Places to Visit

Cities

Alicante/Alicant cityAlicante
(40 minutes by car from 'Casa Alta'). This large city has 3,000 years of history, a castle, museums and art galleries, parks, gardens and old plazas. It has a wonderful marina, a busy port, several beaches, excellent shops (including a branch of El Corte Ingles) and many restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisine.

Within easy reach by car is a sea world park, and natural caves with stalactites and stalagmites. Alicante has a number of fiestas and carnivals during the year.

The magnificent Castle of Santa Barbara (floodlit at night) overlooks the sea and the city with a panoramic view and was the area of first settlement. Near the castle is El Benacantil, a large park with eucalyptus and pine trees

Museums include Alicante Bullfighting Museum, Alicante Hogueras Museum (dedicated to the figures and costumes of the local fiestas), Municipal Archives (displaying the remains of late-Roman necropolis), Provincial Archaeological Museum (MARQ) and a Nativity Scene Museum.

Art Galleries include La Asegurada Museum (contemporary art), Gravina Fine Arts Museum (MUBAG, situated in a 17th/18th century palace), Museum of the University of Alicante (MUA-contemporary art).

Alicante's Explanada de España is a promenade lined with palm trees alongside the extensive marina. The San Juan 'Blue Flag' beach is to the north of the city and stretches for 7km

Festivals include: St John's Bonfires on 20 June, Moors and Christians, a Summer Festival lasting for two months with music, theatre and dance, and the Alicante Carnival which occurs over a three week period at Easter time.

See: www.alicante.com

Elche / Elx
(25 minutes by car from 'Casa Alta').

Lots to see and do in this large historic city.
Splendid buildings, museums, archaeological sites, sculpture park, nature reserve, major festivals, restaurants, balloon flights, safari park, and very many shops. Elche is a major footwear production centre (supplying half of all those made in Spain ).

Buildings include: Alta'mira Palace, Basilica of Santa Maria, Calahorra Tower, Convent of La Mercé, Los Vaillos de Llanos, Ressemblanch watchtower.

Molar ChurchEspai d'Art d'Elx (open air contemporary sculpture exhibition), Museum of Contemporary Art .

Archaeological site of l'Alcudia (3 km south), Roman site (2 km south), Paleontological Museum .

El Huerto del Cura (The Curate's Orchard) is a National Artistic garden of 13,000 square metres in the middle of the city containing a collection of 1000 palm trees, cactuses, ponds, rockeries and sculptures. Fondo d'Elx-Crevillent lagoons (large nature park with a wide variety of animals and plants).

Major festivals:

Mystery play:August 11-15
Town Settlers Fiesta:July 28
Moors and Christians:1st week in August
Arrival of the Madonna:December 29

 

Murcia
(About 45 minutes from 'Casa Alta').
An 800 year-old city with very many shops and restaurants, Almudi Palace, Castle of Monteagudo, Cathedral de Santa Maria, Malecon Garden, Museum Ramon Gaya and a university.

NB. Murcia airport is actually at San Javier by the coast, 45 km away from Murcia!

See: www.alicante-spain.com/murcia

Orihuela
(15 minutes by car from 'Casa Alta') is another very old Spanish inland city containing buildings of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance origin. Besides many shops, restaurants and bars, it has a huge Palm tree park in the centre, a Cathedral,Typical Street Church of Santiago and Palace of Rubacalva . A statue in the city of the 'Diablesa'-or female form of the devil- is a unique feature, and during the Burial Procession at Easter time a representation of the Diablesa is carried round.

A weekly market is held on Tuesdays.

See: www.alicante-spain.com/orihuela

Torrevieja
(About 20 minutes from 'Casa Alta').
The city of Torrevieja is an important centre of tourism with many leisure facilities, restaurants and bars. It offers a lively nightlife including clubs and a casino. There are many shopping opportunities and a wide range of business services. The bustling port and large marina are very attractive and offer a variety of water sports and boat trips.

Adjacent to the sea is a long promenade on which there is an extensive street market, and next to which is a nightly funfair. Torrevieja has 13 beaches, 2 very large salt lakes, some noted old buildings, churches, museums and many open spaces/ parks.

Local Towns

Almoradí
(10 minutes by car from 'Casa Alta')
A traditional inland Spanish town (population 13,000) with a busy tree-lined town square.

Almoradí is famed for its furniture shops, some of which are very extensive indeed. The church of San Andres, which was reduced to rubble in the 1829 earthquake, houses a magnificent historical church organ. Concerts are given there each month from March to December. An elegant casino and the Teatro Cortes are significant buildings.
Almoradí has a splendid week-long fiesta including a vivid depiction of 'Moors and Christians' towards the end of July.

See: www.needahandspanishproperties.com/almoradi-costa-blanca

Biar CastleBiar
(About 1 ½ hours from 'Casa Alta' heading north past Novelda)

Originally it was called Aspiariun by the Romans, as it was renowned for its beehives and honey. It is a charming town with steep, narrow, cobbled streets, antique lamp-posts, street names on ceramic plaques and colourful houses adorned with icons of saints. The castle, built by the Moors with an imposing tower, dominates the town with views over the Vinalopo valley and distant mountains. There is a 15th century Gothic parish church of the Assumption of the Virgin, an archaeological museum and shops selling local ceramics, blankets, toys and wrought iron products.

