Villajoyosa walks: La Vila to Playa de Torres

Duration: 45 mins each way. Easy, mostly paved or dirt tracks, some steep steps and uneven paths.

This stroll is a nice mix of cliff top walking, beautiful sea views and a little history. Start on the seafront by the red lighthouse at the port entrance; this corner of the beach is known as the Basseta de L’Oli (rough translation, the Oil Pool). Fear not, there’s no pollution; it got the name because the sea is always calmest here in the shelter of the port.

The sand itself is a relatively recent import; the beach was just pebbles until not much more than 20 years ago. Before Villajoyosa’s modern port was built in the 1920s, the fishing boats were hauled up onto the shingle and bigger ships had to anchor offshore in the bay.

Fishing boats on the old shingle beach. Before Villajoyosa’s port was built in the 1920s, boats had to be hauled out of the water onto the pebbles.
The Basseta de L’Oli; the calmest part of the beach, in the shelter of the port.

Head past the marina to the ship repair yard at the end of the port, all that is left of a once-thriving shipbuilding industry. Difficult to believe now, but in the nineteenth century, La Vila (as Villajoyosa is known in Valenciano) was the second most important shipyard in the whole of Spain.

Shipyard, Villajoyosa
Ship repair yard at the end of the port, Villajoyosa.

Astillero Villajoyosa

Dawn La Vila Oct 2018
Sunrise over the port of Villajoyosa

Turn right at the end of the port, walk to the sea past the modern duplex apartments and you come to Playa Varadero (literally Shipyard Beach). They built all sorts here; trading schooners, fishing boats and pilot boats. All that’s left now is a rather forlorn and rusty winch on the beach, once used for hauling boats out of the water.

Shipyard on what is now Playa Varadero. La Vila was once one of the biggest shipbuilding towns in Spain. Picture: La Vila Museu
Follow the coast road past Playas Estudiantes and Tio Roig to the cul de sac.

The beach itself is still shingle; no fancy imported sand here. It’s a great place to go snorkeling around the rocks (tip: take beach shoes to deal with the pebbles, otherwise it’s an ungainly hobble to the water’s edge).  It’s more chilled and less crowded than La Vila’s main beach. It does also boast a beach bar.

Good news; there’s then a well-paved road by the sea for the next few hundred yards, taking you past the little coves of Playa Estudiantes and Playa Tio Roig. Not such good news: the path then runs out and you have to climb a steep staircase (84 steps, I counted) to the clifftop.

Turn right at the top along a path which takes you around the edge of an olive grove behind a villa. Turn right across the villa access road and there’s then a brief scramble which takes you up onto the cliff path towards the six towers of Torres.

Built with all the sensitivity and skill of a toddler with its first box of Lego, they’re an ugly hangover from the ‘build ’em high, sell ’em quick’ era of Spanish tourist development. Keep your eyes on the beautiful clifftop view out to sea instead; you’ll notice the giant nets of the fish farm where they breed sea bass (lubina).

Occasionally one of the nets breaks in bad weather; all the fishermen then head for the beach for a free fishy bonanza. A net broke away from the fish farm off Albir in the storms of January 2020, and we saw local anglers pulling bucketfuls of lubina out of the sea from La Vila’s beach for a couple of days afterwards!

Torres apartment blocks
The unlovely tower blocks of Torres; the view out to sea is much nicer!

You can’t miss the Islote (little island) de Benidorm out in the bay. It’s uninhabited and a nature reserve, but you can take a 20 minute trip out to visit from Benidorm – see my post here. Some boats have underwater viewing panels for a close up view of the flourishing marine wildlife. See my blog for a few local myths and legends on how the island was born.

Looking down onto Playa de Torres from the cliff path, with the Islote de Benidorm in the distance.

A couple of minutes stroll and the tower blocks are mercifully behind you; a winding path with easy steps then takes you down to Playa de Torres itself. Pause briefly to feel seriously jealous of the people who own the clifftop house; they must have one of the best sea views on the entire Costa Blanca. Inland, you’ll see the Puig Campana mountain dominating the skyline.

The pleasant sand and shingle  beach of Playa de Torres.
Playa de Torres on a stormy winter’s day
Torre de Sant Josep. A few metres behind the beach, this restored Roman tower is one of only three in the whole of Spain.

Playa de Torres itself is a pleasant sand and shingle beach; head towards the far end if you want to escape the muzak from the nearby caravan site (the site bar/shop is handy for a refreshing drink or ice cream though). 

Walk a few yards inland behind the beach to see the remarkable Torre de Sant Josep; it’s a Roman funeral tower, one of only three in the whole of Spain. Built for a seriously important Roman citizen from Allon (the Roman name for La Vila), it has just been restored to more or less the way archaeologists think it might have looked in the second century AD (see my blog on the Romans in La Vila here)

That’s the end of the walk; head back the same way to La Vila, or if you’re feeling energetic, continue past Playa de Torres along the cliffs to Torre d’Aguiló, Cala de Finestrat and Benidorm. The walk to Torre d’Aguiló takes a further hour; for info, see my blog here

Try these other walks around Villajoyosa:

©Guy Pelham 2017

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