La Vall d’Uixó
In the valley of the Belcaire River, you can find evidence of human civilisation that dates back to the Paleolithic age, when groups of hunter-gatherers once inhabited the caves. These traces of life are particularly commonplace around the Coves de Sant Josep natural caves. While the Iberians and the Romans both settled in the town, it was not until the Al-Andalus period that the urban centre we know today was first constructed.
In the shadow of the Uixó Castle, which lends its name to the city, a string of farmhouses is distributed along the irrigation canal that once carried water from the Coves de Sant Josep, and which was almost certainly laid by the Romans. The town was consolidated following the conquest of James I of Aragón, with royal privilege being granted in 1310 for a market to be held every Friday.
From the 15th century onwards, the town became dependent on the first Duke of Segorbe, Enrique de Aragón y Pimentel (known as “Infante Fortuna”). He was the nephew of Alfonso V of Aragón (known as Alfonso the Magnanimous), who had a palace in what we now know as the Plaza del Ángel. From the 17th century onwards, these farmhouses were unified into two urban nuclei structured around the town’s two historical parishes of El Lloc de Dalt and El Lloc de Baix, and the parish churches of El Ángel and La Asunción, respectively. Following the culmination of the Carlist Wars in the 19th century, La Vall d’Uixó underwent a process of industrialisation that revolved around shoemaking, leading to the opening of the Segarra factory.
All of this makes the city an important service centre, which is bursting with culture and boasts an impressive festive calendar. It is a diverse and hospitable city.
Coves de Sant Josep
The Coves de Sant Josep is Europe’s longest navigable underground river. It is a unique natural jewel that allows you to explore the depths of the Serra d’Espadà, following a route that water has coursed through for millennia. In addition to a privileged underground landscape, the Coves de Sant Josep and their surrounding areas represent an important cultural landmark, with pre-historic paintings and engravings at the entrance to the cave which are unique in the region and have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the Iberian settlement of Sant Josep next to the Baroque Sagrada Familia chapel.
For many years, Sant Josep served as a settlement for the inhabitants of the valley. As such, we do not know the exact date on which the underground river was first discovered. The cave was inhabited more than 15,000 years ago during the Upper Palaeolithic period, as shown by the paintings and remains found inside it.
A visit to the caves, which enjoy a pleasant year-round temperature of 20ºC, lasts around 45 minutes. You can also try your hand at espeleokayaking, which is a unique way to explore an underwater river. The Singin’ In The Cave music festival is held in the summer, in association with Mediterranew Musix.
Sant Josep Settlement
This is an architectural site that was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1999. The Sant Josep settlement is located at the top of the hill of the same name. It was built during the Bronze Age, although its golden years were during the Iberian period and at the end of the Roman Empire. This small walled enclosure was protected by quadrangular towers, three of which remain standing to this day.
The wall was built with masonry, using uneven stones that were tightly packed together. It is small in size and only a tiny part of it has been excavated. Sant Josep remains a fine example of Iberian urban planning, as a large part of its acropolis, a more-than-forty metre stretch of wall, two square towers, streets, stairways and other proof of human civilisation have been preserved. Guided tours of the settlement can be booked from the Tourist Information Office.
The XYZ Line trail
This cultural resource, which has been declared a point of local interest (BRL) by the Valencian Regional Government and has been promoted as a tourist attraction by various local municipalities, dates back to the Spanish Civil War.
In La Vall d’Uixó, the set of fortification remains of Line XYZ stands out, a defensive belt built by the Army of the Republic to stop the advance of the coup troops towards Valencia.
Two paths connect the natural area of Sant Josep with the Colonia de Sant Antoni through an easy itinerary, accessing vestiges of trenches, machine gun nests, etc.
Camí de l’Aigua urban route
Discover the town centre by following the course of the old irrigation channel, which once brought water from the Coves de Sant Josep. You’ll find various points of interest along the way:
The Roman aqueducts and Medieval windmills of Aigualit; neighbourhoods of Moorish origin such as Alcudia and Zeneta; the Muslim tower of Benissahat; the El Ángel church, with José Vergara’s 18th century frescoes; the La Asunción church, built in an imposing neo-classical style with an impressive bell tower; stately homes such as the Palau de Vivel or the house of the Count of Ripalda; as well as cisterns and washing places, etc.
Guided tours are offered by the Tourist Information Office
La Vall d’Uixó has an extensive network of mountain trails that represent a great opportunity to discover the area’s landscapes and natural features.
Among them, the two approved trails stand out: the PR-V-164, which runs between Muslim towers, fountains, and other buildings of old agricultural uses; and the PR-V-241, which also starts from Les Coves de Sant Josep and ascends to the top of Pipa, the most emblematic mountain in the town, and from which there is a spectacular panoramic view.
Discover the trail network
Birdwatching La Vall d'Uixó
In the upper part of the Belcaire River we find a great variety of landscapes. The union of steep rocky areas with high cliffs at the foot of which the river runs; the nearby forest masses of the Sierra de Espadán mountain range, as well as the large crop areas, make this municipality an ideal place to find birds of various families and characteristics, some of them of great interest. From here you can enter the Sierra de Espadán Nature Park, a mountainous area that stands out for its geological and floristic uniqueness, which houses nesting populations of 22 species of birds, and which is especially important for the conservation of raptors.
Via Ferrata Els Sants de la Pedra
The Via Ferrata “Els Sants de la Pedra” is a horizontal progression structure specially equipped for climbing safely.
With almost 120 meters of travel and 44 meters of unevenness, this facility offers a privileged view of the city of La Vall d’Uixó, the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea.
Although it is true that this fun and different activity can be carried out independently, it is necessary to have previous experience and, in addition, to join a mountain federation. Otherwise, it is possible to contract with various active tourism companies to guide the activity.