2006-03-25 at 18:09.
A look round El Campello and its surrounding region.
Just a 20-minute ride from Alicante is the Spanish town of El Campello—an ideal place to base oneself for a holiday on the Costa Blanca, yet still within easy reach of the city.
El Campello has covered all aspects of provision for holiday-makers but continues to keep its identity as a small Spanish seaside town. The tourist information office can be found just around the corner from the railway station in La Avenida Generalitat. A colourful weekly market takes place each Wednesday morning until early afternoon in front of the sports centre (Polideportivo) and sells clothing, household items and hardware along with the usual fresh produce including fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Numerous restaurants and tapas bars of varying nationalities line the sea front, each one stimulating the taste buds with aromas of fish, meat, pizzas and paellas. Ice cream comes in many flavours at the Heladerías—ice-cream parlours—along the Paseo Maritimo.
A gentle stroll along the beach to the northern end of the town brings you to the small harbour and the fish auction. Open to the public daily from 5.30 pm, this is an experience to savour—an array of seafood is displayed for all to behold and can be purchased for very little.
At the opposite end of the harbour is the 500-year-old tower, used as a lookout against invading Berber pirates. Below the tower on a small rocky promontory called La Isleta are the archaeological remains that date from 3000 years BC through the Bronze and Roman ages. The last inhabitants of this small area during the 11th century were Islamic, leaving behind them pottery now displayed in the archaeological museum in Alicante.
English is not as widely spoken in El Campello as it is in other places along the Costa Blanca but visitors will have no problems in being understood in the small gift shops and bars that line the main road (San Bartólome) running adjacent to the coast. Supermarkets are strategically placed and the town has an Aldi, Lidl, Consum and two branches of Mercadona. The larger hypermarket of Carrefour is a five-minute drive from El Campello.
Take the train from El Campello northwards to Dénia. It is a lovely ride out and en route the train will stop at various towns that may be of interest.
Villajoyosa/La Vila Joiosa is a pretty seaside resort. Along the shoreline at the south end of the promenade one can see the colourful houses, brightly painted so that the fishermen were able to determine which house was their own.
In the centre of town is a chocolate factory and museum, which is worthy of a visit, especially if you have a sweet tooth!
Benidorm is almost an hour away from El Campello on the train that in many parts is a single line track. Many tourists visit here for the theme parks Terra Mitica and Terra Natura. There is also the water play park of Aqualandia, as well as Mundomar, where children love to watch the dolphin show. Nightlife in town starts as early as 7 pm and will continue all night until 7 am. Benidorm hosts an enormous outdoor market every Wednesday and Sunday throughout the year. This resort rarely needs an introduction.
Calpe is a little further up the track from Benidorm and has a small sandy beach. The large rock—the Peñon d'Ifach—is now a nature reserve. Tracks zigzag upwards where wonderful views can be seen of the coastline. There are some excellent paella restaurants lining the attractive harbour, all enticing you in with free drinks and samples of local food.
Heading south of El Campello the tram gives a wonderful view of the long-stretching Muchavista beach. After 20 minutes the trams arrives in the wonderful cosmopolitan coastal city of:
Alicante with its imposing castle of Santa Barbara perched high on the hill overlooking the spectacular harbour crammed with yachts of the rich and maybe famous. At various times the cruise ships that sail the Mediterranean can be seen anchored here. Across the road from the harbour is the Esplanade; its tiled walkway resembling the ocean waves and filled with small stalls selling giftware. The pavement cafés are welcome rest places for refreshing ice creams and cool drinks on a hot summer day. Daytime or evening, this is a great place to come and while away a few hours.
Alicante also boasts MARQ—a wonderful archaeological museum—so, if history is a hobby, allow a full afternoon here.
Should you have the use of a vehicle for your stay in El Campello, other places to visit are listed below.
The Caves of Canelobre, Busot. At times musical concerts are held inside the caves.
The Turrón Museum, Jijona. If you enjoy this nougat type sweet, go along to the museum and see how it is made. Browse the goodies on sale in the shop and take home a selection for your family and friends.
Guadalest. A mountain top village dating back centuries is 25 km inland from the coast and Benidorm. Gift shops are numerous. There are fantastic views across the valley and reservoir. Heading downhill back towards the coast you will see the signs for the:
Fonts d’Algar—the Algar Falls. These magnificent waterfalls and mountain springs cascade into wonderful pools, where, at certain times you can take a dip and cool off.
Take along a picnic or barbecue and make a day of it. Toilet facilities are available. A small environment centre gives lots of information about the plants and herbs that grow within the area.
Note: Although most areas of tourism try to accommodate the less mobile I would not find it advisable to visit such places as Guadalest, Algar and the Caves of Canelobre without first finding out more information.
Below are the 3 main fiestas for El Campello and Alicante but please bear in mind that there are many more fiestas that take place throughout the year and that here in Spain, a fiesta takes place every day of the year.
Hogueras de San Juan lasts about a week and is similar to the Fallas held in Valencia in March. It culminates in the bonfires being lit on June the 24th, the date of the feast of Saint John the Baptist. This date is Midsummer Day. A large firework display takes place from the castle overlooking the harbour and beach at midnight on June the 24th. It is well worth seeing but remember to take earplugs!
Virgen del Carmen takes place the first 2 weeks in July culminating in a procession on the 16th of July, when her statue is taken to sea on a boat attended by small fishing vessels. Flowers are thrown from the boat onto the sea. This is followed by a procession along the Paseo Maritime and on to the church in Carrer de la Mar. The fiestas end with spectacular firework displays on the beach. The fireworks can even be seen to come out of the water.
The Moors and Christians fiesta takes place around about the 9th of October and lasts for a week. Battles are re-enacted on the beach starting very early in the morning, and in the town, where a temporary castle is built in the street near to the town hall. There are street parades lasting approximately 3 hours for 2 evenings, showing off the wonderful costumes worn by those taking part. This is a fantastic week of events and well worth coming to Spain to witness.