Xàbia (Spanish: Jávea) is in the Costa Blanca region in Alicante, Spain. The town has three main areas, namely Xàbia old town, Xàbia port, and the beach area. The old town has not changed much and is a maze of narrow winding streets with homes that have wrought iron balconies and windows in gothic style, and a number of ancient churches and other structures. The harbour and fishing port have numerous restaurants and bars overlooking the sea. The Arenal beach area is the main commercial and recreation centre of the town.
Montgó's prehistoric cave dwellers and hunters date from at least 30,000 years ago, and the paintings in Migdia cave are well-enough known. Its slopes have certainly yielded evidence of the ancient past to many local residents whether collecting Stone-Age handaxes and flints, Roman pottery or Muslim ceramics.
The slopes of Montgó and the tops of surrounding hills and of the valley tell of the earliest known Neolithic settlements in the Western Mediterranean, where men developed agriculture and domesticated animals from around 3000 BC and into the Valencian Bronze Age between 1900 and 500 BC. In the museum you can see Iberian beads, shards of decorated pottery, stone axes and pestle and mortars found all around us, including from a fox's burrow dig into the hill crowned by the Santa Lucia Ermita, and which revealed a Bronze Age and Roman Village.
Visigoths were here too. In the 6th century AD. Christian Visigoth monks whose ancestors had accompanied the troops sent to battle in North Africa, came across to Javeda and founded the monastery of San Martin. Here Hermangildo, son of the Visigoth king Leogevild of Toledo, sought refuge in the Monastery after angering his father by marrying a Christian girl. When his father's troops arrived to arrest him all but one ancient monk fled to Portichol - but Hermengild and the old monk were killed. You'll find a number of Javiense with Visigoth names even today.
The foundations of a 17th- to 18th-century house had been built on top of a 3000-year-old Bronze Age farming site, thus preserving the remains of two cabins and several silos. And in San Bartholome. the next street, facing the church, another house has been demolished to reveal relics of a 14th-century dwelling with a cistern, well and various ceramics and coins.
Excavations have found 14th-century graves- some with several skeletons added later, all of the first Christians to repopulate Jávea after the long Muslim occupation. The cemetery was in use for another two hundred years and archaeologists found the remains of what appeared to have been a high, fortified tower and the later, smaller, 17th-century chapel of the Desamparados.
There is little left of the Moors but some inscribed gravestones and ceramics, although they were here from about 714 AD until the last were expelled from Jávea and Dénia in 1609. Most were farmers, cultivating and terracing the land but undoubtedly there are remains hidden beneath many buildings and wooded areas.
Well, walk where you will in the valley, town or hills, you can be sure of one thing, you are walking on history.
- 1 Xàbia Centre Tourist Info, Plaça de l'Església, 4 (city centre), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer: M-F 09:30-13:30 16:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-13:30; Winter: M-F 09:30-13:30 16:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-13:30.
- 2 Xàbia Port Tourist Info, Plaça President Adolfo Suárez, 11 (port area), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Summer: M-F 09:30-13:30 16:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-13:30; Winter: M-F 09:30-13:30 16:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-13:30; Su and holidays 10:00-13:30.
- 3 Tourist Info Xàbia Arenal – Winter Office, del Capde la Nau Pla, 122 (Pla Urb la Plaza), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Oct-Jun: M-F 09:30-13:30.
- 4 Tourist Info Xàbia Arenal – Summer Office, Passeig del Tenista David Ferrer (Platja de l'Arenal), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Jun-Sep: daily 10:00-14:00 17:00-20:00.
Valencia airport (VLC IATA) is 100 km to the north. Alicante (ALC IATA) is found 100 km to the south, and Murcia (RMU IATA) a bit further. Several companies offer transportation from both nearby international airports.
- 1 Estación de Autobuses (Bus Station), Av de Palmela. Within the region, Alsa (☏ ) operates a route connecting all major coastal settlements between Valencia and Alicante, including Cullera, Gandía, Oliva, Dénia, Xàbia, Calpe, Altea, Benidorm, and Villajoyosa.
- 2 Estación del TRAM (Tram Station), Passeig d'Alacant (Gata de Gorgos), ☏ . Tram Alicante (el Trenet) operates a light rail train connecting all major settlements along the coast between Dénia and Alicante, with the exception of Xábia; the nearest tram station is in the neighbouring municipality of Gata de Gorgos. To reach Xàbia from this point travelers will need to hire a taxi or have a car available.
