Jérica is a beautiful mountain town in the province of Castellón, in the Valencian Community, in Spain. With just over 1,500 inhabitants, Xèrica (in Valencian) is an interesting proposal for a rural getaway given its landscape and rustic architecture.
If you are interested in knowing what to see in Jérica, here are 3 reasons why you should visit this town that some call “the unknown jewel”, located less than 15 minutes from Segorbe, capital of the Alto Palancia region of Castellón.
#1 Its historical and cultural heritage
Like many other places in the area, the origin of Jérica is Arabic (in Arabic it is called Sharíqua and is pronounced šāriqa, which means ‘eastern slope [of a mountain]’). However, in 1235, Jérica is conquered by the army of James I of Aragon with Guillem de Montgrí, archbishop of Tarragona, at the head.
All this past can still be seen reflected in the historic center of the town, declared an asset of cultural interest. For example, the narrow streets of the center are a clear example of Arab reminiscences.
Si bien Jérica es pequeña y puede visitarse rápidamente, hay muchas cosas por ver como restos de la antigua muralla, la Iglesia del Cristo de la Sangre o lugares más emblemáticos como los listados seguidamente.
Bell tower or Torre de las Campanas
The Mudejar Tower of las Campanas, also known as Torre de la Alcudia, can be seen from anywhere in the town. For this reason, dominating the town, the Torre de las Campanas is considered by many to be the emblem of Jérica.
It is the most remarkable and ancient Arab vestige that remains in Jerica. And as a Mudejar tower, that of las Campanas is perhaps the most important in the entire Valencian Community. As can be seen in the image, the tower consists of three bodies or parts: in the second are the bells.
Keep or Torre del Homenaje – “La Torreta”
It was during the Moorish era that Jerica was established as a permanent settlement, partly through the construction of a castle. Of this castle of Arab origin, there is currently hardly a trace, since at the end of the 19th century it was destroyed during the Carlist wars.
Popularly known as ‘la Torreta’, it is the best preserved remains of the castle. It is located on top of the closest hill to Jerica. In the penultimate photo of this guide you can see it on the left.
This point of interest is not located in Jérica itself, but just on the outskirts. The Vegatilla trench deserves to be highlighted, due to its recent historical origin and its state of conservation.
During the Spanish Civil War, the Vegatilla Trench was part of the XYZ line as it passed through the Palancia Valley. This defensive system, which extended from near Cuenca to the Valencian coast, passing through Teruel, was devised by the Republican General Matallana to defend Valencia against the advance of Franco’s troops from the north from Aragon.
The 150 km XYZ Line was excavated with pickaxes and dynamite with the participation of 14,000 men, taking a month. At the time, this meant mobilizing a force comparable to all men between 18 and 45 years of age in the province of Castellón.
It is important to understand that XYZ was not a network of reinforced concrete fortifications and bunkers, but a network of trenches that took advantage of the orography of the hills and mountains to the northwest of Valencia. And it is that the terrain was conducive to hindering infantry assaults, even more so those of tanks or armored vehicles, and even bombardments, since the degree of camouflage was high.
It was this XYZ line that prevented Franco’s troops from conquering Valencia in the so-called Battle of Levante. And although there was intense fighting between hundreds of thousands of soldiers on each side, the Vegatilla Trench in Jérica was a relatively quiet place, so it is very well preserved.
We recommend asking for the exact location of this trench and going to visit it on foot. It is a hiking route that will allow you to get to know this rest of historical memory and also enjoy beautiful views over Jérica.
Portal de la Sala
The origin of the Portal de Sala probably dates back to the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th. It is a square-shaped tower in military Gothic style. As an interesting fact, until the end of the 16th century, the Portal de Sala housed the Council of Jérica, in one of its various rooms. From this room, from which the current name of the tower comes, the council directed the public life of Jérica, as the city council does today.
Gate of San Roque
The Portillo de San Roque was one of the access doors to the second ring of the town of Jérica, when it underwent its first extension. As a curiosity, it is believed that it had small dimensions so that it could communicate quickly with the old stately palace and the castle grounds.
