El Castell de Guadalest. At 595 metres altitude in the mountainous region of the comarca of Marina Baixa, Spain, surrounded by the Aitana, Serella & Xorta mountains and with a population of just 240 inhabitants, this village is a photographical must see and a truly historical place.

GUADALEST: THE HISTORY

On my first visit, I remember being taken back by how unique Guadalest looked and felt, from walking under the sheer heights of rock, through the tiny gate and into something that felt like it shouldn’t have be there.

Dating back to 715AD and the period of Moorish occupation of Spain, Guadalest has a long history.

The Castle of L’Alcozaiba stood many years prior to the Christian conquest and was actually built by the Muslims in the Eleventh Century.

In 1609, Muslims made up the majority of the population but were forced to vacate the valley when Guadalest suffered numerous earthquakes between 1644 and 1752, which destroyed part of the settlement.

The village was a strategic military stronghold with fortifications. Guadalest was targeted in the Spanish Succession War in 1708 and suffered heavy bombardment and significant damage from further mine explosions.

Since 1974, Guadalest has been declared a ‘Monument of Historical and Artistic Value’ and from 1994, the Orduña house (which was previously burnt down in 1708) has been rebuilt and now serves as a Municipal Museum.

On returning to Guadalest a few years after my first visit, I was able to appreciate its history a little more and notice how authentic it all still felt even though it is a popular tourist attraction.

Guadalest Spain

HOW TO GET THERE

Guadalest is in the province of Alicante, 25 kilometres inland from Benidorm. This is the best place to plan your journey from as buses run regularly, Monday to Friday to and from Guadalest and are located at Finestrat and stops at the Rincón de Loix.

If travelling by car, the journey is approximately 40 minutes (use postcode 03517 if using SatNav) or for map/directions click here.

Alternatively you can book your trip through selected travel agents.

GUADALEST: THE GEOGRAPHY

Guadalest lies within the mountains of Aitana, Serella & Xorta. The river Guadalest flows through the area and has been dammed to form a spectacular reservoir below the town. A great spot for swimming and kayaking or if you’d rather, a solar ship tour of the dam.

The castle can only be entered by one small tunnel that is cut through the rock at the San Jose gate. The area inside the walls includes the ancient Saint Josep castle, the Orduña House, parish church, city dungeon, the bell tower, and the Moorish fortified building called Alcozaiba.

Guadalest Spain

THINGS TO DO & FIESTAS

Guadalest hosts 9 village restaurants and eateries all serving traditional Spanish cuisine and dishes local to the area.

There are numerous museums and exhibits scattered about the village. These can be seen on the map below.

Guadalest

In the first week of June, Guadalest celebrates Saint Gregory’s Feasts. This occasion is organised by the young inhabitants of the village and includes street parties and sports.

From 14th to 17th of August, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in a typical Spanish religious feast as  Guadalest holds its celebrations in honour of Our Lady of the Assumption.

ENTRY FEES

Although entry to the village and surrounding area is free of charge, there are numerous museum’s and exhibits that charge a small admission fee. Entries to these cost between €1 and €4. For more information, why not check out their website, www.guadalest.eu

Guadalest Spain

I have visited Guadalest on 3 separate occasions now over a period of 8 years and it still has something special about it every time I return.

On my most recent trip back to Guadalest I really appreciated and enjoyed its many unique and interesting photography vantage points. On a clear day, the view from the top of the village with the waters below is quite mesmerising.

Guadalest is a profoundly beautiful place to visit and a must if you find yourself in Spain’s Costa Blanca.

 

Photo Credits: Vincent de Miguel, Freddy Enguix & Pat Neary.