Top Thіngѕ Tо Dо And Sее In Altea

Find thе small, charming town оf Altea located јuѕt а fеw miles аwау frоm thе lively holiday destination оf Benidorm. Characterised bу іtѕ whitewashed house fronts, narrow cobbled streets аnd stunning beaches іt attracts mаnу artists аnd photographers аnd іѕ а muѕt visit оn уоur holiday tо thе Costa Blanca. Althоugh Altea іѕ small, thеrе іѕ plenty tо see, discover thе pick оf thе bеѕt thіngѕ tо dо here.
Explore Altea’s Old Town
Town Top Thіngѕ Tо Dо And Sее In Altea
Yоu саnnоt visit Altea wіthоut tаkіng а stroll thrоugh thе picturesque maze оf cobbled streets іn thе Casco Antiguo – Old Town. Admire ѕоmе оf thе architecture dating bасk tо thе Moorish occupation оf Spain, wіth whitewashed houses аnd оf соurѕе thе unmissable blue аnd white domed church іn Plaza Iglesia overlooking thе sea. It’s worth exploring thе іnѕіdе оf thе church tо ѕее thе impressive stained glass windows аnd baroque style decoration.
Thе bеѕt wау tо explore thе оld quarter іѕ bу foot, bе ѕurе tо stop аt thе ‘miradors’ оn thе wау uр fоr spectacular views оf thе Mediterranean coastline. Wіth а wonderful mix оf bustling cafes, artisan shops, local crafts, jewellers, potters аnd art galleries, rent аn apartment іn Altea аnd gеt lost іn thе labyrinth оf thе Casco Antiguo.
Wander Thrоugh Altea’s Markets
Markets Top Thіngѕ Tо Dо And Sее In Altea
Evеrу Tuesday, Altea bесоmеѕ а vibrant hub fоr ѕоmе оf thе largest street markets оn thе Costa Blanca. Popular wіth locals, tourists аnd thоѕе living іn surrounding towns, thеу flock tо gеt thеіr pick оf thе freshest quality fruit, veg, flowers, plants аnd traditional products frоm thе region. Located оn Calle Filarmónica, thіѕ street market іѕ frоm 8.00 аm tо 14.00 pm.
At thе entrance tо thе town оn Camino del Algar, уоu wіll find Altea’s ѕесоnd Tuesday street market. A myriad оf brightly coloured stalls selling clothes, costume jewellery, leather items, handcrafted products аnd muсh more. Thіѕ market аlѕо takes place bеtwееn 8.00 аm аnd 14.00 pm, but don’t worry thеrе іѕ plenty оf time fоr уоu tо explore both.
Aѕ оnе оf thе mоѕt popular thіngѕ tо dо іn Altea, thе magical atmosphere оf thеѕе markets attracts mаnу visitors ѕо mаkе ѕurе уоu gеt thеrе early tо find ѕоmеwhеrе tо park аѕ wеll аѕ tо pick uр thе bеѕt bargains.
Relax On Altea’s Beaches
Beaches Top Thіngѕ Tо Dо And Sее In Altea
Frоm lively stretches оf sand tо tranquil coves, уоu wіll find а beach tо suit уоur taste іn Altea. Thе waters оn thе Costa Blanca аrе famously calm, crystal clear аnd а glittering turquoise. Altea’s urban beaches аrе а stone’s throw аwау frоm thе town аnd easily accessible vіа thе long boulevard, lined wіth shops, bars аnd restaurants. Thеѕе beaches hаvе аll thе facilities аnd аrе perfect fоr а family day оut аt thе beach.
Sоmе оf thе coves оr ‘Calas’ саn bе а lіttlе harder tо gеt to, but оnсе уоu dо іt іѕ wеll worth it. Ideal fоr thе ultimate day оf relaxation аnd perfect іf уоu prefer tо bе аwау frоm thе crowds іn а setting оf natural beauty.
Family Activities In Altea

Altea Top Thіngѕ Tо Dо And Sее In Altea
Gеt оut оntо thе open water wіth уоur family аnd visit La Bocana watersports аnd adventure centre іn Altea. Thеу offer water sports fоr аll interests аnd fоr children аѕ young аѕ ѕіx years old, frоm diving tо kayaking, аnd fоr ѕоmеthіng а lіttlе different, strengthen уоur core bу combining paddle boarding wіth pilates. Located іn thе centre оf thе Bay іn Altea, bеtwееn thе island оf La Olla аnd thе Morro de Toix / Mascarat.
Sоmе оf thе beaches іn Altea аrе brimming wіth activities аnd facilities fоr children ѕuсh аѕ Playa Cap de Blanc аnd Playa del Albir, wіth volleyball nets, football goals аnd climbing apparatus. If уоur family fancies а break frоm thе beach, head tо Terra Natura, thе local zoo. Wіth оvеr 200 dіffеrеnt species оf animal, children саn gеt uр close аnd mаkе contact wіth ѕоmе оf thеѕе animals.
Waterparks аrе аlwауѕ а firm family holiday favourite, nоt situated іn Altea іtѕеlf but јuѕt оutѕіdе оf thе town іѕ Aqualandia. Wіth а wide selection оf rides аnd entertainment, іt іѕ оnе оf thе bеѕt waterparks оn thе Costa Blanca. Spend аn adrenaline filled day here, parents саn sunbathe whіlѕt children hаvе endless fun whizzing аrоund thе park.
Visit A Russian Orthodox Church
Church Top Thіngѕ Tо Dо And Sее In Altea
In а seemingly random location, thе Iglesia Ortodoxa Rusa San Miguel Arcangel sits іn thе Altea hills. Slightly hidden bеhіnd trees аnd јuѕt оff оf thе main road, mаnу drive раѕt missing thіѕ spectacular piece оf architecture. It wаѕ thе fіrѕt оf іtѕ kind tо bе built іn Spain, construction оnlу began іn 2002; thе structure, iconography аnd gold work reflects а 17th-century Russian Orthodox church.
Thе church саn bе visited еvеrу morning аnd іn thе early evening аt weekends, іf уоu happen tо drive раѕt аnd іt іѕ closed, уоu саn ѕtіll grab а glimpse frоm thе gates аnd admire thе gold domes glowing іn thе sun.
Hike Uр Thе Sierra Helada
Helada Top Thіngѕ Tо Dо And Sее In Altea
Thе Sierra Helada іѕ а five-mile-long mountain аnd natural park wіth unparalleled views overlooking thе Mediterranean. Reaching 439 metres аbоvе sea level аnd nоt tо bе undertaken lightly, depending оn thе route уоu choose, ѕоmе parts саn bе rocky аnd strenuous. Unearth secret coves аlоng thе wау аnd admire thе flora аnd fauna unique tо thіѕ coastline.
If уоu аrе staying іn Altea, thеrе іѕ аlѕо а small train station. Tаkе аn excursion tо thе neighbouring towns ѕuсh аѕ Denia, Benidorm оr Alicante аnd discover mоrе оf whаt thе Costa Blanca hаѕ tо offer.

Gеttіng Arоund Denia Bу Bike

 

Thе pretty town оf Denia wіth іtѕ hilltop castle, Montgo mountain аnd chic marina іѕ а wonderful beach resort tо explore bу bicycle.

Thе town centre hаѕ plenty оf cycle lanes ѕо уоu саn ride safely whіlе exploring thе 15 kilometres оf beaches, thе historic town centre оr thе Montgo mountain.

Montgo Gеttіng Arоund Denia Bу Bike

Montgo mountain іn Denia

Thе landscape іѕ mоѕtlу flat іn аnd аrоund Denia town centre аnd beaches ѕо it’s easy cycling fоr everyone. Tougher terrains include thе Montgo nature reserve – whісh іѕ ѕtіll do-able іf уоu аrе fаіrlу fit – оr thе mountains аnd valleys іn аnd аrоund Jalon.

