If you love spending time in nature, walking, hiking or cycling, Desert de Les Palmes Natural Park near Benicassim in the province of Castellón in Spain is a place you shouldn’t miss. We’ve already mentioned it briefly in a post “One-day trip ideas from Benicàssim, Spain” but today we’ll expand the topic. There are many things to do and see in Desert de Les Palmes Natural Park, and it just deserves its own post. Let’s go, and dive into nature.
Things to do and see in Desert De Les Palmes Natural Park
Without a doubt, it is a wonderful place to explore. There you’ll find many trails and viewpoints which will allow you to immerse in beautiful landscapes.
Desert de les Palmes is just 10 km away from Benicassim, and 25 km from Castellón de la Plana. It covers an area of 3200 hectares and it occupies parts of five towns (Benicàssim, Castellón de la Plana, Cabanes, La Pobla Tornesa and Borriol). In 1989 it became part of the network of natural places in the Valencian Community.
Where is this desert? – name origins
Wondering where did the name come from? Where is this “desert”? The name comes from the days when the Discalced Carmelites, a Catholic order, populated the area. They called the place a “desert” as it was far from the settlement and they offered a place for a spiritual retreat in remoteness. Also, there were plenty of palms in the area so… you can guess now where the name came from.
If you are up for hiking Desert de les Palmes Natural Park is an ideal place for that activity. For example, you can reach the two highest summits, El Bartolo at (729m) and Mola del Morico (694m). From both peaks and the various viewpoints, you can enjoy spectacular views of the coast. You’ll find various hiking routes of different difficulties. Here is a website where you’ll find 16 examples of various routes with descriptions: CLICK.
Are you into cycling? You’ll also find something for yourself here. It’s one of the most popular cycling climbs in the region and we saw a great number of cyclists going up from Benicassim or Castellón. Here you can read more if you’re interested in the topic.
It is also full of historic heritage gems. You’ll find places like Miravet Castle, Montornés Castle, Desert Monastery of Las Palmas, Hermitage of the Magdalena, Castell Vell, and Hermitage of The Saints.
Now you know all about the things to do and see in Desert de Les Palmes Natural Park. But if you want to see all that place has to offer, plan to visit it at least two times, maybe three. I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time there.
Where to park in Desert De Les Palmes Natural Park?
There are two main places to leave the car, go for a walk and enjoy stunning landscapes:
- Large parking with excellent views of the old Carmelite Monastery and Benicàssim. See its location HERE.
- Visitor Centre, where lots of the hiking routes start. See its location HERE.
Where to eat in Desert De Les Palmes Natural Park?
There are two restaurants along the CV-147 road which leads through the park. If you are traveling by car, or bike, you can check them out:
- Restaurante Desierto de las Palmas (4.4 / 1305 reviews)
- Restaurant Bruno Desert de les Palmes (3.7 / 284 reviews)
Where to sleep in Desert De Les Palmes Natural Park?
You can choose your accommodation in one of the nearby cities, like Benicàssim or Castellón de la Plana, but in this post, we’ll recommend only one place, a place in which we stayed for 6 weeks. From its balcony on the one side you can admire stunning views of part of Desert de les Palmes, and on the other the Mediterranean Sea. We really recommend this one. Check it out on Airbnb.