El Castell De Guadalest or Guadalest is a small Valencian village with an area of 16 sq km. It is situated on a mountainous part in Alicante province of Costa Blanca, Spain. “Castell” is a Catalan word for Castle.
It’s one of the most visited villages in Alicante because of it’s historic site, the nine unique museums including the Casa Orduña and the breathtaking turquoise lake with the landscape backdrop of the Guadalest Valley. It’s the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen! but it’s not really a lake, it’s a reservoir. The reservoir was formed when the Guadalest river was dammed from 1953 – 1964.
This small town has a very long history. Guadalest fortress was built by the Moorish in the 11th century until the village was conquered by Christians in the 13th century.
- 1609 – the Muslims, which occupies the majority of the population were forced to abandon the valley.
- 1644, 1748 and 1752 – Guadalest suffered from earthquakes which destroyed some part of the town and the Castle.
Guadalest undergoes a series of important changes and tourism begins to discover it’s charm from the late ’90s to the 20th century.
- In 1974 -El Castell de Guadalest is declared “historic – artistic”
- In 1980, El Castell de Guadalest receives the Bronze Plaque for Tourist Merit and in 1981 the Third Prize of National Tourism to the Beautification and Improvement of the peoples of Spain.
- In 2015, after overcoming a series of audits, the municipality is part of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Spain” and in 2016 enters the Federation of the most beautiful towns in the world.
How To Get In Guadalest
Moving on to the present, the easiest ways to access El Castell de Guadalest are either by car, from Benidorm via route CV-70, from Madrid via route A-3, from Valencia and Barcelona via route A-7.
By bus: Bus Llorente
It was my first time to visit Guadalest last Monday, April 02 for a day trip. I took bus No. 16 from La Cala Finestrat at 9:45 am and reached the Guadalest mountain within an hour. The bus fare was 7.50€ or 9.20$ for a roundtrip! which is a bargain considering its up 50km away!
The Arrabal, the modern part in the foot of the Guadalest where the handicraft shops, the museums, and few restaurants are situated.
Going to the top of Guadalest, you can see the bell tower situated on top of the hill. It’s the remain from the destroyed 11th-century castle of La Alcozaina and is perhaps the landmark of Guadalest.
It’s not what you think it is 😉
The San Jose old town stands on the top of the mountain and only accessible through a small tunnel carved out of the rock shown above. 😉
The tunnel is the only gateway between Arrabal and the old town of San Jose. In the top of this tunnel, there is a pathway that will lead the visitor to the bell tower and panoramic view of the valley.
After passing through the tunnel, a few more steps between the shops and another museum before reaching the main attraction.
and there it is! Feasting my eyes on the breathtaking landscape view of the valley and the gorgeous turquoise reservoir.
The reservoir measures 73 meters high and 270 meters long and supplies water to the towns and villages in the area. The turquoise color is caused by silt particles in the water.
According to the English speaking local that I talked to, it is safe and allowed for swimming but caution is a must as the water soon gets very deep.
It’s amazing how this unique small village has become after it’s drastic history.