena, Ctra Nacional III, km 277 (take exit 291), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00-24:00, check-out: 08:00-12:00. Facilities include an onsite bar, nonsmoking rooms, a terrace, and free Wi-Fi. Pets permitted on request for no extra charge, and free onsite parking is available. Doubles €60.