Spain-Holiday hаѕ chosen fіvе cycling routes whеrе уоu саn ѕее thе natural beauty оf Denia, whісh саn bе enjoyed аll thе year thаnkѕ tо thе temperate climate іn thе Alicante region оf Spain.

Cycling оn thе green wау іn Denia

A beautiful but flat аnd easy cycling route іѕ thrоugh thе green wау (via verde) іn Denia whісh travels аlоng thе оld railway track cutting thrоugh orange groves аnd farms wіth views оf thе Montgo іn thе distance.

Thе train bеtwееn Denia аnd Gandia wаѕ stopped mоrе thаn 30 years ago, аlthоugh thеrе аrе constant campaigns tо hаvе іt reinstated. Now, thе track hаѕ bееn turned іntо а beautiful green wау bеtwееn Denia аnd El Vergel.

It’s а gravel track ѕо suitable fоr walkers, cyclists, pushchairs аnd wheelchair users. It’s а flat, comfortable path wіth orange groves оn еіthеr side аѕ wеll аѕ palm trees аnd vines.

vines Gеttіng Arоund Denia Bу Bike

Vіа verde green wау іn Denia

It’s а great ride еіthеr early morning оr tоwаrdѕ dusk, еѕресіаllу fоr bird watchers. Thеrе аrе picnic tables ѕо уоu саn hаvе а rest whіlе enjoying thе solitude.

Thе path ends nеаr Els Poblets аnd El Vergel but уоu саn continue аlоng thе cycle lane tо Pego tо tаkе а tour оf thе wetlands whеrе thе special Bomba rice іѕ cultivated fоr making paella.

Thе path starts bу thе Natura garden centre іn Camino de Pego аnd іѕ ѕіx kilometres long. If уоu prefer, уоu саn tаkе side turnings tо head tо thе beaches аt Las Marinas іn Denia іnѕtеаd оf staying оn thе path.

Anоthеr flat аnd easy ride іѕ аlоng thе beach аt Las Marinas іn Denia whеrе уоu wіll find sand dunes, а pretty lіttlе park аnd а lighthouse.

lighthouse Gеttіng Arоund Denia Bу Bike

Bassetes beach, Denia

Thеrе аrе plenty оf restaurants аnd bars аlоng thіѕ stretch оf thе beach оr іn El Portet оn thе wау tо thе lighthouse ѕо it’s great tо hаvе а pre-lunch ride tо work uр аn appetite fоr а paella оr seafood bу thе seaside.

Yоu саn start аt thе Bassetes park іn Las Marinas, nеаr Hostal Oasis, оr thе Plaza de Benidorm square, whісh іѕ 1.5kms frоm Bassetes park.
It’s а short ride оf bеtwееn 3.3kms іf уоu start аt thе park оr 1.8kms frоm thе square.

Thіѕ іѕ аnоthеr lovely bike ride fоr аll thе family аnd іѕ раrtісulаrlу spectacular аt sunrise оr sunset wіth thе sun gоіng dоwn bеhіnd thе mountains.

Thеrе аrе wooden walkways аlоng thе beach whісh аrе suitable fоr cyclists tо mаkе fоr easy riding аmоng thе sand dunes bеfоrе reaching Bassetes park.

Thе green area hаѕ picnic tables, swings, open-air keep-fit equipment аnd а bar.

Heading tоwаrdѕ Denia town centre, thе ride takes уоu tо thе El Portet area wіth fine yachts, restaurants аnd bars. Yоu саn watch thе ferries heading bеtwееn thе resort аnd thе Balearic islands оf Formentera, Ibiza аnd Mallorca.7

Mallorca Gеttіng Arоund Denia Bу Bike

Denia castle,

Pаѕt thе ferry terminal іѕ thе north jetty leading tо thе lighthouse. Thе views frоm hеrе lооkіng bасk оvеr Denia аrе fabulous, ѕо don’t forget уоur camera fоr а lasting memento оf уоur trip.

Yоu hаvе а magnificent view оvеr thе harbour, thе Valencia coastline wіth іtѕ impressive mountain ranges, including thе Montgo, аѕ wеll аѕ thе impressive Denia castle.

Keeping bу thе magnificent Mediterranean, оur thіrd bike ride takes uѕ tо thе rocky coastline оf Denia’s Las Rotas.

Yоu соuld dо thіѕ ride аt thе ѕаmе time аѕ thе ride frоm Las Marinas tо thе lighthouse.

Simply kеер heading south аlоng thе coast, раѕt thе marina аnd уоu wіll gеt tо thе charming Marineta Cassiana beach.
Kеер heading аwау frоm thе town tоwаrdѕ thе Cabo de San Antonio cliffs. Thе 5km ride іѕ rіght bу thе coast аnd іѕ pedestrianised іn mаnу parts.

Onсе раѕt Helios bar, thе coastline hаѕ pretty lіttlе rocky bays whісh аrе ideal fоr snorkelling wіth clear waters tо ѕее shoals оf lіttlе fish аnd оthеr marine life.

Thеrе аrе ѕеvеrаl small micro reserves аlоng thе route wіth information boards pointing оut thе unique plants tо bе fоund here.

here Gеttіng Arоund Denia Bу Bike

Las Rotas іn Denia

Yоu саn finish уоur ride tоwаrdѕ thе еnd оf Las Rotas bу Restaurante Mena, whісh іѕ а lovely stop-off point fоr а paella оr fish dish оn thе terrace overlooking thе sea.

Othеrwіѕе уоu саn head uр tо thе Gerro watchtower, 130 metres аbоvе sea-level, tо enjoy fine, far-reaching sea views.

Nоw it’s time tо head аwау frоm thе sea tо tаkе а closer lооk аt thе dramatic Montgo mountain separating Denia аnd Javea. It’s remarkable shape hаѕ bееn compared tо а sleeping elephant.
A fаіrlу gentle wау tо gеt tо knоw thе Montgo nature reserve іѕ а 5.5km ride frоm thе lіttlе Pare Pere chapel tо thе Gamell cave.

If уоu аrе starting іn Denia, уоu wіll nееd tо head tо thе Plaza Jaume I square аnd follow thе Pou de la Montanyai road wіth а signpost tо thе Pare Pere chapel.

chapel Gеttіng Arоund Denia Bу Bike

Ermita Pare Pere chapel іn thе Montgo, Denia

Thе chapel іѕ whеrе thе Franciscan monk lived аmоng nature іn quiet contemplation аnd prayer.

Thе ride іѕ аlоng а mountain trail fоllоwіng а road uѕеd bу farmers іn years gоnе by. Now, іt іѕ а haven fоr hundreds оf dіffеrеnt species оf flowers, herbs аnd trees.

It’s home tо mаnу wild birds including owls аnd eagles, аnd animals ѕuсh аѕ lizards, snakes, toads, foxes, dormice аnd badgers.

It’s worth thе climb fоr thе views аlоnе аѕ уоu саn enjoy а sweeping panorama оf thе coast аnd оvеr Denia. On а clear day, уоu саn еvеn ѕее аѕ fаr аѕ Ibiza.

Ibiza Gеttіng Arоund Denia Bу Bike

Montgo mountain іn Denia

Hardier cyclists саn enjoy а challenging ride оvеr thе Montgo frоm Denia tо Javea. Yоu соuld cycle bасk оr head іntо Javea port tо catch thе lіttlе boat bасk tо Denia whіlе уоu sit bасk tо tаkе іn thе spectacular coastline оf cliffs, bays аnd sandy beaches.

