For modern visitors the town is notable for its large, dramatically-situated fortress as well as its atmospheric, well-preserved city centre.
phone: +34 962 273 346address: Albereda Jaume I, 50Has free maps and brochures.
phone: +34 902 240 505 (reservations)address: Plaça de la Estación s/nLong distance trains connect Xàtiva with Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Málaga, and Badajoz. Medium-distance trains connect the city with Valencia, Murcia, Cartagena, Alicante, Albacete, Ciudad Real, Teruel, Zaragoza, and Huesca.
From Valencia, Renfe regional train line C2 departs every ½ hour from Estació de València Nord; a round-trip ticket costs €8.70 and the journey lasts 49 minutes.
Estación de Autobusesaddress: Avda Cavaller Ximen de Tovia, s/nAutocares Travicoi runs a daily bus from Valencia, with buses departing from Valencia at 10:00 and arriving in Xàtiva at 11:05.
Castle and environs
Castell de Xàtivaphone: +34 962 274 274This large hilltop fortification was first established by the Iberians, with the oldest section being the eastern side of the castle (Castell Menor, or 'Lower Castle'). After the Roman conquest, the original eastern section was expanded and a second fortress (Castell Major, or 'Upper Castle') was built to the west. Both castles were reinforced by the Moors, who also built the walls connecting the fort with the town below. After the Christian Reconquista further renovations were carried out, and the Upper Castle was used for a time as a jail for political prisoners. In the 18th century the castle suffered serious damage first during the Spanish War of Succession, and later from an earthquake in 1748, after which it fell into disuse. In the early 20th century a wealthy local businessman built, as a residence, a new section between the two castles, in the neo-Gothic style. This set of buildings now house a restaurant, exhibition hall, and visitor center.
Each castle affords great views of the city below, and of the mirroring castle. The walk up the (small) mountain is most scenic via the footpaths which pass by the Ermita de Sant Feliu and La Nevera (listed below). For those who don't want to walk there is also a tourist train which departs twice a day from the tourist office (summer: 12:30 and 17:30, winter: 12:30 and 16:30; €4.20), which winds its way through the town and uphill to the castle. Alternatively, a one-way taxi ride from the tourist office will cost about €11.
Torre del SolThis large Moorish watchtower was built in the early 13th century along the eastern-most wall joining the castle with the town below. The tower was completely restored in 2001. It is generally not open to the public, but visitors may be granted special access on request – inquire at the tourist office.
Ermita de Sant FeliuLocated in the original area of the old Roman city of Saetabis, this Romanesque church is one of the oldest in the Valencia region. It was built in 1265 on a site previously occupied by a Roman temple, a Visigothic church, and a mosque. The portico is supported by six Roman columns, and inside are several well-preserved medieval frescoes dating from between the 14th and 16th centuries, along with a few Roman tablets.
Cova dels LleonsA short distance up the hill from the Ermita de Sant Feliu, this small cave is said in popular folklore to have once contained lions. Sant Feliu (San Félix) of the nearby hermitage was thrown in the cave but remained unmolested by the lions, which was considered to be a miracle.
La NeveraThis curious domed, circular structure built over a 10-metre pit was used in the 18th century as an ice house, a place to store compacted snow which had been transported overnight from the nearby Sierra de Mariola. Although not documented until its use as an ice house, the building is believed to be possibly Arabic in origin. The interior is generally not open to the public, but can be appreciated through the windows.
Palau Arabe de la AljamaThe excavated remains of a Moorish palace can be easily appreciated from behind a chain-link fence.
phone: +34 962 276 597address: C/ Corretgería 46Housed in two adjoining buildings, one of them a medieval granary, this museum is dedicated to the history of the city and the wider area. Items on display include Iberian, Roman, and Moorish artifacts, as well as a few Gothic altarpieces and portraits by Josep de Ribera, a native son who spent most of his artistic career in Italy. Of special note is a portrait of Felipe V which has been hung upside down in retribution for the devastation he wrought on the city during the Spanish War of Succession in the early 18th century.
Hospital MunicipalFounded in 1250, this building has been renovated many times over the centuries. Its most noteworthy feature is its beautiful facade, which combines Gothic and Renaissance elements. Today it is still used as a medical facility.
Església Collegiata Basílica de Santa Mariaaddress: Plaça Calixto III, 6Located on the site of an earlier mosque and later Gothic church, construction of the former cathedral began in 1596 and lasted nearly 350 years, interrupted by war and plague. The most striking features of the rather severe building are the apse and altar.
FallesLike a number of other towns in the Valencian Community, Xàtiva celebrates Fallas with the construction and burning of falla monuments in the streets.
Festa del Corpus ChristiCelebrated in Xàtiva since the 14th century, it is considered to be one of the more important Corpus Christi events in the Valencian Community due to its more unusual dances and traditions. The most famous dance is La Moma i els Momos, in which a man in white dress and white-veiled face is surrounded by seven men with black-veiled faces, representing the struggle of virtue against the seven deadly sins. Other noteworthy dances include the Gegants (giants), the Nanos (dwarves), and the Paloteig (stick dance). The procession begins at 18:00 at the .
Fira d'AgostThis annual event has been celebrated since 1250 with just a few interruptions for epidemics and the sacking of the town by Philip V in the 18th century. Originally it was held as a cattle market; today the primary attractions are traditional song and dance performances, a medieval market with handmade crafts, and street food.
Mercadilloaddress: Plaça del MercatA street market for fresh local produce and other goods.
phone: +34 962 270 525address: Carrer de la Reina, 17With traditional decor and cuisine, this is probably one of the most well-known restaurants in town. The chefs have revived some forgotten local specialties, and are especially known for their arrós al forn.
phone: +34 962 283 824address: Castell, s/nAlthough the food is not spectacular, this has a lovely setting with ample outdoor seating and a great view overlooking the town below.
phone: +34 962 275 081, +34 658 962 659address: Subida al Castillo de Xàtiva, s/nSurrounded by lovely gardens just below the castle. Has a fitness centre and onsite restaurant. Rates include continental breakfast and free WiFi; pets permitted for an extra fee.
phone: +34 962 048 539address: C/ Catedràtic Angel Lacalle, s/nHas an onsite restaurant, offers free luggage storage.
phone: +34 962 271 011address: C/ Academico Maravall, 1Includes continental breakfast and free WiFi; pets allowed for no extra charge.