What to do in Guadalest, Spain

Nadia Nadia

Written by Nadia

Spain Valencia
What to do in Guadalest, Spain

The Guadalest valley is the most visited place in Spain. Let’s see why.

Before visiting, what I knew about Guadalest was that it is one of Spain’s most visited tourist places. The journey promised breathtaking views, judging by photos on the Internet.

I live in Valencia and it took me 2 hours to get to Guadalest by car. When you go for a long drive, the place should exceed all your expectations. I was full of hope and decided to check off my traveler’s checkbox anyways. Read further to avoid the mistakes I made on the trip because this place is worth a visit.

How to get to Guadalest

Guadalest is located 63 km from Alicante, 24 km from Benidorm and 116 km from Valencia.

Guadalest is located 40 miles (63 km) from Alicante, 15 miles (24 km) from Benidorm and 74 miles (116 km) from Valencia.

There are also bus routes:

  • Bus tours from Alicante to Guadalest are organized from the port of the city. Information at Oficina De Turismo: Playa Postiguet, tel: +34 965 14 54 57.
  • Bus tours from Benidorm to Guadalest are offered at the city tourist office.
  • Information at Oficina De Turismo: Avenida Martínez Alejos 16, tel: +34 965 85 13 11.
  • There are no bus routes from Valencia, but you can go by car.

Nearest parking (with a cost of €2 per day):

  • Castell de Guadalest, Avenida de Alicante s/n,
  • Castell de Guadalest, Carretera de Alcoy s/n.
Photo by Alejandro Acosta

History of Guadalest valley

In the green valley of Alicante Province, surrounded by high mountain ranges, there is a small Spanish town of Guadalest, with an area of ​​about 10 square miles and roughly 250 people (as of 2010). The settlement itself arose in the 11th century during Spain’s Muslim period.

The fortified castle of San Jose, built by the Moors on top of an impenetrable cliff and intended mainly to store the collected taxes, is still considered the main symbol and hallmark of Guadalest to this day. It is also called the “Eagle’s Nest” due to its location.

The main population of Guadalest continued to be Muslim until 1609 when their nationwide mass expulsion took place. Three earthquakes occurred throughout the history of the settlement, partially destroying the fortified castle.

Photo by Alejandro Acosta

In 1708, with the War of the Spanish Succession, long-suffering Guadalest was also damaged – this time, by explosions.

Finally, the blows of destiny stopped, and in the next few centuries the settlement was significantly restored and landscaped. In 1971, the large-scale construction of a dam on the Guadalest River took place.

Thanks to this dam, an artificial water reservoir was formed, which became another gem of Guadalest. Many tourists come here to admire the fantastic view of the lake and its stunning emerald color.

In 1974, Guadalest was declared a Historic and Artistic Monument, and currently the settlement lives off tourism.

Guadalest lake, Spain
Guadalest lake
Guadalest valley view, Spain
Guadalest valley view

What to see in Guadalest

  • The Castle of San Jose (El Castillo de San José) is the city’s highest point, and was used as a watchtower in the 11th century.
  • House of the Orduña family (La Casa Orduna): The house was built after the earthquake of 1644 by the members of the Orduña family. In 1756, the family was awarded the military order of Santiago (la Orden Militarde Santiago) and received a title of nobility.
  • Castle of Muslim origin (Castillo de Alcozaiba), built in the 11th century. Unfortunately, only one tower has survived to the present day.
  • Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Iglesia Parroquial de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción), built in the 18th century in a Baroque style.
  • The Prison, built in the 12th century. You can find it in the cellars of the Town Hall.
  • Museums (there are a total of eight).

Guadalest view, Spain
Guadalest lake view, Spain

Museums of Guadalest

Along your route, you will find different museums. Choose which ones interest you, and be sure to visit at least one of them.

1.  Museo de Antonio Marco (Belén y Casitas de Muñecas), the museum of Christmas Figures and Dolls.

There was only one person who had collected all the exhibits of the Museum. You will see the Models of Nativity scenes made of real bricks, stone, iron, and wood. The interiors are exact copies of the original buildings. The scale model of Bethlehem is especially exciting; it weighs 12 tons.

Address: Calle Virgen 2.
Tel: +34 96 588 53 23
June – September: from 10:00 to 21:00.
October – May: from 10:00 to 18:00.

2. Museo de Microminiaturas (Museum of Microminiatures)

Copies of famous works are realistically rendered on tiny objects. The exhibits are placed under large magnifiers in the hall of the museum, including Goya’s painting “La Maja Desnuda” on the wing of a fly, Guernica by Picasso on a grain of bread, the Statue of Liberty on the tip of a needle, etc.