Fortuna
(about 45 minutes from 'Casa Alta')

Is a spa town to the north west of Orihuela. Originally founded by the Romans, the spa buildings were constructed in 1896, but have recently been renovated. Famous for its hot springs, it is a centre for hydrotherapy, beauty treatments and other therapies associated with natural hot mineral water. It claims to relieve osteoporosis, rheumatic arthritis, asthma and bronchitis, but also caters for those who just want a swim, a massage or an aromatherapy session.

Fortuna is a typical unspoilt Spanish town with an impressive white Parish church in Baroque style, a convent and an interesting Town Hall built in Modernist style. There are indications of an old Moorish castle built close to Fortuna, and an archaeological dig nearby has revealed Iberian weapons and ceramics.

South of Fortuna is a large lake surrounded by woods and all forming a natural preservation area.

Guardamar del Segura
(15 minutes from 'Casa Alta').

A large seaside town with 7 'Blue Flag' beaches of golden sand stretching for 12 km, many shops, restaurants and bars, street markets and a vibrant fun fair during the summer months. The Park Alfonso XIII is an environmentally protected area of dunes between the sea and the town, featuring many paths and cycle tracks amongst pine forests, palm and eucalyptus trees and cactuses. There is a large marina near the mouth of the Segura River with 500 moorings, and offering a wide variety of water sports (see section on activities)

(See also the sections on Beaches, Markets).

The fiestas are:

Moors and Christians:18-27 July
Virgen del Rosario:October 7

See: www.spain-holiday.com and www.alicant-spain.com/guardamar

Los Montesinos
(10 minutes by car from 'Casa Alta').
Small town with shops, restaurants and bars (see section on Eating Out). This attractive town house, on the outskirts of the town, now serves as a location for selling furniture and accessories. Like a National Trust property in the UK it is worth a visit to see the grand interior and furnishings.

Santa Pola
(About 35 minutes from 'Casa Alta').
Built on the ruins of a Roman city, Santa Pola is a former port and salt processing centre. It has 9 sandy beaches stretching over 11 km and offers many sporting activities (see separate section). The Salinas Nature Park is used by migratory flamingos and is of interest both environmentally and geologically.

Buildings: Santa Pola has a castle, two ancient towers, the 'Casa Romana in the Palm Park, the Molino de la Calera Aquarium, Maritime Museum, Salt Museum and Archaeological Museum .

Its fiestas are:

Virgen del Carmen:16 July
Virgen del Loreta:during first week of September
Vinguida de la Mare de Déu:10 December

See: www.gocostablanca.com/cities/santa-pola and www.infocostablanca.com/UK/1%20santa

Las Salinas is the centre of salt production. Other places of interest include the Torre del Moro (Moorish Tower) set in parkland, La Mata Tower, Nature Parks, Museum of the Sea and Salt, Museum of Maestro Ricardo Lafuente (a renowned Spanish song-writer), Museum of Holy Week . Fiestas take place almost throughout the year.

(See also the separate sections on Markets, and Activities).

See: www.infocostablanca.com/uk/1%20torrev and www.habaneras.org/publico/en/entorno

Beauty Spots

Algar waterfalls
(About 90 minutes from 'Casa Alta'). Set against a wonderful backdrop of soaring mountains, this impressive waterfall and pool offers a unique chance for an icy plunge in mid-summer. It can be reached by a short walk along level pathways edged with blossoming shrubs. Admission 3 Euros per person. Nearby is a good restaurant with a large swimming pool (useful if you or your family prefers not to swim alongside shoals of small fish).
Located north-west of Altea on the road to Callosa d'en Sarria.

See: www.alicante-spain.com/algar_waterfallsEmbalsada

Embalse de la Pedrera
(15 minutes from 'Casa Alta').
A startling sight, this large reservoir is surrounded by reeds, rushes and salt cedar and is a haven for nesting birds.

La Mata Salt Lake
Natural salt lagoons at La Mata and Torrevieja which are designated National Parks, and in which 250 different bird species reportedly live or visit the vicinity. Therapeutic mud baths in the salt lakes are available.

Sierra de Escalona
This is a large forested area, inland from Campoamar, with arbutus shrubs, pine trees and oak. It is home to many small mammals, and to species of birds, including birds of prey.

 

 

Local Culture

Novelda
(About 40 minutes from 'Casa Alta').
An inland city of great historic and artistic value.

Places to visit include a 12th century castle of Islamic origin with a unique triangular shaped tower, a number of buildings in the Modernist (early 20th century) style, churches, casino and museums. There are also several festivals during the year.

The festivals include one for the patron saint: 19-25 July, Moors and Christians, and Mary Magdalene.

See: www.novelda.es and www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/13663/novelda

Mola's castle(3 km north east of Novelda)-a Historical Artistic monument of national interest, Modernista House Museum, Gomez- Tortosa Cultural Centre (built at the end of the 19th century), St Mary Magdalene's sanctuary (begun in 1918), San Pedro's church, San Roquel's church, Archaeology Museum and Belen Museum.