For those arriving from Alicante, a changeover in Benidorm to L9 (line 9) is required. For travelers with smartphones, there is a helpful official app (iPhone and Android) with a route planner and timetables. Guide dogs and small pets in carriers are permitted.
- 3 [dead link] Mundo Marino, Escollera de Levante, s/n (ticket office), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 09:00-14:00, 16:00-19:00. Operates a ferry route [dead link] to Dénia; hours vary by season. A round-trip ticket costs €18, and the journey lasts 50 minutes. The 4 departure point is on the opposite side of the port.
For most locations in Xàbia a car is essential. If arriving at Valencia or Alicante airport there are several car rental companies readily available. If booking a car rental locally in Xàbia it is generally advised to do so in advance of your journey as they tend to sell out during the busy summer season.
- Radio Taxi Jávea, ☏ .
- Xàbia Taxi, ☏ .
Car and bicycle rental
The tourist office maintains an online list of local agencies which hire out cars, motorbikes, and bicycles.
- 1 Església de Sant Bartomeu (Iglesia de San Bartolomé / Church of St. Bartholomew), Plaça l'Esglesia, s/n (historic centre). M-F 10:30-12:30. The fortified Valencian-Gothic church was built between the 14th and early 16th centuries, and has a single nave with chapels between the buttresses. It was the town's main defensive structure besides the medieval walls, and exterior features include battlements, arrow slits, and parapets.
- 2 Museu Soler Blasco (Museu de Xàbia / Museo Soler Blasco / Soler Blasco Museum), Plaça dels Germans Segarra, (historic centre), ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-F 10:00-13:00 17:00-20:00, Sa Su and holidays 10:00-13:00. An ethnographic and archaeological museum dedicated to finds from the local area, housed in a 16th-century building. The first floor has a permanent exhibit of paintings by local artist JB Segarra Llamas, and the uppermost floor concentrates on underwater archaeology, with pieces recovered off the coast of Xàbia.
- 3 Església de la Mare de Déu de Loreto (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Loreto / Church of Our Lady of Loreto), Carrer Pío X, 9 (port). Winter: daily 09:00-20:00; summer: daily 09:00-21:00. Also known as 'the fisherman's church', this radically avant-garde church was completed in 1967.
There are a number of scenic viewpoints in the area, many with sights of historic interest.
- 4 Cap de Sant Antoni (Cabo de San Antonio / Cape San Antonio). Topped by a 17-metre-tall lighthouse.
- 5 Molins de la Plana (Molinos de la Plana / La Plana Windmills) (Les Planes). Eleven windmills for grinding wheat, one of which dates from the 14th century and ten of which were built in the 18th century. Today they are abandoned, without blades. You can have a great view from the top.
- 6 Punta del Arenal (Punta del Castell).
- 7 Séquia de la Nòria. A Roman-era canal dug out of the sandstone bedrock, used to channel seawater to an inland area used for salt ponds.
- 8 Cala Blanca. A small rocky basin once used as a fish trap for tuna.
- 9 Creu del Portitxol. The crucifix is across the bay from the tiny Illa de Portitxol ('Portitxol Island'), and tops steep cliffs. At the base numerous Roman amphoras and other archaeological artifacts from the 3rd and 4th centuries CE have been discovered. This area is a favourite diving spot.
- 10 Cap Negre (Cabo Negro). A rocky headland covered with pine trees.
- 11 Cap de la Nau (Cabo de la Nao). Another steep, rocky headland, with a lighthouse. During clear conditions it is possible to see as far as Ibiza, 85 km distant. At the base is a large cave (Valencian: Cova dels Orgues / Spanish: Cueva de los Órganos) accessible by sea only.
- 12 Castell de la Granadella (Castillo de Granadella / Granadella Castle). Built in 1739 as part of a coastal defensive system against Barbary pirates, it was largely destroyed during the Peninsular War in the early 19th century. Today just a few walls, a portion of the tower, and a well-preserved cistern remain, but it is worth visiting for the great views.
Hiking and biking
There are a number of well-marked hiking trails in the area, ranging in difficulty from easy to very challenging. The tourist office has a list of six hiking trails with maps and detailed route descriptions, which can all be downloaded directly from their website.
