WHAT TO SEE & VISIT IN VILLAJOYOSA
Cultural tourism is one of this city's main attractions. Villajoyosa has had an fascinating history from the days of the Iberians, through industrialisation to the present, and this fascinating journey is reflected in its museums and historical places.
- La Barbera dels Aragonés
La Barbera dels Aragonés is a farmhouse museum containing an outstanding collection of everyday and decorative objects from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.
The house belonged to the Aragonés family, landowners who held important military posts from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. When the last member of the family died in 1992 the house became municipal property and was converted into a museum after a series of renovations.
It has three floors (all open to visitors). The ground floor is an office devoted to the administration of the farm. The first floor was the family home. A tower for surveillance of the horizon to anticipate enemy attacks caps the third floor.
- Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum
The Ethnographic and Archaeological museum was founded in 1975 by a group of collaborators who had collected numerous local heritage objects.
This group carried out excavations in the town and little by little recovered remains of the Roman and Islamic past. Today the museum has one of the best collections in the Autonomous Community and engages in educational activities such as conservation, dissemination and archaeological research.
The collection is housed in 120 square metre display area where we can admire objects such as a necklace with a distinctly Oriental influence from the 7th century B.C. (one of the best examples of Phoenician gold jewellery in Spain) or pieces of iron weapons from 600 A.D.
- Valor Chocolate Factory and Museum
The Valor chocolate factory and museum is one of the best gourmet experiences to be found in Villajoyosa. This industry, founded in 1998 in a 19th century house, began as a family business.
All tours are free and guided. Booking is not required (except for groups of more than 12 people). The museum consists of the old building that once housed the factory, and tells the story of chocolate from its origins to the present day. The visit includes the packing area where you can watch how the chocolate is processed after arriving from the production zone.
Finally, the tour ends at the shop where you will be invited to a small tasting and where you can buy exclusive Valor products, such as orange or mousse chocolate, not found in other shops in the town.
- Clavileño Chocolate Museum
You can visit this museum on your own or in an organised group. Its holdings include objects related to the chocolate-maker's craft at Chocolates Clavileño handed down from generation to generation.
The visit is free of charge and begins in the offices where there is a small room with an exhibition of tools such as a granite hand mill, an almond peeler and a sugar mill. You will then be invited to a chocolate tasting of products straight from the factory.
The tour ends at the shop where you can buy the firm's products, all of which are gluten-free.
- Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is made up of houses that formed the original village.
Even today you can distinguish parts of the walls and watchtowers originally built in the mid-16th century. These structures are in magnificent condition and represent a rare example of defensive architecture.
We invite you to tour this area with it historic-artistic heritage from El Portal (The Gateway) through the Plaza de la Iglesia (Church Square), the Iglesia de la Asunción (Church of the Assumption), the Capilla de Santa Marta (Chapel of Santa Marta), the Roman funerary altar and the charming streets.
Outside the Old Quarter you can admire the towers that were used as lookouts and defences. While it is not possible to enter the towers, seeing them close-up from the outside makes the visit worthwhile. Among them, the following are outstanding:
Torre del Charco (Charco Tower)
Charco Tower is located near Charco beach, high on a rocky outcrop 31 meters above sea level.
It is a circular tower 7 metres in diameter and 12 metres high. The base is solid rock and there is only one room in the interior.
Torre D'aguiló (D'aguiló Tower)
D'aguiló Tower is located on a steep cliff with access next to the Cales housing estate. The access path provides panoramic views of Benidorm Bay.
It is a Renaissance defensive tower built in the sixteenth century and it formed part of the coastal watch against the Barbary corsairs. It has now been restored and access is free.
Torre de San José (San José Tower)
This ruin dates back to the Bronze Age and it has been catalogued as a construction of cultural interest since 1990. It is one of the main Roman archaeological monuments in the Valencia region. The tower was designed without any access to the interior. It is decorated with pilasters at the corners and is currently 8 metres high.
The San José tower dates from the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and seems to have been built as the tomb of an important person of the same era.
- La Creueta
The La Creueta area was once an important crossroads of Roman origin.
This type of landmark was considered sacred and therefore was marked by a monument in the form of a cross.
There are two such monuments in Villajoyosa: one in the La Creueta area where the original iron cross is now located in a park, and the other a stone cross located on the Orcheta road which was moved from its original site due to building works carried out in the area.
