Altea and Guadalest, two of the most beautiful villages in Spain
It is a given that the Costa Blanca has a wealth of beaches and sandy coves with their crystal clear waters and EU blue flags, and it is something that we are all aware of. However, in addition, and just a short distance away from those beaches, you can find the most charming villages in the Mediterranean as well. And now it isn’t just us telling everyone this, because recently, the National Geographic magazine published its list of 100 most beautiful villages in Spain, which means that a visit is definitely on the cards for 2023, and two of these are very close to Residential Resort Cumbre del Sol.
Altea: The Pearl of the Costa Blanca
“With the sun’s first rays, Altea wakes to the screeching of gulls as they faithfully hover over the seagoing craft moored in the port, along with others that, on the distant horizon, are a reminder that this Alicante village was once peopled by fishermen and labourers”; so begins the description of Altea in the article. It comes as no surprise that the “dome of the Mediterranean” makes the list too, but that doesn’t make it any less a matter of great pride. There are myriad reasons for its inclusion, with its narrow streets and whitewashed houses that lie cheek by jowl with the blue dome of its church, it manages to create a pure Mediterranean landscape that makes you want to explore each and every little nook and cranny of the place. From the highest and most ancient part of the village you will be treated to unique views of the two sides of the Costa Blanca Norte, namely, the mountain sierras of Aitana, Bernia and the Puigcampana on one hand, and Punta Albir, the Morro de Toix and the Peñón de Ifach circling the bay, on the other.
In addition, a visit to the Monastery Church of the Carmelitas Descalzas, La Torre de la Galera, which have been declared a Cultural Heritage site, La Torre Bellaguarda, the Palau de Altea and a stroll along the seafront, will provide images and snapshots that will stay in your memory forever.
In the entry on Altea it also mentions the well-known neighbourhood of El Fornet “with its narrow cobbled streets and its white houses festooned with a colourful jumble of geraniums, jasmine and bougainvillea”.
Guadalest, an unmissable mountain trip
Just the mere fact of its history should earn it a well-deserved mention in lists of this kind: Guadalest was moulded both by the hand of man and the force of nature following the earthquakes of 1644 and 1748, when the citadel castle of San José was virtually destroyed. Today it still stands proud and open to the sky with several sections of the wall remaining along with its keep which is still easily recognisable.
Strolling through the small historic centre, which is reached through the only door in the ancient walls, is like stepping into another world. The town hall square with its statue of San Gregorio and the medieval prison provides a meeting point for visitors. Special mention should be given to the Casa de los Orduña, from where you can access the top of the castle. The village is crowned by the famous castle of the Alcozaiba, which recalls the medieval origins of the village, and from here you can view the mountain sierras of Xortà and Serrella, along with the mountains of Aitana and Bernia.
In the outskirts, you will find the reservoir, wetlands and the dam of Guadalest. This is one of the most picturesque places in inland Costa Blanca, and not to be missed if you visit the village. The water from this reservoir comes from the river Guadalest which, with its blue waters, frames this lovely village. The reservoir, as well as contributing to the charm and beauty of Guadalest, also boasts a really easy and pleasant hiking trail that circles the whole reservoir so you can see the fantastic countryside up close as you breathe in the fresh mountain air.
Altea and Guadalest are as different from each other as they are special. Each one has its own charm and special features that make the villages unique, and it is not the first time that National Geographic mentions them. In its 2022 list, it included the village as one of the five most beautiful villages of Alicante province. Don’t forget to check out our upcoming blog posts where we will tell you more about some of the most special places in the Costa Blanca and the surrounding area.