Address: Calle Iglesia 5.
Tel: +34 96 588 50 62
Opening dates and time: daily.
June – September: from 10:00 to 21:00.
October – May: from 10:00 to 18:00.

3. Museo Microgigante (Museum of Microgiants)

Miniature works under magnifying glasses are also presented in an enlarged size:

  • A bullfighting arena in the eye of a pin needle
  • The Bible written on a hair
  • An ant playing the violin
  • Miniature collection of St. Basil’s
  • A village built on a bone

Address: Calle del Sol 2.
Opening dates and time: daily.
June – September: from 10:00 to 21:00.
October – May: from 10:00 to 18:00.

4. Museo Etnológico. Casa Típica del siglo XVIII (Ethnological Museum)

The expositions are divided into two main themes: household utensils and agricultural production. There are household items, clothing, furniture, and tools of the inhabitants of the 13th century in this region. You can also witness the processes of making bread and olive oil.

Address: Calle Iglesia 1.
Tel: +34 96 588 52 38
Dates and opening hours:
June – September: from 10:00 to 19:00.
October – May: from 10:00 to 18:00.
Sat – the Museum is closed.
Visit cost: Free admission.

5. Museo Historico Medieval. Museo de Instrumentos de Tortura (Museum of Torture)

The museum has a collection of torture devices from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.  

Address: Calle Honda 2.
Tel: 610 051 001
Opening dates and time: daily.
June – September: from 10:30 to 21:00.
October – May: from 10:30 to 18:00.

6. Museo Municipal Casa Orduña (Municipal Museum “House of Orduña”)

For several centuries, starting in 1669, the city mayor’s office was held by people from the Orduña family. The house consists of a large public reception room, wine cellar, kitchen, and pantries. The library of the house contains 1,265 copies of ancient books.

Address: Calle Iglesia 2.
Tel: +34 96 588 53 93
Opening dates and time: daily.
June – September: from 10:15 to 21:00.
October – May: from 10:15 to 18:00.

7. Museo Ribera Girona (Museum of Ribera Girona)

The Modern Art Museum opened in 1974 and exhibits different works by artists of the 20th century.

Address: Calle Peña 1.
Tel: +34 96 588 50 62
Opening dates and time: daily.
June – September: from 10:00 to 20:00.
October – May: from 10:00 to 18:00.

8. Museo–Colección de Vehiculos Historicos (Museum of vintage motorcycles and cars)

A collection of more than a hundred vehicles (all in excellent condition), made from 1920 until the 1970s. In addition to motorcycles and cars, there are vintage sewing machines, coffee makers, telephones, radios, and typewriters.

Address: Ctra. Callosa–Guadalest, Km 7.
Tel: +34 96 588 21 97
Opening dates and time: daily.
June – September: from 10:30 to 19:00.
October – May: from 10:30 to 18:00.

A shop in Guadalest, Spain
A souvenir shop in Guadalest, Spain
Street shops
Cafe in Guadalest, Spain
Streets of Guadalest, Spain
Guadalest streets

Tips on visiting Guadalest

Now, let’s get back to where we started. 

In order not to be disappointed with the visit, you need to remember that this is one of the most visited places in Spain, so you need to consider these facts:

  1. It is better to choose early morning or evening (but keep in mind the opening hours of museums). The earlier you arrive, the fewer people there will be, with a chance to get into the museums without a line. Please do not come in the midday on a holiday; I would not recommend this experience to anyone. I faced traffic jams in the parking lot and could not park the car close to the city. Also, all the restaurants were full, so it is better to take a snack with you.
  2. Shoes and clothes: Wear comfortable non-slip shoes to walk on the cobbled stone. Choose the right clothes for the season: In Winter and Spring, the temperature in Guadalest is lower than in low-lying cities. Outerwear is needed, which can be removed and conveniently folded for dinner. In the Summer, be sure to wear a hat. Remember to wear comfortable shoes, it is better to wear sneakers; flip flops are not the best option.
  3. Use sunscreen all year round.
  4. You can buy water and soft drinks in Guadalest. There are a large number of shops with drinks and souvenirs.

Conclusion

Guadalest is a unique combination of local culture with some tourist flavor. Historical sites nestled in the hills with their charming narrow streets and shops selling souvenirs attract everyone to Guadalest.

Guadalest Valley from the plane
Guadalest valley


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