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 Denia uncovered…..

The town of Denia is located in the Spanish region of Alicante on the Costa Blanca. This is a delightful cosmopolitan town, rich in history and culture and its streets are a fascinating showcase of architecture through the ages. Its buildings are a permanent monument to the civilisations which have made their mark here - Iberian, Carthaginian, Roman, Arab and Christian. These days tourism blends comfortably with the hustle and bustle of a working town. The town is midway between the two international airports of Valencia (to the north) and Alicante (to the south). Both airports are within an hour's drive using the toll paying A7 motorway. Denia is just a 15 minute hop from Exit 62.

Denia, the capital of the Marina Alta, is a modern cosmopolitan city located in the heart of the Costa Blanca's famous "White Coast". It owes its current import-ance to its being the historical city of the region, a city that was known in medieval times as the Marquesado de Dénia. Its name derives from the Latin name Dianium; Daniya was its Islamic name. The city experienced its period of urban and cultural glory when it became an independent Taifa following the division of the Caliphate of Córdoba during the 11th century. The historical centre of Denia contains the symbol of the city, its castle. The commercial centre is located in the calle Marqués de Campos and the adjacent streets.

In the surrounding area there are Gothic ruins from the period of the Conquest and caves where potholing is carried out. This is much more than a holiday resort and you'll find it a busier place than its coastal neighbours, Oliva and Javea. As well as being a magnet for tourists, mainly British and German, Denia is also a thriving commercial centre. It boasts modern supermarkets, an extraordinary number of banks, some top quality shops, tax consultants, lawyers, doctors, dentists, the area's biggest hospitals and the courts of justice. But Denia's initial growth was as a seafaring town and it's still a working port. The old fishermen's quarter preserves its delightful cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings but nearby you'll find a modern yacht marina and the ferry terminal serving the Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Menorca, Mallorca and Formentera.

Denia's focal point is its impressive 16th century castle, which dominates the town from a height of 58 metres. You can park on the outskirts of the town and walk through a tunnel under the castle into the main shopping centre. Head for the main central street, Calle Marques de Campo, named after the Marquis of Denia who used to reside in the castle. This is a wonderful place to sit and people watch - a Parisian-style tree lined avenue peppered with street cafes on both sides.

Shopping in Denia is a sheer delight. Besides offering all the high street essentials, there are some top of the range clothes shops with designer wear for both men and women and beautiful gift shops specialising in the unusual and exquisite (we're not talking sticks of rock and giant sombreros here!) A myriad of restaurants offers some of the best regional and international cuisine on the Costa Blanca. There are some great tapas bars, seafood restaurants with a mouth-watering selection of produce fresh from local waters, Indonesian, Mexican, Italian and Greek restaurants. As for the beaches, they stretch for 20 kilometres either side of Denia and consistently win the European Blue Flag for safety and cleanliness.

Things to do.....

There's a huge range of places to visit both in and around Denia - whether you're interested in the region's culture, history, nature or you just want a fun day out. A visit to the 16th century castle which dominates the town is a good starting point. You pay a small entrance free but then you're free to roam through the castle at leisure. There are refreshingly few restrictions on the areas you can explore so you can clamber over the ancient walls at will (a little hazardous for small children though so keep them on a tight rein!)

The castle houses a fascinating collection of treasures in its Museum of Archaeology where you'll find an array of human remains, coins, pottery and ancient artefacts unearthed in and around Denia after remaining hidden from human view since 200 B.C. Still within the city boundaries you can visit the toy museum, the municipal food market with its colourful collection of fresh local produce (from olives to octopus!) or head down to the port for the traditional "Lonja del Pescado" fish auctions. The fishermen's quarters of Baix la Mar and Les Roques are charming with their cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings. Or visit the Tower of Gerro, built as a look out post as part of the war on piracy in the 17th century. Take a ferry trip over to the Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca or Formentera - they're only a 3-hour journey away by fast-ferry so you can squeeze in a day trip or go for a night or two.

Denia at night

Denia is as busy by night as it is by day. This is not an all night club land like Benidorm but the hundreds of bars and restaurants, many with live entertainment in the summer months, ensure that the town's more energetic visitors are kept amused until the small hours. It's also a town big on fiestas and there are some spectacular ones at regular intervals throughout the year - so if you want to party Spanish-style, book your holiday around one of the main fiestas, listed below.

One of Denia's biggest "parties" takes place between March 16th - 19th. This is the fiesta of the "Fallas" when huge papier mache effigies are erected on street corners throughout the town - then burnt to the ground in a spectacular bonfire party the like of which you could never hope to see in the UK (the authorities would never allow it!). The effigies are beautifully designed and painted tableaux giving a satirical look at the main issues of the day - social, economic and political. The satire will pass over the heads of most tourists but the burning of these elaborate effigies is a sight to behold. Wander the streets and admire their beauty by day...then join the throng at night and watch them reduced to a heap of cinders!

