Villajoyosa Travel Guide

Villajoyosa, or La Vila or La Vila Joiosa, is known for its chocolate and its coloured houses that stretch along the beachfront.

villajoyosa travel guide

Villajoyosa, or La Vila or La Vila Joiosa, is known for its chocolate and its coloured houses that stretch along the beachfront. Situated on the Costa Blanca, a short tram ride from Benidorm, it’s a complete contrast and a relaxed way of life. You’ll find tapas bars, chic restaurants, chocolate factories, shops, and very little nightlife. Unless you count for people joining together over a caña or children playing in the park until late.

The beauty of La Vila is that it’s a beautiful seaside town, yet it hasn’t been a victim of over-tourism. It hasn’t lost its Spanish roots and neither has it turned into a tourist trap. Instead, it’s a proper working town which is lovely to spend a day wandering around.

Separated from Benidorm on the other side of La Cala de Finestrat, Villajoyosa is a laid-back, relaxed Spanish seaside town filled with history and culture. The way of life is, on the whole, much slower than other European countries. You’ll still find that shops and some restaurants still close for a siesta mid-afternoon.

Quick Guide:

Time Zone: GMT + 1

Plug Socket: European

Currency: Euro

Language: Spanish and Valencian. English is widely spoken and is growing.

Climate: A comfortable and welcoming year-round temperature. Very hot in July, August, and September. Low rainfall. February is the wettest month.

How long a stay: If you’re planning to head on holiday to Benidorm or Alicante, it’s very easy to see Villajoyosa in a half-day or full-day trip, depending on what you want to do there. If you’re wanting to go on holiday to Villajoyosa, 5-7 nights allows you to see different places in the area as well as relax at the beach and the pool.

What to pack: With a pleasing climate all year round, it’s easy to pack lightly for Villajoyosa, if you aren’t climatised! Don’t be surprised to see locals wearing jumpers and scarves in 20 degrees temperatures. In the summer, you’ll want to pack light clothing, shorts, t-shirts, and swimwear. It is completely ok to wear crop tops, have your shoulders showing or your knees. You will see lots of other people wearing the same. In winter, it’s a good idea to be a little more reserved. Locals will be wearing jumpers, jeans, and coats along with scarves and all the works. It’s a good idea, as to not stand out, to wear jeans and a t-shirt, with a cardigan or sweatshirt for when the temperature drops around 16:00.

Getting to Villajoyosa

playa el torres villajoyosa

Many people head to Villajoyosa for a holiday in its own right, without ever stepping foot into Benidorm or its neighbouring towns. Others opt for a getaway to Benidorm and spend a couple of hours or a day in Villajoyosa. After all, it’s only a 15-minute tram ride away! I would recommend only heading to Villajoyosa for a half-day trip.

Thursday is a good day to head to La Vila as it’s the day of their market. Next to the Creueta tram stop, you’ll find the huge market sprawled out. You’ll find lots of local produce ranging from meats and fish to fruits and vegetables, plus lots of clothes, bags and other bits and pieces. There are also food vans set up.

To get to Villajoyosa, your best bet is flying into Alicante Airport, or Valencia Airport if you don’t mind travelling further!

You can then take a local bus into Villajoyosa from the airport or use one of the transfer services. If you’re staying in Benidorm, there is a lovely walk you can do across the mountain and into La Vila via La Cala de Finestrat. It’s about a 2-hour walk but it’s fabulous to do in Spring or Autumn! The picture above is taken on El Torres beach that you will walk across before getting to La Vila. There is a great campsite there which has a bar!

If you are staying on the Costa Blanca, Villajoyosa has good ALSA and Llorente bus connections and 2 tram stations, Creueta and La Vila, which are conveniently placed both ends of the town.

I would recommend getting off at Creueta which is near to the Valor Chocolate Factory and the Market. A short walk down towards the sea brings you to the centre of the beach. You’ll then have the option to turn left for the port and the fishing area, or turn right to head into the old town and explore the coloured houses. Getting off at La Vila will bring you to the coloured houses and there is a gorgeous walk through the park and over the bridge.

