Villajoyosa, Costa Blanca, Spain

map Villajoyosa, Costa Blanca, Spain

Villajoyosa with about 20 000 inhabitants lies 10 km south of Benidorm, 35 km north of Alicante. Much quieter than Benidorm, Villajoyosa offers both history and sandy beaches.Villajoyosa is the historical and administrative capital of the Marina Baixa.

The town is on a sandy beach bordered with palm trees and still has its old fishing port. The lower part of the town has the house facades painted in a blaze of colours - reds, yellows, deep blues, browns and ochres all through the old town until you reach the Rio Amadorio. Apparently the purpose of these colourful façades was so that sailors could see their own houses from far out at sea. The old walled town with its narrow streets will take you from the church square, la Calle del Posso and la Calle Mayor to the sea and the beaches.

As with many of the coastal towns, Villajoyosa suffered from attacks by the Barbary Coast Pirates. On the 29th July 1538 a fleet of boats carrying Algerian pirates arrived to loot the town but the inhabitants were able to fight them off thanks to the intercession of Saint Martha. Since that day, she has been the towns Patron Saint and every year there is a Moors and Christians fiesta in Villajoyosa on that day.

The original old town has now been declared an historic monument. Some of the bridges date from Roman times.Villajoyosa's church is a Gothic building with renaissance doorways, although it does carry substantial 18th century alterations.

Villajoyosa was granted city status by Alphons Xlll in 1911. Today as well as tourism, Villajoyosa has an active fishing fleet and is a chocolate manufacturing centre.

There is a fishing harbour and the local restaurants serve particularly fine seafood. There is an afternoon fish auction in the daily market which starts at 17.00 h at the Lonja area.

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