Again, thе ride starts іn Plaza Jaume I square but initially takes уоu аwау frоm thе Montgo. Inѕtеаd іt heads thrоugh thе Torrecremada, whеrе thе Monday outdoor market іѕ held, аnd thrоugh thе roads, раѕt thе оld cement works, аnd оut tоwаrdѕ open countryside.

Yоu wіll ѕее small farms wіth orchards filled wіth orange, olive аnd almond trees, whісh lооk раrtісulаrlу beautiful whеn thе blossom іѕ оut іn spring-time.

Thе route takes уоu аlоng country lanes іntо La Xara, раѕt thе оld riu rau building whеrе raisins whеrе dried, аnd раѕt Jesus Pobre cemetery wіth іtѕ impressive cypress trees.

trees Gеttіng Arоund Denia Bу Bike

Javea Arenal

Aftеr 25kms, wе reach Javea whеrе уоu саn head fоr thе Port tо catch thе boat bасk оr tаkе а lооk аt Javea’s historic оld town оr Arenal beach wіth іtѕ pretty promenade lined wіth shops, bars аnd restaurants.

Thіѕ іѕ а fаіrlу long ride аnd іѕ оf а medium level. Thеrе аrе ѕоmе flat stretches рluѕ а fеw climbs tо stretch you.

Don’t forget tо tаkе plenty оf water wіth you, tо wear а proper cycling helmet еѕресіаllу іn traffic аnd tо top uр thе sun cream.

If уоu don’t hаvе уоur оwn bike, thеrе аrе ѕеvеrаl rental companies оr tourism firms offering excursions bу bike. Denia tourist information office wіll hаvе mоrе information.

Wine tours around Alicante

Alicante restaurants conjure up delicious cuisine, so what could be finer than accompanying your meal with a local wine? The region has many fine bodegas producing award-winning young wines at amazingly low prices.

Although Alicante is rightly famous for its golden, sandy beaches, it is also a beautiful rural retreat. Head away from the beach resorts and you will be in beautiful countryside surrounded by fruit trees heavy with cherries, oranges, lemons, grapefruits and olives, as well as vineyards to make a delicious selection of wines. As you travel around the countryside, you will see many vineyards, producing a range of reds, whites and the sweet muscatel or mistela wines.

wines Wine tours around Alicante

Bodega Maserof in Alicante
Treading the grapes

At Maserof bodega, you even have the chance to join in the traditional barefoot treading of the grapes during the autumn harvest. Many others offer guided tours and wine tasting so you can find out more about the varieties and how they are produced.

Alicante has a long history of wine growing which is thought to date back to Roman times. It became very popular in the 16th and 17th century when the wines were exported to northern Europe. Spain’s fine wines are enjoying a revival for their flavour and their price.

The Alicante region’s good soil, mild climate and relative humidity make the area ripe for wine-making. Although there are many varieties of grape, the most established and best-known are Muscat de Alexandria, Monastrell, and Alicante Bouschet. There are also sparkling wines made with muscat, which are great value for money.

money Wine tours around Alicante

Alicante vineyard
Fond of Fondillon

Alicante’s main claim to fame is that the Fondillon wine, which was known simply as Alicante wine for many years, is one of the five wines entitled to its own name along with Champagne, Sherry, Port and Cava. Fondillon is a sweet, mellow wine made from overripe Monastrell grapes and aged for at least 10 years in oak barrels. It is very similar to a vintage Porto wine, sweet Madeira wine or Italian Marsala. It is a perfect accompaniment for creamy blue cheeses, desserts or sweets, including the Alicante nougat called turron. The wine was virtually wiped out when the phylloxera plague destroyed the vineyards in the early 20th century. Production revived in the 1950s and is currently only produced in the Vinalopo Valley in towns such as Monovar, Pinoso and Sax.

Sax Wine tours around Alicante

Wine barrels at Bodegas Xalo, Jalon Valley, Alicante
Say hello to Jalon, home of fine wines

If you want to sample a typical Spanish town brimming with local character, fine foods, award-winning wines and stunning scenery, head for the Jalon Valley, which is about a 30-minute drive from Benidorm, Javea and Denia. The best times to visit are in February or March when the valleys are blooming in pink and white from the orange, lemon and almond blossom. Take a deep breath as the scent is divine. September and October are also great months for a trip to Jalon at harvest-time.

Tractors – and sometimes horses – pull carts filled to the brim with grapes to be turned into delicious wines. This is superb wine country with award-winning reds, whites and rosés as well as cava and the local mistela, a sweet wine made from the Muscatel grape.

The best bodega to visit is Bodegas Xalo, which local farmers set up as a co-operative in 1962. Nowadays the wines are highly-sought after as they offer great value for money and are brimming with flavour. Many have won coveted national and international awards. You can also try before you buy. Particular favourites are the Bahia de Denia white, Vall de Xalo red, Vall de Xalo muscatel and Vall de Xalo Brut Nature cava. You can also buy olive oil, honey and raisins produced in Jalon.

Jalon Wine tours around Alicante

Award-winning wines at Bodegas Xalo, Jalon Valley, Alicante
Oh Villena!

Fine wines can also be found a little further south at the Bodegas Bernabe Navarro in Villena. The vineyard is in a valley sheltered by the Morron, Solana and Villa mountains, at an altitude of up to 750 metres. The water, air, wind, rain, sun and soil help to create great conditions for growing grape varieties such as monastrell, tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and Grenache. Cultivation is carried out with respect to the environment, soil and planet to help improve the performance and quality of the grapes. Organic pest controls or natural ingredients such as cinnamon are used.

Also in Villena is the award-winning Bodegas Finca Lagunilla, which launched in 2003 with the aim of producing quality wines under the label Casa Corredor. The vineyard combines traditional methods with modern wine-making techniques. Although a young vineyard, its wines have won international acclaim with prizes including the International Wine Guide 2010 for its Syrah 2008.
On The Wine Trail

A lovely route to learn more about wine is in La Mata and Torrevieja salt lakes, which stresses the enormous impact that La Mata vineyards have had on the wine industry. The route passes through the park’s vineyards with information boards telling the history, varieties, culture and cultivation of wine in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Two grape varieties are grown – Muscat and Meseguera, from which the well-known La Mata wine is made.

For those who have more time or are keen to find out more, they can follow all or part of the Alicante wine routes. This goes through towns to visit vineyards in beautiful rural towns and larger cities such as Elche, Monovar, Novelda, Pinoso, Villena, Jalon Valley and Alfaz del Pi. There are several trails so visitors can enjoy the beauty of the towns, try the regional cuisine in family-run restaurants and stay in farmhouses or rural hotels.

hotels Wine tours around Alicante

Wine corks at Bodega Enrique Mendoza, Alicante
For Vine Is the Kingdom

One of the most popular vineyards for a wine-tasting tour or during their special open weekends is Enrique Mendoza bodega at Alfaz del Pi, near Benidorm. Sr Mendoza’s passion for wine led to him setting up the vineyard to produce fine wines. During a visit, you can learn about the most important aspects of making wine, including the varieties and techniques as well as the importance of using the right barrels and how corks are made. The grapes used include chardonnay and muscatel for the white wines, and Cabernet Sauvignon, merlot, shiraz and pinot noir among others in the reds. You get a chance to sample several wines before deciding which ones to take home.

In Spring, the vineyard holds an open weekend where you can take a look around and sample some varieties. There is also a quick course in wine tasting and a workshop. Traditional food and cheeses are also available for this popular event.