We recommend crossing the gate to walk along Calle San Roque, which leads to Calle del Horno pequeño, because, as we show later, it is a spectacle of plants.
Church of Santa Águeda
The church of Santa Águeda of Jérica is considered an Asset of Local Relevance. Its architectural style is baroque and the last important reform to which it was subjected was in the 18th century, although after the Civil War, due to its state, reconstruction work was carried out.
Santa Águeda is in fact the patron saint of the town of Jérica and February 5th is dedicated to her to commemorate the reconquest of the town from the Mudejars by the troops of Jaime I.
Fountain of Santa Águeda
Originaria del siglo XVIII, la Fuente de Santa Águeda está ubicada en la principal plaza del pueblo. El hecho característico de esta fuente es que se trata de un retablo con tres cuerpos:
Originally from the 18th century, the Santa Águeda Fountain is located in the town’s main square. The characteristic feature of this fountain is that it is an altarpiece with three bodies:
- Up the shield of the city.
- In the center an oval dedicated to Santa Águeda.
- Down the bowl of the fountain.
Actually, the official name of this church is Centro SocioCultural “El Socós”. The reason? Currently it does not have a religious use but rather talks, exhibitions, civil weddings and concerts are given.
Although today it is owned by the City Council of Jérica, formerly this church was part of the convent of Nuestra Señora del Perpétuo Socorro (in Valencian, Socors, from which the current name is adapted).
The church was badly damaged after the Civil War when it was looted and, in 1938, it was hit by a bomb during the bombardment of Jérica, which destroyed half of the central nave. It later passed into the hands of the Agrarian Chamber of Jérica, which used it as a warehouse. It was not until the 21st century that it passed into the hands of the town hall and has been restored.
#2 La Vuelta de la Hoz
Although Jérica is known among the cycling world for being a crossing point for the Via Verde de Ojos Negros, the best answer to what to do in Jérica is undoubtedly La Vuelta de la Hoz.
It is a circular route of just 1 km, of low difficulty and with a route suitable for children and fully accessible for people in wheelchairs and baby carriages.
What can you do in La Vuelta de la Hoz?
- Go by bike (you can rent your bike with us!).
- Go climbing (it is common to see climbers enjoying one of the gorges).
- Enjoy with the little ones in the playground.
- Contemplate the nature that surrounds Jérica in the various viewpoints present.
- Bathe in the multiple natural water wells.
- Eat in good company in the picnic area enabled.
- See the old mill or the old electricity factory (more info below).
The Vuelta de la Hoz is undoubtedly what makes Jérica an interesting proposal for an active rural getaway. Even more so when the route is very well signposted and equipped with benches, handrails and litter bins.
Its existence is thanks to the passage through the population of the river Palancia. This 85 km river rises in the area, feeds the beautiful Regajo Reservoir, passes through Navajas (where the famous Salto de la Novia is located), Segorbe and finally empties into the Mediterranean at Sagunto. The meander of the river Palencia has eroded the mountains in its path, creating over the centuries the Monte de la Torreta (which we have talked about previously).
Clearly one of the attractions are the water wells. If you are going to swim in any of them, we recommend that you do not go with normal flip-flops but with footwear that helps you not slip, such as pumps, sandals or sports sandals (known as river flip-flops).
Undoubtedly, the Vuelta de la Hoz is a spectacular natural area to discover in peace: whatever you do you will be surrounded by silence, tranquility and peace. To access it, you just have to go to the El Socós Sociocultural Center, located on Calle Río 2-4, and where there is already a sign to Vuelta de la Hoz, and go down the street. At the end of it you will find a large esplanade: it is the free parking and next to it there are picnic tables.
As a note of interest, the Palancia river, which is enjoyed idly today, has historically been key to the economic development of Jérica. From irrigating the fields to moving the machinery. For example, at the end of the 19th century it allowed the installation of an electricity factory, inaugurated in 1897, which supplied energy for 60 light bulbs. Thanks to this, Jérica was the third town in Castellón to have public lighting.
