Spain’s beautiful little hidden gem: Guadalest

Today, Beth and I went for a day trip to Guadalest. Guadalest is a tiny village in a valley, just over an hours coach journey from Beth’s flat in Benidorm.  I’ve been before when I came to Alicante on holiday in 2010 with my family but I didn’t remember it at all until I got there and walking down the little cobbled streets just felt like déjà vu. 
Guadalest is most famous for three things; the castle ruins, Orduña house and the most gorgeous coloured lake you’ll ever see!! 

After walking through cute little streets filled with gift shops and cafes, we paid 3€ each to visit Orduña house. The house was built by the Orduña family who originated from the Basque Country (part Spanish, part French).  They came to the Valencian region in the 17th century and were sent to Guadalest where they served as guardians of the fortress and governors of the state for nearly 300 years. All of the furnishings still in the house belong to the Orduña family and correspond to their period of highest wealth and status. 
My favourite room was the library which included books from as far back as the 17th century. It was amazing to see all the spines (although very old and worn) all hand written with beautiful calligraphy! However, outside of the library, my favourite object in the house was a map of North America that was drawn in Paris in 1706.  It was incredibly inaccurate and was also incomplete where they just haven’t discovered the rest of the continent! There was also a map of Africa which wasn’t to dissimilar to the map we know now and there was one of Europe that was exactly as Id expect it before the massive political changes in Germany-Austria and the West of Russia. 

We then climbed many, many stairs to see the castle. This is probably the smallest castle I have ever seen and probably will ever see! It was smaller than my house in England and was completely destroyed by two earthquakes in 1644 which devastated the rest of the region too. There wasn’t really anything to see at the top of this hill/mountain but the views were amazing!!! You can see the whole valley including the Guadalest lake which is an amazing deep turquoise colour! 

As there is only one bus there and back from Benidorm we had a little bit of time to kill so went to the Plaza de Gregorio and had a beer and I had an ice cream too! 
It’s been a weird day because for the first time, there’s been an event going on at my university in England but I felt like I’d rather be in Spain having the day I had!  There are lots more small villages around Alicante and Benidorm and I’m looking forward to going on more day-trips with Beth 🙂
Annalise x