THINGS TO DO
For personal recommendations on things to see and do, see the View from La Vila blog here or check out the blog section on this website.
Places to visit (click on links to see more)
- Altea: beautiful hill top town overlooking the sea, white painted houses, breathtaking views.
- Guadalest: picturesque historic village nestling amid beautiful mountain scenery a short drive inland.
- Benidorm: needs no explanation! A 15 minute drive or 30 minutes on the tram from Costera Pastor stop nearest our apartment.
- Canelobre Caves: stalactites and stalagmites abound in these natural caverns
- Fuentes de Algar: walk beside a series of pretty waterfalls and natural pools for swimming
Theme parks/ Waterparks
- Aqualandia: fantastic water park. Its latest attraction is VertiGo, the highest capsule slide in the world!
- Mundomar: home to 32 animal species including dolphins and sea lions.
- Terra Mitica: huge theme park just inland from Benidorm with 21 different attractions.
- Terra Natura: said to be a 'new generation of zoo' that allows contact with some animals.
- Aqua Natura: a family friendly water park.
Water sports, based in Villajoyosa marina
- The local sailing club (Club Náutico) offers kayaking, sailing and windsurfing. In October 2018, it hosted the European Sea Kayak championships. Take a look at this video:
- Ali Sub: sub aqua dive centre, snorkeling and free diving.
- Alonis jet ski hire and organised trips
- Cycling: the Costa Blanca has some great cycling routes along the coast and up into the mountains; see info from specialist cycling sites here and here. Spain's top bike race, the Vuelta a España came down the main street of Villajoyosa in August 2017. There's also good mountain biking terrain near La Vila: info here.
- Tennis: La Vila has a good tennis club on the outskirts of town on Carretera del Port. Non-members can hire courts, ideal if you're only here for a short time.
- Golf: there are two courses within easy reach of La Vila. Melia Villaitana, 10km away, just inland from Benidorm, a major golf resort with 36 holes. Puig Campana Golf is a 9 hole course about 6km from La Vila, near Finestrat (in the shadow of the Puig Campana mountain).
- Hiking: there are some great hiking routes around Villajoyosa, especially when the weather cools down a bit. Check out specialist hiking websites here and here. Take a look at some less energetic walks around La Vila on my blog here.
Moros y Cristianos Fiesta
Villajoyosa is famous for its spectacular Moros y Cristianos festival, which takes place every July. The fiesta commemorates the defeat of Berber pirates from North Africa who attacked the town in 1538.
Unlike other Moros y Cristianos festivals in Spain, Villajoyosa's involves a re-enactment of the Berber landings (el desembarco) on the beach, featuring a small fleet of replica sailing ships. The result (unsurprisingly) is a Christian victory and the expulsion of the invaders.
La Vila Museum
Villajoyosa has an excellent museum on Calle Colon, telling the story of La Vila's earliest settlements by the Phoenicians and Romans with the help of some beautiful exhibits unearthed from archaeological digs in the town. Captions on most of the exhibits are in English, as well as Spanish and Valenciano. See my blog on La Vila's ancient history here.
Food and drink
Stroll round to the fish quay to watch the boats come in every weekday around 4.30pm. You can go inside the fish market to watch the day's catch being sold off.
Later on, head for the sea front restaurants where you can eat the fish and seafood. Try the rice dishes, including the famous paella! See my blogs on local rice, fish and seafood and some suggestions for where to eat here.
Chocolate factories (Villajoyosa has three!) Valor, on the outskirts of town, is by far the biggest, with free guided tours and a chocolate museum. They sell their chocolate all over Spain, and have a chocolatería on the main street (Avenida del Pais Valéncia). Try also Chocolates Pérez, a smaller, friendlier factory on Partida Mediases. See my blog for more information here.
Markets - La Vila has a mercadillo every Thursday on Avenida de Bernat Sarriá; more than 100 stalls selling pretty much everything from cheap clothing to fresh fruit and vegetables. Try also the daily Mercado Central on Carrer Canalejas for fresh fish, meat vegetables and local delicacies. See my blog here for more
Beer fans can try the microbrewery Althaia a few kilometres up the road in Altea, which produces a great range of craft beers. They are happy to show you round.
The Alicante region has some great bodegas where you can sample the best of the local wines. They range from the red Monastrell inland to the white Moscatel on the coast. See my blog here for more recommendations.
La Vila has a pleasant range of independently-owned shops clustered in the streets around Carrer Colon. For a more full-on shopping experience, big brands and all, try the Centro Comercial, a 10 minute drive from Villajoyosa off the main N-332 road at Cala Finestrat. There's also a massive Carrefour supermarket there, which sells just about everything. Alicante has great shopping; try the streets around Avenida Alfonso El Sabio for the big department stores and a wide range of independents.