The Mediterranean beautiful beaches are soothing on the eye, but maybe you feel the need for a bit of excitement? A different landscape, mountains instead of vast amounts of sand, a river instead of the sea and a plethora of quaint museums thrown in? No better idea than a day trip to Guadalest. It therefore belongs on the list of the five best day trips.
All about Guadalest
Like the Algar Waterfalls, Guadalest is located at a distance of approx. 20km from Benidorm although the road, winding up into the mountains, makes it seem far longer. Once upon a time, the place was only accessible on donkeys´ backs.
Situated on a mountain overlooking the valley of the river Guadalest, the town is surrounded by the mountain chains of Sierra d´Aixorta, Sierra de Serella and Sierra de Aitana. The way there leads through pine forests, citrusgroves, nispera and almond trees the sight of which makes for a very pleasant journey.
With a number of permanent residents in the region of 300, Guadalest is tiny, but explodes with tourists who come to see the main attractions: the reservoir which is formed by the river and the picturesque town itself, divided into El Arrabel, the old town and the quarter of the castle, San Jose. Both parts are connected by a tunnel hewn into the rock.
Path to the tunnel,Guadalest
Remains of La Alcozaiba, the old city wall loom high over the narrow streets, with a clock tower, perched on its very own rock nearby.
As if this is not enough attraction already, Guadalest has a surprising number of small but exquisite museums, something you would not expect in a town of this size.
What to do in Guadalest
Park your car on the public parking lot which has plenty of spaces, make your way to the surrounding parapet and have a first look at the tranquil and rather vast reservoir below, reflecting the surrounding mountains. You can walk towards the water on a clearly indicated path, stroll along a bit or even, if on offer, take a short boat ride on the reservoir. The trip takes about 50 minutes, costs € 5pp and is on an entirely solar powered boat, an environment friendly novelty in the region.
On your way back follow the path and climb up to the 17th century castle of San Jose. Make your way right to the top if you wish to look down over the reservoir and the old town.
Then walk to the tunnel which connects the castle with la Alcozalba, the old town. Right after you leave the tunnel, you come to the first museum.
Museum of Ribera Girona
It’s a museum of contemporary art and architecture, reached through a Magic Garden which borders right onto the path emerging from the tunnel.
Opening times:. Summer from 10am to 8pm, Winter from 10am to 6pm
Follow the path, looking at the clock tower from below, then turn left, walk down the steps to the centre of the old town and visit some more museums.
Museum of Salt and Pepper shakers
Something very much out of the ordinary, this museum holds the private collection of Belgian archaeologist Andrea Ludden of about 20.000 salt and pepper cellars from all over the world. Room after room of these little works of art are displayed, arranged by theme.
Salt and pepper shaker museum,Guadalest
The museum is at the back of a shop selling souvenirs and, of course, modern salt and pepper cellars. Opening times are therefore normal shopping hours.
Not far away in Calle del Sol, is the museum which puts into juxtaposition miniatures and gigantic sculptures. You will for example see a bull ring painted on a grain of rice.Miniatures are to be observed through a magnifying glass.
Opening times: every day from 10am to 8pm.
All nine museums of Guadal
est are located close together, just go from one to the other and look at a dolls house museum, the miniature museum of Manuel Ussa and, if you have the stomach, the museum of torture instruments.
Otherwise, Guadalest offers many small shops which sell artefacts and decorative items as well as hand made clothing.
Buy nisperas and home made marmalades or mountain honey to take home with you or as gifts.
How to get there
Take the AP-7 or N-332 from Torreviaja to Benidorm. Turn onto the CV-70 or CV-755 in the direction of La Nucia. Go past Polop and follow the signs to Guadalest. There is a big public parking with many spaces. Particularly around Polop you get nice views of pine trees, citrus trees and orange groves.
The trip to Guadalest is one to remember, when you are back enjoying the great beaches.