Day Trip: Historic Guadalest

28 Oct
Iconic Guadalest bell tower

Iconic Guadalest bell tower

Walking through the 1300+ year-old man-made rock hewn tunnel is the only way to get access to the historical and picturesque village of Guadalest, Spain. The town is situated inland within walled fortifications on a pinnacle in the mountains. Historically, it was an important strategic site as its location made it impenetrable. In spite of its inland location and a drive on serpentine, hilly roads, the town is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain, with both historic and touristic offerings.

 

The area of Guadalest was occupied by the Moors starting around 715 A.D., and the Alcozaiba Castle was built in the 12th century. All that remains today of that Castle is a restored tower. The Moors brought their traditions of terraced farming, which are visible throughout the surrounding landscape and still widely used in this area of Spain today.

 

The Castle of Guadalest was built during the 12th century, and renovated in the 15th and 16th centuries. In July of 1644, an earthquake destroyed much of the castle, and in December of that year, much of the town. The castle was further damaged by a bomb during the War of Succession in 1708. The Castle’s hilltop remains are still visible from below, or one take the steep trek to castle ruins.

 

Panoramic view from Guadalest's walled old town

Panoramic view from Guadalest’s walled old town

Other points of interest are the remains of Peñon de Alcala, the watchtower that is located on a rocky peak which juts straight up from the ground, and the jail/dungeon dating back to the 12th century. The charming Baroque-style Catholic Church built in the 18th century was restored after it was burnt and looted during the Spanish Civil War. Next to the church is the Orduña’s family home which is now a museum. The Orduña family rose to prominence in Guadalest from the 1600s until the death of the last heir in 1934. For book lovers, the museum boasts a large historic library with approximately 589 books from the years 1500 to 1800. A look over the town’s walls affords panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, the glimmering blue reservoir below, and the Mediterranean on the vista.

 

18th Century Baroque Church: Our Lady of the Assumption

18th Century Baroque Church: Our Lady of the Assumption

There are eight other museums, which range from the quirky the Salt and Pepper Museum, the historic Ethnological Museum of the Valley of Guadalest, and the macabre Torture Museum. There are the usual souvenir shops, but also unique regional products and high quality items for the home or gifts. Cafés are available for a respite or quality local fare.

 

To get there, one can take the short trip by a tour bus or car. The drive is hilly and windy, but not treacherous, and is quite scenic, with one route passing another castled town, Polop. Bring good walking shoes, as the route up to the historic areas of Guadalest are steep and the round rock pathways can prove slippery. Near Guadalest, there are the waterfalls, Fonts de l’Algar, and numerous physical options such as hiking, biking and mountain climbing.

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9 Responses to “Day Trip: Historic Guadalest”

  1. Andrew Petcher November 22, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    I remember going there in 1977. Thanks for the memory nudge.

    • dawnrstarr November 23, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      I am sure it hasn’t changed much.:) It is such a privilege to live so close to the many compelling historical locations.

      • Andrew Petcher November 23, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

        One thing that has changed is that the Embalse de Guadalest is now full of water. In 1977 it was drained dry and Benidorm was bringing in water in tankers.

      • dawnrstarr November 23, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

        Interesting! It was quite low when we are there, but have had plentiful rain since. I am always amazed at your memory and the wealth of information you provide.

      • Andrew Petcher November 23, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

        Thank you. I need photographs to kick start the memory. I remember the women selling lace because I have a picture of them!

  2. nancy starr November 24, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

    body{font-family: Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color: #ffffff;color: black;}Very interesting; the photos were great; glad you were able to enjoy this outing.With Thanksgiving fast approaching AND being the BUSIEST travel day of the YEAR–security is beefed up at all major airports, concert venues; sports arenas and malls (due to HUGE crowds for Black Friday Shopping).Is Spain also on higher alert–especially in Madrid??All of us will be with Pablo and his family at Oscar’s house in Upland on Thanksgiving.  I merely am dropping in to say hello.I guess Doug spent time with Michael this afternoon in Santa Monica; Michael texted me photos.  ALWAYS glad the boys like to spendtime with Doug.  Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving.  Mom

    • dawnrstarr November 26, 2015 at 8:06 am #

      No obvious high alert, but the government is stepping up monitoring. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. thegreyeye December 4, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    It is beautiful

    • dawnrstarr December 5, 2015 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks so much. It is a great historical and scenic place to visit.

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