Villajoyosa is one of the most picture-perfect places on Spain’s Costa Blanca. Thanks to brightly colored fishing houses, cozy alleys and beaches that are among the best in the region. Yet Villajoyosa is much more authentic and less touristy than other seaside towns in the area. No wonder this place is known as the “merry” or “joyful” city. Will you join us?
History of Villajoyosa
Villajoyosa breathes history. Throughout the region, Iberians Phoenicians, Romans and Moors left their mark. In Roman times Villajoyosa was still called Alonis or Allon. It was then an outpost of Marseilles. The Romans made their mark. For example, while working on a hotel in 2006, construction workers stumbled upon archaeological remains of Roman baths dating back to 76 AD. They found, among other things, brick walls, service rooms and heat chambers. The Roman sauna, so to speak. The 2nd-century tower of Sant Josep, the best-preserved Roman burial tower in Spain, also points to their presence.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, there was little to do in Villajoyosa during the early Middle Ages. It wasn’t until around 1300 that there was some animosity again. At the request of King Jaime II of Aragon, a noble founded the Christian city of La Vila Joiosa. Goal: parry the Moors’ attacks. Even in the 16th century, Villajoyosa continued to maintain an important strategic role. Now pirates were terrorizing the coasts off Alicante and King Felipe had a defensive wall erected. This was completed in the middle of the century. Some remnants of that wall can still be seen today. In 1911, Villajoyosa, by now primarily known as a fishing community, received city rights from King Alfonso XIII.
Villajoyosa literally means the “happy” or “joyful” city. This fishing village has very much not stolen that name. Here you will find peace and at the same time never get bored. Thanks to the stores, markets, restaurants, cozy cafes and vibrant community life. Spaniards like to come here because the beaches are relatively quiet. Even during the summer season. And especially compared to others on the Costa Blanca.
In front of the beach, the brightly colored houses draw particular attention. The theories behind this vary. One explanation is that after painting their boats, the fishermen used the surplus paint to give their houses a color as well. Romantic souls believe they navigated based on the bright colors. And thus recognized their way home from afar. Whatever the case, even today Villajoyosa boasts an active fishing community. At the harbor you can see the boats arriving with their fresh catch.
In a nutshell:
- La Vila Joiosa in Valencian
- Alicante Province
- region La Marina Baixa
- the heart of the Costa Blanca
- approximately 34,000 inhabitants
- 12 km coastline
- 32 km from Alicante
- known for chocolate and fishing
Climate on the Costa Blanca
Mediterranean climate, which means warm summers and mild, sunny winters. Thus Villajoyosa presents itself as the ideal place to feast on sun, sea and beach all year round. Like the rest of the Costa Blanca, Villajoyosa is bathed in sunshine more than 300 days a year.
What to see and do in Villajoyosa?
Explore the old town
From the Paseo de Sant Pere, the seaside promenade, narrow, leafy streets lead into the village. In this labyrinth of cobblestone alleys and cozy squares, it is pleasant to get lost. Villajoyosa looks much more authentic, quieter and less touristy than most other resorts on the Costa Blanca. At several places in the city you can admire the old defensive walls. As well as the Fortress Church and the hanging balconies of old houses.
Walk in the riverbed of the Amadorio
Since the construction of a dam, the riverbed of the Amadorio River is dry for most of the year. The city then converted it into a beautiful park. Especially in summer, this is a true oasis. Not only will you find benches, fitness equipment and a playground, but from the park you also have a beautiful view of the colorful houses, the defensive walls and the ancient bridge that connects the old and new part of Villajoyosa.
Relax on the beaches of Villajoyosa
A mild Mediterranean climate makes Villajoyosa attractive even in winter. The many beaches never get very crowded. Except for a few weeks in mid-summer, when Spaniards from the interior go on vacation. With 15 kilometers of coastline and 15 different beaches, there is something for everyone. From wide sandy beaches with all facilities to secret coves with high rocks, from beaches for the whole family to hidden nude beaches where you can sunbathe in your pure. They all have one thing in common: the azure sea invites. Some popular options:
The main beach of the village, bang in front of the colored houses. Blowing palm trees provide shade on this golden yellow beach of 1300 meters long, according to connoisseurs the most beautiful on the Costa Blanca. A blue flag guarantees quality. A promenade and a whole host of bars and restaurants ensure that not only beach bunnies get their money’s worth here. This is the busiest, most accessible beach in Villajoyosa. Further north or south are more pristine beaches.
Playa del Bol Nou
High cliffs, golden sand and a shimmering turquoise bay: this dream beach seems plucked straight from travel magazines. A funky chirinquito (beach bar) delivers beachgoers cocktails à volonté in the summer.
Platja del Paradís (Playa El Paraiso)
Beach of pebbles that, thanks to its length, is never too crowded. Not even in the summer. Two chiringuitos provide an instant vacation feeling.
Racó del Conill
Winding roads lead to a bay and a nude beach hidden among the rocks. Swimwear is also optional at Playa L’Esparelló.
Playa El Xarco
Dog-friendly beach that lends itself to fishing and diving.
Playa La Caleta
Tucked away under the cliffs, at the end of a gravel path, is this pebble beach. Far away from the pleasant bustle of the city. Especially popular with locals, even in summer it is relatively quiet here compared to other beaches. The lack of facilities is in between for something. So be sure to bring a picnic and plenty of water.
Playa de Torres
Another hidden gem, a small gravel beach with a fine beach bar. The beach gets its name from its towers, Torre de Sant Josep. This five-meter high tower dates back to the second century AD. A team of local archaeologists restored it.