#3 The joy of little things
So far we have reviewed all the points of tourist interest in Jérica. In a special way, we have exposed La Vuelta de la Hoz because by itself it is already a reason to visit this Castellón town.
However, surely because it is a town with few inhabitants, there are other things, smaller, such as details, that make the visit to Jérica more memorable.
For example, among the most typical products of Jérica we find olive oil and cherries. If your visit is at the end of March or beginning of April, at the beginning of spring, you can also enjoy the cherry blossoms.
That yes, if it is necessary to highlight another delicacy of Jérica, sweet in this case, it is the typical El Jericano cake: a lemon and meringue cream is spread on a puff pastry base and, to crown it, a generous layer of fondant chocolate is placed.
Although El Jericano, a specialty of the Mesado Pastry Shop, is made throughout the year, it is at the Santa Águeda festivities at the beginning of February that its consumption is massive. A delicacy worth trying!
But not everything is about food, for better or for worse. The history of a place can be seen in unexpected ways, beyond the great monuments and clearly visible buildings.
For example, in the lower image you can see in the middle of the image, on the rock that goes down, a patina of a different color, darker. It is the trail left by generations of children from Jérica who have slid down there as a natural slide.
For the end of this section, we have probably reserved the most special: the magic that the women of Jérica do. Near the portal of San Roque that we have presented to you above, there is a street full of hundreds of plants that make this one of the most beautiful in the town. It’s the work of several lovely women like Rosita, pictured below, who loves to chat with visitors.
Frequently Asked Questions about Jerica
How to get to Jerica?
To go to Jérica by car you must travel on the A-23, take exit 37 for Jérica (south) and continue on the N-234. If you prefer to go by train, take the Valencia – Caudiel C5 commuter line with a stop in Jérica. However, our preferred transport is, of course, the bicycle: Jérica is an ideal stop on the cycle routes of the Via Verde de Ojos Negros or the Camino del Cid.
Is there a tourist office in Jérica?
Yes, there is. It is located in the El Socós Sociocultural Center, on Calle Río 2-4. The telephone number is +34 964 128 004, although you can find more information on their website. They organize guided tours of Jérica on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Where to eat in Jerica?
If you are looking for a traditional restaurant, try Randurias Restaurante or Restaurante Casa Sánchez. If you go by train and you are very hungry, you can also eat well at the Bar Restaurante La Estación, within the train station. If you are one of those who loves a hamburger or even good rice and good tapas, then go to El Rullo. Finally, if you love crêpes for dessert, you’ll find them at El Rincón de Jérica.
Where to sleep in Jerica?
You can find several accommodations such as the hotel in Jérica, or if you want a rural house there are several such as Sharíqua, La casa Mora, La Era del Portalico, Casa Navajas or casa La Vía Verde among others.
What sports can be practiced in Jérica?
The sports activities that are practiced the most are climbing and hiking. However, there are also many who opt for cycling and horseback riding. All this without forgetting the simple fact of bathing in the natural wells of the Palancia river.
Where can you rent bicycles in Jérica?
We are in Torres Torres, a town located 20 minutes by car on the A-23. We have electric bicycles with which you can comfortably ride a section of the Ojos Negros Greenway, visit and eat in Jérica, and then come back to finish an active day that you will remember. Call us at +34 629 522 300 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there a museum in Jerica?
The Municipal Museum of Jérica, located next to the church of Santa Águeda, brings together various decorative objects and utensils that have been found in the town and in the surrounding area, interesting from an ethnographic or archaeological point of view. For more information call +34 964 129 177 or visit their website.
What is the best period to visit Jerica?
Jérica can be visited all year round, although it is more common to do so when the temperature is high enough to enjoy the waters of the Palancia river. Although if you prefer to enjoy the colors of the landscape, in spring the white and pink of the almond, peach and cherry trees in bloom stand out. In autumn the main colors are, of course, red, yellow and brown.
What routes can be done in Jérica?
The most famous route in Jérica is undoubtedly La Vuelta de la Hoz. But there is another very interesting route, circular and about 5 km long, which visits the Randurias fountain and allows you to see the remains of trenches. More information here.