Escape to the happy town
Not very far from Benidorm there is a small charming town called Vila Joiosa, rich in history and with astonishing seaside architecture reflected in the small colourful houses.
North of Alicante, 30 km of the capital and beside Benidorm, tourist symbol that we have mentioned earlier, you will find Villajoyosa – also called laVila Joiosa in valencian – which means the joyful town and it’s one of the excursions offered at our school, Proyecto Español. In our central campus in Alicante we welcome students from all over the world and lately, mainly from Scandinavia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Holland and Belgium. All very different, but with a passion for Spanish culture and customs, which we nourish with different activities.
You can get to Vila Joiosa by various means of transportations, including the TRAM – The train that connects the neighbourhoods close to the capital – in less than 30 minutes you are there. There you will find cultural heritage protected by Historic and Artistic Organization of La Vila as well as the old neighbourhood, with its renaissance walls, its beautiful streets and the church-fortress of the Assumption, the example of gothic architecture. Spread throughout the town, on different parts of the wall, there are still viewing towers firmly such as Dalt, Aguilo, Torreta, Charco. Dating from the 15th and 16th century, these towers reflect the past of Villajoyosa, once known as the strategic point in the Mediterranean for surveillance against the Berber pirates.
The history of this town goes back to ancient times; the first inhabitants date back to Bronze Age and the hill that decorates the city was once an Iberian village, that is why an obligatory visit of our trip is to Vilamuseu, the museum of the city, that has valuable archaeological, paleontological and ethnographic remains. The roman era gave the charm to Villajoyosa that was then called Alonis. As a testimony of this period remain the Roman baths, Saint Joseph’s funerary tower and the war sanctuary of Malladeta.
Perhaps this town is so joyful thanks to the traditions that make it famous: as the town from where the chocolate industry originated and where the celebrations of Moors and Christians are celebrated every July since the 18th century in honour of Saint Mary. The legend says that the Saint protected Vila Joiosa from the pirate attack at the end of the 15th century by sending a great storm and in the 17th century she saved it again from a drought. In 2003, the celebrations were declared of International Tourist Interest and we can assure you the festivities are really impressive.
An interesting alternative is also to take a bicycle tour of the region of Marina Baixa, from Altea to Vila Joiosa, passing through Benidorm, or vice versa. It’s an interesting way to get to know the area while doing sports. Going along the edge of Serra Gelada, with impressive views on cliffs and with the stops at small bays rarely visited despite the area being popular among tourist. There is always a way to find an escape, don’t you think?
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