#EuroAwayDays: It’s all about cheese and wine in sleepy Villarreal

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For a town of just 50,000 people, Villarreal’s achievements in recent years really are worthy of huge respect, and Liverpool will be the latest to test the Spanish club’s mettle in their Europa League semi-final first-leg clash tonight.

Officially named Vila-real, this province of Castellon lies some 60km north of Valencia and 290km south of Barcelona, but though it may be small, the city has much to offer.

Liverpool have never faced this La Liga side competitively before, and we fancy travelling fans will be happily surprised with what they find in Villarreal.

So while the Reds go in search of an away goal at El Madrigal, here’s where to go during your latest #EuroAwayDays trip…

Food

The surrounding region may be well known for producing some of the world’s finest oranges, but one of Villarreal’s finest eateries specialises in another global fave – cheese.

Quesomentero Cheese Bar is slap bang in the middle of town, and boasts a simply astonishing variety of queso.

Great to just have a look around in the afternoon or dine at in the evening, you’ll be stunned by how much this little place loves cheese!

Another local delight is Gastro Tentacion, again in the centre of the city.

A brilliant fusion restaurant combining local Mediterranean flavours with Asian touches.

Accompanied by a great range of wines and beers, make sure to leave room for their superb homemade desserts.

Drink

We all know Spain’s famous association with fine wines, and like many regions Castellon has a long history with the grape.

After production almost ceased during the 19th and 20th centuries, the area has been making a fine return over the past 10 years.

Hop into one of the city’s bars and restaurants, such as Espliego, or El Vasco, and try a local bottle or two.

VILLARREAL, CASTELLON - AUGUST 24: General view of Villarreal CF Estadio El Madrigal during the La Liga match between Villarreal CF and Real Valladolid CF at El Madrigal Stadium on August 24, 2013 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Villarreal’s El Madrigal stadium. Home to one of the most intense atmospheres in Spain

Nightlife

We’ll be honest, with a sizeable university, the neighbouring town of Castellon is the place to go, but for those early-hours lovers you can always see in the morning with a stroll along the Med back home afterwards.

We aren’t sure how many Aussie bars are in the area, but Wallaby’s Creek is certainly the best.

A sort of pub-cum-bar-cum-club, Wallaby’s doesn’t open until 11pm, but stays alive and kicking until four in the morning.

Boasting beverages from all across the world, it’s not necessarily a local favourite, but you’ll quickly find yourself making pals with folk from all over the globe.

Well regarded to be the best place for live music, Pub Terra – again up the road in Castellon – boasts live performances from pretty much any genre you can think of.

Open from 7pm until after 3am, a ‘quick one’ here rarely stays at just one…

Culture

Back in Villarreal now, and the name of the town itself – Royal Village in English – gives its heritage to the founding of the city in 1724 by King James 1 of Aragon.

The Placa Major (main square, obvs) is the hub of the city, but it’s the sprawling, narrow and intricate alleyways leading off it that will hand you that laid-back Spanish vibe.

If you want to clear the lungs after a few bevvies the night before, head to Ruta Botanica.

Surrounded by fantastic wildlife and scenery, an hour or two strolling along here should sort you right out.

Local snapshots also include the Santa Maria de la Asuncion church in the town centre, while on a short drive outside of town towards Onda, you’ll find a castle and a couple of intriguing museums, all obvious points to get on with some Instagramming and Snapchatting.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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