I mentioned in one of my first Benidorm posts that Guadalest and the mountains near Benidorm were my favourite things that we visited. It was on our final full day in Spain that we broke away from the alluring clutches of the beaches and the city and went a bit higher up with Marco Polo Expediciones. We all clambered into the back of an open-top jeep and rumbled off up into the hills.
Though my hair didn’t fair particularly well, my spirits certainly did as I fell in love with the absolutely picturesque village of Guadalest. It was all winding steps, cobbled streets, and colourful shops. The valley below is absolutely lovely; not to mention the fact that it was situated above one of the bluest lakes that I have ever seen.
For a town whose main business is clearly tourism, it was busy, but not overwhelmingly so. And there were also very, very few English tourists, which is a shame because its history is so interesting! Guadalest is home to several former castles – one of which is of Islamic origin dating back to the time of the Moors in Spain. (The influence can be seen on things other than just architecture – Spanish bears a really interesting Arabic impact – an obvious one is “ojala” (I hope/wish/hopefully) from the Arabic “wa sha allah” (should God will it) which you can hear when it’s said aloud.)
It all looked a bit like something out of a fairytale. I took hundreds of photos of the Penon de la Alcala, the white bell tower that rises up out of the top of a mountain that can be seen for miles around. And it actually rung whilst we were sitting underneath it, which was thrilling! To get into the Castell de Guadalest you have to go through a 15 foot long tunnel carved straight into the mountain itself. This opening is called the Portal de San Jose. Once you go through it, you can really understand why Guadalest was so hard to conquer and why it was so strategically important!
Guadalest is less than a 30 minute drive outside of Benidorm and I can’t recommend it more highly!
Visiting this area is probably my favourite overall memory of the entire trip!
Have you ever visited anywhere that looked similar?