The ancient stronghold of Ricote, or Alarbona to the Moors, is a quiet town set in fertile huerta and chalky sandstone hills where the vines that produce the rich, dark local wines are grown.
Ricote was the last Morisco area of the Spanish Levant, and the last Mudéjares of the Kingdom of Murcia lived here until their expulsion in 1614, after which the Order of St James took charge of repopulating the area.
The town's charm is self-evident, with its ancient stately houses bearing the shields of noble families above the doorways, the 18th-century church of San Sebastián, home to numerous works of art including a priceless restored organ and a statue of St Joseph sculpted by Salzillo. Also of interest is the Casa Palacio of the Order of St James or Llamas, in Baroque style with elaborately worked window grills. The Sierra de Ricote, whose highest point is the Pico de Almeces (1,124 m) and the Sierra de la Bermeja support extensive pine forests that regularly attract adventure tourism and nature lovers.