June 20th-24th sees the "Fogueres de San Juan" fiestas with yet more burning - this time it's giant bonfires on the beach echoing the pagan rituals celebrating midsummer night. The Spanish simply love fun, fire, fiestas and fireworks. From August 14th-16th there's the big Moors and Christians fiesta with spectacular street parades recalling the many hundreds of years of Moorish occupation of this part of Spain. There are many other smaller religious feasts throughout the year which give Denia the chance to let its hair down, close the banks and shops and party the night away!

The Blue Bars, on the Javea-Denia seafront road, is a popular nightspot and Paddy O'Connell's Irish pub (between the town centre and the castle) is a magnet for young music lovers and Guinness drinkers; the pub provides regular live entertainment with rock, soul and blues music. In the summer months the long tourist stretch of Las Marinas, the coastal strip heading north out of Denia, bursts into life with live music, discos and various shows until the small hours.

Beaches and watersports

Denia normally enjoys 320 days of sunshine a year with an average temperature of 19C - so what better place to be than down at the beachfront? Dénia is a coastal city located to the north of the province of Alicante and has a 20-km coastline, made of small, beautiful coves. To the north there are the fine sandy beaches of Les Marines and Les Bovetes and the shingle beaches of Les Deveses and L' Almadrava (shingled) beaches which are craggy and rocky; to the south is the Les Rotes beach. The mild temperature, the annual average being 18º C, means that it is a pleasant place to stay. A monument was erected to the climate in the eighties.

The sandy beaches start in the centre of Denia, down near the ferry terminal, and stretch for miles northwards - the beaches of Les Marines, Les Bovetes, Les Deveses and Els Palmars provide an ideal family day out. The waters are clean and safe, patrolled by lifeguards during high season and boasting the European Blue Flag for water quality. All the main beaches have the full benefits of foot showers, sunshades and beds to hire and a generous sprinkling of beach "chiringuitos" - beach bars selling alcoholic and soft drinks, ice creams and snacks. Bars and restaurants of every price and persuasion line the seafront so you've always got somewhere to go when the going gets hot. And there are times when it can push 40C here!

There are plenty of beach-based activities both on and off the water. There are climbing frames, volleyball nets and huge expanses of spare beach set well back from the sea - ideal for football and other team sports. You can hire sail boats, dinghies and pedaloes. Go fishing from the rocks at Les Rotes which also provide the perfect environment for snorkeling and scuba diving. The wealth of Mediterranean marine life makes these waters perfect for diving. Contact Aquatic Denia for advice and equipment (tel + 34 964425215). Take the ferry from Denia to one of the Balearic Islands - Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca of Formentera. If you're a diver, you can explore the wrecks of two Roman vessels which sunk off the coast of Mallorca in the third and fourth centuries BC.

During its Christ of the Holy Blood fiesta in July Denia holds its famous "Bous al Mar" (literally "Bulls to the Sea"). It's listed as a fiesta of National Tourist Interest and it's a sight to behold - though some British visitors find the taunting of the bulls unappealing. The bulls are turned loose on the quayside (with protective barriers around to protect the public) and then tormented by young would-be matadors until either side (the bull or the bully!) ends up in the sea. The Spanish go wild with excitement but be warned - it's enough to turn the stomach of many an animal loving Brit!

La Sella

 

La Sella is located inland between the Costa Blanca coastal resorts of Javea and Denia. The area covers 300 hectares of beautiful scenery, gently rolling hills and pine forests, as well as orange and almond groves. Scattered around and amongst this natural habitat are a variety of private villas and small complexes with residents´ pools and gardens. Conveniently situated  for easy access by road or by plane being only minutes from the main A7 motorway and within easy reach of both Alicante and Valencia international airports. La Sella is sheltered to the north by the well known geographical feature the Montgo mountain, otherwise known as the ‘elephant mountain’ because of its remarkable elephant like shape. It is a nature reserve, a protected environment of beautiful countryside enjoying the wonderful warm Mediterranean climate of the Costa Blanca.

La Sella Golf Resort is a perfect destination for golfers and non golfers alike.  There is the most luxurious 5*  Marriott Hotel on site including restaurants, spa facilities, and also tennis and horse riding available. However the jewel of the development is the modern Golf Course. Opened in 1992, this is a professional 18 hole, par 72 course (currently being expanded to 27 holes) with a length of more than six thousand metres. Designed by José María Olazábal, the course is reputed to challenge all types of players, from beginners to the more experienced. The trail has an international reputation for it's excellent conditions to play golf during the entire year. The lush fairways are laid in the valley are well maintained and offer a great day's golf.  

Close by is Denia’s beach and harbour, just 5 mins away and for those who want a beach with restaurants and bars, Javea's El Arenal beach is 15 mins drive away.

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