We journey from a stunning waterfall to a town that looked photo-shopped. Our Guadalest visit was an incredible find with so much beauty it made us emotional. It has white washed streets and fruit trees hanging over the paths showing off its idyllic natural beauty. Picture postcard alleyways around every corner. A bell tower forced to sit outside the walls of the town as there was no space left inside. An incredible reservoir that is crystal blue like you have never seen before! So many components make up the beauty of this walled mountain town and we can’t wait to tell you more!
A modern way to travel.
Davids coaches had picked us up early from our resorts local collection point on the Costa Blanca. We had all the home comforts you could expect from a modern 52 seater coach including the new additions of USB charging points. Between all of the seats were 2 USB ports to charge your phones, cameras or other devices as we travelled. The coaches were also fitted with Wifi but as we were travelling long distances there were some black spots. Air conditioning was also part of the draw to a coach trip given our 40 degree heat.
Sadly the coach is quite a large space to cool down so some people on our trip were unhappy at the back. The driver did all he could to keep the vehicle cool but it is worth remembering that there is a lot of space to cool down. It is still cooler than without any air conditioning at all – just be aware and maybe just don’t take it out on the driver or the reps. (You can close the curtains if the sun is coming through the window too!). Bring plenty of water and a little fan to help keep you cool.
Bucket List Tick!
You may recall from the Font’s De L’Algar post that we had just visited the most breathtaking spot. The waterfalls from the Timotei advert where we were able to swim in crystal blue water by the falls. We are still so excited to talk about this moment as it had always been on our bucket list. Admittedly it also included a skinny dip (or chunky dunk) but that would not have been appropriate! We got to swim in a waterfall! We want to shout it from the roof! We have goose bumps just thinking about it. We want to do it again! People were jumping off of the rocks into the water and Emma didn’t do it as she got scared. Next time she will for sure!
The waterfalls were an incredible moment in our life and one that makes us so glad that we are living this adventure together, and us with you! We thought that moment would be the highlight of our day. We didn’t think it could be topped! That was until we paid a visit to Guadalest.
A visit to Guadalest
Just under an hour East (and up mountain paths that our driver deserved an award for scaling) we see Guadalest. The roof tops at the edge of the town emerge balanced on a cliff edge. White buildings with beige roofs jutting out as though they have been built into the mountains. Clusters of houses wedged in to keep each other in place and further up, a tower, on its own and a visual marker for our driver as we continue to twist and turn up the mountain side.
We pass Nispera and Almond trees, pine forests and citrus groves. Carob trees are common here too. Our rep explains that these trees possess a fire retardant quality so by strategically planting Carob trees they can slow down wild fires often caused by the blistering heat.
On arrival, we see that the town is quite large and has a fair sized car park to accommodate the many tourists who visit Guadalest. It’s not a surprise that this location is so popular even from the car park! Strange to think that this little place is only home to 250 inhabitants but is reported to be one of the most visited towns in Spain! It is in complete contrast to the bustling tourist resorts full of English bars that we often associate with Spain. In keeping with its historical past it is a town that time forgot about. Ancient ruins, traditional homes and packed with character.
Our rep gives us our return instructions. We have around 3.5-4 hours to walk around. Unbeknown to us there was a lunch option and half of the coach continue on to their restaurant and will join us in the town later. We feel smug, we packed a lunch today. We start to explore the town. To our surprise we find a Salt and Pepper Pot Museum, a Museum of Medieval Torture, a Museum of Dolls Houses and the Micro-Gigantic Museum featuring items such as a bull ring on a pin head and the bible written on a grain of rice. Most of these venues were just 1 euro or so to get in.
Cobbled alleyways and a light lunch
We walk down cobbled paths amongst white washed walls. Sloping streets with houses next to shops with window boxes full of flowers in bloom and bowls of water left for dogs and cats to drink from on the door steps. Spanish radio floating out of windows where wooden shutters keep the sun out but let the air in. A side street catches our eye. An apricot tree gives shade to a low wall opposite a little house. An old bicycle leans against the wall and a dog lead is tied to a wooden door, ready for the evening stroll when its cooler. All of these things make up the perfectly relaxed atmosphere of this charming town. Guadalest is worth a visit for sure.
Back in our resort, the local supermarket was full of spanish hams so we feasted on mortadella, gherkins, feta and Spanish bread for our picnic lunch. Fresh flat peaches dripping with juice and a taste that can only be found in Spain itself are our refreshing dessert. Topped up with food we continue to explore the town.