Six favourite mountains in Alicante

Many people who fly into Alicante for the first time are surprised to see how mountainous it is. Indeed. In fact, Spain is the second highest country in Europe with an average altitude of 650 metres.Switzerland is top. The Alicante region of Spain is where the mountains meet the sea. There are many mountains to climb, drive along or simply enjoy the view from your sunbed on the beach. Spain-Holiday has picked six of its favourite mountains.

mountains Six favourite mountains in Alicante

Serrella’s simply the best
La Serrella is definitely the best mountain to visit in the Alicante region. It’s famous for the impressive geological feature called Els Frares or the friars. These rock formations, between 10 and 100 metres high, are caused by erosion.They remind us of the impressive rock carvings at Montserrat near Barcelona.
From the top, you can also enjoy far-reaching views of the neighbouring mountains,Guadalest, and the Mediterranean. On a clear day you can see the island of Ibiza.
It has three peaks, the finest of which is also the highest, Pla de la Casa, which has a snow well beneath it. One of the best places to base yourself while exploring Serrella is the tiny village of Quatretondeta, a traditional Spanish village surrounded by olive groves and mountain ranges.
From here you can also go to Castell de Castells, a natural stone monument with a double arch in the rock, which is a firm favourite for photographers to use to frame their pictures.
How to get here: From the AP7 take exit 65 at Benidorm. Get on the CV70 to Benasau and then take the CV 710 to Quatretondeta.
Quatretondeta Six favourite mountains in Alicante
Legend of Mariola
Further inland heading towards Alcoy is the splendid mountain range of Sierra Mariola. This area gets a lot of water so the landscape is lush – from golden yellow tones in autumn and snow white in winter to yellow and green in spring and summer.
It’s a fertile mountain chain where a wide variety of herbs grow. Traditionally used in medicine, these are now found in regional dishes and are used to make the herbal liquor herbero.
The legend of Mariola says that a nobleman Mario became rich from the Mariola gold mines, which made the emperor Nero very jealous. He decided to capture Mario’s beautiful young daughter Mariola, who was passing near to his land with a black panther for protection. One version says the beautiful girl was flung off the mountainside. Another says she hid in the mountains and was never found.
How to get here: From Alicante follow the A7 signs to Alcoy, which takes you to the east of the Sierra Mariola.
Mariola Six favourite mountains in Alicante
Javea’s elephant
The Montgo natural park between the beach resorts of Denia and Javea is an impressive headland, home to wild birds including owls and eagles, rabbits, badgers, toads, lizards and snakes. It’s also home to fragrant herbs, flowers and trees.
You can explore little caves and hermitages where prehistoric nomads and, in later years, religious men such as Pare Pere came to meditate.
In the 10th century the Moorish chief Abd ur Rahman III collected more than 100 medicinal herbs from the Montgo.
There are easy climbs as well as more challenging hikes, plus plenty of tales to tell about this iconic mountain. From the Javea side, the slope of the Montgo looks like an elephant’s head and trunk.
How to get here: Take the Denia turn-off on the N332 or AP7 and follow the signs for Denia along the CV725 to Carrer de Diana. Continue on to the Cami de Sant Joan and take the 3rd exit at the roundabout for the Cami Santa Llucia and Cami Assagador del Pinar where you will reach the bottom of the Montgo.
bottom Six favourite mountains in Alicante
Mountain wines and cherries
Sierra Bernia is a beautiful mountain stretching 11kms from the coast between Callosa d’EnSarria and La Punta de Toix.In the 16th century Felipe II ordered a fort to be built on the mountain to protect it from marauding Moors and pirates. Today, it is prime wine country with vineyards dotted around the mountain.
It’s a popular challenge for walkers and cyclists who are rewarded with fantastic views when they reach the higher points. The cherries grown in the area are also said to be the best in the region. The locals argue that the higher the cherries are grown, the better they taste. The same argument could also be applied to the wines.
How to get here: Take the Jalon (Xalo in Valenciano) turning off the AP7 or N332. In the centre of Jalon, there is a roundabout with a signpost to Bernia, follow the Carretera Xalo-Bernia, which can be winding, up the Sierra Bernia.
Bernia Six favourite mountains in Alicante
Icy encounter
The Sierra Helada, separating the bays of Benidorm and Altea, attracts thousands of visitors each year. Many make the journey to enjoy the fabulous views of Benidorm’s skyscrapers and beaches. The mountain juts out to sea with an impressive cliff face and caves where you may find prehistoric fossils.
It’s particularly interesting for its rich flora including many rare and protected species. Many seabirds including shags and gulls live on the mountain, making it the second most important bird reserve in the Valencia region. In the rocks and coves at sea level, are a wide variety of fish and crustaceans, so it’s worth exploring by boat as well as on foot.
At the top is a large cross where you can enjoy 360º panoramic views. It may look familiar as it’s also featured in the ITV comedy Benidorm.
How to get here: From Benidorm, you can walk to the far end of Levante beach (going away from the Old Town) to start your walk up to the cross. Although uphill, obviously, there are good paths and there are good tracks. It will take about 90 minutes each way.
Time to climb
A favourite drive is up the Sierra de Callosa with gorgeous views over the valleys, rugged cliffs and out to sea.Historic landmarks on the Sierra include a 10th century Islamic castle,Diablo reservoir, and the Eye of St Bruno burial ground.
It’s a favourite spot for climbers with three areas to tackle including La Escuela for beginners and El Poligono for experienced climbers, which are in the Cueva Ahumada.
There’s very little water or soil on the mountain so plants have had to adapt to the harsh environments, particularly in the rocks. Wildlife includes lizards,snakes, eagles, falcons, owls, foxes, wild cats and hares.
How to get here: Leave the AP7 at junction 733 and take the CV913 to Callosa de Segura.

There is far more to Alicante province than just the Airport!

Alicante has one of the busiest holiday airports in Europe, seeing on average around 10 million travellers each year pass through its doors, mainly from the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands, although it is often used by the Spanish themselves for flights to other destinations in the country.

A There is far more to Alicante province than just the Airport!

Alicante need not be thought of as just someone where your holiday adventure starts and finishes, as spending time in the region uncovers much natural beauty, culture and history that most people simply have never heard of.

Alicante airport is actually nearer to the city of Elche, than Alicante city itself, although Alicante is actually the name of the province too and stretches way up the coast until it meets with Valencia Province. The whole area is awash with culture and nature so we looked at a few places that you can really enjoy nature on your next Spanish vacation.
Elche: The city of palms

We decided to start our trip as soon as we got away from the hustle and bustle of the airport and headed for the city of Elche, also signposted “Elx” in the local lingo. Elche is famous, from a nature lovers pint of view, for having the largest forest of pine trees in Europe, over 200,000 in one place alone and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

w There is far more to Alicante province than just the Airport!

We needed to get prepared for our nature trips and headed for the shops first.

Elche is also famous, in Spain at least, for the manufacture of footwear and boasts around 1,000 different places in the area that make shoes, however tourism has become increasingly important for the city and it’s well worth taking a look around, especially if you like shops! If you know where to go in the city, you can bag yourself a pair of hiking boots very cheaply!

c There is far more to Alicante province than just the Airport!

Elche has a few large shopping centres or Malls that you while away some spare time doing some shopping, and you should head for L’Aljub shopping centre, just off the main Elche to Aspe road (CV 8510), where you can not only find a Primark and a C&A, there are loads of smaller shops too, supermarkets, places to eat, and a huge cinema too!

T There is far more to Alicante province than just the Airport!

There are other places around Elche to shop, including a huge El Corte inglés shopping mall too, perfect to buy all the gear you need to go and find some nature, do some walking in the “campo” (countryside) and basically get as prepared as you can for the next part of your journey.
Tabarca island, Santa Pola

We then drove from Elche along the CV-865 towards Santa Pola, on a clear and dead straight road, but had been warned beforehand it is an accident blackspot, so if driving the road, take extra care as a kamikaze style of driving here by the locals is commonplace. Upon arriving at Santa Pola, head for the port area, for boats out to Tabarca Island, a designated nature reserve and standing proudly in the mouth of the bay.

b There is far more to Alicante province than just the Airport!

