Places in Spain - The Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Valldigna (Valencia)
The Monastery of Santa Maria de la Valldigna is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the region of Valencia. It can be located in Simat de la Valdigna which is just off the CV50, accessed from the N332, a few kilometres north of Gandia.
Entry to the monastery is free of charge and a tour should last about an hour to see everything comfortably.
On arrival in Simat de la Valdigna, there is lots of parking, right outside the monastery and the local bar is a few metres away.
The monastery of Santa Maria de la Valdigna was founded by Jaume II the Just around 1298. It was eventually abandoned by the monks in 1835 and sold off to private individuals. The Valencian government acquired the monastery in 1991 and work began, restoring it.
Restoration is still continuing to this day and the monastery is now a major cultural centre for the Valencian region. Events and conferences are held here regularly.
Portal Nou (Entrance)
There are several important parts of the monastery that are interesting to the visitor. You enter the monastery through a large archway that leads onto a large courtyard and gardens. In the centre stands a water feature. There's a modern visitors centre where you can collect guides, audio guides and information. The main entrance is named 'Portal Nou (New portal). This grand entrance dates from around 1357-1387. The doorway is flanked by two towers with square bases. Above the arch are three shields. The one in the centre is the Crown of Aragon.
Other important elements
The oil press is an annexe that included the stables and granary. The room has been fitted with a new roof and is now used for conferences and exhibitions.
The Fuente de los Tritones (Triton Fountain)
This wonderful water feature stands in the central courtyard. It originally stood in the nursery gardens of Valencia. It was purchased by the City Council and installed at the monastery in 1852. Of pink and grey marble, the fountain consists of a scalloped basin and four water spouts.
Excavations at the monastery have revealed many important buildings from later dates such as the 18th century outhouses and kitchens.
The cloister of silence
Dating from the 14th - 15th centuries, this was a communicating space between living quarters. It had a central courtyard and a washroom. There were four covered walkways. Holes can be seen in the outer walls where supports used to hold a second floor.
The Sala Capitular (Chapter House)
Dating from the 15th century, this room was where the monks gathered to read. It contains a small chapel and has a grand opening doorway.
The Palacio del Abad (Abbot's Palace)
Of the 14th century, this building was built for the Abbot and distinguished guests. Nowadays the building has become separated from the main construction, although at the time of construction it would have been joined.
Iglesia Santa Maria de la Valdigna (Main Church)
This is without any doubt, the most impressive structure within the monastery confines. This 14th-15th century church is of enormous proportions and the detail that remains is totally stunning. It contains 6 chapels and has large domes. Two previous churches on this ground were destroyed by earthquakes (1396 and 1644). The belltower was built in 1652.
Monday to Sunday - June to September 9am-2pm and 5pm-8pm
Monday to Sunday - October to May 9am-3pm and 4pm-6pm
(0034) 962 811 636
Plaza de la Abadia s/n, 46750, Simat de la Valldigna (Valencia)
Our visits to the Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Valdigna
Idealspain have visited the monastery twice (2011) and have enjoyed both visits. It's hard to believe that entry is free and we would have happily paid to walk round. The monastery is a queit place and makes an interesting visit. The grounds are packed with orange trees and beautiful flowers. The restoration appears to be quite sympathetic with the styles of the original building and has been done to a very high standard. Information was available in several languages and the tourist office were very helpful. The town of Simat de la Valdigna is a small affair, beautiful in the summer. The main square has a little bar that serves excellent food. Coaches arrive at the monastery on a regular basis (mainly mornings), so you might want to avoid this time. No pets allowed but you can take video/photos anywhere.