El Castell de Guadalest
The town of Guadalest is home to a castle you can visit whilst here. As you follow the signs from the town below you are taken through a short stone tunnel. Top tip – on a hot day, this is a good place to find some shade and a breeze as it flows through the tunnel. On your way up you may have local photographers take your picture to print out for a keepsake if you wish. Once through the tunnel you are met with further squares, shops and cafes.
The castle is open to visitors and is well worth a look around. Again just a few euros to enter. The castle was built under the Moors occupation in the 12th centuary. On 22 July 1644 an earthquake destroyed the Castle, and in December 1644 another earth tremor destroyed part of the town. Now rebuilt and turned into a museum, you can find information on its former inhabitants through the years, rare Jewels, artwork and artifacts from the area. Unsurprisingly most of the information is in Spanish. If you have downloaded the google translate app on your phone you may be able to hover over the text to translate it to English.
Local goods for sale.
Leather shops display their goods on cobbled street corners and a stall selling herbs and spices fills the air with the aromas you expect from Spain. Some gift shops have sprung up selling more commercial items such as the good old fridge magnet and key rings. Other shops are also dedicated to items such as pottery, glass wares, jewellery and embroidery/lace. Food items such as honey, wine and dried fruits are also available here.
One shop, quite large from the outside, and further up the hill, displayed really unusual gift items. This location also had a conservatory out the back of the shop and gave our first glimpse of the reservoir below! Interest peaked – we set off for a better view.
It’s hard to believe with your own eyes that it is real and not a photo-shopped image from Insta or a postcard. Did you see my ‘expectation vs reality’ picture on the last post? We all know it’s hard to find spots these days of outstanding beauty where pictures haven’t been touched up.
We walked to the view point and looked over the stone wall to the incredible views. The colour is caused by tiny particles of salt suspended under the water. Guadalest overlooks the ‘Embalse de Guadalest’ reservoir, built between 1953 and 1963 feeds the Valencian region and Benidorm.
40 Degree sunshine
We spent some time taking pictures and marvelling at the view. Behind us we found a little shade to cool down in as it was the hottest part of the day. A beautiful square dotted by trees and some seats to relax in. Across the square were a few shops and cafes so we purchased an obligatory ice cream. Our water bottles, frozen overnight, were now warm enough to boil eggs in and the heat was tiring. We gathered under the shade of a tree by a wooden door and looked back over the photographs we had taken.
On our way down to the car park we did stop to look around the Ethnological Museum. This is a small museum which displays a typical house from the 18th century built on the rock. This was part of the Old Town originally and the Arabian origins are reflected throughout the display. Access to the house it through is just past the tunnel and the original entrance is still preserved today. From the kitchen and bedrooms through to a small display on farming and agriculture, this attraction may help answer some questions you may have. Another ‘must’ for your visit to Guadalest.
A short walk back through the tunnel starts our descent to the car park. Views stretch out over miles to the sea. The clean streets and proud residents remain a fond memory. Images of the streets remind me of wall hangings in my parents house that I adored as a child. Terracotta roofs and little white houses winding up hills and the sky as blue as a primary colour paint set. I wasn’t sure if they were of Spain or Italy, I just wanted to smell the air. It smells sweet. Of fruit, leather and spices. I feel the cobbles under my shoes and I feel the grain of the painted white walls. I imagine I could lose myself here quite easily in the romance of Spain.
The time comes to gather back for our return journey. Our Visit to Guadalest was full of surprises. We have plans to take another coach trip and wonder how it will compare. Today has been packed full of things it is hard to attach the right words to. Sometimes there are not enough words to describe beauty. We highly recommend a visit here if you can fit it in and have a day away from your resort.
Next trip is to a town with Cave houses. We are going to see how the Moors lived after fleeing the Christians and what was once deemed a symbol of poverty are now in fact becoming sought after locations thanks to shows like Grand Designs!
For now, a little doze on the coach and a quiet evening in on the roof terrace. A couple of bottles of wine and some beautiful food (Louise made Crevettes with a garlic and butter dip). We listen to the crickets and smell the evening flowers as a gentle breeze rolls in from the sea. The sky is clear and the stars are out. We are even lucky enough to catch sight of a satellite or two!
Rolling into bed at midnight, the air conditioning keeping the bedroom cool, we slip into a silent nights peaceful slumber.
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