attacks from marauding pirates forced Jávea's inhabitants to settle 2 km
from the coast in a walled town. These walls remained standing until
1877. The enclosure formed by the former walls now forms Jávea's
historical centre, which is situated around the Gothic Church of San
Bartolomé surrounded by whitewashed houses with iron grilles and lintels
made out of golden porous 'Tosca' clay. In this area the Ayuntamiento,
the Food Market, the Cultural Centre, the Museum of Archaeology and
Ethnology and the Chapel of Santa Ana are all located within easy
walking distance. Jávea has a 20 km coastline that stretches from the Cova Tallá to the Cala de la Granadella. Jávea's most distinctive
feature is the mountain known locally as "the Montgó". This provides a
dramatic backdrop for the resort and those who live in Javea swear blind
it's an elephant, turned to stone, with its trunk dipping into the sea
for a drink. It's a strange phenomenon but you can even see the
elephant's eye close as the sun goes down, especially if you've had too
is divided into three distinct sections, all quite different to one
another. There's the old town (the original Javea) set slightly back
from the coast and the place to visit if you're interested in Spanish
history and culture. Here you'll find charming, narrow streets,
shopkeepers speaking the local language "Valenciano" and a truly Spanish
feel to the place. Thursday's a good day to visit when there's a big
market in the Plaza de la Constitucion. Then there's the port area, still a working fishing port and a delightful place to visit with its
mixture of fishing vessels, luxury yachts and seafront bars and cafes.
But it's the Arenal Beach that attracts the vast majority of
holidaymakers, a beautiful crescent shaped sandy beach with a promenade
lined with bars, cafes, restaurants, gift shops and ice cream parlours
relatively quiet for most of the year - until the months of July and
August when the Arenal area turns into a 24-hour playground.
In and around
plenty to see and do in Javea if you can tear yourself away from the
attractions of the main Arenal beach. You'll really need a car to go
exploring because, unlike a resort such as Benidorm, Javea is spread out
over a large area. There are small beaches in delightful coves to
discover, cultural and historical sites and monuments, wonderful walks
and two headland lighthouses with breath taking views. That's all in
Javea. Venture a little further a field and the many attractions of the
Costa Blanca are within easy reach. Even if you're staying near the main Arenal beachfront, try to find time to visit the two other areas of
Javea, the old town and the port. Each area is completely differently
and you can't really claim to know Javea until you've visited all three
distinct parts of it.
the old town you'll feel as if you're in a completely different world
from the tourist areas. It's very Spanish and has remained largely
unchanged by the tourist invasion of the last 30 years. Explore the
narrow streets, especially the Calle Mayor (High Street) which hardly
has enough room for two mules to pass let alone a single car. You'll
find some delicious local "tapas" in the bars here - just look out for
the places where all the Spanish go for their mid morning snack or lunch
and follow them. You'll get traditional food at unbelievable prices.
Visit the weekly market on Thursday morning when you can buy everything
from cheap leather jackets (of good quality) to cheap audio tapes (of
decidedly dubious quality).
A peek inside
the Church of Sant Bertomeu is a must because it's here that you'll find
the historical heart of Javea. One of its inner walls dates back to 1244
when King Jaime the Conqueror defeated the Moors here. And the outside
wall is still peppered with the scars of the Spanish civil war which
took place seven centuries later. Go to Jávea's port and you'll find
another world. it's newer and more geared to tourists than the old town
but it still retains a lot of that Spanish charm which is missing in so
many of the most popular coastal resorts. The unusual ship shaped church
of Nuestra Seńora de Loreto is well worth a visit - it's completely
different than the old town church with its highly ornate interior. The
beauty of the port church lies in its simplicity which is rare in a
Spanish church. It was built as a thank you after local fishermen
survived a terrible storm during which their loved ones prayed for their
safe return. Look at the ceiling from the inside and you'll see it
resembles the hull of a ship.
find beautiful walks and unexpected bays at Portitxol and Granadella.
Visit the headland light houses at Cabo San Antonio and Cabo La Nao, but not if you suffer from vertigo. For day excursions visit the Moorish
fortress of Guadalest, the local town of Gata (renowned for the
excellence of its local craftsmanship) or the beautiful city of Valencia
with its wonderful variety of museums, shops, futuristic science centre
and many places of architectural interest.
Night life in Javea:
Javea doesn't pretend to be the hottest night spot on the Costa Blanca, other resorts are better geared to the demands of wild young things. But,
the live music scene is active all year round and Jávea's nightlife
really takes off in July and August when there's non stop nocturnal
activity, mainly based around the Arenal Beach. You won't find the
raunchiest shows and top name DJs here but in high season there are
enough discos, karaoke bars and live acts to keep the young (and young
at heart) happy until the early hours.
don't tend to get into full swing until between 12 midnight and 1am. La
Noche on the Arenal and the Moli Blanc on the Cabo la Nao road are two
of the most popular. The former is more geared to "thirty something's"
whereas the latter attracts a younger clientele. In high season many of
the bars and restaurants offer live acts including some names which were
(once) famous in the UK. Check out the local English language paper "The
Costa Blanca News" for a list of live performances and venues each week,
the paper is published every Friday.
interested in all things Spanish, watch out for Flamenco groups
performing in local bars and restaurants. These are often your "genuine
article" gypsies from Andalucia and the performances can be
spine-tingling. Most bars and restaurants have posters outside giving
details of forthcoming attractions. So it's worth cruising along the
Arenal bars in the daytime to see whether there's any entertainment to
suit your taste. The Arenal's Champagne Bar is one of the most popular
meeting points for young people. It offers a good selection of
cocktails, tapas and meals and in the summer months it stays open until
the early hours of the morning.
what time of year you intend to visit, you may well get a chance to
savour a real Spanish fiesta, these people know how to party! One of
the most spectacular fiestas in Javea is the "Fogueres de Sant Joan" in
mid June. This goes on for several days culminating in the awe inspiring
burning of a huge papier mache effigy in the old town "a tableau" which
takes months to create, giving a satirical representation of the local
political and social issues of the day. Visit in mid-July and you'll
catch the elaborate Moors and Christians fiestas with colourful (and
noisy!) street parades in the port. In the first week of September there
are yet more fiestas in the port in honour of the Virgen del Loreto.
Once again the streets will be full of running bulls, firecrackers,
bands, parades and fireworks.
Beaches and Water sports:
Arenal beach is the main magnet for the vast majority of tourists. It's
sandy, safe, in a beautiful location and offers a wide range of
activities to keep people of all age groups amused. This
horseshoe shaped beach is in an attractive bay between the headlands of
Cabo San Antonio and Cabo San Martin. It has limited space which means
it does tend to get quite crowded in July and August - but that never
seems to deter the Javea devotees who return here year after year. The Arenal offers a perfect day out for families, no matter what age your
children are they'll find plenty to keep themselves busy here. In the
summer months there are volleyball nets, climbing frames, water rafts,
pedaloes and play centres for the under-eights.
There is an
interesting mixture of beaches with soft sandy beaches (Arenal beaches),
small, shingled beaches bordered by pine trees which are suitable for
diving (Granadella beaches), and naturist beaches (Ambolo beaches).
There are also small coves: Portichol and La Sardinera. A more
traditional Jávea is found inland with orange groves that are protected
from the harsh continental climate by the natural barrier formed by
Montgó mountain, which extends to the north of Jávea and serves as a
border between Jávea and Dénia.
The sea is
rarely rough and you have to wade a long way out to get out of your
depth so it's perfect for younger children. Lifeguards are on hand
throughout the summer as are Red Cross first aid volunteers to cope with
the occasional mishap. The beach is kept spotlessly clean by the local
council which does a big beach sweep every night. For water sports such
as jet sking and water sking take a stroll from the Arenal towards
the port - past the Parador Hotel to the Montańar, a one kilometre
stretch of sandstone "beach", which joins the Arenal and port areas.
Those who don't like sand (and crowds!) prefer to spend the day on the
Montańar - but it's hard rock so you need a sun bed and the swimming is
more hazardous as you plunge straight into deep water. Not for young
further along to the port where there are two very attractive pebble
beaches, one in the port itself and the other at the marina end of the
port. The latter is called Tango Beach, it's tiny but in a beautiful
setting. It stays relatively quiet as most tourists never find it. A
great place for snorkelling and there's a bar and restaurant on the
beach so you can make a day of it.
In this marina area you'll find Jávea's Sailing Club "Club Nautico" and
the Javea Sailing School. And there are boat rides around the Cabo San
Antonio headland to the neighbouring resort of Denia.
divers (or would-be scuba divers) there's the Javea Sub-Aqua Club which
offers lesson for beginners and escorted trips for qualified divers. The
climate and crystal clear waters here make diving an exhilarating
experience. There are underwater arches, walls and caves to explore,
giant clams, sea urchins, octopus and a whole world of Mediterranean
marine life. Head along the coast road, going south from the Arenal up
the mountain towards the lighthouse at Cabo La Nao. Here you'll find the
beautiful pebble beaches of Portitxol and Granadella - both well worth a
visit because the scenery is gorgeous.