Similarly, there are some great opportunities for cycling enthusiasts, with a number of routes for both road bikes and mountain bikes, of all levels. The tourist office has maps and trail descriptions for the most popular routes available for download here.
- 1 Parc Natural del Montgó (Montgó Nature Reserve). The Montgó (753 m) is a nature reserve, and has some interesting caves as well as great hiking and mountain bike trails. The park can be accessed from Xàbia to the south or from Dénia to the north, and is crossed by the highway CV-736 with some amazing views. A brochure with route maps and descriptions (in Spanish) can be downloaded here.
Beaches and water sport
Xàbia is a good base for all types of water sport, including scuba diving, parasailing, and sea kayaking. The city's tourist office maintains an online list of the numerous local agencies which rent out equipment and/or offer guided tours.
- 2 Platja de l'Arenal (Playa del Arenal / Arenal Beach). The main city beach is a Blue Flag beach, with a long promenade, disabled access, toilets and first aid stations, and plenty of restaurants. Jet-skis are available for rent.
- 3 Platja de la Grava (Playa de la Grava / Grava Beach). Another Blue Flag urban beach, smaller than Platja de l'Arenal, and good for snorkeling. Facilities here include a promenade, lifeguard station, restaurants, and a taxi stand.
- 4 Platja de la Granadella (Cala Granadella / Granadella Beach) (10-min drive from Xàbia). Granadella Cove and the attached beach of Granadella are one of those hidden little pieces of paradise. The cove is attached to Xàbia but hidden away behind the buzz of the main Arenal beach, and is a spot well worth visiting for its natural beauty, tranquil atmosphere and historic castle ruins. The cove is enclosed by mountains, features a Blue Flag beach, excellent diving facilities and plenty of pure natural beauty. Facilities include toilets and lifeguard station, and jet-skis and canoes are available for rent.
- 1 Mercat Municipal, Plaça Celestino Pons, s/n. M-F 08:00-14:00 17:00-20:00, Sa 08:00-15:00. The municipal market is a good place for local produce, fish, and meat, and has two onsite bars and a bakery.
- 2 Mercadillo (street market), Plaça de la Constitució. W 08:30-14:00. A weekly street market for local produce and other goods.
- 3 Polly's Bookshop, Carrer Santísimo Cristo del M, 15B, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10:00-14:00 17:30-20:00. Buys and sells used books.
Unsurprisingly Xàbia is known for its great variety of seafood dishes, which include paella marinera (seafood paella) and arròs a banda (rice cooked in fish stock with 'trash fish' and potatoes). The town is also known for its sweet pastries with almonds, and for its raisins.
- 1 Bar El Clavo, Presidente Adolfo Suarez, 15 (port area), ☏ . Daily 09:30-16:30 19:00-23:00. A classic Spanish fisherman's bar. Fresh seafood and good values. Menu on wall only. Overlooking sea near fishing docks.
- 2 Los Almendros de Montgó, Carrer de la Muela, 4, ☏ , email@example.com. M-Sa 18:30-22:30, Su 13:00-15:00 19:30-22:30. Weekday set menu €13.
- 3 Austriaco Café Wien, Av de la Llibertat, 15 (Platja de l'Arenal), ☏ . Th-Tu. Excellent bread, pastries and croissants – favorite place for breakfast.
- 4 Restaurante Azorín, Carrer Antoni Llidó (port area), ☏ . Su-F 13:00-15:45 19:30-22:30. Super fish and chips, and chicken. Order a paella or fideuà ahead of time. Great mixed fish plate.
- 5 Restaurante La Bohême, Av Libertad, 5, Bloque 1 (Platja de l'Arenal, near the Parador), ☏ . M-Sa 12:00- 16:00 18:00-, Su 12:00-. One of the better restaurants in this part of town. French owned, fine tapas. Consistently good reports.
- 6 Restaurante El Corral del Pato, Partida dels Trossets, 31 (Gata de Gorgos), ☏ . Tu-Su 12:00-24:00. Very good Valencian cuisine with popular menu; great wood fired lamb, oxen and duck. Eat in or outside under huge carob trees. Reservations recommended. Local Jalón wine by pitchers.
