The Enchanting Gem of the Costa Blanca: Villajoyosa, Best Hidden Gem of Europe in 2024

Nestled along the sun-kissed shores of the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante, the vibrant coastal town of Villajoyosa has been crowned the Best Hidden Gem of Europe in 2024 by the European Best Destinations travel website. But for those in the know, Villajoyosa has long been a cherished jewel of Spain. 

This captivating haven, steeped in rich maritime heritage and chocolate traditions, unveils a treasure trove of pristine beaches, colorful architecture, and a lively cultural tapestry.

A Riot of Hues: A Stroll Through the Enchanting Old Town

Villajoyosa's old quarter, officially known as La Vila Joiosa in Valencian, is a visual feast, with houses adorned in an exuberant palette of yellow, blue, and red. This tradition harks back to times when fishermen painted their homes in these striking shades to distinguish them from afar. The narrow, winding streets of the old town invite leisurely strolls. Wander through the labyrinthine alleyways, uncovering hidden plazas and charming terraces.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Vestiges of a Glorious Past: Defensive Towers and Walls

While a significant portion of the ancient town walls has vanished, two remarkable remnants stand proudly. These 16th-century wall fragments serve as testaments to Villajoyosa's rich defensive history.

A Symphony of Sea and Shore: Embracing the Maritime Heritage

Villajoyosa's soul is intrinsically intertwined with the Mediterranean Sea, boasting a 12-kilometer coastline fringed by thirteen pristine beaches. The town's vibrant fishing port, shipyards, and marina exude a palpable maritime heritage.

A leisurely stroll along the seaside promenade is a must to fully immerse oneself in Villajoyosa's maritime spirit. Inhale the invigorating sea breeze, savor the aroma of freshly caught fish, and admire the colorful fishing boats bobbing in the harbor.

Guardian Sentinels: Towers of Defense

To safeguard the coastline from hostile incursions, a defensive system of castles and watchtowers was constructed during the 15th and 16th centuries under the reign of Philip II. Today, two of these watchtowers remain: the Torre de l’Aguil√≥ and the Torre del Xarco.

A Chocolate Legacy: Indulge in Sweet Delights

Villajoyosa is the proud birthplace of one of Spain's most renowned chocolate brands: Valor. Founded in 1881, this company's rich history is unveiled for visitors at the freely accessible Museo del Chocolate Valor.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Housed within the former chocolate factory, the museum enlightens visitors on the art of chocolate making and its captivating history. Interactive exhibits and tasting sessions make for an engaging and delectable experience. Beyond the museum, numerous chocolatiers in the old town tantalize the taste buds of sweet aficionados.

From its enchanting old town to its captivating coastline and rich chocolate heritage, Villajoyosa unveils a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. This hidden gem of the Costa Blanca, now recognized as a European treasure, beckons travelers seeking an authentic and unforgettable Mediterranean escape.