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To the north east of Alicante lies the delightful harbour town of Denia. This is a really cosmopolitan town, its narrow streets and colourful houses giving a fascinating showcase of architecture through the ages. Many civilisations have made Denia what it is today; Iberian, Carthaginian, Roman, Christian and even Arabic cultures have all had an influence on the modern town.
Not just a tourist resort Denia is a working town and tourism sits in with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A thriving commercial centre exists here with supermarkets, shops, law courts and the area's largest hospitals. The main central street Calles Marques de Campo is a wonderful place to sit and people watch. Parisian style street cafes sit shaded by trees on this long avenue, named after the Marquis of Denia who used to live in Denia's main attraction, the "Castillo". Built in the 11th and 12th century this impressive building dominates the town from a height of 58 metres. If visiting Denia by car you can park on the outskirts of the town and walk through a tunnel underneath the castle to the main shopping centre.
Inside the castle itself you will find the Palau de Governador (Governor's Palace) which houses archeological finds from the surrounding area. From the castle ramparts you can take in the magnificent views over the town, sea and the backlands.
enia began life as a fishing port, and it still is. The old fishermens' quarters that surround the harbour are a maze of cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings, and the area still contains a fish market. Denia also hosts a modern marina, where time can be spent idly watching the yachts coming in and out of port. From here you can also board a ferry that will take you across to the Balearic islands of Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera.
Because of its nautical connections fish figures prominently on the menus of the local restaurants. Eateries are scattered throughout the town, some nearer the harbour and others in the castle area. The seafront restaurants will attract the most trade, but for those prepared to explore the back streets a more Spanish atmosphere in peaceful surroundings can be found. La Menta can be found in the old fisherman's quarter and serves Mediterranean dishes in a cosy atmosphere. On the beach side of the town Restaurant Ikarus offers a large bar where diners can enjoy an aperitif before sitting out on the roof terrace to enjoy their meal. The menu is constantly changed to accommodate only the freshest ingredients.
The area of Denia covers 20 kilometres of coastline. To the north of the town the beaches are fine and sandy, to the south the area is dotted with coves and rock formations, but all are awarded the Blue Flag every year. The town's beaches are divided by the harbour and all the main beaches have sunshades and sunbeds to hire as well as foot showers. There is also a fair smattering of "chiringuitos" - beach bars selling drinks and snacks. All the waters here are clean and offer safe bathing, and are patrolled by lifeguards in high season. One of the most enticing aspects of Denia's beaches are that they are never overcrowded.
There are plenty of beach based activities for the more active holidaymaker, sail boats, pedalos and dinghies are all for hire, and volleyball nets and enough spare beach to set up your own football game if you can find enough team members. The waters in the area are perfect for diving, and the marine life in the rocky coves makes hours of snorkelling a cooling way to escape the Spanish sun. A boat trip from the harbour is also a spectacular way to see the coastline and also to visit some of the neighbouring towns.
Denia can be hot in the height of summer, temperatures sometimes reaching 40 degrees centigrade in summer, but this part of Spain is often more temperate than the southern coasts making it an ideal base for families. In winter the temperature barely dips below 5 degrees.
Getting to Denia is a simple task. From Alicante Airport the town has good rail and road connections. The main coastline road, the N332, offers you staggering views as you travel, or for a more direct route take the A-7 motorway and exit at junction 62. A narrow gauge railway connects Denia with the provincial capital which can also take you to Benidorm 58 kilometres away.
There are plenty of accommodation options in Denia from private rented apartments to holiday packages with major operators. The Denia Port is in a quiet location and offers a good holiday base for all ages. If you are looking for a Spanish holiday that is just a little bit different from the norm, then Denia should definitely be on the short list.