If Guadalest didn't already exist, someone would have had to invent it. This amazing little village offers so much.

Let's start with the castle. The vertical precipices of rock couldn't fail to attract the attention of anyone looking for position that would readily hold back their enemies. The pre-Roman Iberians were the first to occupy the site, but it was the Moors who built a proper castle here. Accessed only by a single narrow tunnel through the rock, this was an impregnable position which resisted everything; except the earthquake of 1644! By then, internal war-mongering seemed to be out of vogue so the Orduña family built themselves a house on the site, still surrounded by remnants of the castle and still accessed through the one narrow entrance. Guadalest, Alicante, ValenciaUnfortunately their optimism was ill-founded and the house was sacked and burned in 1708 during the Spanish War of Succession. Today though, it is the centre of an interesting tour that leads up to the remaining ramparts of the castle, high (and I mean high!) above the village and the Guadalest valley.

Straight down from the castle and the small part of the village within its walls, a modern dam has created a lake that, viewed from above, is like a blue-green mirror reflecting the mountains on the other side of the valley.

Having taken your time to tour the castle and maybe stopped for a refreshment in the plaza overlooking the valley, there is the rest of the village to see. As well as the well-tended haphazard streets of a typical Spanish village, there are some diverse attractions to draw in the curious: the museum of miniatures, the museum of micro-miniatures, the magic garden, a fabulous display of dolls houses and other models, and even a torture museum. Not far away is a motor-cycle museum and an animal foundation that provides a refuge for many exotic species of animals that have been saved from circuses, private owners and zoos.

Guadalest, lake, walkingThe Guadalest valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with high mountains capped by great outcrops of rock and lower slopes covered in Spanish pine trees. The valley floor is green and fertile and the dam and reservoir just add one more element to this lovely landscape.

Although there are great views in all directions from the village of Guadalest, it would be a pity not to take time to look at those views from different angles. Whether you choose to get around on foot, on a mountain bike or by car, there are many routes to choose from. The owners of the little Cases Noves hotel in the village have gone to great lengths to prepare guides and maps of all sorts of routes for their guests, whatever the chosen means of locomotion.

Guadalest is a short distance inland from Benidorm, Altea and Calpe, so it makes a great day trip from the Costa Blanca.

16 Feb 2016, 17:52

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