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13 Awesome Things to Do in Xátiva Spain

13 Awesome Things to Do in Xátiva Spain

Xátiva, Spain is a beautiful city that is packed with history, beautiful architecture, and stunning views.

It is without a doubt one of my favorite day trips from Valencia and an easy place to while away a whole day if not more.

There are restaurants and historical sites to explore. You’re not too far from the best beaches in Valencia like Cullera and Gandia. Located about 60km or 37 miles south of Valencia, you’re not far from the action of all of the top things to do in Valencia.

How to Get to Xátiva Spain

It is a quick 40 minutes by train from Valencia or you can drive here in about an hour.

To get to Xátiva from Valencia, get yourself to the Valencia Nord Station and hop on the C2 Cercanias line. You can get tickets directly on the RENFE website or you can buy it on the day when you are at the station.

Is Xátiva Worth Visiting?

Yes! I wouldn’t be writing an entire article about this beautiful town if it wasn’t!

If you are staying in Valencia and trying to decide whether a trip to Xátiva is worth it for you, then this list of top things to do in Xátiva should help you decide.

The main things to do in this town are explore historical sites that date back to the Roman and Iberian occupations. There are also two fantastic art museums and some stunning architecture to explore in the old town.

If these types of activities don’t excite you, then you can probably skip a trip to Xátiva. Consider instead exploring the wine region of Requena or the combination of lavish palaces and beautiful beaches in Gandia.

views of a sprawling spanish city from above with bright blue skies above.

There are so many amazing views around Xativa, but one of my favorites is from the castle.

Download the Xátiva Spain City App

The Xátiva Tourism Board has created a fantastic App that you can use as your guide around the city. It’s a great way to learn about each of the monuments as you self-tour around the city.

You can download it for Android here and for Apple phones here

There is a map, a list of the different things to do in Xátiva, and information listed for each attraction. You can read about the history and see photos from all different angles. 

13 Awesome Things to Do in Xátiva, Spain

There are so many fun things to do in Xátiva, here are my top picks for a day trip to this historical area.

castle on a hill with mountains in the background.

One of the two fortresses on the hill in Xátiva. You get the best view of each one from the towers of the opposite one.

1. Xátiva Castle

Xátiva Castle sits atop a hill on the southern edge of the city center. The name is misleading because on the premises there are actually two separate fortifications. 

The Castillo Menor and Castille Mayor, the lesser castle and the main castle. Castle Menor sits atop Roman and Iberian ruins and is the older of the two castles. Castle Mayor is the more recently built Medieval castle.

You can reach the castle by walking from the downtown area. It takes about 30 minutes and a lot of leg power to get to the top, but it allows you to stop at the different viewpoints and other ruins along the way.

There is a shuttle bus that also runs between the train station and the castle. You should stop into the tourism office when you arrive to learn about the operating hours of the shuttle.

The third way to get here is to drive. If you have driven yourself to Xátiva, you can drive up to the entrance of the castle. There is a free parking lot about 100 meters from the entrance through the castle’s main gate.

I highly recommend grabbing the map from the ticket office when you arrive. That way you won’t miss any of the unique gates, towers, or historical monuments that are scattered around the fortresses.

expansive spanish plaza in xativa spain with a basilica in the front.

The Basilica of Xátiva is a beautiful place to explore while visiting the city.

2. Basilica of Xátiva

Located in the center of the old town of Xátiva Spain is the Collegiate Basilica of Xátiva. It is often referred to as La Seu by the locals. 

Construction of the basilica began in the late 16th century. It was built on the site of an old Mosque and more than four centuries later, the basilica is still unfinished.

There is even a local saying when something is taking too long. People say, “This is taking longer than the construction of La Seu.”

Look for the Porta del Mercat. This is the door of the basilica that opens out onto the market square along Sant Vicent Street and is the oldest door of the building dating back to 1568.

You can enter the basilica during the few hours a day that it is open. The best part (if you’re not too tired from the climb up to the castle) is to climb the 180 steps to the top of the bell tower. The top of the tower is 60 meters tall (196 feet) and offers incredible views back over the rooftops of the old town.

outside of a historical building that has an ornate door on the right side and bright blue skies above.

The Antic Hospital Reial is a spectacular site to explore. Even from the outside, you know it will be worth exploring more of it.

3. Antic Hospital Reial

Directly across the street from the basilica, you can easily stop at Antic Hospital Reial. Like many things in small Spanish towns, the opening hours are irregular and brief, so be sure to check in advance so you don’t miss stepping into this stunning old hospital.

The hospital was founded in 1244 as a royal hospital. Inside it, you will find a combination of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles. Much of the original building was lost in a fire during the 18th century and was rebuilt afterward.

It remained a hospital that served the people of Valencia for over five centuries. Head inside to take a look at the different architecture as well as the stunning courtyard.

4. Plaça de Mercat

The central plaza and market square of Xátiva Spain is one of my favorite places to wander through. Surrounded by colorful buildings on all sides, you really feel yourself to be in the Mediterranean while you peek around the corners here.

If you are visiting in the morning, there are tons of restaurants surrounding the plaza where you can stop for a coffee or light meal. In the evenings, things reopen and you can sit outside to enjoy tapas and cold beers or wine from the nearby Requena-Utiel wine region.

I visited right in the middle of siesta time in August, so the plaza was deserted. This brought with it its own charm. With no one around, I could take as many photos as I wanted, find a bench in the shade easily, and take my time looking at each of the buildings without worrying about being in someone’s way. 

colorful buildings with awnings drawn over the windows and bright blue skies without any clouds.