The Villajoyosa Tram is on L1 which you take towards LUCEROS. Alternatively, if you’re driving, it’s a mere 10-15 minutes away on the motorway.

Where to stay in Villajoyosa

instagrammable locations in benidorm villajoyosa

As it’s not boomed with tourism, this means staying in Villajoyosa can pose a problem. There are hotels and apartments, but not many to choose from. You are able to book through booking websites to find apartments for short-term rent, or you can opt for one of the hotels.

There are hotels a little further out near to Paradis, but I wouldn’t recommend heading that far out as you will have to take a tram into La Vila each day anyway!

The two hotels in a good location are the following:

Hotel Censal: Hotel Censal is a three-star hotel situated one street back from the beach. It’s near to the petrol station and Burger King. There are also various bars and restaurants scattered nearby as well as a Mercadona supermarket just a short 5 minutes walk away. It’s a relaxed hotel which offers sea views and a rooftop terrace. Average cost: 70€ per night

Hotel Allon Mediterrania: I would say this is the best choice of hotels in La Vila. Located on the first line of the beach, there is nothing obstructing your view in the morning. You’ll wake up to fishing boats out on the shore and, if you’re lucky, you might even see a dolphin. It’s a modern four-star hotel with upmarket suites. There is also an outdoor pool and dining. The nightclub in Vila is open on Saturdays which is directly next door to the hotel, so bear in mind that if you are planning a quiet weekend away, this might not be the best place! Average cost: 90€ per night. 

The History of Villajoyosa

Back in the 16th century, the population of Villajoyosa was around 800 inhabitants. Just like other towns across the Costa Blanca coastline, it suffered from various attacks by pirates that came from Algeria. After many ruthless attacks, a defensive network was constructed along the coast to fend off attacks. Now, you’ll see the Tower Aguiló and Tower Xarco which still stand today.

This also ties in with the historical festival of Moors and Christians, which commemorates the confrontation between the Moorish and Christian soldiers over the rule of Spain. The event is held in honour of the city’s patron saint who played a role in the battle. The victory was for the Christians even though they were outnumbered by the Moors.

This festival is across many parts of Spain, but it is most popular in Valencia and Alicante region. The festivals of Villajoyosa and Alcoy are recognised as being of International Touristic Interest and the best in Spain. The festival is well-worth watching. With plenty of music, processions and decored streets, there are thousands who travel to be a part of the festivities. There is also a final battle that marks the end of the three-day festival.

What to do and see in Villajoyosa

Girl smiling photoshoot in Villajoyosa Spain

The Coloured Houses

The most photographed location in Villajoyosa is the coloured houses. Perched at the end of the beach. The beautiful colours are said to remind the fishermen of home when they were out at sea. Legend has it, that their boat was the same colour as their home and when they were out to sea for days on end they could look in the distance and distinguish their home from other fishermen homes.

The beautiful thing about La Vila is that there is such a contrast of colour that it makes for wonderful photos. Whether it’s fountains, the sea, the mountains, the coloured houses or the typical Spanish streets, you’ve got lots of options.

The Old Town

villajoyosa old town tram station la vila

The old town of Villajoyosa is located where the coloured houses are, so it’s easy to find it! In that area, you’ll also find the beautiful church and quaint shops. It won’t be unusual to walk around the old town and see that people have their doors wide open and a plastic chair perched at the door as they’re sitting out and chatting with neighbours.

Possibly the most famous thing about La Vila is its distribution of chocolate. Don’t be surprised if you step off the tram and get a whiff of melted chocolate circling the air. I’ve noticed, that I smell it stronger when it’s going to rain!

The Valor Chocolate Factory Tour

valor chocolate museum tour in english

Well worth doing is heading to the Valor Chocolate Factory museum which is totally free! The tour is limited to 50 people so you have to get there early and get your free ticket. The visit is 45 minutes long. There isn’t any parking at the museum, but there’s a pay to park car park around 10 minutes away and plenty of street parking.

