Although Ian and I wanted to relax and recharge on holiday in Calpe, we also wanted to see a little more of the Costa Blanca. A friend of mine recommended Guadalest, a small historic village about an hour’s drive away. We hired a car for the day, but there are plenty of buses and organised trips from Calpe, Benidorm and Alicante.
Guadalest is perched on top of a mountain and is visible from miles away. Entrance is through a tunnel, the Portal de San Jose, which is carved out of rock in the mountainside.
It opens out into the village centre which includes cafes, shops, a school, several small museums and an old jailhouse. There’s also a restored family home which gives a brilliant insight into life at Guadalest in bygone years. It’s free to enter and guide sheets are available in several different languages.
The views are incredible, especially of Guadalest Reservoir, (Embalse de Guadalest). I have never seen such turquoise water. The exquisite colour is courtesy of tiny particles of silt suspended in the water. We didn’t go there but I understand that it is perfectly safe to swim in.
Guadalest Bell Tower and Castle
Guadalest is famous for two buildings. The first is the white bell tower of Penon de la Alcala, which rises up on the mountainside. The bell still tolls every quarter of an hour; it was music to our ears.
The second is Guadalest Castle, (Castell de Guadalest), which is quite a climb up several flights of shallow stone steps, but it’s well worth it. There are plenty of places to stop and take photographs en-route and the views are once again, spectacular. The castle was built by the Moors over 1,300 years ago.
This stone archway with its amazing picture-postcard view was probably the most popular spot to stop for a photograph. All the Instagram husbands were on duty and it was a lovely atmosphere as people of all nationalities waited for their turn and collectively marvelled at the view.
It was incredibly hot when we went so my advice is to take plenty of water, wear cool loose clothing and comfortable shoes, flip flops wouldn’t be sturdy enough but flat sandals like mine (a gift from Celtic & Co), are ideal.