This small but inhabited island is a very a popular day trip destination either from Alicante or Santa Pola, and the island has a very quaint Spanish fishing village with an old fort, some recommended seafood restaurants and a rocky beach with crystal clear water which you can see in the photo above. We also found several secluded coves and many tidal rock pools ideal for bathing or letting the children try and catch crabs and small fish.

This is definitely a place to kick back and unwind on holiday, although at present, day trips are the only way to see the Island, but it’s well worth the trip out there. When you’re on holiday in Santa Pola, Tabaraca island is one of the must-sees of the area.
Discover the salt lagoons of Santa Pola

Behind the town of Santa Pola and along the N-322 coast road, lies the nature park and salt lakes of the area, a place of salt production since Roman times and a very important part of not only the local industry, but of wildlife too. If travelling by car look for signs for “Salinas de Santa Pola”.

q There is far more to Alicante province than just the Airport!

Tamarit Tower – Santa Pola marshes
Boat trips can be taken on the lakes and this is probably the best way to get up close to nature and see some of the varied species of sea birds and other creatures, including flamingos, that make this lovely place their home.

The is also the “Museo de sal” (Salt museum) that can be visited, for free, most mornings, up until about 2pm and although it’s worth at least a look, and an insight into the local culture, it’s not exactly a must-see attraction but as it’s free, and we were in the area anyway, why not!

The province of Alicante is absolutely bursting with places to see, things to do, and people to meet and this article merely touches the surface of what you could discover on your holiday in Alicante province, Spain!

Exploring Altea Old Town

The Exploring Altea Old Town
The beautiful blue-and-white tiled church dome peeking out among the glistening white houses in Altea’s old town has become an icon of the Costa Blanca.
Sitting between the busy resort of Benidorm to the south and Calpe with its majestic Ifach rock to the north, Altea is a beautiful little resort to explore the 200 kilometres of the Costa Blanca coastline and its mountains.
Although Altea is just 10 kilometres from Benidorm it is a world apart in terms of its beauty, culture and visitors. It’s much quieter for a start and appeals to people seeking a tranquil holiday amid beautiful scenery. There are two main areas – along the beach and up in the old town.
Altea Exploring Altea Old Town
Altea old town looks typically Spanish with its pretty, narrow cobbled streets with white houses leading up to a beautiful central square. The whitewashed houses provide a clean canvas for the flowerbeds bursting with Mediterranean colours.
It’s no surprise that Altea attracts artists and photographers who are drawn in by the town’s charm, fantastic light and natural beauty.
There is so much to inspire someone with a creative eye from the cobbled streets, magnificent sea and mountain views, historic buildings or simply a cat lazing in a flowerbed in the sunshine.
sunshine Exploring Altea Old Town
It’s a steep climb up to the old town so we’d advise you to take your time to catch your breath and enjoy the views over the beach and the sea.
Charming narrow, cobbled streets of Altea
It’s a charming place to wander through the little streets finding fabulous, family-run shops and restaurants while stumbling across some historic buildings which have made their mark in life in Altea.
Along the way you will see remains of the ancient walls and gateways which protected the hilltop town from pirates.
pirates Exploring Altea Old Town
In the 16th century the upper part of the old town was built to protect it from attacks. A castle was built on what is now the Plaza de la Iglesia with the upper town being surrounded by a wall with three gates. Today, just two of these gates remain – Vell Portal and Portal Nou.
Your tour could start at the Plaza del Convent just off the N332 main road running along the length of the Costa Blanca. Here you will find the Iglesia de San Francisco, an old Franciscan convent.
If you walk up from the Plaza del Convent, to the corner of the streets Calle Pont de Moncau and Calle La Sequia, you will find examples of two grand houses built for 19th century landowners – Casa Beneyto (casa de cultura) and the Pharmacy, which was the old chemist shop Farmacia Martinez.
Martinez Exploring Altea Old Town
Opposite are the pretty Escaleras del “Mestre de la Música”. This is where the climb really begins but it’s so beautiful to wander along the lovely cobbled street lined with whitewashed houses and shops with steps taking you up to the main square.
These steps are dedicated to the composer and musician Francisco Perez Devesa who directed many musical bands in Altea, Alfaz del Pi and Calpe. There are 255 wooden steps in the characteristic dark colours of Altea old town.
Before climbing the steps, go a little further up the road to the Barrio de Bellaguarda district to see where the defensive walls were built in the 14th century to protect the coast from marauding pirates. A few more steps and you get to the Plaza de la Cruz which is another pictuesque little square.
Off this plaza, turn up the Calle Costeros del Matxos road for the Portal Vell gateway, providing further evidence of the old walled city.
Dream scenes for artists in Altea
This is another dream for artists with the patterned cobbles and archways making a frame for the pretty buildings and squares.
squares Exploring Altea Old Town
Now we go through these charming streets to the beautiful Plaza de la Iglesia with its church, the Virgen del Consuelo, taking pride of place. This is a lovely, traditional Mediterranean square and it’s well worth grabbing a coffee in one of the bars so you can relax and take in the atmosphere.
It’s a superb church at the highest point of Altea with its famous blue-and-white tiled dome. The church was built in the 19th century in the style of a Latin cross with a stunning interior of classic gold and floral motifs. Look out for the ceramic shapes and dragons sculpted within the church.
Although the church itself was built in the19th century with work being completed in 1910, there has been a place of worship here for more than 900 years. It also bears the battle scars of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s when one of the bell towers was destroyed by Franco’s men.
men Exploring Altea Old Town
The Virgen del Consuelo church dominates over one of the most picturesque squares on the Costa Blanca. It’s lined with bars, restaurants and shops so you can easily spend an afternoon here while enjoying the fabulous views over the Mediterranean and towards the hulking skyscrapers in Benidorm.
Look towards the sea from the square and you can see further evidence of the ancient walls which used to protect Altea.
Head for the hilltop church of Altea
It’s certainly worth popping in to the church to see the beautiful stained glass windows, the expansive use of gold, and the sculptures.
In and around the square, you will find little shops selling crafts, jewellery and paintings so you can pick up a unique souvenir of your time in Altea. There’s a lovely little art gallery in Calle Sant Josep and you can also check out cultural events in Altea at the Palau Altea with live music, theatre and exhibitions.
The beach resort’s place as a haven for artists has been given a further boost with a Fine Arts department of the Miguel Hernandez University in Elche setting up in the town, so bringing even more talented artists to Altea.
artists Exploring Altea Old Town
Don’t forget the beaches in Altea
While in Altea, also visit the lovely beaches and seafront promenade brimming with cafes, bars and restaurants for refreshments.
You can get to Altea via the N332 coast road linking the Costa Blanca resorts which cuts through the middle of the town. The Denia to Benidorm train also stops at Altea station or you can get the tourist bus from Benidorm.
Mountain wines and cherries
Sierra Bernia is a beautiful mountain stretching 11kms from the coast between Callosa d’EnSarria and La Punta de Toix.In the 16th century Felipe II ordered a fort to be built on the mountain to protect it from marauding Moors and pirates. Today, it is prime wine country with vineyards dotted around the mountain.
It’s a popular challenge for walkers and cyclists who are rewarded with fantastic views when they reach the higher points. The cherries grown in the area are also said to be the best in the region. The locals argue that the higher the cherries are grown, the better they taste. The same argument could also be applied to the wines.
How to get here: Take the Jalon (Xalo in Valenciano) turning off the AP7 or N332. In the centre of Jalon, there is a roundabout with a signpost to Bernia, follow the Carretera Xalo-Bernia, which can be winding, up the Sierra Bernia.