To access the tour, you must get a ticket in the automatic dispenser at the entrance of the factory. This is to ensure that the 50 person limit is not exceeded. There is an accessible route for people with reduced mobility. Please be aware that in summer, the waiting time for a time slot can be up to an hour, so make sure you get there well ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

The tour times are as follows, but please be aware that the factory may change these at any time so it’s important to check on their site before making the journey.

Monday to Friday: 

Spanish: 11:00, 12:00.  13:00, 17:00, 18:00 and 19:00

English 10:00am and 16:00

Saturdays:

Spanish 11:00, 12:00 and 13:00

English 10:00

Closed on Sundays and festivals.

La Barbera Park

 

Another great place to visit in Villajoyosa is the Barbera park. It’s the first park in Spain to have a bench that has free WiFi powered by solar energy. Other than that, there is a mini stadium inside where live bands tend to play at weekends and a café on site. You’ll find lots of children running around over the faux-grass hills and playing on the equipment.

Head into a bar or restaurant

el jardin de laura villajoyosa

Plenty of bars and restaurants are scattered around La Vila. My favourite ones are located on Calle Colón. One which is well worth a visit is El Jardín de Laura. It has a beautiful outdoor terrace around the back which is lit up by candles and fairy lights. A great tapas bar near to Calle Colon is El Barrio.

Watch the world go by in a café

nomad factory review the bullet journal cake granier stamps pizza

One of my favourite things to do in La Vila is sit in a café, listen to the locals chatting and people watch. I could do it for hours. There are many lovely cafés in La Vila, but I think the best are Valor, Granier and Fer Café.

If you liked this post then perhaps you’d be interested in one of these other travel guides about the Alicante region:

 

If you love the idea of a typical Spanish seaside town, then Villajoyosa is for you!

Hasta luego,

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Winter Sun Holidays: Destinations for Winter in Spain 2019

If you’re looking for where to avoid the bitterly cold days and the dark and grey nights, then get yourself on a flight to one of these winter sun holidays.

winter sun spain

Contrary to what some might think, not everywhere in Spain is warm in winter. In fact, some places in Spain can be blanketed in crisp, white snow, whilst elsewhere 20 minutes down the road, the sun is shining at a glorious 25 degrees. Isn’t Spain awesome?

To escape the winter months, many people flock south to catch some winter sun in Spain. There are several spots in Spain for winter sun which will be fairly obvious, but some of them may just surprise you. If you’re looking for where to avoid the bitterly cold days and the dark and grey nights, then get yourself on a flight to one of these winter sun holidays.

Benidorm

benidorm skyline hotel bali intempo poniente

Benidorm is one of the warmest places in Spain throughout the year. Thanks to the mountains that shelter it and protect it, winter just doesn’t seem to hit here like it does elsewhere.

Blue skies and beach days are all-year-round and the sun seems to always be shining at some point. Whether that’s December or Benidorm’s own winter, February.

Benidorm can be a beautiful city, but if you’re stuck for ideas of what to do you can take a look at some of my previous posts.

Murcia

building in cartagena spain

If you want to escape the cold but still be surrounded by culture and history, Murcia could be a perfect option. There are plenty of coastal resorts around this province, like Cartagena, which are significantly warmer than other places in Spain.

You can wander along the streets of Cartagena in the winter in shorts and t-shirt whilst stopping at many of the tapas bars dotted along the main road. Filled with parks, the Roman Amphitheatre and, one of the biggest ports, there’s plenty to do. It also has huge connections with the navy, so it’s worth a visit!

Tenerife

teneride winter sun

Tenerife is the biggest of Spain’s Canary Islands. Found to the west of North Africa, it guarantees some fabulous winter sun.

Tenerife is a super popular winter family holidays choice and a holiday I remember us going on many times when I was a child. Beach days and pool days in December are definite highs amongst kids.

