Guadalest (full name is El Castell de Guadalest) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Valencia and deservedly so.
Guadalest was founded by the moors. The oldest part can only be reached by foot through a gateway hewn out of the rock. At the top the ruins of the castle and the church's belfry are perched spectacularly on the edge of the mountain. Called the Penan de la Alcala, this is problably Guadalest's most photographed monument.
Suprisingly even though remote and at the end of a windy road, when you get to Guadalest there is a thriving town.
The street leading to the castle is lined with lovely white-washed houses decked out in flowers. On this street 'De la Pena' is the town hall and some dungeons dating back to the 12th century. The Castle of St Joseph, at the end of the street, was built in the 12th century and modified at various points in history.
Around the main street are lots of little cobbled streets and plenty of cafes and bars to tempt you for lunch or dinner 'al fresco'.
The views from the top are truly amazing. The surrounding mountains, the river below and the hillsides terraced by the Moors to grow crops are stunning. You can see three of the highest mountains in this area: the Sierra Xorta, the Sierra Aitana and the Sierra Serrella. To see more follow the very scenic CV70 road through the valley.
There are various museums to visit, including the Museo de Miniatures and the Casa Tipica an eighteenth century house made into a museum. The castle tour is also worth doing.
Guadalest has a resevoir and it is possible to take boat trips and get views of Guadalest from a different angle.
The Guadalest valley is very picturesque and as well as Guadalest there are the villages of Polop de Marina and Callosa d'En Sarria. The slopes of the valley are covered in almond and orange trees.