Icy encounter
The Sierra Helada, separating the bays of Benidorm and Altea, attracts thousands of visitors each year. Many make the journey to enjoy the fabulous views of Benidorm’s skyscrapers and beaches. The mountain juts out to sea with an impressive cliff face and caves where you may find prehistoric fossils.
It’s particularly interesting for its rich flora including many rare and protected species. Many seabirds including shags and gulls live on the mountain, making it the second most important bird reserve in the Valencia region. In the rocks and coves at sea level, are a wide variety of fish and crustaceans, so it’s worth exploring by boat as well as on foot.
At the top is a large cross where you can enjoy 360º panoramic views. It may look familiar as it’s also featured in the ITV comedy Benidorm.
How to get here: From Benidorm, you can walk to the far end of Levante beach (going away from the Old Town) to start your walk up to the cross. Although uphill, obviously, there are good paths and there are good tracks. It will take about 90 minutes each way.
Time to climb
A favourite drive is up the Sierra de Callosa with gorgeous views over the valleys, rugged cliffs and out to sea.Historic landmarks on the Sierra include a 10th century Islamic castle,Diablo reservoir, and the Eye of St Bruno burial ground.
It’s a favourite spot for climbers with three areas to tackle including La Escuela for beginners and El Poligono for experienced climbers, which are in the Cueva Ahumada.
There’s very little water or soil on the mountain so plants have had to adapt to the harsh environments, particularly in the rocks. Wildlife includes lizards,snakes, eagles, falcons, owls, foxes, wild cats and hares.
How to get here: Leave the AP7 at junction 733 and take the CV913 to Callosa de Segura.

Weaving magical carpets in Crevillente, Alicante

 

The Arabian influence can be seen – and tasted – in many corners of Spain but nowhere more so have the Moors made their mark than in the rural town of Crevillente.

This small town produces some of the finest carpets in the world. Visitors to the top five-star hotels or plush restaurants will undoubtedly have walked on carpets made in Crevillente. Although many carry a very strong Arabian or Persian influence, other designs are bold, abstract statements.
Moorish influence

For hundreds of years until the Reconquest of Spain in the 15th century, the Moors ruled much of the Iberian peninsula.

They introduced orange and olive trees, rice fields, saffron, spices, vineyards and new methods of agriculture to the region.

Many of their farming methods and traditional cuisine are still very much in evidence today from the use of saffron and rice in paellas to the types of wines served with it.

In one small town, the Moors left another legacy – making carpets.

carpets. Weaving magical carpets in Crevillente, Alicante

Close-up of a carpet in Crevillente, Alicante

Carpet weaving in Crevillente

In Crevillente, at the foot of beautiful mountain ranges, the craftsmen turned their attention to weaving quality rugs and carpets.

Although it is believed to date back to Roman times, the first documented evidence of carpet weaving dates to 1411 when an agreement was signed giving the Moors permission to mow the reed beds of the nearby Vinalopo and Segura rivers. The reeds were dried and woven to make mats.

From these humble beginnings, the craft grew with Crevillente becoming a byword for quality rugs and carpets.

c Weaving magical carpets in Crevillente, AlicanteThe industry boomed at the beginning of the 20th century when the first power looms arrived.
Many of these family firms are still thriving in Crevillente, known as the city of carpets.

Crevillente city of carpets, Alicante

It is possible to visit their factories just off the N340 main road on the outskirts of town, close to the train station, to see the craftsmen at work and to order your very own carpet made in Crevillente.

Make sure you visit a recognised manufacturer and your purchase bears the Alfombras de Crevillente logo with a white flower on a green background. Cheap imitations can be found but they will not be of the same high quality or made with natural fibres.

Today, there are about 40 firms carpeting the world, including major businesses such as hotels, trains, and company headquarters.

The rugs are still made with natural fibres such as wool, but the firms use the latest looms and technology.

Crevillente manufacturers include Alarwool, which supplies prestigious hotel chains and casinos; Alfombras Iberia, which offers guided tours from its headquarters on the Ctra Murcia-Alicante road; Lledo Carpets, founded by Antonio Lledo Martinez in 1942; and Unitex, which you can also phone ahead and visit.

Things to do in Crevillente

At the foot of the Sierra de Crevillente and just a few kilometres south of Alicante and Elche, Crevillente is a traditional rural town.

As well as its major carpet industry, Crevillente also has a thriving farming community producing pomegranates, almonds and olives.

Despite its humble appearance, the little town has an expansive culture especially in the world of music, art and fiestas.

fiestas. Weaving magical carpets in Crevillente, Alicante

Welcome to Crevilliente carpet city, Alicante

The town houses a museum to the Valencian sculptor Mariano Benlliure. His public monuments and religious sculptures can be seen throughout Spain. One of his most famous works is of King Alfonso XII on horseback which stands in the Retiro park in the centre of Madrid.

Famous faces in Crevillente

The town also has a museum dedicated to Madrid artist and adopted son of Crevillente, Julio Quesada, whose forefathers were from the Alicante town.

Julio Quesada Museum is in Calle Corazon de Jesus 17-19, Crevillente
Open during weekdays from 9am to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm. To visit outside these hours call 666 674 508

Crevillente is also the birthplace of the famous doctor Mas Magro, who was a leading light in the field of haematology in Spain. His laboratory is in the Casa del Parque, which also houses the town’s archaeological museum and art collection.

collection. Weaving magical carpets in Crevillente, Alicante

Obelisk by Parc Nou park in Crevillente, Alicante

The Casa del Parque is in the large Parc Nou where a large blue obelisk dominates the skyline. The monument’s granite base marks Crevillente’s most important achievements.

The town hosts two noteworthy fiestas – during Holy Week and a re-enactment of the Moors and Christians battles held at the beginning of October. If you can’t get to Crevillente for Easter, in the Semana Santa museum you can see some of its magnificent sculptures which take centre stage during the Holy Week processions. Semana Santa Museum is in Calle Corazon de Jesus, CrevillenteOpen Tuesdays to Fridays from 6pm to 9pm, Saturdays from 10.30am to 1.30pm and 6pm to 9pm, Sundays and fiesta days from 10.30am to 1.30pm. Entry is free. 674 508.Click here for further informationCrevillente Cuisine Like all Alicante towns, rice features heavily in many dishes. The paella from this town is made with rabbit and snails while on the coast you are more likely to eat it with fish and shellfish. In winter, you can try the ‘gachamiga’ of cod and garlic, ‘arros caldos’ made with rice, vegetables and pulses, or the ‘cocido con pelotas’ which is meatballs served with chickpeas, potatoes and vegetables. Crevillente also serves a variety of tasty cocas, which are like mini pizzas. Traditional cocas include cod, anchovies, sardines, tuna or vegetables. More than 41,000 cocas are made each year in the town, of which about 12,000 are eaten at Easter.

Easter Weaving magical carpets in Crevillente, Alicante

Crevillente street resembles an Arabian bazaar Attractions near Crevillente

Cave houses

At the end of the 18th century, Elche’s population rocketed and houses were scarce. People took to the nearby hills where they created cave houses. By 1970, there were about 900. Cave houses provided cheap accommodation with the advantage of staying cool in the hot summer months and warm in winter. The caves maintain an average temperature of about 24º throughout the year.

year. Weaving magical carpets in Crevillente, Alicante

Flamingos in El Hondo, Crevillente El Hondo nature park The El Hondo nature park is one of the most important wetlands in Spain. Between Crevillente and Elche, it has two lagoons, several ponds and salt marshes with crops and palm trees. This natural oasis is a protected area for birds with about 170 species including the rare marbled teal and white-headed duck as well as herons, other duck species and flamingos. There are several walks in the park where you can find out more about the flora and fauna here. A good time to visit is in the evening where you can see amazing sunsets while observing the birds’ activities. Crevillente mountain The gentle slopes with tracks and paths mean the Crevillente mountain can be tackled by most hikers – or on horseback. Places to visit on the mountain include the shady spot of El Pi de L’Alivi, the 70 or so dry-stone huts, the Cati slopes to enjoy wonderful views, the attractive Castell Vell and ravine, the Pouet of Mel with a well between the limestone rocks, and the iconic Pixatco of San Cayetona standing 815 metres high.