Tenerife offers an outstanding all-year-round climate, but it does get chilly in the evening. Other than that, the diverse landscape makes for some interesting day trips. Hiking up one of Spain’s Seven Wonders, Mount Teide or making a splash at one of the most famous water parks in Spain, there’s plenty to see and do.

Mallorca

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Mallorca in winter means that you can enjoy the beautiful island without the crowds of people. The beginning of December can bring glorious temperatures of around 20 degrees, though be aware, it is a risky one. Due to its location and little protection, temperatures can soon dip to around 10 degrees should the wind and sea change direction.

Though, don’t let that put you off though as even when the temperatures are as low as 15 degrees, the sun still shines and the blue skies are still around to lift the mood. A cool breeze makes it a perfect destination for those who don’t like to feel super hot.

Mallorca has only around 900,000 permanent residents, yet it attracts more than 12 million tourists per year, so you can only imagine how different Mallorca is in the winter to the summer. There will be no queues to the attractions, little waits at restaurants and narrow, quaint streets decorated with twinkling Christmas lights.

Costa Tropical

beautiful view of la alhambra in granada

Now, a trip to Granada has it all. A day in Granada visiting La Alhambra and the wonderfully narrow streets of Albaycín, then a winter skiing day in the Sierra Nevada mountains followed by lounging on the beach at Costa Tropical. In the province of Granada, you really can have all the seasons at once.

Costa Tropical is much quieter than its neighbouring beaches like the Costa del Sol, so it’s less crowded.

Temperatures are around 15 degrees in the winter meaning it’s warm enough to chill out along the beach with a drink taking in the winter sun.

Seville

seville spain winter sun

Seville, we would love it whether it was 30 degrees or 3 degrees. Thankfully, it’s more like 15 degrees in the winter.

The capital of the Andalucia region, the city is bursting with history, tapas and the sounds of flamenco dancers stomping their way around the dancefloor.

Home to one of Europe’s biggest Cathedrals and many filming locations for Game of Thrones and Star Wars, you’ll be taken aback by just how beautiful Seville is. Don’t forget to visit the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza and Plaza de España.

Seville is one of the hottest cities in Spain, so a winter trip to Seville is perfect to bask in the winter sun.

Where are you off to this Winter?

Hasta luego,

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15 Must-Visit Cities in Spain

The country of Spain is so vast and different across the land that just visiting one city is barely enough to say that you’ve seen Spain.

15 Must Visit Cities

The country of Spain is so vast and different across the land that just visiting one city is barely enough to say that you’ve seen Spain. Each region has its own traditions, its own landscape and even its own dialect. From cities bustling with Spanish culture and traditions to cities with dazzling architecture and famous monuments, Spain has so many cities offering something for everybody.

Barcelona

must visit cities airplane view of raining barcelona

Home of the wonderous Sagrada Familia and many of Gaudi’s work, Barcelona is a must-visit city in Spain. Barcelona has so much to offer from mouthwatering tapas to cultural park walks. Spend a weekend in Barcelona and you’ll be taken in by its impressive architecture and spell-bounding gothic quarter.

Madrid

aerial view of madrid

A trip to the capital offers a 360 experience of modern and old architecture sprung together and given a new lease of life. The cosmopolitan city of Madrid is filled with gorgeous architecture, trendy rooftop bars and more shops along Gran Vía than you can carry bags for.

Donastia San-Sebastían

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One of my absolute most favourite cities in Spain is Donastia San Sebastían located near the French border. Combining  French culture and architecture with Spanish customs and design makes San Sebastian it a trendy and beautiful city. La Concha beach certainly is a stunning beach.

Valencia

arts and science museum valencia blue sky

A popular city with a decent blend of cultural walks, long stretches of white beaches and fabulous gastronomy. Be sure to visit the Mercat in the centre and check out the Arts and Science museum. Don’t forget to try the famous Paella Valenciana, which originated here.

