Today we set off early to go and see the medieval hilltop town of Guadalest in the province of Alicante. Short for El Castell de Guadalest, this town and fort dates back to the twelfth century and is steeped in history. On arrival at the town it feels like you’re entering a Jurassic film-set with soaring palm trees, vines and jagged rocks cutting through the landscape.
With a castle, fort, town hall, cemetery and ancient shopping streets still intact, Guadalest is now just like a living museum. As you meander through the small streets you have the opportunity to visit old houses built into the rock, shops selling locally made lacework and of course the castle which was once lived in by royalty. The small shops sell anything from sheepskin slippers to chandeliers, quirky postcards to leather goods and everything is of course sold with a big friendly smile. The town, if you visit early in the morning like us, is quiet and charming and feels untouched despite the fact that around two-hundred people still call Guadalest their home.
The tiny town also boasts fantastic panoramic views of the valley which are breathtaking…unfortunately my pictures do not do the view justice!
After climbing the cobbled steps to the top of the hill above the dusty terracotta tiled-roofs of the town, the views, as in the previous picture, are even more jaw-dropping. The ascent is not for the views alone though…the ancient cemetery awaits the weary-legged tourists at the top. Whilst I think looking at graves as a tourist is slightly morbid, there were however wonderful pictures on the recent gravestones which really showed the residents’ character and joy for life which evidently put smiles on the faces of all who cared to look. The cemetery was also planted with roses giving off a beautiful scent which topped off the whole experience.