Dénia: Traditional Spanish Town with a Cosmopolitan Feel
August 28th, 2017 by Tom Kerswill

How much of the real Spain you want to experience on a self-catering villa holiday is a matter of personal taste, but some resorts feel a little more Spanish than others.

If you travel to the north of the Costa Blanca, you’ll find the town of Dénia. While this is by no means a quiet and secluded destination, it does have the genuine feel of a busy Spanish town.

An 18th century fortress, the Castillo de Dénia dominates the town’s skyline, and it provides an excellent vantage point for taking in the surrounding area.

To the north of the town are 20km of blue flag sandy beaches, and with their fine sand and shallow waters they’re ideal for families.

The Town and Local Food

Dénia is cosmopolitan but comfortable – it’s got pavement cafés and boutiques, and a great indoor market. It has traditional streets and squares, churches, museums and monuments.

The seafront is attractive, with various small roads leading from it into the town behind. You’ll find a variety of places to eat and drink on the front, but if you explore the raise patios immediately behind it, there’s plenty more to discover.

Overlooking the sea, the Baix La Mar is a traditional fisherman’s neighbourhood, where you’ll find little squares and colourful townhouses with wrought-iron balconies spilling over with bright flowers.

The main shopping street in the town is Calle Marques de Campo, and it’s both bustling and fashionable. The left side of the street as you work up it is pretty much given over to cafés and restaurants.

Dénia has been described as an ideal destination for food lovers with over 400 restaurants.

Its most famous rice dish is, naturally, paella, but there are many others, such as arroz a banda, made with fish stock and saffron.

There are also the delicious mini-pizzas known as cocas, and espencat, made using grilled aubergines, red peppers and salty fish.

The town has branded itself a gastronomy centre, and sampling what’s on offer, you will see why.


Amazing Raisins

Dénia is historically famous for producing raisins. These come from the Moscatel Romano grape and from the 19th century the town exported them all over the world.

The same locally-cultivated grape is used to make Mistela, a sweet liqueur wine. It’s the ideal accompaniment to local cakes and delicacies, including delicious almond and raisin biscuits.

Local Cultural Spots

In the historic heart of the town is the Museo Ethnologico, where you can see beautifully crafted 19th century furniture and jewellery, and opulent clothes from the reign of Isabel II.

There are also many outstanding examples of historical architecture in the town that are well worth seeing.

These include the Hostal Loreto, a former nunnery that’s around 450 years old. Now a hotel and restaurant, it’s well worth a visit, if just to admire its courtyard and traditional wall tiles.


Fiesta Time in Dénia

You might not have planned your stay around any local fiestas, but they’re fairly frequent, so you might well catch one anyway.

In fact, there are fiestas throughout the summer months, and also during the winter.

These include parades, a carnival, and the big Festa Major in July, which includes bull running, starting from the Calle Marques de Campo.

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