town of Villajoyosa in Alicante
At the mouth of the River Sella, right one the coast a
little north of Alicante on the Costa Blanca is where you will find
Villajoyosa. This is a wonderful town that has a rich history and magnificent
views. For the curious, the name “Villajoyosa” translates to “happy or joyful
town”. The name is extremely apt, especially when you discover the amazing
chocolate that is produced here.
Although Villajoyosa is close to Benidorm, the town has a
history that goes back much further. The locals have been said the locals think
sometimes that “it is close enough to Benidorm whilst being far enough away”.
Around Villajoyosa, you will be able to discover almond,
carob and olive trees. There are prickly pears, pines and palms too. The area
around Villajoyosa used to have a large number of vineyards too but today these
have been largely replaced by tomato plantations. Just like a lot of the towns
on the east coast of Spain, Villajoyosa was no stranger to the attacks of the
infamous Barbary Coast Pirates.
The legends will tell you that in 1538, on the 29th
of July to be exact, there were 36 boats. These boats had been carrying
Algerians that were bent on ransacking the town of Villajoyosa. Thanks to the
help of Saint Martha, the townsfolk were able to fight the pirates off and save
the town. Ever since that fateful day, Saint Martha had been the Patron Saint
of Villajoyosa. There is, in point of fact, a regular re-enactment of the Moors
not all pirates and heroics
While tourism is huge in Villajoyosa it is not the only
source of income for the picturesque coastal town. They are also master
chocolatiers and fishermen. These two things may not seem logical partners but
the two of them are rooted very deeply in the history of the town.
The original area of Villajoyosa, the original part, has
been marked as a historic monument and it still has bridges from Roman times.
The town's Gothic church has renaissance era doorways but these have been
altered considerably by the neo-classical 'amendments' of the 18th
If architecture is not exactly to your tastes, then maybe
chocolate is? You can visit the chocolate factories (not Wonka's, sadly) here.
Not your cup of tea, or wondering what to do after all that chocolate? The
white sandy beaches that are typical of the region are sure to be able to
tickle your fancy.
How something a little different? Each day at roughly 5
pm, Villajoyosa’s fish market opens up and it is very much worth a visit –
especially during the summertime.
For something a little more conventional, or perhaps after
the sometimes crowded fish market, the town centre of Villajoyosa offers time
to relax in style. Here you will be able to find a promenade lined with
restaurants that openly and warmly invite the traveller to relax and enjoy a
glass of wine, maybe a coffee and of course a hearty meal.
Visiting Alicante, any part of it, is a joy in of itself,
but Villajoyosa is something special – you need to be sure to take the time to