Delicious drives in Spain:

3 of Spain's most beautiful towns

by Jackie De Burca - 15 May 2017

Recently I teamed up with Hertz on their Delicious Drives campaign. This remarkable route includes a town which used to be a Papal Residence, an inland town with stunning views that was re-constructed by artists and an incredibly striking historic town, with breathtaking views. In each of these beautiful towns we discovered some great foodie finds along the way.

Magnificent Morella: an incredibly striking historic town with breathtaking views

After a deeply refreshing night's sleep in the peaceful environment of Molí d'Abad, where we stayed after our first tasty adventure, it was time to hit the road again in our sporty 4X4. We had Morella mapped out as our first port of call. The route from Els Ports Natural Park to Morella is filled with beautiful scenery. I would highly recommend stopping off at Horta de Sant Joan. This is where Picasso said he discovered nature. The village itself is gorgeous, includes a Picasso Museum and has wonderful views over the nature that was so inspirational for Picasso.

The drive up towards Morella is absolutely spectacular. Verdant scenery embraces a road that is steep, narrow and curved in parts as it winds its way up to magnificent Morella. We were very happy to be navigating the road smoothly and comfortably in our Hertz Opel Mokka 4x4.

As you approach Morella, it's hard not to be impressed with the spectacular ancient stone that climbs up above the terracotta and white washed houses. Morella pulsates with history, culture, beauty, folklore, tradition and gastronomy. We were lucky enough to choose market day to visit, as it was Sunday. The ancient stone streets were buzzing with traders, gorgeous stalls, shops and visitors. We were able to enjoy this even more than on a normal visit, as we were given a police escort to let us drive through, so that we could show it to you!

I had been to Morella quite a few times before. It never ceaes to amaze me and I never bore of its sprawling stone streets, the Roman aqueduct and its endless amount of fine foodie offerings. Up to now I have never been to a disappointing restaurant in Morella. This visit was no different.

We went to Da Luan, which is an absolute gem hidden in a side street of the old town. Every dish was an explosion of taste sensations. The atmosphere was fantastic, and both the staff and owners were really friendly and professional.

Vineyards in Vilafamés: re-constructed by artists with stunning views

From Morella we took the N-232 to Vilafamés, another one of Spain's officially most beautiful towns.

The old quarter of Vilafames dates back to the 11th century and is of Muslim origin. These remains are the foundations of the charming urban layout and the castle. Explore narrow winding streets, dotted with whitewashed and terracotta buildings, which are often enhanced with vibrant, pretty plant pots. The views over the countryside are spectacular, and Vilafamés has a boutique town feel about it, with around 2000 inhabitants.

Today apart from enjoying the beautiful town and its spectacular surroundings, you can also sample some of the local wines there. The Mayo Garcia Vineyard is a family affair that have been harvesting grapes and making wine since 1945. In fact now they even produce an ecological Reserve Brut. Make your way to Vilafamés on a Saturday or Sunday, and for €12 you can enjoy a tour of the vineyards, a tasting and take a bottle of their signature wine away with you. It's a wonderful experience in a gorgeous location.

The smooth ride back in our Mokka 4x4 was very serene as we drove back to the coast, to visit Peñiscola where El Cid and Game of Thrones were filmed. Peñiscola has a very modern side to it, but it also has its gorgeous old town, that overlooks the sea along with great beaches. In fact the nickname for Peñiscola is the City in the Sea. The little streets are overflowing with cute shops, cafés and restaurants. And all of this in a Templar Castle where a Pope used to live! In fact now you can buy a tea there, called Tissana Papa Luna which legend says was the tea that saved his life.

Condé Naste featured Peñiscola in one of their top towns features, which really doesn't surprise me. It rises 64 metres above the azure Mediterranean sea, with sturdy city walls which envelope cobbled stone, windy streets. The old quarter of Peñiscola is simply special.

We do however highly recommend that you go to one of our all-time favourite restaurants – Restaurant Carmen Guillemot, located in the old quarter of Peñiscola. The owners Mamen and Philippe, are both artists, as well as being culinary artists. The foodie experience in Restaurant Carmen Guillemot is sumptuous and Philippe is the perfect host. You can choose from a seasonal tasting menu for €42, which is what we always have, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

And here was my planned route:

Stop one: Valencia - Hertz Valencia Airport

Stop two: Benicassim - Carmelitano

Stop three: Voramar Beach - Villa Route

Stop four: Desierto de las Palmas - Desierto de las Palmas restaurant

Stop five: Delta de l’Ebre - Delta de l'Ebre Natural Park

Stop six: Font de Sant Pere - Font de Sant Pere restaurant

Stop seven: Morella - Morella historic town

Stop eight: Vilafamés - Mayo Garcia Vineyard

Stop nine: Peñiscola - Peñiscola Old Town

Latest Articles