The area around Moraira offers a great selection of both natural and man-made attractions for visitors; from castles to caves, waterfalls to wineries and theme parks to…er, more theme parks. Whatever your tastes there’s sure to be something here for you!
(Pictured above.) The castle at Guadalest was first built by the Moors in the 12th century. Having survived Christian re-conquest and been rebuilt after a 1644 earthquake, the current incarnation sits picturesquely atop its precipitous hill and provides an excellent photo opportunity and then a number of amusements - some more amusing than others. Yes there are touristy bars and restaurants and lots of gift shops, but these aren’t in TOO bad taste. The view is lovely, the history interesting and there are some fairly silly museums to while away a grey afternoon. Warning - there are big coach parties that visit Guadalest from Benidorm, but I don’t think I can easily recommend a time to avoid them! Parking is available at a flat rate of €2. Take a ticket when you enter, and pay just before you leave. Guadalest is only a small detour from the route between Moraira and Alicante airport, so if you have an afternoon or evening flight, this is a fun thing to do on the way.
Oh and for much better food, repair to Benimantell (the village a couple of km further down the road from Guadalest) for lunch at Venta la Montaña (on the main road, a short way past the beginning of the village). Excellent local specialities and reasonably priced.
Fuentes del Algar
If you feel the need to rinse the salt water out of your swimming costume, or just a change of scenery, head to these inland waterfalls for swimming. It’s a beautiful spot, but has been rather over-commercialised, so our recommendations are: go in the morning before the Benidorm coaches arrive, don’t be tempted to park in the ‘unofficial’ car parks; they are a long walk from the falls! Take jelly shoes or other beach shoes to swim in, as the pools have rocky bottoms. Also take a modicum of macho - the water is a ‘refreshing’ 19 degrees centigrade most of the year!
Aqualandia, Aqua Natura, Terra Natura and Terra Mitica
2 Water-based theme parks, a zoo and and rollercoaster-based theme park respectively, these are all close to Benidorm and therefore attract endless coachloads on a daily basis, but if that doesn’t put you off, they are fun family days out.
A visit to Spain would not be complete without sampling some of the local wine, which can be found wherever you see the word Bodega (literally: wine store or wine cellar, but can also refer to a vineyard with a winery.)
Gata de Gorgos
Gata is a small town 20-30mins from Moraira, lauded as a traditional centre for local crafts. Park on the street or, when busy, follow signs clearly marked ‘parking’ to some fairly ad-hoc gravel (free!) car parks.
Shops reopen after lunch at 17h00, 17h30 or occasionally 18h00 until 19h00 or 21h00. For anything specific, go in the morning or check before travelling.
Gata is named in many guide books as a centre for local crafts. Sure, go if you specifically want to buy wicker/basket work or a bespoke guitar, then wander the winding backstreets while you’re there, and enjoy the journey there and back through the hills. However I wouldn’t make a special visit for the scenery.
However we have received intelligence that Gata de Gorgos does come to life for a fiesta in the second week of October, but it is often very difficult to find out about such things much in advance. Our best suggestion is to keep your ear to the ground when out in Spain; look out for posters, ask at the tourist offices for events happening locally, and if the chance arises, GO! Even the sleepiest-looking Spanish town can party like there’s no tomorrow at fiesta time. Other local festivals are listed here.