The first towns created in the area were established by the Romans, and remnants of these settlements can still be found to this day. Some centuries later, with the area now under Muslim rule, Castro Castle and the town’s population played an important role in the town’s resistance to the Reconquista. Alfondeguilla has been a centre of resistance at various points throughout its history. The area played an important role in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, with it being the last bastion of the Ebro Front at which the Republican Army would surrender to the Nationalists.
Alfondeguilla also boasts a rich history of various arts and crafts. In particular, it is notable for the production of aixereta (esparto grass), which women used to make esparto espadrilles.
Alfondeguilla is renowned for its picturesque network of steep and cobbled streets. The town can be accessed along Avenida Betxí and Calle Mayor, which is the town’s main artery. Both these streets lead to the square that houses the San Bartolomé parish church. From here, you can follow the road that leads to the oldest part of the town, known as ‘Castellet’. The Stations of the Cross, located in the outskirts of the town, also form part of its architectural identity.
Alfondeguilla enjoys a pleasant year-round climate due to its specific geographical situation, which facilitates the growth of Mediterranean flora and the settlement of indigenous fauna. The jewel in its crown, however, is undoubtedly the Sierra de Espadán Natural Park. This impressive natural area, which is the second largest natural park in the Valencian Community, encompasses various municipalities of Castelló Sud besides Alfondeguilla.
This Arab structure, built shortly before the Christian era, once served as a watchtower. The remains of the building, now long abandoned, date back to the time of Islamic rule. The site stands on a rocky outcrop on the summit of the same name, standing at 789 metres above sea level and strategically located between two deep ravines.
Alfandech Castle, of Arab Origin, standing tall over the town in the Castellet neighbourhood.
The Stations of the Cross and the Alfondeguilla Hermitage
The hermitage stands on the slopes of the mountain that proudly presides over the upper part of the town. It was severely damaged during the Spanish Civil War, but has since been renovated.
Castro Snow Deposit
This structure was originally built for storing snow, and was subsequently used for obtaining ice (the snow was collected from around Castro Castle). It is also referred to as the ‘Snow Well’. The snow deposit, standing 800 metres above sea level, has been reconstructed since its establishment. This circular well, measuring 12.5 metres deep, has a storage capacity of up to 420 m3 of snow. There are roughly 200 snow deposits around the Valencian Community, with five being located in the Sierra de Espadán.
The town is also home to various springs: the Cabanelles spring; La Figuera spring, in Las Viñas ravine; El Flare spring, at the start of the Eslida ravine; El Gos spring, lying close to Aigualit; La Hedra spring, in the crags of Castro Castle; the Marc spring, in the Eslida ravine; the Montesinos spring, in Las Viñas ravine; and La Penyeta spring in the Castro ravine.
San Bartolomé and San Francisco Javier
These are the names of two local festivities that are celebrated on the second Sunday and Monday of November, paying homage to Saint Bartholomew and Saint Francis Xavier respectively. There is also a fair in which street vendors sell their produce to locals and visitors alike.
Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
This festivity, which takes place during the week of 15 August, is mainly renowned for different events involving bulls and various open-air verbena night parties.
Procession to the Stations of the Cross
There is a procession to the Stations of the Cross on the third Sunday in November, where a mass is held in the hermitage. This event is attended by many different people, including residents of other nearby towns and villages, such is their devotion to Jesus Christ. Each year, the festivity is organised by families, quintas (people of the same age) and groups of friends.
There is a production of the Passion of Christ on the Saturday night before Palm Sunday. This performance, which is carried out by the Mans Obertes theatre group, begins in the town centre and ends at the Stations of the Cross.
In the Sierra de Espadán Nature Park you can find more than a hundred species of birds belonging to thirty different families. The cork oaks and pinaster pines forests, the understory areas with their rich Mediterranean shrubland, the humid and wild ravines, the historic orchards and their ancestral irrigation systems, the drylands and the steep siliceous rocks of the upper part of the Belcaire river, they all make up an ideal mosaic for birds, among which the forest species stand out and, especially, the diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey.