Colorful, old houses are leaning on each other in the Spanish town of Villajoyosa
The cliff rises up from the riverbed of the Rio Amadorio and small color splashes with both windows and doors overhang the cliff. We wonder how they manage to cling safely to the cliff.
The Spanish town of Villajoyosa on the Costa Blanca coast is located between Alicante and Benidorm. The city is known for its old fishing town where colorful houses stand close together. Narrow streets and alleys meanders like a labyrinth between the old and joyful houses. A bright yellow house leans against a blue house with a bright green neighbor. Across the street is a red house and make the color palette complete. A stroll through Villajoyosa’s old town is a dream for a photography enthusiast. The old town of Villajoyosa is protected by UNESCO, which should not be mistaken with being on the World Heritage List. It is said that the bright colors of the houses originally had the purpose to guide fishermen back to their homes.
From the old town you can see straight down into the riverbed where a beautiful park has been landscaped just recently. The river is dry most of the year. The beach in Villajoyosa is over 3 km long and endorsed by the EU. That means it is considered clean and safe. The beach has fine sand and there are both training equipment for adults and climbing frames for children along the beach. Sun loungers and parasols can be rented.
The fishing port has approximately 50 fishing boats fixed abode and they come in to the fish market in the harbour with their daily catch. This is where the restaurants and the local fish shops buy their stuff. The port is located at the northern end of the beach.
The name Villajoyosa means city of joy. The city has about 30,000 inhabitants. Thursday is market day, where you can find most of frills. The city has a daily fresh market where you can get the food you bought in the market prepared if you buy drinks at the spot. One week each year Villajoyosa celebrates their food traditions and most restaurants have special menus. Villajoyosa is famous for its good food, but best known for its chocolate. Chocolate Factory Valor is the only one left and is supplying all of Spain with delicious chocolate. But the 17 and 1800s Villajoyosa was famous for its chocolate factories.
The colorful old town stands in strong contrast to the new district where high-rise buildings are extending upward the slope from the beach. Villajoyosa is investing heavily in tourism and many retirees stay there for a long-term holiday. You hear Norwegian and German language around you all the time and many restaurants offer Norwegian, German or Russian cuisine.
A good reason to visit Villajoyosa is the Fiesta Moros and Christians, which takes place the last week of July every year. The Fiesta starts on July 24th and every day until 31, something spectacular is going on. The Fiesta is a celebration of a great battle that took place in 1538. This day Berber pirates or Moros attacks Villajoyosa from the sea. Residents prayed to the patron of the day, which was Santa Marta. Legend has it that she saved the city by causing a flood, which prevented the pirates to get into the beach. That’s why Santa Marta is the city’s patron saint.
In today’s fiesta that has taken place in various forms since 1694, the Moros occupy the city from the sea. A castle is built on the beach and the moors are conquering the castle early in the morning. In the afternoon the Christians manages to retake the castle and save the city and thank Santa Marta for the victory. All this is celebrated with a huge show. On other days, different groups parade through the streets in fantastic costumes. We were here in September and missed this fiesta, but got to see the Moros and Christian’s fiesta in Althea instead. But the Villajoyosa is probably even more famous!
The tourist office is located in the pedestrianized Calle Colon. Other popular attraction in Villajoyosa is the Gothic church with its baroque altar. There is also an archaeological museum here.
If you stay in one of the many popular towns on the Costa Blanca coast you can easily reach Villajoyosa with the little train, which runs along the coast from Alicante to Denia. In Benidorm you have to change to another train, but it is at the same station. Trains run every hour. You may be disappointed when you get off the train in Villajoyosa. The area around the station is drab and gray. But hurry down towards the water and you will soon find out why this small town is recommended by so many.