The market plaza in Xátiva is particularly quiet during siesta time in August.

5. Jardi de la Pau

This little garden near the center of town is a wonderful place to find a little bit of peace in a bustling town like Xátiva. There are tons of different flowers, a beautiful fountain, plenty of benches to sit on, and lots of dog walkers to distract you.

It is not a large park, but a simple garden where people stroll through. But it is surrounded by so much modernity, it feels like a little breath of fresh air to stop through here.

6. Antigua Estacion

Antigua Estacion, located right on the edge of the city center to the east, is the second oldest train station in Spain.

It is not longer a functioning train station and isn’t really much to look at other than a crumbling brick building. But if you are a train or history buff, it’s cool to learn about the history of this location and see the remnants with your own eyes.

It was originally built in 1854 and connected this region of Spain all the way back to Madrid.

the ruins of an old train station in Xativa Spain with no glass in the windows and no foot on the buildings.

The Antigua Estacion is worth checking out if you are a history or train buff!

7. Terrassa Sant Josep

For more exceptional views back over Xátiva as well as of the castle all in one photo, stop into Terrassa Sant Josep.

It also happens to be a wonderful place to eat during your day trip to Xátiva Spain. If you are visiting during the busy summer months, be sure to call ahead and book a table so you can get a table out on the terrace.

The food is simple but exquisite. Think paella with local ingredients, grilled seafood, fresh salads, plates of Valencian cheeses, and locally cured meats.

8. Cova dels Coloms

As you walk up to Xátiva Castle, you will find tons of different signs that tell you what used to be along the hillside. The city is full of so much history.

One of the sites that is worth stopping at is Cova dels Coloms. It is a large cave that offers some stunning cool air, a true relief from the Spanish summer heat. 

A visit to the archeology museum in Gandia is worth checking out if you want to learn more about that period in Valencian history.

Islamic Palace ruins with nothing but deserted walls in Xativa Spain

The Islamic Palace is one of many historical sites to visit in Xátiva, Spain.

9. Islamic Palace

As the name suggests, this is a site where an Islamic palace once stood. Like many cities and towns in Spain, Moorish influence remains around every corner. 

This site is pretty much completely left in ruin. When I visited it looked like you could have at one time walked through the palace. There are a few unkept paths that wind through the small ruins site.

However, when I visited there was a fence that was surrounding it and it was padlocked so that no one could enter. It is very easy to see from the path that winds up to the palace. Cross the small footbridge across the street from the Terrassa Sant Josep and you will be able to get the best view straight down into the ruins.

10. Jardines del Palasiet

This is a larger park than the Jardi de la Pau. It is located to the west of the city center and is a stunning park and gardens to explore in Xátiva Spain. It is particularly wonderful in late spring and early summer when all of the different flowers are in bloom.

The park is well landscaped and feels more like palace gardens that you may have experienced in Seville or Zaragoza.

There are fountains, hedged paths, and flowers and vines climbing along nearby buildings. There are plenty of benches to sit on in the sunshine or in the shade. It’s a popular place for locals to come and relax on warm summer days. 

historical building with signs outside and blue skies above.

There are a few fantastic museum that you should visit on a day trip to Xátiva Spain.

11. Almudín de Xátiva Museum

If you enjoyed visiting the Lonja de la Seda in Valencia, you will likely find a trip to the Almudín equally fascinating.

The building was originally constructed back in the mid-1500s. It was a wheat market which is perhaps less glamorous than the silk market past of the Lonja, but at the time, was equally important and grand.

You will still see a Gothic facade and Ionic columns inside the Renaissance courtyard. But it is not just worth visiting to see the architecture. 

The Almudín is now home to the archeology museum of Xátiva. Inside you can learn about the city’s history through the Iberian, Roman, Visigothic, and Islamic remains that are housed here. 

12. Museum of Fine Arts Casa de l’Ensenyament

For a smaller city, Xátiva Spain is packed with history and culture. Art lovers should not miss a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in the city center.

The Fine Arts Museum of Xátiva is home to one of the best collections in all of the Valencia region. You’ll find pieces here from Ribera and Goya as well as sculptures and masonry from different Spanish artists.

A piece (and statement) not to miss is the portrait of Felipe V. It is hung upside down in revenge for his having ordered the burning of Xàtiva in 1707.

white and yellow building with balconied windows above and a large wooden door in the middle.

The Museum of Fine Arts is a stunning museum to visit in Xátiva.

13. Cova Negra

The only real way to visit this part of Xátiva Spain is if you have a car. If you are exploring this region of Spain with a rental car, then you should not miss a stop at this stunning regional park.

Cova Negra is both the name of the cave inside the park as well as the actual name of the municipal nature park, which can be a little bit confusing. the park is 57 hectares or about 140 acres. 

There are tons of walking paths to explore the park. Autumn is a wonderful time to visit since the leaves will begin to change colors here. But it is a great place to visit most of the year since it’s covered and therefore significantly cooler than the city center in summer.

The cave itself has been named a UNESCO cultural heritage site due to the Neanderthal remains that were discovered here (and are now housed in the Almudín Museum). 

Take a Day Trip Tour from Valencia

Want to explore Xátiva as a day trip from Valencia, but don’t want to drive? Perhaps you want to explore the historical sites with a knowledgeable guide?

The best way to do that is to take a tour from Valencia. This tour starts at a meeting point in downtown Valencia and includes transportation, a bilingual guide, entry tickets to the main sites around Xátiva, as well as a stop at a second town nearby. Book that tour here.