Places in Spain - Villena on the
Costa Blanca, Spain,
Whilst touring the Costa Blanca, Idealspain visited the wonderful and historic town of Villena.
Villena is just 59km from Alicante and is well worth a visit. Villena borders to the west with the region of Castilla La Mancha. Villena is an interesting town, rich in history and having some real treasures.
The centro historico is where you will find most of the tourist sights. Without doubt though, the castle, Castillo de la Atalaya dominates the skyline and is the pride of Villena. This Arab castle dates from the 11th century. In amazing condition, the Tower of Homage is of square construction with 3 metre thick walls. Guided tours of the castle are free of charge and offered several times each day.
The skyline of Villena is dominated by the castle which can be seen for miles around and is a real head-turner as you drive along the A31.
The oldest quarter of Villena stands in the shadow of the castle. Whilst not very attractive, it certainly has to be seen. This is the Rabal district (old Moorish part).
The Archaeological Museum
Located inside the City Hall and opposite the tourist office, this small museum has a wide range of local finds from the Bronze Age, Roman times and more. The gem of the museum is the collection of gold known as the Villena Treasure or Tesoro de Villena. This collection of gold is one of the most important gold finds in the world. Found locally in 1963, the 60 gold items date from around 1,000BC. It can only be seen under supervision of the museum manager who will open the safe to show you.
There are several other museums in Villena including the Museo del Festero with a collection of ceramics and other pieces of art and the Museo Santafe which is a museum of sculptures by Antonio Navarro Santafe.
Above is Santaigo Square
Right in the heart of the historical centre is this large square. In this plaza you will find the tourist office, the Archaeological Museum, City Hall, the House of Culture and the Church of Santiago.
This wonderful church dates from the 14th and 15th century and is one of the most important churches in the region of Valencia. Visits must be arranged with the tourist office.
The Church of St Mary
This church was built on the site of a former mosque in the 16th century. The front of the church is in Baroque style.
Pictured right is the view of the rooftops of Villena from the castle walls.
Located in Avda de los Toreros, this building is undergoing a massive restoration and conversion. As we passed in February, the building was having glass windows installed along with a dome roof. A full plan of all the monuments in Villena can be collected from the tourist office in Plaza Santiago.
Fiestas in Villena
Villena has a wide range of fiestas each year, in addition to the national holidays of Spain. These include the Three Kings in January, the Moors and Christians in March and September and the patron saint day on the 17th January. For a full list of fiestas see this page.
Close to Villena
Novelda with a 12th century castle and famed for saffron and marble production.
Sax is dominated by its castle and several fine churches. It's around 10 minutes from Villena.
Villena only has one hotel, the Hotel Salvadora. Idealspain stayed here in February 2011 and would not reccommend this hotel. You are better to travel to one of the other nearby villages and find a hotel or hostal. The Hotel Salvadora is old, dated and very uncomfortable. At €65.01 per night it was expensive. In our opinion it wasn't worth any more than €40 per night. Small rooms, noisy at night, thin walls and poor quality beds.