Requena is a town situated in the province of Valencia. It is well known for its production of cava, the Spanish sparkling wine. Reachable in less than one hour by car and having much to offer, it makes an ideal day trip from Valencia.
First of all, what is cava? This Spanish sparkling wine has Denominació d’Origen (DO) status and it must be produced using the champenoise traditional method in order to be allowed to bear the cava name. While Catalonia is most known for cava production, several other regions in Spain are allowed to use this name for the sparkling wine they produce. These can be found in Aragon, the Basque Country, Castilla y León, Extremadura, Navarra and La Rioja.
Requena hosts several producers of high quality cava. The most well known are Pago de Tharsys, Dominio de la Vega and Torre Oria.
Pago de Tharsys produces a variety of beverages, including cava, wine and spirits. Many of them are organic. Its organic cava “Pago de Tharsys Brut Nature” is among the best known and it had received several awards in various national and international competitions. Dominio de la Vega produces both cavas and wines and it also has a product that was recognised multiple times with several awards named “Reserva Especial Brut”. As the traditional method is used to produce cava, the carbon dioxide is not added artificially but developed by a second fermentation in the bottle. This creates very fine bubbles and a distinctive taste.
Most of the cava and wine producers offer winery tours. These range from relatively inexpensive options that includes a small tasting sample to expensive ones that can include a more generous tasting and a meal. It is best to make a reservation in advance.
The town of Requena has more to offer, so you can spend the rest of the day visiting it. Most things to see are in the old town, which is small enough that you can walk. From its several churches, the most well known are Iglesia de San Nicolás and Iglesia de Santa María. Parts of the old walls are still preserved and you can also visit Torre del Homenaje, a tower which constitutes the last remaining part of a Moorish castle. The Cuevas de la Villa is probably the most interesting sight – a network of tunnels under the old city. The tunnels have been used mostly for storage of grains and wine, but also as shelter during wars. Both the tower and the Cuevas are inexpensive, so it’s worth to spend some time visiting them.
Requena also offers several museums:
- Museo del Vino (Wine Museum) – The building is a castle from the 15th century and it hosts a museum about wine-making in Requena. Entry €2 for adults.
- Foto Casa Museo (Photography Museum) – Free entry
- Museo Municipal (City Museum) – The museum displays archeological finds from the Requena region. Entry €2 for adults.
- Casa-Museo de la Seda (House of Silk) – The museum presents the history of silk production in Requena. The house itself was the seat of the Seat-Weavers Guild. Entry €2 for adults.
- Museo de Arte Contemporáneo ‘Florencio de la Fuente’ (Florencio de la Fuente Contemporary Art Museum) – Entry €2 for adults
The fastest way to get to Requena is by car. It takes an hour or less depending on where you are in Valencia. There are also several trains a day, including the regional line C3, between the stations Valencia Nord and Requena and the trip takes about 1h30 – 1h40. There is also a bus from Valencia called Monobus, which stops close to the main train station in Requena.