10 Majestic Spanish Castles

History lessons are fun in Spain when you visit a castle. Kids will love imagining themselves as princes and princesses or knights and damsels. Learn something old on holiday.
Castillo de Manzanares El Real

Real 10 Majestic Spanish Castles

Manzanares el Real Castle – Madrid Province

You might well have seen this castle on the big or small screen, in 1961’s El Cid starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. It’s relatively straightforward to view in real life too. A 50-minute journey by bus transports you from Madrid’s Plaza de Castilla on the 724 line, although note the castle is closed to the public on Mondays.
Alcázar de Segovia

Segovia 10 Majestic Spanish Castles

Segovia – Alcazar

Buy a postcard in Segovia and it’s bound to feature its famous castillo. This the sort of castle you’d imagine Rapunzel being imprisoned in. Featuring classical towers, it would come as little surprise to see a window being opened from up high and a beautiful maiden letting down her hair so that you may climb the golden stair.
Castillo de la Mota

Mota 10 Majestic Spanish Castles

Castillo de la Mota -Medina del Campo, Valladolid (Castilla y Leon)

Built on the site of an 11th-century fortress, this Valladolid castle owes its 20th-century reconstruction to one Francisco Franco. The dictator took a fancy to any constructions with links to the Catholic Monarchs. The heraldic shields of Ferdinand and Isabella above the main gate date back to 1483.

Castillo de Almodóvar del Río

Río 10 Majestic Spanish Castles

Cordoba – Almodovar del Rio castle

The Córdoba province is home to this imposing Moorish fortress. Constructed in 760, this Berber-designed castle was built on the site of a previous Roman fort. Which only goes to emphasize its strategically-important location.
Castillo de los Templarios en Ponferrada

Ponferrada 10 Majestic Spanish Castles

Castle of Ponferrada in the Camino de Santiago, Castilla y Leon

A landmark on Spain’s famous Camino de Santiago, this León castle was originally a hill fort and then a Roman citadel. Before the Templar knights took possession of it in the 12th century, transforming it into a refuge for pilgrims progressing to Santiago de Compostela. A proper castle of the old-school variety, there’s even a drawbridge and moat.
Castillo de Javier

Javier 10 Majestic Spanish Castles

Javier castle – Navarra

Another to offer hospitality to pilgrims, Javier Castle stands on a rock in the town of the same name. Originally constructed in the 10th century, this Navarra citadel became a museum in 1901. Of especial interest is the Torre de Cristo, Tower of Christ, which houses a Gothic chapel.
Castillo de Xátiva

Xátiva 10 Majestic Spanish Castles

Xativa Castle, Valencia province

Not one but two interconnecting castles, Xátiva’s location on the Roman Road, Via Augusta, made it of vast strategic importance. And so capturing the castle was key to triumphant campaigns by the likes of Hannibal, Scipio, and Sertorius. Near Valencia, it links Rome via the Pyrenees with Cartagena and Cádiz, further along the Mediterranean coast.

Castillo de Gibralfaro

Gibralfaro 10 Majestic Spanish Castles
Castillo de Gibralfaro in Malaga

Sitting 130 metres above sea level, Gibralfaro Castle enjoys a commanding position. Overlooking Málaga’s city and port, it also takes pride of place on the province’s flag and seal. Dating back to the 10th century, it was constructed on the orders of Abd-al-Rahman III, Caliph of Cordoba.
Castillo de Olite

Olite 10 Majestic Spanish Castles

Navarra – Olite castle

Also known as the Palacio de los Reyes de Navarra de Olite, this castle really is fit for a king. Built during the 13th and 14th centuries, it was one of the seats of the Court of the Kingdom of Navarre. Its first occupant was Carlos III, nicknamed Charles the Noble.
Castell de Tossa de Mar

Mar 10 Majestic Spanish Castles

Tossa de Mar castle

The Costa Brava isn’t only a place to go to top up your tan. This castle is the highlight of Tossa de Mar old town, a location which was declared a National Historic and Artistic Monument back in 1931. Situated in the south of Girona province, it was constructed by Abbot Ramon Dezcatlar back in 1387 and has survived pirate raids and even a French invasion.

Who’s the King of the Castles in Alicante?

 

Wherever you are in the Alicante province one thing is certain – you are never going to be far away from that most romantic of buildings – a castle. The Alicante region has always been one of the most coveted in Spain. The Moors conquered it and ruled for 700 years turning it into one of the most fertile and productive in the country and to hold it against the various northern kingdoms who sought it the Moors fortified it. Thus any visit to a castle in the region is likely to reveal that the original castle on the site or in the town was founded by the Moors although in some parts the Romans had a hand in the fortifications.

For those with a romantic streak the best way to see the castles of the region is to hire a car – and there are many reasonably priced car hire companies in the resorts of Alicante.

resorts Whos the King of the Castles in Alicante?

Denia castle in Alicante province
Denia’s Moorish roots

Denia, the capital of the Marina Alta area at the northern end of Alicante province has had a castle since Roman times when the town was known as Dianum but its main development came with the conquest of the area by the Moors. Built on a rocky promontory overlooking the town and the sea, the castle can be seen from anywhere in town. The impressive arched entrance dates from Moorish times but inside various buildings date from the castles development over the centuries. The castle also houses the Denia Museum of Archaeology which is well worth a visit. Opening times vary according to the season and there is a small entrance fee.
Oh Villena

Inland from Alicante, taking a pleasant drive along country roads, is the town of Villena which is home to one of the best preserved castles in Alicante province. Known as La Atalaya, which means watchtower, the castle’s role in bygone days was to defend the rich agricultural lands surrounding it. It stands on a hill above the town and has a ring of solid walls before you find the defensive walls. It has a great keep, the Torre de Homenaje, which stands more than 200 feet high. Another castle that owes its origins to Islamic times in Spain, Villena developed in the 12th and 13th centuries but what remains was built in the 15th century.
Sax in the city

No one with an interest in castles and history should miss the impressive castle of Sax, which lies north of Alicante city just off the A31 road. The castle stands, as usual, high above the city and can be seen for miles around in all directions. It is believed the original was built in Roman times but again it was the Moors who developed it to protect the lands they conquered in the region. But the Moors were eventually defeated when the armies of the Crown of Aragon seized the castle in 1239. The crowns of Aragon and Castile were rivals for the domination of the area but castle was finally ceded to Castile under the Treaty of Almizra in 1244. What remains now is the keep and the bastion tower.

bastion Whos the King of the Castles in Alicante?

Moraira castle in Alicante province
Mini castle in Moraira

A few kilometres down the coast south from Denia, a charming little castle can be found in the seaside resort of Moraira. It is an 18th century fortress on a small rock at l’Ampella beach and over the entrance door is the coat of arms of the Bourbon family, the rulers of Spain at the time of the completion of the construction in 1742.There is evidence that the fortress was developed by Felipe II, who ruled in the 16th century, to protect the coast from the ravages of the Barbary pirates. The castle has two floors and three wings and stands 10 metres high. Lookout was kept from slits in the walls and cannon were mounted on the roof. The fortress was badly damaged by the British navy in 1801.
Twin towers

Just south of Sax are the twin cities of Petrer and Elda, both with remnants of the mighty castles that towered over the countryside in the region. Parts of Elda castle have been reconstructed and a pleasant open space has been created. Again both had Islamic or earlier origins but with Reconquista in the 13th century the castles reverted to the Spanish kingdoms of the time, with Jaime II incorporating Peter into the kingdom of Aragon. For the castles, admission is free but opening times vary according to the season.

season Whos the King of the Castles in Alicante?

