Even though it counts with only 240 inhabitants, El Castell de Guadalest (commonly known as ‘Guadalest’) it is the most visited village in all Spain.
There is obviously a reason (or many) for this: Its spectacular geography makes it unique. It is a 16.12 km² village located in a valley at 595 metres of altitude, surrounded by the highest mountains in the area (Sierra Xortà, Sierra Serrella and Sierra Aitana).
History of Guadalest
The Castle of Guadalest already existed before the Christian Conquest, in times of the Muslims, who built its fortress in the XI century. It belonged to many different members of the royalty and the nobility of the area. The last owners of the fortress were the Orduña Family, with Basque origin, which gained power and influence in La Marina county and even took part in the political decisions. But the last member of the family died in 1934 without any descendants, and their possessions went over to distant relatives.
In 1609, Muslims –which constituted the majority of the population- were forced to abandon the valley.
Guadalest suffered earthquakes in 1644, 1748 and 1752, which destroyed part of the Castle and the town. It was also target of bombardments in 1708 on the Spanish Succession War, when the Orduña house was burnt down.
Since 1974, Guadalest holds the title of historcal-artistical town and, as from 1994, the Orduña house has served as a Municipal Museum (3 Euros ticket for adults, 1,5€ for children).
Other historical heritage include a restored tower of the Alcozaiba Fortress, Our Lady of the Assumption Church, which is a XVIII century construction from the Baroque period and that is situated right next to the Orduñas’ House, and the XII century prison and water tank.
Guadalest is also known for other touristic attractions, like its numerous museums:
– Municipal Museum Orduña House. Open every day. Adults: 3€. Pensioners & students: 2€. Children: 1.5€.
– Museum of Microminiatures. Open every day. Adults: 4€. Children: 3€.
– Micro-Gigantic Museum. Fridays closed. Adults: 4€. Children: 3€.
– Antonio Marco’s Museum of miniature houses and churches. Open every day. Adults 4€, children between 3 and 11 years old 2€, between 12 and 16 y.o. 3€.
– Ethnological Museum. It is a real reproduction of a house of the XVIII century. Saturdays closed. Free entrance.
– Ribera Girona Museum. Contemporary Art. It is currently closed. Otherwise, it is open every day. Adults: 4€. Children: 3€.
– Historical and Middle Age Museum. Exhibits instruments of torture and execution. Open every day. Adults: 4€. Children: 2€.
– Historical Automobile Museum. Saturdays closed. Adults 3€. Children 1€.
– Saltcellars and pepper pots Museum. Open every day. Adults: 3€. Children: 1€.
In general terms, the majority of the Museums are open approximately as from 10am and up to 6pm (except for Summer season, in which they are open until 8pm).
Trekking & Water Activities
As you may see on the photos and on Medplaya’s photo Gallery on Pinterest, there is a large water reservoir in Guadalest where swimming or kayaking is allowed, although precautions must be taken as the watercourses can get strong at times and it has a depth of 75 metres. There is also a Solar ship that takes you for an hour ride along the dam for 6 Euros.
You may wish to visit Guadalest on the first week of June, when it celebrates Saint Gregory’s Feasts, organized by the youth of the area, when sporting activities and street parties take place all around the town.
Between the 14th and the 17th of August, you may also have a look at a typical Spanish religious feast, as it is when Guadalest holds its Celebrations in Honour of Our Lady of the Assumption.
How to Get to Guadalest from Benidorm
There is bus line number 16 available from Monday to Friday (working days) that comes from Finestrat and stops at the Rincón de Loix at about 9.55am. To come back, there is another bus that departs from Guadalest at 1pm. It is an over an hour ride.
If you have a car or hire one, there are three routes you may use that can be checked here: http://goo.gl/maps/aYLpv It is a 35-40 minutes drive.
Trips to Guadalest can also be reserved at travel agents and with the touroperators’ Reps.
We hope you have a great time!