Villajoyosa is one of the most charming towns you will find in the Alicante region. For years, it was remembered for its iconic brightly-coloured fishermen's houses providing an unusual backdrop to the beach. Now, it is more likely to be known as the 'chocolate city' because this is where the delicious Valor chocolate is produced.
Villajoyosa is a perfect holiday destination. The crystal clear waters are perfect for swimming and water sports. The sandy beaches are ideal for relaxing and soaking up the sun. A visit to the chocolate museum should definitely be on your must-see list. Villajoyosa has one of the finest hotels with breathtaking views over the bay. It is a foodies' heaven with many restaurants serving fine regional dishes such as paella, puchero (a meaty winter stew), fresh fish and shellfish as well as signature dishes centred around chocolate. It hosts an annual gastronomic fiesta with several of the finest restaurants taking part.
If you visit in July, you can watch the splendid week-long Moors and Christians fiesta with mock battles re-enacting the Christians reclaiming their land from the Moors.
San Antonio Chapel
This is a pretty 18th century church with a tall belltower. It is worth a visit to see its exquisite interior.
Villajoyosa old town is a delightful place to wander through. Its narrow streets lead to charming squares where you can enjoy a coffee or a meal while watching the world go by. The old town is a Spanish historic heritage site because it is such an interesting and well-preserved quarter. Here you can see the colourful houses hanging over the river Amadorio and cross the bridge dividing the old and new towns.
A trip to the afternoon fish market should be on your agenda. It is a chance to see the wide variety of fish and shellfish caught in the Mediterranean and brought to shore by Villajoyosa fishermen.
Some outstanding archaeological artefacts from the Valencia region are housed in the town museum, which was set up in 1975. For those interested in finding out more about the history of the region, you can join one of the museum's guided tours. As well as the museum, the tours also visit the old town, chocolate museum and Barbera Museum. Children can embark on a pirates' tour or become a Roman for a fun-filled hour.
Barbera Del Aragones Museum
Step back in time when you walk through the door of this 17th century palace. You can find out how people lived in the 17th to 19th centuries. The museum houses many period pieces from those centuries so you can see how they entertained one another and cooked.
Valor Chocolate Museum
No visit to Villajoyosa would be complete without a trip to the Valor Museum. After a short film explaining how the chocolate is made and where the cocoa beans come from, you can see how it is produced. The tour ends in the Valor chocolate shop where you can sample the produce before you buy.
ROUTES AND WALKING
Head for the port and you can see craftspeople making or repairing wooden trawlers using traditional methods. This is a rare chance to glimpse traditional boatbuilding at its finest. The shipyard is close to the harbour where you can enjoy a meal and take a look at the fine yachts sailing in to the marina.
East Breakwater and Pier Fishing
If you go in the middle of a weekday afternoon, you can watch the fishermen unload their catches before selling them at auction. This is still a mainstay of Villajoyosa's economy. The view of the bay and Villajoyosa town is superb from here, so don't forget to take your camera!
Villajoyosa has a much more Spanish feel than some of its neighbouring resorts.
Look out for the colourful fishermen's cottages.
For fine fresh fish and shellfish, including rice dishes, head for the beach restaurants.
Chocaholics will love a trip to the Valor museum where you can try and buy chocolates as well as learn about the company history. If you can't get there, many towns have Valor shops and cafes.