One of the most popular excursions for visitors to Costa Blanca is a trip into the mountains to the walled village of Guadalest. After the Prado in Madrid and the Alhambra in Granada, Guadalest is the third most visited spot in Spain. There is no doubt that it’s a tourist trap, but a lovely one nonetheless, with much of its tourism being based on the weird and wonderful ‘museums’ it has; the Dolls’ House Museum, the Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers, the museum Gigante y Miniature, and the collection of images painted on grains of rice etc. It also has a castle and the highest graveyard in Spain. You enter the old village through an entrance carved out of solid rock. It’s also worth taking a ride on the solar-powered boat on the reservoir below the village.
The village appears perched on a tiny pinnacle rising into the sky which makes it look absolutely amazing. This gives beautiful views of the green valley with many other mountains in the background.
Guadalest is famous for two buildings:
First is Guadalest castle (Castell de Guadalest) which can only be accessed by walking through a 15 foot long tunnel carved out of the rock. This is known as the Portal de San Jose. No wonder the castle was so secure!
When you get through the tunnel you see the old village houses and it feels like you have entered an ancient time. You can visit the restored house of the Orduna family to get an idea of what it used to be like living in ancient times in Guadalest.
The streets of Guadalest are cobbled, there are little squares, a school and an old jailhouse.
Make sure you look to the right of Guadlest and you will see beautiful views of the valley which contains a dam and reservoir – the Embalse de Guadalest, built between 1953 and 1963
The other famous building that you will often see photographed or on postcards is the white bell tower of Penon de la Alcala which rises up seemingly precariously perched on the mountainside.
The village of Guadalest only has about 200 inhabitants and needless to say most of these work in tourist related jobs. You will find many shops selling souvenirs, crafts and local produce such as honey, wine, handbags etc.
Guadalest also has a number of small museums many of them converted from little caves in the mountainside.
A trip to Guadalest need only take half a day and you can then be back on the Costa Blanca’s beaches or by your pool but do make the effort because it is a worthwhile sightseeing trip and adds another dimension to your Costa Blanca holiday.