A drive down Spain’s eastern coast is a winding road trip through a bit of everything, from historical castles and wildflower fields to chic hotels and nude beaches. Plan a September road trip along the coast from Valencia to Peñíscola and you’ll get to experience it all, including the Castellón Tattoo Convention, which takes place September 5 – 7. Start out in Valencia. Many of the city’s buildings date to Roman and Arabic times, but some of the most breathtaking were built by architect Santiago Calatrava as part of the City of Arts and Sciences, which was erected in the ’90s. Don’t miss The Hemispheric, a soaring eye-shaped pavilion that holds a planetarium and IMAX theater. When the sun sets, head to La Bolsería Café in the city’s Carmen neighborhood, where all the best bars and music venues are located.
Next, drive north along the coast for about an hour to Castellón de la Plana (also known as Castellón), where the second annual Castellón Tattoo Convention takes place. The exhibition isn’t huge by industry standards, but many of Spain’s top artists, including Robert Hernandez, will be in attendance. Organizers expect thousands to visit La Pérgola in the city’s Parque Ribalta, where there will be live music, vendors, and the requisite tattooing contests. Spend a night in one of the modern, minimalist rooms of Hotel Luz Castellón, which is a one-minute walk from the convention. Before you get back on the road, stop by La Tasca del Puerto in the Grao district, around the city’s port, and order the seafood-strewn paella the region is known for.
Another hour’s drive north will bring you to Peñíscola, one of the most scenic spots along Spain’s Costa Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast). Visit the Castle of Peñíscola, which still stands in all its medieval glory (though it’s now surrounded by nude beaches). Stay at the seaside Hotel RH Casablanca & Suites; there may be more men in Speedos than you’d like to see, but the view of the castle from the pool makes it worthwhile. If you’re not ready to wrap up your Spanish holiday, continue two hours north to Barcelona. Or, take your time driving back to Valencia so you can enjoy the views along the way.
City of Arts and Sciences
Avenida Autopista del Saler, 3,
La Bolsería Café
Calle Bolsería, 41, 46001, Valencia
Castellón Ta ttoo Convention
La Pérgola, Parque Ribalta, Castellón
Hotel Luz Castellón
Calle del Pintor Oliet, 3, 12006, Castellón
La Ta sca del Puerto
Avenida Puerto, 13, 12100, Castellón
Hotel RH Casablanca & Suites
Avenida Papa Luna, 113, 12598, Peñíscola