Orihuela Castle

Orihuela Castle, even in its ruinous state, dominates the city from its lofty heights. Built in the area of Monte de San Miguel, the castle lies high up on the Sierra de Orihuela mountain. In days of old this gave the castle an excellent defensive position. The history of Orihuela Castle is somewhat cloudy. However, it is recognised as being one of Spain's Tidmer Castles built in around 713, making it one of the oldest buildings in the Alicante Province. A series of these castles were built by the Visigoth Count Theodimir to defend the region from Moor invasions.

 Orihuela Castle
Source: Flickr / Joana Albaladejo

Orihuela Castle

Wandering the streets of Orihuela City reveals many interesting monuments and landmarks among its squares and plazas. Yet at every twist and turn fleeting glimpses of Orihuela Castle somehow seem to beckon visitors to make the climb to its summit. If you are one of those that can't resist the challenge, then a visit to the Tourist Information Bureau will arm you with some interesting facts and history before setting out. The staff, maybe just for a bit of fun, like to play down the difficulty of the climb. Don't be fooled; it's tough, and more of a scramble than a hike for much of the way. Be sure to wear sturdy footwear and take sufficient water.

Orihuela Castle Climb

It is possible to drive part of the way up the mountain. Whether driving or walking, follow Calle Colón Zen up through the old town. The road then becomes Subida al Seminario which winds its way uphill to the San Miguel Diocese Seminary & Education Centre. You will find signs for the start of the trail at the back of the seminary. These however seem to point you downwards on a longer route. It's best to just head upwards and as you climb you will find rocks with blue dots and yellow arrows marking the way. These are pretty faded so at times you will just be following your nose along what looks like an old goat track.

Orihuela Castle Summit

The beauty of reaching the top is, due to the difficulty of the climb, you will often have the entire castle ruins to explore to yourself. The views are simply stunning and reach far across the Veja Baja del Segura. Some visitors tend to have a meal in the city before setting off. Others take a packed lunch to enjoy at the seminary before tackling the climb. Should you wish to have a snack once you reach the summit, make sure it's securely packed. The same goes for water bottles, equipment and most importantly expensive cameras as they can get damaged.

Orihuela Museums

Orihuela museums can be found throughout the city, along the river banks and in the old town. One feature that makes exploring Orihuela such a pleasure is the presence of the River Segura.