Taste the chocolate of Villajoyosa
As a Belgian, you will feel at home in no time in this gem of a city. Courtesy of the famed chocolate industry. In the past, there were as many as 20 factories in Villajoyosa. Even today, the tastiest Spanish chocolate comes from here. You don’t have to take our word for it, just discover it for yourself. In the free museum of Valor, the largest producer, you will learn all about brown gold. You will discover how chocolate ended up in Europe, how a Spanish family began making it in 1881 and how the production process changed over all these years. There are 14 tours per day in both English and Spanish.
In addition to the Museum Valor, Villajoyosa has two smaller chocolate museums, Clavileño and Pérez. Of course, you can put it to the test afterwards. You can’t leave town without snacking on a “chocolate con churros. This is a kind of oblong Spanish doughnut dipped in chocolate sauce. If you can’t get enough of the local specialty, you should definitely attend Xocolatíssima in August. That fair is all about chocolate.
About the eventful past of Villajoyosa we told you earlier in this blog post. If you want to know the history from needle to thread, you should wander into this historical museum. For the real freaks, there is also MARQ, the archaeological museum in Alicante.
Casa Museo la Barbera dels Aragonés
The Aragonés family converted this 17th-century farmhouse into a romantic mansion. The museum located therein displays their furniture and clothing, giving an insight into the life of the old Spanish nobility.
Festivities in Villajoyosa
During the last week of July, Villajoyosa celebrates the Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos. Literally, the feasts of the Moors and Christians. Since 2003, the inhabitants then reenact the famous landing of 1538. Then the Moorish army attacked the beaches. The Christian population, with support from neighboring villages, was able to resist the invasion. The celebration is accompanied by fire and noise, drums and music.
Eating in Villajoyosa
Again, something for everyone, from Italian, sushi or Indian to classic Spanish. Although the fresh fish and seafood are especially recommended. As a community, Villajoyosa is focused on the Mediterranean for a reason. Along the entire promenade and near the fishing port, you are guaranteed to find an address to your liking.
Active in Villajoyosa
Buckle up your hiking boots and trek along mountain trails towards Finestrat. Or choose one of the Caminos de la Costa, the hiking trails that follow the coast. Heading north, it goes past the fishing port, over and under cliffs and past the beaches Estudiantes, Torres and Racó del Conill. Heading south, you’ll pass the shrine of Virgin de la Salud and walk past the Paradis and Bol Nou beaches all the way to the Xarco watchtower.
Just as well you can explore the surrounding mountain villages by (electric) bike. There is also a lot to do in the water. Swimming in quiet coves, windsurfing or kayaking from the fishing port: it’s all possible.
Our ideal day in Villajoyosa
After a hefty breakfast, start at the colored houses on the coastline. In the morning, when the light is at its most beautiful, you will take picture-perfect photos here. Bet all your Instagram followers will turn green with envy?
Walk into town and wander through alleyways. Feel free to be tempted by one of the many cozy terraces. It’s never too early for a second morning coffee Or a first sangria. Also pop in to the fresh market.
The long promenade connects the old town with the fishing port. Watch the boats bring in their catch of the day. And then pick a restaurant to put to the test.
Time for dessert! Stop by Valor’s chocolate museum for a guided tour. Be sure not to forget to taste.
Life’s a beach! Spread out your bath towel under a palm tree at Playa Centro. Do you feel the stress draining from your body? Those who have rested enough can admire the marine life while snorkeling.
You have earned a drink in a shabby chiringuito, a beach bar. Note: highly addictive. Before you know it, you are three cocktails away and the sun is slowly sinking into the sea. Aah! This is G.E.N.I.E.T.E.N.
And the next day… you just start over.
Day trips on the Costa Blanca
Thanks to a central location, you will be anywhere on the Costa Blanca in no time. Below you will find the necessary inspiration:
- Benidorm. Known not only for a vibrant nightlife, but also for theme parks like Mundomar, Aqualandia and Terra Mitica that charm the whole family.
- Alicante. The capital of the Costa Blanca is a historical attraction. Where, in addition, you can eat excellent food.
- Guadalast. Along winding roads you will arrive at this village in the mountains. Dotted with ruins and castles from times gone by.
- Fuentes de Algar. Very touristy natural waterfalls. It is pleasantly cool here on a blisteringly hot day on the Costa Blanca.
- Amadorio Reservoir. The Amadorio River rises at the foot of the Sierra de Aitana and flows into Villajoyosa. Along the way, the water passes a reservoir. Anglers come here for the bass, others for the beautiful nature walk around the lake.
When to visit Villajoyosa?
Each season has its charms. In mid-summer, especially August, it can get very hot. In winter the temperatures drop, but it remains pleasant at all times. Perhaps the most beautiful time is spring and fall. Then the crowds thinned out and temperatures still camped at comfortable levels.
How to get to Villajoyosa?
The airport of Alicante is located about 50 kilometers from Villajoyosa. Direct flights to Alicante depart regularly from Brussels, Charleroi, Liege, Antwerp and Ostend. Those traveling without a car can take the coastal streetcar in Alicante to Villajoyosa.
Distances from Villajoyosa
- 9 km = Mountain village of Finestrat.
- 10 km = La Marina shopping center.
- 12 km = Benidorm.
- 18 km = Albir.
- 21 km = Altea.
- 21 km = El Campello.
- 37 km = Alicante.
- 49 km = Alicante Airport.
Property in Villajoyosa
Compared to other resorts on the Costa Blanca, fewer expats have discovered the delights of this village full of joy. In the center, there are mostly apartments for sale. For villas, you’ll have to divert to the small villages in the hinterland. Under the name Pure Sea, Gold Estates developed 21 luxury apartments and eight penthouses, all with generously sized terraces overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This is a paradise on earth for those who like to get up and go to sleep with the blue waves. Learn more about the two-bedroom, three-bedroom, or penthouse options.