A delightful historic town, Villajoyosa on Costa Blanca stretches the length of a wide sandy beach with brightly coloured fishing houses running along the seafront and is encompassed with a backdrop of mountains. It’s name Villajoyosa literally means the Joyful Town.
The town is also the capital of the Marina Baixa district. Its walled historic quarter, next to the Amadorio river, has a gorgeous shore, lined with colourful houses, designed that way so that sailors could spot them from their ships. In the afternoon, a visit to the port will provide the opportunity to experience the lively auctions of fish and seafood caught during the day.
La Vila has three kilometres and a half worth of beaches, such as Centro, Paradís, and specially De Torres, with crystal waters, where we also find the archaeological sites of the tower of the Cross and the tower of Saint Joseph, the latter being popularly known as the tower of Hercules.
The local cuisine is typical of the Valencian coast and Mediterranean lands in general. The most emphasis is on fresh fish, shellfish and of course a thousand and one ways to prepare rice, among which the paella is the most well-known but by no means the only dish to be tried. Restaurants in La Vila Joiosa offer a number of other rice dishes, such as caldoso or rice stew with fish stock, arròs amb llampuga – rice with yellow mackerel, anchovies, mackerel or other fish, arròs amb ceba i carabassa – rice with onion and pumpkin, or arròs amb espinacs – rice with spinach. Other traditional dishes are suquet de peix (fisherman stew), polpets amd ceba i orenga (octopus in onion and oregano sauce) and the town’s famous fish pot caldero de peix. Traditional desserts include the inventions of local confectioners: pastissets de boniato (sweet potatoe pies) or tortada d’ametla (almond cakes).
The chocolate industry in Villajoyosa is as famous as it is ancient and the local factories gladly open their doors to travellers visiting the city. During the 19th century the town started to develop a chocolate-making industry. Because of its trade connections, it started importing cocoa from Ecuador and Venezuela and the industry grew and grew. The chocolate brand Valor which can be found in most shops and supermarkets throughout Spain comes from Villajoyosa.
Images via Ayuntamiento de Villajoyosa