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MORAIRA You can still stroll among narrow, flower-decorated streets in the town or just relax in one of the many pavement cafés. The town centre is an attractive blend of the old and the new with a wide selection of boutiques, shops, bars and some excellent restaurants offering a wide choice of Spanish and international cuisine. One of Moraira's most important festivals is the Fiesta of Moors and Christians, usually held in June. However, other towns in the area also celebrate this festival at different times during the summer. Theatrically presented in impressive costumes, the townspeople are separated into Moorish and Christian filas (groups) and hold marches and mock battles which take place at various times and places throughout Moraira. The high point of this amazing fiesta is the procession and firework display on the last day.
Clues to the region's history are very evident as you explore its villages, towns and cities. Place names have their Arabic roots but it's the architecture which is most striking. Ancient villages were built on hilltops and always featured winding streets to aid defence against marauders. GUADALEST is a fortress village that dates back to the middle ages, perched at over 1500m on a mountain peak about 25km inland from Benidorm, it is still only accessible via a tunnel passing through 15m of solid rock. CALPE, with its numerous sandy beaches, is about 20 mins drive away. Here you'll also find the majestic Rock of Ifach. It was originally called the 'Northern Rock' by Phoenician traders in order to distinguish it from Gibraltar. The volcanic Rock measures over 300m high and is now a nature reserve. However, for those wishing to get a breath-taking view of the coastline, there is a path which takes you to the peak. DENIA, about 30 mins away, is the largest of the local towns yet still retains much of its old charm with the fishermen’s quarter and its delightful cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings, all dominated by its impressive 16C castle.
For those seeking a more cosmopolitan experience, VALENCIA is about 1 hour’s drive to the north. This is Spain’s third largest city and is famous for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures including a planetarium, an oceanarium and an interactive museum. It also boasts several beaches, including some within nearby Albufera Park, a wetlands reserve with a lake and walking trails. Apart from its superb modern shopping facilities, Valencia also has a wonderful, traditional fresh meat, fruit and vegetable market. Drive about 45 mins to the south and you’ll find BENIDORM with its unrivalled nightlife. However, other attractions at Benidorm include Mundomar Marine and Exotic Animal Park, ideal for a family day out. The Park is home to a wide range of creatures living in a simulated natural environment with one of the highlights of the day being the amazing dolphin show. Next to Mundomar Marine is Aqualandia, which features a multitude of water entertainments. Finally, there’s Terra Mitica. This spectacular theme park will transport you back to the Greek and Roman eras and has one of the biggest roller coasters in Europe. There are three excellent golf courses nearby with one of them, the José María Olazábal-designed course at La Sella, also offering tennis and squash facilities. In nearby JÁVEA, you’ll also find diving schools and jet-ski facilities and on Cumbre itself there’s an equestrian centre. However, for those wanting a more relaxing holiday, there are many scenic walks with the local tourist office offering free guided walks of the area during the summer. A self catering villa rental in Moraira will ensure you are well placed to have an exquisite holiday to remember.
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