- 7 Restaurante Gota de Mar, Partida Cm Cap Marti, 531A (just below the villa at entrance to Tosalet and Hotel Rodat), ☏ . Tu-Sa. Lovely terrace overlooking valley.
- 8 [dead link] Restaurante Montgó, Ctra de Jesus Pobre, 101 (2-3 km outside of Xàbia; on the left side of rd with large patio), ☏ . F-W 13:00-15:30 19:00-22:30. Great value, quantity, and quality, and well-presented. Excellent fish and chips. Great view of the mountain.
- 9 [formerly dead link] Restaurante Pepe y Estrella, Av del Mediterráneo, 42 (port area), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu 13:00-16:00 19:00-23:00, W 13:00-23:00, Th-Su 13:00-16:00 19:00-23:00. Classic Spanish with a great view of the bay; can accommodate vegetarians. Reservations by email must be made by 12:00 for lunch the same day, and before 18:30 for dinner the same day.
- 10 Restaurante Piri-Piri, Av Marina Española, 15 (port area), ☏ . M 19:00-23:00, Tu-Th 11:00-23:00, F 11:00-23:15, Sa 11:00-11:15. Excellent and imaginative tapas. Book or but worth the wait.
- 11 Restaurante Los Remos (Platja de l'Arenal), ☏ , email@example.com. M-W 19:00-23:00, Th-Su 13:00-16:00 19:00-24:00. One of the better restaurants in this part of town.
- There are also two restaurants at Hotel Rodat (see its "Sleep" listing).
- 12 BonAmb Restaurant, Carretera Benitachell, 100 (just outside town), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Operated by chef Alberto Ferruz, it was awarded a Michelin star in 2014, just two years after opening. The restaurant is known for innovative cuisine featuring mostly locally-sourced produce.
- 13 Restaurante Cabo De La Nao (Restaurante Cap de la Nau), Ctra Cabo la Nao, 154 (on the cliff next to the lighthouse), ☏ , email@example.com. Restaurant: Th-Tu 13:00-15:30; lounge; Th-Tu 11:00-17:00. Fantastic views and good food.
- 14 Restaurante Masena, Ctra Benitachell, 9 (btw Xàbia roundabout and golf course, across st from Giardino), ☏ . M W-F 12:30-16:30 19:30-22:30, Sa Su 12:30-23:00. Swiss-owned with very good foods and wines. Try the salt encrusted sea bass. Reservations can be made online.
- 1 Montgo di Bongo, Av del Mediterráneo, 63 (btw Platja de l'Arenal and the port), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10:30 until early morning.
- 1 [dead link] Aparthotel Bahía Pinosol, Carrer Paul Gauguin, 4, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 06:00-12:00. Has one- and two-bedroom apartments, all with kitchenettes. Also has three outdoor pools, fitness centre, onsite restaurant, and free Wi-Fi. Pets permitted on request, parking €6/day. Doubles €60, breakfast €6.
- 2 Hotel Triskel, Carrer Sor Maria Gallart, 3 (historic centre), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 17:00-20:00, check-out: 09:00-12:00. Has nonsmoking rooms and an onsite bar-restaurant. Offers shuttle service to Valencia and Alicante airports, the bus station, and train stations, from €80. Pets permitted on request for no extra charge, free Wi-Fi, private parking €5/day. Doubles €82, including breakfast.
- 3 Hotel Villa Naranjos, Pasaje Génova, 12 (Platja del Arenal), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00-23:00, check-out: 08:00-12:00. Has a pool, garden, onsite restaurant, and free Wi-Fi. Doubles €60-72, including breakfast.
- 4 Parador de Jávea, Avda del Mediterráneo, 233 (Platja del Arenal), ☏ . Check-in: 16:00-24:00, check-out: 07:00-12:00. Facilities include nonsmoking rooms, fitness centre, indoor and outdoor pools, and free Wi-Fi; all rooms have a balcony. Has a respected onsite restaurant which can accommodate special diets on request. Parking €10/day. Doubles €113+, including breakfast.
- 5 El Rodat Hotel & Spa, Carrer de la Murciana, 15 (take road to Cabo la Nao, then take road up from Saladar Supermarket), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. 4-star hotel with services such as two restaurants operated by Nazario Cano, a spa (for extra cost), and sport facilities. Free Wi-Fi and parking, pets permitted on request. Doubles €113+.