Teulada, Moraira and Benissa
TEULADA is located 22 kms. from Dénia.
Visit Teulada. The historic town centre is well worth a visit. Starting from the Town Hall, go towards the Plaza de la Creu where you will find the Santa Catalina Church (16th century). This church is built in the Renaissance style with some Gothic features and the apse is decorated with Byzantine style paintings. The organ is special, in the Romantic style, and the Torre Campanario, a 30m high hexagonal bell tower dates from the 19th century. Opposite the church you will see la Casa Abadía and beside it is la Ermita de la Divina Pastora, built in the Baroque style with a Renaissance façade.
Continuing through the old town, you come to the Sala de Jurats i Justícies (The Lawcourts) (17th century), an old civic building constructed in Tosca stone, with a sun dial dating from the same period. From here you can go to the Ermita de San Vicente Ferrer, a neo-classical Baroque chapel, of special interest because of its blue-tiled dome.
Towards MORAIRA. Follow the main road to Moraira; after about 2 kms. you will come to the Ermita de la Font Sant, which is home to the "the fresh spring where the water forever gushes forth".
Visit Moraira. The town of Moraira is special because of its cosmopolitan feel, whilst still retaining its traditional identity as a fishing village.
You should visit The Parish Chuch of "la Mare de Deu dels Desamparats", with its typical arcades in the local 'Riu Rau' style, and Almacen, Playa and Mar Street, where you will see the "Margenot" which is an old sea defence wall built to protect the fishermen´s dwellings from rough seas. El Castillo de Moraira (Moraira Castle), dating from the 18th century, was built as a fortress with its typical 'bull´s hoof' shape. Opposite you will find the Ermita de Nª. Sra. del Carmen.
A visit to the Moraira Yacht Club (el Club Náutico de Moraira) is also recommended; this is a leisure marina with more than 600 mooring berths, and many activities are organised here during the course of the year.
From here proceed to the Portet Beach where you will see the watchtower known as la Torre Vigía del "Cap d'Or". This was built on the orders of King Philip, with a circular design and 11 m high. To the south you can see la Cova de la Sendra, a cave dating from the Late Palaeolithic period.
La Lonja (the Guildhall). The fish auction is held here every Monday to Saturday, starting at 9.30 am.
The Market. Moraira market is held on Fridays on the Moraira-Calpe main road, next to the car park. The craft market takes place on summer evenings in the Avenida de Madrid.
After visiting the most interesting sights in Teulada and Moraira, now let´s set out to discover BENISSA.
To get to Benissa. Follow the signs towards Calpe for about 5 kms. until you reach the crossroads signposted for Benissa on the right.
Visit Benissa. Route. Starting point: La Plaza del Portal, with the Town Hall. There was a hospital for he poor and sick of the town on this spot at the end of the 18th century. In the olden days Benissa was a walled town with the main gateway located here, at the top of the street known today as calle "Puríssima". Take your time strolling down this typical medieval street, with its impressive town houses, its local people and its balconies with ornate iron railings. Walk through the Plaza de la Iglesia Vieja, where the fortified church of San Pedro used to stand, admire the 11th century Guildhall (La Lonja), and the Riberero monument built in honour of the citizens of Benissa who emigrated to the Valencia Ribera region to work in the rice fields there; opposite you will see the Casa de la Cultura, a former mansion built beside the famous Juan Vives House, where the miraculous image of Benissa´s patron saint is kept, known to all as La Puríssima Xiqueta.
Church of the Puríssima Xiqueta.
This church of exceptional proportions is located right in the centre of the old town. It is known hereabouts as the "Cathedral of the Marina" for obvious reasons. Inside at the altar you will find the enthroned image of the Puríssima Xiqueta, patroness of Benissa; she is taken out in procession every 4th Sunday in the month of April, during the celebrations of the Town Fiestas.
You can go out walking on the Sierra de Bèrnia mountain, starting from the Benissa-Pinos road. If you follow this road you wil come to the site of the famous cave paintings of the "Morro de la Francesa".
Around Benissa there are also six tiny chapels, or 'ermitas', located in beautiful natural countryside.
Past the Guildhall (La Lonja) you enter a tiny street called Calle del Angel leading to Calle dels Desamparats. This street is really worth visiting as here you see the noblemen´s houses of the past. At the end of the Calle dels Desamparats, turn left to "El Casal dels Joves" (Youth Centre) with its interesting exterior design. Then continue until you rejoin the C/Puríssima. You will then come to la Iglesia de la Puríssima Xiqueta, built in the neo-Gothic style.
From here, stroll slowly down the streets and in 10 minutes you will come to the Franciscan Convent, dating from the 17th century. The façade is that of a fortified buiilding, but inside the cloister there is an atmosphere of intimacy and serenity. Beside the Cloisters is the church itself containing a magnificent 18th century altarpiece and an excellent wood sculpture of Saint Antony of Padua.
Leaving Benissa, head towards Gata de Gorgos, well known for its local wickerwork crafts. (Take the N-332 towards Valencia).
The most well known dish is the "putxero de polp" –a Benissa speciality; also try the rice dishes such as "el arròs de senyoret" or "el arròs amb fesols i naps", "la melva" and "el bacalao" (cod fish), "el bull amb ceba", "el mullador de pelleta", "la sang amb ceba" as well as the various locally prepared cold meats and sausages, such as "la sobrasada", "els blanquets", "las longanizas", "las morcillas" and "las cocas de embutidos".
Markets and flea markets. Every Saturday the weekly market is held near the Convent, selling fresh fruit and vegetables, gift items, textiles and local products, such as salted meat and fish, sweets, etc. On Tuesdays the antique and craft market is held in the Dolores Piera Park.
Visit Gata de Gorgos. In Gata, you will find the Avda de la Marina Alta and the Plaza de España full of little shops where you can buy locally crafted articles made from wicker, palm and cane, as well as other pieces of craftwork, such as bobbin lacework, hand made guitars (you can watch these being made on weekdays), ceramic ware, glass ware, leather goods, etc.
Right in the town centre is the Parish Church dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel built in the 17th century. From here you can start your walk around the old town, which still retains its traditional village atmosphere.
You could also take a walk along the left bank of the Gorgos River, in the riverside gardens of la Font del Ríu y l'Arrabal, observing the many different sculptures placed along the way, forming a veritable Open Air Art Museum.
Around the town you will find some of the most important landmarks of the region, such as the municipal open-air laundry known nowadays as la Rana, located on the Xàbia road and currently in disuse, although now restored and acting as a social meeting point for the townspeople
Typical food. The cold meats and sausages of this area are well known; prepared using traditional recipes and methods, you can try the 'botifarra' sausages, the "sobrassada", the "llonganiseta", the "salxixa",etc.
Around Gata the main agriculture is fruit growing, with almond and olive groves, and many vineyards. The Moscatel grape is cultivated here, from which the sweet liqueur wine known as Mistela is made. This is the perfect drink to accompany the many delicious sweetmeats of the region, such as the local almond cake, the pumpkin cakes, the almond and raisin biscuits, etc.
Return to DÉNIA. From here we return to Dénia, our starting point, on the N-332.
Optional visit. "La Ermita del Santísimo Cristo del Calvari". Take the C/del Calvari and the road will lead you to the Chapel, built in the neoclassical style, hidden away on top of a little hill known as el Tossalet.