Guadalest has the dubious distinction of being the most visited village in Spain. Every major resort area seems to adopt a pretty inland village which it publicises as ‘authentic’ then sends busloads of visitors there every day. Authentic village life soon becomes a thing of the past, the locals concentrate on relieving the tourists of as many Euros as they can and the whole experience becomes nothing short of tacky. Unfortunately, Guadalest has reached this level of development. Having said that it is still located in a spectacular setting at 600m above sea level in a rugged mountain range.
To get to Guadalest take the CV70 road out of Benidorm. This is the same road that goes to Terra Mitica. Follow signs for La Nucia until a roundabout sends you off to the right heading for Guadalest. It’s no more than a 30 minute drive and many local agencies offer half day excursions there.
Try to arrive in Guadalest early as the village isn’t big enough for the tourist masses though there is sufficient parking to cater for everyone. Stop at Bar Mora for a coffee just in front of Museo Microgigante as you enter the village. This is a fascinating museum. Some works of art are displayed through magnifying glasses because they are so small that they can’t be seen by the naked eye. Examples include a bullring constructed on a pinhead, an ant playing the violin and an El Greco painting on a grain of rice. You can buy a ticket which gives you entrance to this museum plus a second Microminiatura museum near the town hall, the Antonio Marco Museum and the Museo Ribera Girona.
As you wander up the steps towards the town hall a photographer jumps out and snaps your picture. You then reach the entrance to the Municipal Museum. This is the house of the Orduña family which was built after the great earthquake of 1644. Having looked around the house you can follow the steps up to the Castillo de San José, the village castle which offers great views over the surrounding countryside. This is far better value than the key ring with your picture in it that you’ll be offered on your way out!
There are plenty tacky gift shops around and overpriced cafés. The only freebie in town is a typical 18th century home with explanations in Valencian and Spanish. There’s a printed sheet in English to help you get the gist of what you’re looking at.
If you’ve got your own car you’ll find more authentic villages by just taking a drive through the mountains (Polop is an interesting spot on the way up the mountain). Also stop off at Algar and go for a swim in the waterfalls.
Useful Websites about Guadalest
You can find more information on the page of the official website of the Guadalest town council.