Benifallet, village on the River Ebro
The village of Benifallet is located on the banks of the River Ebro with around 750 friendly and welcoming residents. Traditionally a farming village Benifallet life is easy-going, indeed slow when comparing it the lifestyle of city life. “the real Spain” where you can enjoy good food, wine and a very pleasant climate. Indeed, many of the ex-pats in the village came for a holiday and never left. To quote an ex-pat, “An essential part of village life is a beaming smile and an “Hola!” or “Bon dia!”
Benifallet has a great selection of restaurants and bars attracting dinners from surrounding towns and villages as well as tourists. There’s plenty to as do as well, apart from fishing the river Ebro. There are the caves, boat tours, kayaking, segway’s, the Green path, cycling, walking and fiestas. Of course, there are many more things to visit and see, just a short drive away. Such as the regions history, natural beauty, beaches, wine and tourist attractions of the Costa Durada which we discuss else ware on this site.
Waking up to sun, the smells of the country, fresh coffee, relaxed friendly people and the many more sensory delights its nor surprising that we see many of the same faces year after year, there just something about Benifallet!
Benifallet has 4 fiestas throughout the year with the biggest being the Fiesta Major in September. Villagers decorate their streets as part of the celebrations that last 5 days, finishing on Catalunya Day. Little sleep is had, as festivities starts early and finish late, don’t miss the “Battle of the Drums” which starts at 4am. The crowd gather in the village square to cheer on the Benifallet Band, followed by a procession through the streets with much dancing, laughter and cheering.
There are many more fiestas in cities, towns and villages in easy reach of Benifallet. For information, we list the “local ones” whether you live here all year round or are here on holiday, there is a chance you’re find something going on somewhere near. The opening of the caves in May starts with paella and dancing.
Facilities in Benifallet
The village shops are all family owned and run. You have a choice of eight bars and restaurants, bakery, butchers, grocers, hairdresser, chemist, doctors, and a fish shop which usually opens on Thursday.
We have a town crier in the form of the village PA (public address system). When you first hear it scare the life out of you but its the traditional way to make announcements to the village. Whether it’s announcing the fish shop is open and what fish are available, town meeting, reminder that tomorrow’s market day or news on a forth coming fiesta. The announcement is proceeded by a loud musical introduction that’s hard to talk over, so it gets your attention.
Food and Wine
Benifallet has a good selection of restaurants that serve al la carte and menu of the day (menu del dia). For greater detail click on link.
Menu del dia is generally served from Monday to Friday from 2 to 5 and priced at around €12.50. The menu which changes daily gives a selection of local dishes in 3 or 4 courses and includes wine. But the best reason to try the lunch time menu is to experience dishes that you wouldn’t normally try.
Of course, the a la carte menu is always available at lunch, evenings and weekends when the menu of the day is not available.
The history of Benifallet dates to the ancient inhabitants of the mountains and valleys. Neolithalites left cave paintings and artefacts and the Iberians left us a preserved village which is now a heritage site. The Romans made Tortosa their man port from which they created settlements along the river which they navigated for trade leaving behind artefacts of pottery, tools and the remains of a dam which is still visible.
The current site of the village appears to have been established around the time of the 1st Crusade and the name itself is thought to be of Moorish origin. However, the first documents recognising the village were discovered because of the conquest of Tortosa that took place in December 1148.
During the Spanish Civil War Benifallet was occupied by the Spanish Republican army throughout the Battle of the Ebro. The battle from 25th July until 16th November 1938 was recorded as the bloodiest battle of the civil war with 180,000 troops in theatre. The Nationalist Army, commanded by Queipo de Llano and Francisco Franco, fought with 80,000 men against the 100,000 strong 2nd Republican Army, led by Juan Modesto and Enrique Lister. The Republicans suffered a heavy defeat with 30,000 dead, 20,000 wounded and 19,563 captured while the Nationalists only lost 6,500 men with 30,000 wounded and 5,000 captured, this battle defeat the Republican Army.
The Coves Meravelles were used as a shelter for many soldiers and villagers and El-Figueral was commandeered by the international brigade as a forward observation post. We know this as many soldiers left graffiti on the walls, unfortunately long gone. On a lighter note, they did leave us a present! ordinance, our then farm manager discovered this when lighting a fire a few years back.
The Llaguter bridge over the River Ebro was built in 1991, before that time crossings had to be made by medieval ferry as is still the case for the village of Miravet just upriver.
The municipality encompasses the Cardó Mountain Range with its peak of 941 metres and the drive up to the old spa delivers spectacular views over the area. The Origin of the spa was a Carmelite community monastery founded in 1606, near the monastery there was originally fourteen hermitages spread along all the mountain of Cardó. Today there are still a few intact that can be visited. The location and positions of the monastery and hermitages is monument to human endeavour.
In the late 19th century, the monastery converted to a thermal spa. The spring water was thought to offer medicinal properties through its bicarbonate and arsenic content. During the Spanish Civil War, the spa was used as a Republican hospital. Today it lies empty once again after attempts to re-open it again as a luxury spa appear to have stalled.
Benifallet climate is warm and temperate.
Rain falls mostly in winter, with relatively little in summer.
Average annual temperature is around 16.6 °C but expect mid to high 30 °C during the summer months.
The average rainfall is 493 mm with most rain during spring and Autumn.