- The l'Almiserà Roman Monument
This Roman monument is located in the grounds of the Llar Pensionista (pensioner's home) social centre.
It consists of archaeological remains from a site within the town that once connected the Roman city with the Finestrat valley. Believed to be of funerary origin, it was probably erected by the same builders as the Tower of San José.
- Censal Park
An attractive park located between the national highway and the promenade. It provides excellent views of the beach and parts of the old town.
Accessibility for all is ensured by ramps. It contains green zones and rest areas, children's playgrounds and a small auditorium where theatrical and musical performances occasionally take place.
- Raval de Ponent
Raval de Ponent (or the Arsenal district) is a neighbourhood built outside the town walls in the mid-18th century.
The most distinctive area contains several traditional restaurants surrounded by picturesque coloured houses along the central beach promenade.
The houses are notable for their polychrome façades, the work of local 19th century fishermen as a way of distinguishing them from offshore.
- Puente del Río (River Bridge)
Villajoyosa's River Bridge was designed by the engineer J. González in 1859. It separates the Poble Nou (new town) neighbourhood from the Old Quarter and the rest of the city. It provides one of the best views of the characteristic colourful houses on the banks of the Amadorio River. It is one of the three great bridges built in the nineteenth century to join sections of the N-332 road.
The railway bridge, built in 1911 and still used by the Alicante-Denia line, is located to the west of the River Bridge.
- Statue of Doctor Esquerdo
Created by sculptor Pedro Estany Capellà in 1915, the statue is a homage to Dr. Esquerdo, founder of the first psychiatric sanatoriums in Spain. One of these, funded by the townspeople, was formerly housed in "La Malladeta". The statue represents the great doctor with a mentally ill patient who is being helped out of a straitjacket by a nurse. It can now be seen in the Plaza de la Generalitat.
- Central Market
Located in Calle Canalejas, this wooden building is an imitation castle. Villajoyosa’s central market contains up to 21 indoor stalls and an administrative complex at the rear.
This new structure replaced the nearly 100 year-old original market in 2003.
- Fishing Port
The fishing port is located near the central beach. It was awarded the Provincial Tourism Merit Prize in 1999. Historically, the Villajoyosa fishing fleet has always been one of the biggest and most important in the Mediterranean.
The mid-afternoon scene is fascinating to behold. Dozens of boats enter the port and manoeuvre to dock and unload their catch ready for auction.
The port is surrounded by traditional shipyards where boats are still repaired or maintained, and the Yacht Club adds a modern touch.
- Fish Market
Located in the fishing port. It was designed by Miguel del Rey and Iñigo Magro. The metal-roofed building is divided into several spaces with maritime and machinery motifs. The daily fish auction is held every afternoon during the week.
- Castell de Guadalest (Guadalest Castle)
Guadalest is one of the most picturesque villages in Spain. located in the highest part of the valley of the same name, it boasts a number of museums, shops and other facilities along its steep narrow streets that lead to the Castle of San José.
There are magnificent views of the Guadalest reservoir and its flora and fauna from the vantage point of the village.
- Fuentes del Algar (Algar Springs) (Callosa d'Ensarria)
The springs of the Algar River are only 35 km from Villajoyosa. It is an area of large springs located just outside Callosa d'Ensarria.
They were named by the Arabs who occupied the area during the Middle Ages. They originate in springs higher up the valley that join the Guadalest River and flow into Algar Springs. Today they are a popular attraction that take visitors on a 1.5 km exploration of the Algar River to its source.
You can bathe in its waters and enjoy the scenery or relax in the cafés, bars and restaurants in the vicinity. Convenient parking areas are available.
Elche, the third largest city in the Valencia Region, is 60 km from Villajoyosa. This beautiful city enables visitors to wander among more than 200,000 palm trees in the Elche palm grove (the biggest in Europe). It also has several museums that provide guided tours for art and history lovers, exotic beaches and historical sites scattered around the Old Quarter.
- Tabarca Island
Tabarca, to the south of Alicante, is an inhabited island that offers a multitude of enriching experiences.
There is transport from the ports of Benidorm and Alicante. The island is home to a heritage and environmental values museum, beaches, restaurants and snorkelling and diving areas, the latter especially recommendable due to the fact that it is the centre of an important marine reserve.
And do not forget that Villajoyosa is just 10 km from Benidorm, where you can enjoy a wide variety of shops, magnificent beaches and diverse cuisine.