Tue 28 July 2020
Local News | Guadalest- not just a pretty lake! A wonderful way to spend some time
A day trip to the Valley of Guadalest is probably one of the nicest ways to spend some time in the Costa Blanca. Situated 24 km inland from the coast or a leisurely 45 minute drive from Jalón, this is a tourist attraction for the tourist in search of history and culture.
The drive from Jalón or Orba takes you up the majestic Coll de Rates mountain and on from there through the tiny Spanish pueblos and winding roads. Along the way the views are simply awesome and you will want to stop often to appreciate them. The Valley of Guadalest is surrounded by the Xorta, Serrella, Aitana and Bernia mountains.
Guadalest Reservoir- The first glimpse of the reservoir is surreal. An impossible, deep turquoise colour caused by silt suspended in the water. The reservoir supplies water to all the surrounding villages and towns , including Benidorm. The dam is 73 metres high and 270 metres long and you can drive along it. It is perfectly safe to swim in the lake, although not for kids or novice swimmers as it is deep. Fresh water fishing is permitted but you will need a license. Also for hikers, there is a beautiful walk around the lake which is around 10km.
El Castell de Guadalest- This is a day of surprises and the approach to this fortress village is no exception. The village is 16 km squared and has less than 200 inhabitants. It is perched spectacularly at the top of the valley and overlooking the reservoir. Built in the 12th century by the Moors, it is easy to see its advantage as a strategic fort. Its history is fascinating and it is worth reading about before your visit. In 1644 an earthquake destroyed the castle and part of the town and in 1708 it suffered heavy bombardment in the War of Spanish Succession but the village has been rebuilt and in more recent years has been restored and given protection orders and historic and artistic tourist acclaim.
What to see in the village- Parking is in the lower part of the village and access to the historical part is up through a tunnel through the rock. The town has an interesting medieval look and feels like a step back in time. There are gift and souvenir shops as well as leather goods and shops selling honey from the mountains. It is an idyllic stroll through the cobbled streets decorated with flower pots and whitewashed buildings. There are jaw dropping views at every turn but there is a viewing platform at the very top with breathtaking views across the mountains and down to the lake. Not to be missed.
Museums- There are, in total 9 museums in the village and surrounding area. These include: The Orduña Residence- housing contemporary art. The Museum of Miniature Art ( with exhibits like the Statue of Liberty through the eye of a needle ). The Torture Museum ( for those with a fiendish fascination ). The Museum of Dolls Houses. Perhaps the most relevant and interesting museum is the Ethnological Museum of the Valley of Guadalest. This gives insight in to the lives of the people who lived here, the clothes they wore, what their homes were like and the instruments and tools they used.
There are a few bar/restaurants in the village with terraces and views to wow you while you have a drink or lunch. There are also however, some great little restaurants in the mountains that you will pass on your journey. eg. XORTA restaurant is excellent and reasonably priced. The slow roasted lamb is delicious! This is a day out worth researching and planning and, although there is sunshine most days in this part of the world, clear blue skies are a must. Guadalest is another world, a step back in time and an absolute treat for the senses. Enjoy!
At Jacaranda Spain we list and sell properties in the areas we write about. For more day to day stories you can follow us at the following: