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Costa Blanca Town/City


JaveaThe town of Javea is located in the Spanish region of Alicante on the Costa Blanca. This popular resort is often referred to as the jewel in the crown of the Costa Blanca and it's easy to see why. The World Health Organisation once named it as having one of the healthiest climates in the world, enjoying more recorded hours of sunshine per year than any other place in Spain. Thousands of British people have come on holiday to Javea, fallen in love with it and decided to make it their permanent home. Javea offers a high quality holiday for visitors of all ages.

Situated midway between Valencia and Alicante airports (about an hour's drive from each if you use the toll paying motorway), Javea is easily accessible but has never been inundated by package holidaymakers. There are only a few hotels so the bulk of the tourist industry relies on the wealth of self-catering apartments and villas available here. Look at a map of Spain and you'll see a distinctive triangular landmass jutting out into the Mediterranean halfway down the east coast. Javea is at the tip of that triangle. That's why it's known locally as "Amanacer de Espana" or Dawn of Spain - because as the sun rises in the east among the first places to catch its rays are the three headlands of Javea. A wonderful sight if you're up early enough! Jávea is located in the westernmost point of the Valencia's coastline.

Frequent 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 much sangria!

Javea. Spanish urn.Javea 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

Javea is 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 Javea:

Javea. BougainvilleaThere's 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.

Javea old townIn 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.

Javea coveYou'll 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.

The discos 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.

If you're 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.

Depending on 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:

Javea beachJávea's 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 families.
Javea harbourVenture 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.

For scuba 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.

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