Dénia is a holiday resort being, along with Javea, the place where wealthy folk from Valencia had their summer homes. It is still very Spanish, while attracting an increasing number of international visitors. It's where you pick up your high-speed catamaran ferry for a night of rock’n’roll in Ibiza or, if you fancy a more leisurely ride, you can take a panoramic trip down the coast as far as Altea.
Best dining in the Costa Blanca
Dénia has always been a very popular resort for the Spanish – and they like their food. There are more top-flight restaurants in the town than in any other on the Costa Blanca. Fish features high on most menus, and will be bought fresh from the boat as it is unloaded in the fishing harbout. To see just how weird and ugly some of the denizens of the deep can be, visit the shop beside the Lonja de Pescadores on the prom, that sells part of the catch direct to the public. The prawns here are said to be the best in the world (although no-one knows who actually said it!) and to sample them you could try one of the fish restaurants that overlook the beach at Punta Raset, a ten-minute walk north from the Port.
A thousand-year-old castle
Dénia’s biggest tourist draw is the castle, situated in the heart of the town. The original design can be traced back to the Islamic era (11th-12th centuries) with additions in most centuries up to the 17th. In the narrow streets descending to the modern town the houses are built onto the castle walls themselves. Take away the satellite dishes and you can vaguely imagine life long ago.
Life's a beach
Nestling at the foot of the Montgó, the name of the mountain and national park, Dénia has twenty kilometres of beaches, ranging from soft and sandy to the north to rough and rugged in the south. Les Deveses is popular with windsurfers, while for those who prefer life under the waves there are plenty of rocky coves south of the Port at Marineta Cassiana, El Trampoli and Punta Negra. Most tourist offices provide way-marked walks, but Dénia must be the only resort in the Costa Blanca that provides way-marked dives – two of them in the Cap de San-Antonio Marine Reserve. If you fancy a bit of skinny-dipping, the tiny La Cala cove next to the Reserve is the place for an all-over tan.
Shop to your heart's content
The tree-lined Carrer Marques de Campo that leads up from the port is the main shopping street of the town, although Dénia has no shortage of places to shop or dine.