Duration: 1 hour 30 mins. Mostly easy beach walking, some stony tracks, some roads and a few gradients. Very little shade.
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.
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. Both tower and villa are now falling to bits and fenced off, but the views from up on the headland are great – down the coast to Campello and Alicante and northwards to the Isla de Benidorm.
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 Winniebagos, until you reach a compound full of very odd-looking boats, not unlike a collection of bath toys on steroids.
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.
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, but that’s about it.
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.
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…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’Esparrello, or turn right over the tram bridge and head for the clothed beach of La Caleta.
Playa L’Esparrello 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.
La Caleta is a pretty pebble beach rather dominated by the hotels lining the coast behind it. But concentrate your gaze out to sea and it’s a very pleasant place to be, with the added bonus of a chiringuito bar in the summer season.
If you’ve now reached your limit, you can catch a bus back into La Vila from the back of the Blue Sense resort.
But for those with energy to spare, there’s then a rugged clifftop walk from La Caleta on to Platja del Xarco (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.
© Guy Pelham 2018