Things to see
Emerging and transformative rural culture
Benlloc is an active, lively municipality, proud of its rural character and its innovative potential. A perfect combination of things to do and see, rooted in tradition with fairs, concerts and festivals such as Feslloc and Viniterrània, which offer different and attractive leisure experiences.
Mare de Déu de l’Assumpció Church
This church dressed as a fortress was built in 1614 on the top of the hill on which the village of Benlloc stands. The church is basilica-style with a Renaissance façade. As the town grew and the wall was expanded in 1650, the church and bell tower were attached to the wall, so it is quite possible that the bell tower was used for defence or keeping watch, taking advantage of its strategic location and its 20-metre-high tower-like appearance. If you are interested in seeing one of the oldest bells in the Valencian Community, simply take a deep breath and climb the 150-step spiral staircase to the bell floor. As a reward for your achievement, you will be able to enjoy one of the most spectacular views of Benlloc.
The patron saints of Benlloc, Abdon and Senen, known as the “saints of stone”, who protected the fields against storms and hail, preside together over this chapel built in 1445. In 1498, a curious twist of fate granted the privilege of presiding over the chapel to Mare de Déu de l’Adjutori. Tradition has it that devotion to this virgin was started by Portuguese sailors who were grateful for the good wind they had had on their voyage. The current sober, baroque building is an extension of the church, which dates from 1942. Surrounded by a recreational area and woodland, the chapel is considered a Site of Local Relevance with the category of a Monument of Local Interest.
On the outskirts of Benlloc, next to the CV-156 road in the direction of Vall d’Alba, is the chapel dedicated to La Verge de Loreto. It is a beautiful, small church, built of masonry with ashlar reinforcements on the sides and a gabled tiled roof. Its façade has recently been restored. The chapel was built at the request of the parish priest, Salvador Andreu, who in 1666 applied for a licence from the Vicar General of Tortosa, Pedro Màrtir Aycart. The first mass was celebrated in 1698 and the remains of its founder rest here, as a tombstone on the façade certifies.
Mark this stop on your visit and treat yourself to some of the most spectacular views of the Prat de Cabanes-Torreblanca scenery and the sea. Quartico is a rural area 9 km from the municipality of Benlloc. Its origins date back to the period of land grants after the Reconquista, when the area was taken back from the Moors. Made up of a small group of farmhouses, there is a small neo-Gothic chapel and a calvary. They were both built by a private individual who gave them to the town in gratitude for his son’s salvation.
How many troughs would you need to quench the thirst of a whole herd at the same time? It would surely be a slow, cumbersome and almost impossible process. Drinking troughs provide a solution that is as simple as it is ingenious. They are close to the water collection systems and, with their elongated shape, they allow a large number of animals to drink at the same time without having direct contact with either the bucket or the stored water. In Benlloc, the following drinking troughs stand out: “Abeurador de la font dels tres Canons”, “Abeurador de l’Aljub de l’adjutori”, “Abeurador Font Subarra” and “Abeurador Pou de la Mosca”.
Cisterns have always been strategic elements capable of changing the course of history. Many castles and fortresses withstood attacks and sieges, thanks in part to having a cistern within the walls to provide the necessary water supply.
Cisterns are constructions that collect water during the rainy season and store it inside, keeping it cool and in the shade for drinking. They are located in places with good accessibility for people and animals, close to roads or houses, in places where they can take advantage of the flows generated during the rainy season. They have important architectural value, as shown by the complexity of the construction of the oldest ones in Quartico, Pedrafita and El Mas. In Benlloc you can find cisterns in various states of conservation with rectangular bases dug out of the earth or in dry rock. Examples include “Aljub de les Casetes”, “Aljub del Camí de les Comes”, “Aljub de la Rambla” and “Aljub Camí del Cementeri”, among others.
Without detracting from their charm, they are one of the most rudimentary types of water enclosures. They are relatively large but quite shallow holes in the ground that collect rainwater. The amount they collect depends on the rainfall, temperature and the amount of sunshine, as they have no cover or protection.
Some of the main pools are “Bassa de l’Argila”, “Bassa d’Adrià”, “Bassa del Pou sec”, “Bassa del mas de Pelejano” and “Mas del Gordo”.
There are not many natural springs in the municipality, but there are many fountains, which are important public works. The most popular one, built in 1889, is the stately, historic and robust Font dels Tres Canys. The other fountains in Benlloc are simpler and more contemporary in style. These include “Font de Subarra”, “Font de la Reixa” and “Font de Plaça Sant Antoni”.
Daniel Fortea Guitar Festival
This international guitar festival pays tribute each year to Daniel Fortea, a composer and musician who was born in Benlloc and was one of the main promoters of the guitar as a concert instrument. The festival’s programme combines performances by experienced concert artists with the talent of local students who enjoy the opportunity to share the bill with international maestros.
Viniterrània is the music and wine festival, a different, family way of celebrating the Grape Harvest Festival. Around 1 November, for two days, Benlloc hosts a programme of informative activities, tastings, food and wine pairings, Mediterranean music performances, children’s games and leisure activities for all ages based around the world of wine.
Feslloc is one of the most attractive and well-established live music festivities in the Valencian Community. It was created in 2007 with the aim of promoting musical performances by soloists or groups that use the Valencian language in their musical compositions, and to energise and activate the countryside, by offering new musical options. For three days, in addition to the concerts, the festival offers a series of recreational, informative and educational activities, a meeting point for people of all ages who seek to share emotions and experiences based on respect, civic-mindedness and love for music in Valencian.
In a return to the celebration of traditions and local products, on the weekend of Palm Sunday there is a craft market, traditional music, local products and exhibitions, among other activities.