Spain has many small and in its own way beautiful towns. One such place is Guadaleste. It has just over 200 inhabitants, but it is one of the leaders in the annual number of visitors in Spain. What is so amazing about Guadaleste?

Like any city that attracts travelers from all over the world, Guadalest has its own characteristics and attractions. The main difference of this place is its location. The city is located in the Valle de Guadalest, which is a small area in the mountains of Alicante province.

This place is famous for its magnificent scenery, with pine forests, citrus and olive plantations and almond groves. At the foot and on the slope of the mountains are local villages, each of which is interesting in its own way. It is in this valley that this small and cozy town of Guadalest is located.

There is a picturesque serpentine road leading to the town from the Costa Blanca resorts. Upon arrival, be prepared for a huge number of tourists. This is probably why parking fees are €2.

The narrow streets of Guadaleste are lined with many souvenir stores and local products. There are homemade wine, port, olive oil, nuts, honey of different kinds, bread, sausages and much more. Besides the countless number of market stalls, one thing that strikes the eye is the great number of museums,  I counted 7 of them. Another museum with antique motorcycles, cars and bicycles is situated 7 km from the city. Entrance tickets to the museums cost from €2 to €4.

2 Locks In One

The history of the city begins in the seventh century, when the Moors, a Muslim population, conquered this part of the Iberian Peninsula. The city was erected primarily as a fortress in which taxes were collected. v=KrHxgHe5S_Q

The Moors built the Castillo de San José on the rock, combining two fortresses:

  1. Alcazaiba with a high observation tower (Penon de la Alcala), from where the whole valley was visible.
  2. “The King’s Castle,” erected in the highest part of the cliff.

These castles used to be connected by a fortress wall, but it has not survived to this day. Instead, there is a metal staircase, which tourists can use to get up to both castles.

Attractions Of Guadaleste

The citadel itself is accessed by a wide paved road, but to get inside, you must go through an eight-meter tunnel cut into the rock. It’s the only way into Guadaleste. Do you know any other towns with such an “entrance”?

After entering the San José Fortress, you find yourself at the beginning of the main street that soon leads you to the main square, Plaza de San Gregorio. This is where tourists first see the beauty of the surrounding landscape of the Guadaleste Valley with its artificial emerald colored reservoir.


Guadalest Reservoir (Embassament de Guadalest)
Guadalest Reservoir (Embassament de Guadalest)

The jewel of Guadaleste is the spectacular view from the observation decks of the castle over the valley with its groves and trees, as well as the reservoir with its clean and clear water. If you wish, you can take a boat ride on the turquoise lake or even take a swim. It is for this view that tourists come to this city, all of them want to capture themselves against the background of this inexpressible beauty.

The King’s Castle

First of all, it is the city’s main fortress, the Castillo del Rey. It was built in the 11th century and for many years it played an important role: firstly, it was a military facility, and secondly, various treasures were stored here.

The castle itself is partially ruined. There is a local cemetery where you can see both very old and very recent graves.

To get into the Castillo del Rey you need to buy a ticket to the museum “Casa de la Horde”: €4 for adults, €2 for children. The entrance to the museum is located inside the fortress, just behind the tunnel.

The house belonged to the noble Orduña family, whose descendants became mayors in 1669. In 1934, however, the last Orduña died without any heirs. The house was taken over by the local authorities and transformed into the Municipal Museum.

Alcazaiba Fortress

Alcazaiba and the observation tower (Penon de la Alcala)
Alcazaiba and the observation tower (Penon de la Alcala)

Another attraction of this city is the Arab fortress Castillo de la Alcazaiba, which was also built in the XI century. It was built in the 11th century, but it did not survive the wars and earthquakes that destroyed it and turned it into ruins. Nevertheless, the history and role of this fortress for the city is very important.

Church of Our Lady of the Assumption

On the main street of the old city stands the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Iglesia a Nuestra Señora de la Asunción) built between 1740 and 1753. The Baroque building has undergone several restorations.

Guadaleste Museums

Guadaleste is not only a fortress city, but also a museum city. The fact is that there are many different museums within walking distance of each other.

  • Museo de Saleros y Pimenteros, with over 2,000 private specimens.
  • Museo de Microminiaturas, where the exhibits must be viewed under a magnifying glass or microscope.
  • Museo Municipal Casa Orduña (Museo Municipal Casa Orduña), which was built in the ancestral home of Orduña, one of the most influential families of the city.
  • The Museum of Torture (Museo de Instrumentos de Tortura). The torture instruments of the Middle Ages, which still strike fear and terror into tourists, are on display here, but many like it.
  • Museo de Belenes y Casas de Muñecas or Museo de Antonio Marco, which will not leave the youngest tourists indifferent. There are models of houses and churches surrounded by natural elements.
  • Ethnological Museum (Museo Etnológico de Guadalest). The museum features exhibits, some of which have been preserved since the 18th century: clothes, furniture, tools used to make bread and olive oil.
  • Microgiant Museum (Museo Microgigante), which features two collections: miniature art and giant sculptures.
  • Museo Vehículos Históricos Valle de Guadalest (Museum of Vintage Cars and Motorcycles), where you can see very nice exhibits. It is located 7 kilometers from the city.

In addition, each museum has many stores with souvenirs.

Guadalest is a combination of local color and tourist features that the entire city is actively developing. The historic sites in the cliffs and their charming narrow streets, together with the stores selling souvenirs, are what attracts everyone to Guadalest.

In The Neighborhood Of Guadaleste

Fuentes del Algar waterfalls
Fuentes del Algar waterfalls, photo Paco Crespo

About 10-15 km from Guadaleste there is a wonderful nature park of the Algar Falls (Les Fonts de l’Algar (Fuentes del Algar)). This picturesque place attracts foreign tourists and locals with its natural beauty, fresh air and crystal clear mountain river.

Mihail Schwarz
Mihail Schwarz
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