Seville

seville plaza de españa

Draped in Andalucian charm, Seville is one of Alex’s favourite cities in the world. Boasting the largest historical centre in Spain and the third largest cathedral in the world, Seville is just truly beautiful. Filled with charm, beautiful architecture and a relaxed atmosphere, you’ll fall in love with Seville and its romantic feel.

Granada

beautiful view of la alhambra in granada

Home to one of the most beautiful wonders, the Alhambra Palace. Situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada offers a cultural break slightly cooler than other areas in Spain. Stay in the Albaícin area and you’ll drift off to sleep to the sounds of guitars playing in the distance and the church bells ringing. Book a room that overlooks the Alhambra and you’ll spend hours admiring it. Don’t forget to wander around the city centre and visit the other impressive buildings, like Zafra’s House.

Pamplona

why you should visit pamplona

So much more than just the bull run, Pamplona is a welcoming and quiet city filled with stunning architecture and a laid-back feeling. Lazy around in the plaza having a coffee overlooking the town hall with a cookie and watch the hours and the people pass by.

Toledo

toledo and why you should visit

A preserved old city set in the hills of Castille La Mancha, the city is known for being the ancient capital. You’ll adore the plaza at the top of the hill and the beautiful cathedral.

Bilbao

view of guggenheim museum bilbao and river spain

Trendy and quirky, Bilbao is a cool city up in the North. Known for being the art hub of Spain, wandering around you’ll soon see why.

Segovia

Although we haven’t got there yet, we will do soon. Segovia’s signature monument, the Roman Aqueduct is a UNESCO World Heritage Location and one of the 7 wonders of Spain. The city is supposed to be vibrant and bustling with beautiful hills in the background.

Cadiz

Another one that we haven’t reached yet is the Southern city of Cadiz. It is supposed to be a picturesque city on the south of Spain and one that we’ll definitely have to visit soon.

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia. You might know it from El Camino de Santiago, where the Plaza del Onradoiro is the final destination on the pilgrimage trail. The city itself is supposed to be packed with history, culture and a buzzing atmosphere. It’s on my list!

Alicante

santa barbara castle alicante

Becoming known more and more as a cosmopolitan city, Alicante is really finding itself and its identity within Spain. Filled with shopping locations and beautiful beaches along the Costa Blanca, it’s well worth visiting if you’re staying at a nearby location. Wander along the narrow streets of the old town, visit the castle that overlooks the marina and then shop until you drop on Gran Vía.

Córdoba

flower street cordoba spain

Known widely for its flower street, Córdoba is a mixture of Jewish, Spanish and Roman architecture and buildings. It has beautiful cobbled streets, plenty of shopping experiences and the stunning Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir river.

Zaragoza

pilar in zaragoza i visit spain

One of the most beautiful buildings in Spain is found in Zaragoza. You won’t ever forget seeing the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar for the first time. I think you could see it over and over and still be mesmerised by its beautiful domes and colourful towers. It really does like something out of a fairytale or a Disney movie.


How many have you visited? Don’t forget to add your email to the subscription box so you don’t miss any blogs related to Spain!

Hasta luego,

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Alcoy – The Christmas Town in Alicante

Alcoy is a wonderful place to spend time during Christmas.

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You’re probably thinking that a White Christmas in Alicante is absolutely impossible. If we’re talking about the beach, you’re more than likely correct. You might find a scattering of snow on the beach or catch a glimpse of it far off in the mountains if you’re lucky, but none of that crunchy, building snowmen snow. Unless you know where to find it.

It goes by the name Alcoy, or Alcoi.  What if I told you that just an hour drive from Benidorm, there is a beautiful inland town where the snow blankets and the Spanish tradition was born. Are you ready to discover Christmas Town?

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Copyright of Alcoy Turismo

Alcoy is an inland town in the province of Alicante. Filled with more than 20 bridges, it is also known as “The Town of the Bridges”. Due to its wonderful Christmas celebrations and blankets of crispy snow in the winter, it has also adopted the name: “The Christmas Town”.

