The five-beach walk from Malladeta to Xarco watchtower

Duration: 1 hour 30 mins. Mostly easy beach walking, some stony tracks, some roads and a few gradients. Very little shade. Jump to map at the end of this post.

A gentle walk along the coast southwards from Malladeta on the outskirts of Villajoyosa  taking in five beaches on the way.

You can’t miss the starting point; the ruined tower at Malladeta is perched high above the road from Alicante as it comes into Villajoyosa on Partida Paraiso.

La Torre de Malladeta dominates the clifftop – start point for our walk
Stunning views southwards towards Alicante from the Malladeta headland, just below the ruined tower

A little history!

The tower was built in the late 19th century as a private study by José Maria Esquerdo, then a big cheese in Spain’s Republican party. His family owned the Villa Giacomina nearby.

The villa is literally falling to bits and fenced off, but the exterior of the tower got some TLC and a lick of paint last year. The views from up on the headland are great – down the coast towards Alicante and northwards to the Islote (little island) de Benidorm.

Villa Giacomina with the Puig Campana mountain in the distance


Iberian shrine on the clifftop at Malladeta

There’s also an ancient Iberian religious site just below the tower, where people worshipped their gods four centuries before Christianity was thought of. You can see the excavated rooms just below the path.

Frustratingly, the walk starts on the main road; there’s no direct route from the tower to the beach below. So head for the N-332a, turn left and walk a couple of hundred metres until you hit Camping El Paraiso. Turn into their entrance, walk down past reception and a path takes you to the sea.

There’s then a bit of a scramble along a thin strip of coastline past the fancy tents and Winnebagos. You’ll then find yourself puzzling over a collection of very odd-looking boats, looking not unlike bath toys on steroids.

Malladeta Moros y Cristianos
In July, the boats will be towed round to Villajoyosa harbour ready for the fiesta

Boats Moros y Cristianos

Replica sailing ships waiting for July’s Moros y Cristianos festival in La Vila. The Moorish fleet attacks the main beach at dawn.

They may look a little tatty right now, but every July, these boats play a starring role in La Vila’s biggest party of the year, the Moros y Cristianos fiesta. Crewed by townsfolk dressed as Moorish invaders, the ships storm the main beach at dawn, re-enacting a real raid that took place back in 1538. Check out my post on Villajoyosa’s fiesta here.

Beach one – Playa Paraiso

Head past a couple of seafront villas and you’re on Playa Paraiso (literally Paradise Beach). A bit of an overstatement; it’s a perfectly respectable pebble beach almost a kilometre long, but paradise is stretching it a little.

It’s undergone a fair bit of development in the past few years and there are some new upmarket beachfront duplexes and a good beach bar in the summer.

Playa Paraiso
The long shingle beach of Playa Paraiso (Paradise Beach)

Playa ParaisoThe shingle beach of Playa Paraiso looking back towards the tower on the headland at Malladeta

ParaisoFishermen at the end of Playa Paraiso. The headland separates Paraiso beach from Playa Bol Nou to the south

Beach two – Playa Bol Nou

Next up is Playa Bol Nou. But first, take some time to climb up to the headland at the end of Playa Paraiso; the views from up here are beautiful. Playa Bol Nou itself is a pretty little cove, sheltered by cliffs topped by some very fancy houses indeed.

The views must be fantastic, but I wouldn’t fancy living up there myself; there are big cracks in the cliff face and hefty strands of netting to catch falling rocks. 

Playa Bol Nou
A nice secluded cove with some seriously expensive real estate on the top of the cliffs

Playa Bol NouWire ropes and nets to keep the cliff where it belongs. Playa Bol Nou.

Playa Bol NouPlaya Bol Nou; a nice sheltered shingle beach

Now clearly no-one is going to pay a shedload of cash for a clifftop mansion simply to allow ordinary folk to walk in front of it and spoil the view, so there’s no way for walkers to follow the coast. So it’s back to the road for us!

Leave Playa Bol Nou and head up the hill behind the beach and within a couple of hundred metres, you have a choice. Bear left and follow the (nameless) road behind the clifftop properties down to the nudist beach of Playa L’Esparrelló. Or turn right over the railway bridge and head for the clothed beach of La Caleta (see map at the end of this post)

Playa L’Esparrello
The nudist beach of Playa L’Esparrelló

Playa L’EsparrelloHead down past the traffic bollard for a hundred metres to find the nudist beach of Playa L’Esparrelló

Beach three – Playa L’Esparrelló

Playa L’Esparrelló isn’t that easy to find; head to the end of the clifftop road, where you’ll see a shiny metal bollard blocking a dirt track; walk past this and down a few steps to find the beach itself.

If skinny dipping isn’t your style, head instead along Carrer Noruega to Playa La Caleta about a kilometre further on. Take a few minutes to pop into the seriously expensive 5-star Hotel Montiboli and admire the sensational clifftop views from the terrace and restaurant.

Then head down the hill, behind the Blue Sense resort and along the public path past the endless tennis courts (do people really play that much tennis on holiday? In the heat?) to the beach itself.

The tram from Alicante - Benidorm
Trundling happily along the coast with some beautiful views; the tram from Alicante nears Villajoyosa

Hotel MontiboliThe five star Hotel Montiboli is perched on the cliffs above La Caleta

Hotel MontiboliView from the Hotel Montiboli terrace down to the beach at La Caleta. The restaurant is open to non-residents

Beach four – Playa La Caleta

La Caleta is a pretty pebble beach rather dominated by the hotel buildings lining the coast behind it. But concentrate your gaze out to sea and it’s a very pleasant place to be. There’s the added bonus of a chiringuito bar in the summer season. 

Playa La Caleta
The pretty cove of La Caleta

If you’ve now reached your limit, you can catch a 23 bus back into La Vila from the back of the Blue Sense resort, or walk 20 minutes to the Paradis tram stop.

Beach five – Platja del Xarco

But for those with energy to spare, there’s then a rugged clifftop walk from La Caleta on to el Xarco beach  (aka Playa del Charco). It’ll take you about another 30 minutes.

It’s easily identified by the 16th century watchtower perched dramatically on a headland at the far end of the beach. You can scramble up to it; the spectacular views up and down the coast are well worth the effort.

Part of the beach is a playa canina, where you can officially take your dog. Dogs aren’t allowed on many Spanish beaches, including most around Villajoyosa.

Playa del Xarco
The 16th century watchtower on the clifftop at Playa del Xarco

Platja del XarcoPlaya del Xarco from the hills above Playa Caleta

Platja del XarcoLooking down on the shingle beach of Playa del Xarco from the watchtower

Platja del XarcoThe watchtower on the headland at Playa del Xarco. It was built to watch for pirate attack back in the 16th century

Platja del XarcoThe shingle beach of Xarco with the watchtower at its end

How to get there:

Check out the rest of La Vila’s beaches in my post here (there are 13 in total!)

More top walks around La Vila

© Guy Pelham

2 thoughts on “The five-beach walk from Malladeta to Xarco watchtower

  1. Sonja V

    I’m so happy I discovered your vlogs! I love learning about the history of Villajoyosa, and thought I knew quite a bit already, but this is a vast collection of history, points of interest and a lot I didn’t know, yet.
    Thank you very much for all the time and love you put into your vlogs.

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