Karen Bryan, editor of the Europe a la Carte Blog, highlights some reasons to visit the town of Denia on the Spanish Costa Blanca.
Denia lies on the east coast of the Spanish mainland, located around sixty miles north east of Alicante and sixty miles south west of Valencia. If you have a hire car you can drive from either city to Denia in around one hour on the motorway. There are also regular bus and train connections to Denia. Ferries to the Spanish islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Formentera depart from Denia.
Image courtesy of rogdavies
The town is dominated by the castle first built in the 11th century, a one-time Arab stronghold built to look out over the Mediterranean, so it affords panoramic views of the town, sea and nearby mountains. The castle houses an archaeology museum charting the history of Denia from the 2nd century BC to the 18th century AD. The tourist board site has details of several self guided walks including one around Denia’s historic centre.
Denia has tried very hard not to lose its small town identity in the fashion of some of its neighbours such as Benidorm ( 22 miles south of Denia). It has kept many of its traditional neighbourhoods such as Plaza de la Creu, which is a great place to stroll in the evenings and has restaurants with sea views.
As in nearly all Spanish towns, festivals are a mainstay of the culture and highlights of the Denia calendar. Between March 16 – 19 during Fallas (Bonfire Festivals) residents in the various local districts compete to build the best giant papier mache statues, up to 100 feet in height, which are then burned in the festival’s grand finale.
Image courtesy of gjfmaily
In early July, Denia celebrates “Bous a la Mar“, translated as bulls in the sea, in honour of the patron saint of the town Santisima Sangre. Locals try to lure the young bulls into the sea, often ending up in the sea themselves.
One of the big attractions for many people spending their holidays in Denia are the many well kept beaches. Las Marinas is a long sandy beach at the northern end of town. To the south is Les Rotes, initially sandy but then changing to rocky coves, ideal for snorkelling.
Close to the town is the El Montgo Nature Reserve with several trails and paths you can follow, graded by length and degree of difficulty. The coastal fishing village of Altea south of Denia, is a good day trip with its medieval cobbled streets and pleasant promenade.