It is one of the most important towns in the Comunidad Valenciana and it is where the Moors and Christians festivities were first celebrated too. It also is home to a well-loved university.

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Copyright of Alcoy Turismo 

Alcoy boomed in the Industrial Revolution, specialising in the textile, metal and paper industry. It grew and developed into a wealthy area which is evident from its modern, architectural buildings.

What makes Alcoy so unique and special for Christmas is that it was the first place in the world to celebrate Cavalcade of Magi, a traditional parade of king coaches for King’s Day. Nowadays, practically every city in Spain and most in Mexico hold their own Cavalcade of Magi. The Cavalcade of Magi is a parade where the three kings, Melchior, Gaspar and Baltasar ride through the streets throwing sweets to the children. You may have celebrated this before in Benidorm, but what about celebrating it in the place it was first ever born?

Alcoy has a huge pull for international tourism for Spain, due to being the oldest Cavalcade of Magi in the world. 

Throughout December and early January, Alcoy has a large Christmas market and in Plaza de España, there is a large nativity scene that is erected in front of Santa Maria Church. There you’ll find a statue of one of the three kings, in giant form, sitting on his throne with the sounds of children laughing as they jump on his knee for a photo.

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Copyright of Alcoy Turismo

Alcoy is a wonderful place to spend time during Christmas. It is around 90km away from Benidorm taking the AP-7 roads, or 60km along the CV-70. Although the CV-70 is a shorter route, it does take longer, though the drive is much easier than the country roads that may come with some steep drops that might make your stomach flip!

In Alcoy, there is also “The Casal de Nadal”, meaning the House of Christmas, which is dedicated to the Christmas celebrations of Alcoy. If you’re unable to attend the actual festivities, it’s great to look around to get an idea about what’s to offer!

I know where I will be heading this winter. What about you?

Feliz Navidad,

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Spanish New Year’s Eve Traditions

In Spain, the 31st of December is just as special as it is around the world.

Spanish new year's eve traditions cava

In Spain, the 31st of December is just as special as it is around the world. If you’re celebrating “Nochevieja” here in Benidorm or Spain, it’s a good idea to get yourself accustomed to some of the traditions that happen to welcome in the new year.

You may have already heard about “the lucky 12 grapes”, but love, luck and prosperity come with a whole host of traditions and superstitions.

Here are the Spanish New Year’s Eve traditions that could bring you some luck in 2019:

12 Lucky Grapes

green grapes lucky in spain

As the clock strikes midnight, one by one, as the bells chime in the clock tower of Puerta del Sol in Madrid, you’ll need to eat a grape on each stroke. It’s harder than it sounds. These grapes are typically seeded grapes too. Each grape represents a month of the year. The legend states that you should finish eating all 12 grapes before the bells finish chiming.

It usually ends with barrels of laughter as everybody tries to race each other and actually get the grapes down. I’ve not completed it yet!

Wear Red Underwear

If you’re looking to be lucky in love this year, then make sure you open 2019 wearing some bold, red underwear. Apparently, Cupid will notice your underwear and lead you to your other half in the new year.

Lottery

A few days before the New Year’s Celebration it is the draw of El Gordo. Some people believe that rubbing their lottery ticket on a bald man’s head or on a pregnant woman’s belly might bring them some luck!

Toast with Cava

cava drinking on balcony for NYE

Now, isn’t this one we can all get on board with? I don’t even need a reason, I’m in.

Good fortune is one of the biggest wishes for most in a New Year, with many trying their luck at the lottery and the El Gordo, there’s always next year... In Spain, people drop a gold ring or coin into a glass of cava before their toasting. If you’re married, you usually drop your wedding ring into the cava glass before toasting.

Start on the Right Foot

The first step is to start the year on the right foot. Make sure you place your right foot in front of your left whilst you eat your 12 grapes this New Year’s Eve in order to maximise your chance of love, fortune and luck in 2019!

Will you be celebrating Nochevieja here this year?

Hasta luego,

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