Vila-real, capital of the region of the Plana Baixa and the second population in number of inhabitants of the province of Castellón is a dynamic, open and welcoming city, due to its people and its average size. It is perfectly connected and has a pleasant Mediterranean climate that invites you to visit it at any time of the year.
The city’s strengths are based on its religious heritage, sport, and gastronomy. Moreover, its geographical location on the edge of the Mijares also offers the possibility to enjoy nature in places like the Termet de la Virgen de Gracia nestled in the Protected Landscape of the mouth of the Mijares.
Vila-real, with its citric history still present, has become one of the most important cities in the ceramic industry. In addition, for about 20 years it has been internationally known for its football team, the Villareal FC.
Historical and Heritage City
The rich historical and religious heritage of the city is one of its main tourist attractions. This year, Vila-real held the Convention of the Route of the Holy Grail, which brought together important experts in the field. It also celebrates the local Holy Week and has an important collection of religious art treasured by the Honorary Citizen Vicente Llorens Poy.
Among this heritage stand out the Hermitage of the Virgin of Gracia, a building representative of the popular Mediterranean architecture, which houses an important sample of medieval, renaissance and baroque tile and an ethnological museum and is surrounded by a natural landscape that invites you to visit it and get lost taking a walk. The Church of Archbishop St. James, of neoclassic style, is the largest of its category in Spain and was built between 1752 and 1779. Its baroque floor is lined with neoclassical ornamentation and has three large naves of equal height. The octagonal bell tower of its main façade was erected in 1682 next to the ancient medieval church. Finally, the Minor Basilica and the Clare Sisters Convent of San Pascual Baylon, which keeps the remains of this saint. The sarcophagus, the silver image and the cell where he died stand out, as well as the shields of Charles II and Juan Carlos I and the 84 bells of their two towers. The present temple is of new construction since the previous one was destroyed in the Civil War.
20 years on the map of international football
The Villareal FC, the city’s top sports club, has 42 teams in official competitions. Its first team, which plays in the first division of Spanish football, began to consolidate with his second promotion to the first division in 1999. Since then, it has competed in Europe, both in UEFA and in the Champions League and during the 2007/2008 season achieved its highest achievement, the league runner-up.
It plays its matches in which since 2017 is called the Ceramic Stadium for sponsorship reasons and in reference to the predominant industry in the province. In addition, the club has an important Sports City where all its teams train and where the Villarreal quarry is formed, which has become a European reference in recent years.
Vila-real offers a wide and varied gastronomic offer. The cuisine of this town is made with products that are linked to its agricultural tradition. Rice, the main ingredient in much of the gastronomy of the Levante area, can be eaten in different ways. The best known, the Paella Valenciana, but equally appetizing are the Baked Rice, Rice in Broth, Empedrao (Rice with Beans) or A Banda (Rice cooked with fish stock).
The rabbit with snails, or the typical xulla (barbecue), which are cooked traditionally on the Monday nights of the festivities, are some of the other dishes of the local gastronomy, which can be washed down with the excellent wines of the province or the exquisite beer with orange peel, born in Vila-real. For dessert, there is no shortage in sweet pastries such as the typical Pilota de Frare (Berliner) or the Pasqualet (Swiss Roll), which receives its name in honor of the local patron.