Cannon on Alicante castle
Guarding Alicante

No trip to the castles of the region would be complete without a visit to the mighty fortress of Santa Barbara that looks down 500 feet on to the city of Alicante. Take the lift from opposite Postiguet beach (2.50 euros, pensioners and children free) and hours exploring the castle that dates originally from Roman times and has guarded the city for centuries.
Novelda’s unique castle

Also within easy reach of Alicante city, just 24 kilometres north on the N330, is the unique Castle of Novelda, La Mola. What makes it unique and so special is that it is the only castle in Europe with a triangular-shaped tower, the Torre Triangular. The tower was built in the early 14th century to fortify what remained of a Moorish castle from the 12th century after the Reconquista. It is one of the Valencia Communitat’s best examples of a Gothic civil-military building. It has been extensively renovated and its interior is well worth the visit. The castle stands on a hill surrounded by the river Vinalopo. Next to it a short distance away is the church of the Sanctuary of St Mary Madalena, whose architecture is reminiscent of that of Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona. Ancient Orihuela South of Alicante city is the ancient city of Orihuela, which has some of the most fascinating architecture in the province. The castle, was of Moorish origin and what remains of it, stands high on the Sierra de Orihuela in the area known as the Monte de San Miguel. The ruins overlook the city but these days, without a fertile imagination, there is little that indicates the former glories of the fortifications whose walls originally enclosed the whole city. Visitors can climb to the top of the ruins and enjoy the fabulous views over the Vega Baja (the plain of the river Segura. The climb is quite steep so good footwear and a reasonable state of health are needed but for those who make its worth for the amazing views from the top.

top Whos the King of the Castles in Alicante? Elche castle in Alicante provinceElche prison Also worth the journey is the university city of Elche with its marvellous architecture, massive palm groves and cultural centres, not to mention its castle that was built in the 12th century and then renovated in the 15th. In recent times it has been used as a fabric plant, the city’s town hall, and as a prison during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39. 936-39.

Slow Train To Denia

Although the journey only takes about 30 minutes by car, the train takes a scenic meander along the coast and into the countryside. It makes for an interesting and inexpensive day trip where you can explore other Alicante towns.For the best views, sit on the right side of the train if you are going from Benidorm towards Denia.
You will enjoy fantastic coastal views before the train makes its slow way through the mountains amid the rural countryside. You can make a game for the children to see how many sheep, goats and birds of prey they can spot. You will also see terraces of vines, olive groves and orange trees.There are also some fabulous bridges and viaducts which are worth looking out for,especially when you get close to Gata de Gorgos and Benissa.
The track is pretty high up along here with some sheer drops, which add to the overall excitement of this train trip.The best days to take the train to Denia are on Mondays and Fridays, which are market days. The Monday market sells everything from household goods and clothes to leather items. On Fridays, there are two markets – one selling fruit and veg, with the other selling second-hand goods.The 50-kilometre journey will take about 77 minutes and a return ticket is just€6.40 with a 50% discount for pensioners. It is advisable to take some water with you and maybe a snack.
a snack. Slow Train To Denia
First stop- Benidorm
The journey begins at the bustling resort of Benidorm. The first train is at 6.26am so you could catch this after a very good night in the entertainment capital of the Costa Blanca! Benidorm’s skyscrapers remind many people of the great US city of New York. It’s fabulous skyline, great beaches, superb nightlife including the award-winning Benidorm Palace with its cabaret acts and music, and microclimate have kept Benidorm at the top of the tourism league for many years now. Benidorm also has some top theme parks such as Terra Mitica with its great rides, the Aqua Natura water park, Terra Natura wildlife park and Mundomar for marine life and exotic birds.
All aboard for Altea
All along Slow Train To Denia
All along this part of the train ride, you will enjoy breathtaking coastal views of the magnificent yachts and harbours all the way to Altea. Cross the main N332 road and you’re on the beach within a couple of minutes. Altea is one of the prettiest towns in the Alicante region with two main areas to explore. First stop, the beautiful little beaches and coves which stretch for about eight kilometres. It’s a perfect place for snorkelling, sailing or surfing. The beachfront promenade has plenty of restaurants and bars with many shops along the busy N332 road. From here it is a steep climb up the narrow cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses to the picture-postcard old town with its iconic blue-tiled church dome. If you like curries, the next stop of Olla de Altea has an Indian restaurant, Saffron, on the platform instead of a traditional station café.
Rocking our way to Calpe
The train continues its journey alongside the crystal-clear Mediterranean so you can enjoy far-reaching views as the train gets higher and higher above sea level.The impressive Ifach Rock, standing at 332-metres high, dominates the skyline as it juts out to sea at Calpe. The Ifach attracts serious climbers as well as walkers who can enjoy an easier route to the top where they can stumble across wild flora and fauna as well as being rewarded with fabulous views. Calpe is a vibrant coastal town with sandy beaches, a salt lake where many flamingoes have settled and a pretty little marina.
Onwards and upwards to Benissa
The train now starts to weave its way inland so you can enjoy great rural views. The countryside around here is very fertile with plenty of fruit orchards – especially oranges and lemons, vineyards and olive groves. The mountain views are spectacular with jagged grey cliffs and some hairy sheer drops! This is the best place to see animals such as goats,sheep, rabbits and birds of prey. The next stop of any note is Benissa, which is a pretty, historic town between the cliffs and the sea. It is a popular spot for snorkellers who enjoy the private, little coves and clear waters. Other visitors enjoy strolling through the old town centre which has some beautiful historic buildings such as the monastery, town hall and old council rooms, while the more adventurous can head for the Bernia, La Solana, Olta or Malla Verda mountains, either on foot or by bike.
by bike. Slow Train To Denia
Making tracks to Teulada
The train continues its journey through the green, fertile land to Teulada, a region which is well-known for its wines, particularly the sweet mistela wines. Teulada has a pretty, historic walled town centre with some impressive Gothic buildings.During a gentle stroll through the old streets, you will come across the parish church, several chapels and the courts of justice. In the 19th century, Teulada’s agricultural products were transported by sea from Moraira.Today Moraira is a popular coastal town with pretty beaches, particularly El Portet which is a rocky cove with sparking turquoise water. Moraira also has a pretty marina and old town with some fabulous seafood restaurants.
restaurants. Slow Train To Denia

Weaving along to Gata
Fans of bridges and viaducts will enjoy this stretch of the journey the most. On the way to Gata there are some interesting stone viaducts and bridges taking the train on its final leg towards Denia. The town is full of character with traditional crafts dominating the shop window displays. The local grasses and reeds are dried to make cane furniture, baskets and hats. The displays spill out on to the pavement, giving Gata the name of the ‘bazaar of the Costa Blanca’. There are also two talented guitar makers in the town – Joan Cashmira and the Francisco Bros -and you can visit the workshops to see the musical instruments being crafted by hand.

by hand. Slow Train To Denia

Dining out in Denia
Now the train makes its way around the Montgo mountain, which is a popular challenge for walkers and cyclists, to its final stop at Denia. Denia is the dining capital of the north Costa Blanca region with hundreds of restaurants including Quique Dacosta, which has three coveted Michelin stars. Denia is a delightful coastal town with an impressive castle where you can enjoy far-reaching sea views. The town has 15 kilometres of golden, sandy beaches, a large marina which is home to some expensive yachts, and a pretty old town. It puts on some magnificent fiestas throughout the year, especially fallas where large satirical statues are put up in the streets and burnt, and Moors and Christians, which involves running battles, gunpowder and fireworks.
fireworks. Slow Train To Denia