Located 32 kilometers from the city of Alicante in the areas known as Costa Blanca or White Coast, Spain, is the historical city of Villajoyosa or “happy town, “ which is now famous for its chocolate industry, and tourism. Among the popular tourist attractions of the city are the sixteenth-century Gothic Catholic church with a baroque altar piece, the Hercules Tower, the 1859 bridge over Amadoria River, the New Park in the Riverbed, and the colorful facade of the old town. If you take a tour the old village, you will see the narrow streets, the multicolored houses, the children playing and the old women watching, and even the gypsies singing and dancing in the streets.
Like what its literal meaning suggests, the city is also a place where you can experience the fabulous Spanish festival called “the Moors and the Christians” which is usually celebrated at the last week of July. This festivity showcases exquisite music, colorful costumes, and spectacular dances and parades in addition to the glittering fireworks and delicious food to taste. There is also a real live re-enactment of the landing of the Moorish Army on the beaches at dawn with rustic weapons being used until, when the night falls, and the Arab leader and his army were thrown into the sea when they were finally defeated. The celebration has been a part of the lives of the locals since its liberation in 1536 from the Arabic or Moorish occupation of the area.
Villajoyosa has beautiful and clean sandy beaches that extend more than three kilometers long. The beach, with its calm and warm water makes it a perfect venue for outing, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, sunbathing, and windsurfing that people of all ages would love to try.
In addition to these attractions, the city offers a lively nighlife with its numerous nearby restaurants that serve different cuisines and glittering bars and clubs that provide a wide range of entertainment. Those who want to try their luck in gambling may visit the nearby Royal Palm Casino to detach their minds from the world. Those who want to meet new friends or be intimate with a special someone may take a stroll by the beach and watch the bright stars of the city's sky. Visitors may also choose to take a bus or taxi to neighboring Benidorm with its clubs, discos and karaoke bars all serving low cost drinks. Nightlife at the "happy town" has everything that one deserves.
There is a wide range of hotels, apartments and studios in the area which accommodate most budgets. New hotels are situated on the flip side of the town where almost everything is accessible.
Dining and Shopping
Although most of the restaurants are Spanish, there are many of them along the sea front, which cater to all tastes from fast food outlets to traditional fish restaurants and from tapa bars to those serving international cuisine-- be it Italian, English, German, French, Asian, etc… Local wines are great and inexpensive, too.
There are also numerous chocolate bars in the city. The chocolate houses serve excellent hot chocolate. There are shops supplying all the visitor’s holiday needs as well as a large market and an additional flea market where visitors can barter their bargains.
The city has an outdoor market on Thursday and a flea market every Sunday. There is a daily fish market at the harbor where the fishermen sell off the remains of their catch. Traditional local handicrafts such as wickerwork, ceramics and leather goods, as well as an assortment of souvenirs and trinkets are widely available. There are also many beach, gift and souvenir shops nearby.
Villajoyosa Other Activities to do
For one who wants to experience an unforgettable vacation with so much fun, there are a lot of things to do in the Happy Town. One can join the diving club at the beach and enjoy the company of others while diving. One can also do mountain climbing or hiking in the mountains close to the city. For those who like to play golf, there are also several golf courses in the neighborhood. Those who like to bike can rent bicycles in nearby shops within the city.
Taking tours to the port to see the fishing market is interesting, too. In the afternoon the fishing boats come back from their day at sea. Fifty fishing boats have their “home” in the town's port and when they are all there, they sell their fish in an auction. People from the big Dining shops in the area come to get some fresh fish for their customers. In the port people can also watch some men building boats in the yards. These men are still making trawlers of wood by traditional methods, which is a sight that one can seldom see today.
The city also offers other interesting activities to do such as tours to the famous chocolate factory, the Valor, which has a big shop and cafeteria on the main street and a visit the Chocolate Museum to learn the history of the so called “happy town”, which is unknown to many, was the most famous town in Europe for manufacturing chocolates and importing large quantities of cacao from Ecuador and Venezuela during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Being close to Benidorm, visitors also have the chance to see the Terra Mittica theme park, which is a popular attraction with its thrilling rides, the Aqualandia, the water park with daring slides, and the Rincon de Loix, Mundomar, the marine and exotic animal park that has dolphins, sea lions and penguins.
The ideal time to take a vacation to this exquisite city is from April to October when the temperature ranges from twenty five degrees to the early thirties.