Denia, capital of the Marina Alta, is one of the most charming cities in Alicante. A destination that has it all: gastronomy, culture, history, beaches and nature.
I am from Alicante and I confess that Denia is one of my favorite towns in La Terreta. I know it quite well and in this article I want to share with you the best things to do and places to see in Denia. Are you coming? You will like it…
What to do in Denia?
1. Start with a guided tour
If this is your first time in Denia and you want to soak up its interesting history while getting to know the most outstanding monuments, I recommend you to book this guided tour that has excellent ratings. The tour ends at the castle, but first:
2. Castle Tunnel
In the bowels of the castle hill, in the heart of Denia, there is a tunnel that crosses the mountain, allowing access to the historic center of the city. This tunnel was excavated during the Civil War as an air raid shelter and today is one of the attractions to see.
3. Historical Center
If you have accessed through the tunnel, the first thing you will see is the Plaça del Consell and the Church of Ntra. Sra. del Consuelo. Continue to Plaça de la Constitució and Carrer Loreto – full of bars and restaurants – or Carrer Cavallers. Don’t go too far, because from the Town Hall we start the ascent to one of the main attractions:
4. Castle of Dénia
One of the must-see places. At the top of the hill, Denia Castle overlooks the city and will allow you to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view. In the upper part of the fortress is the Archaeological Museum of Denia, which consists of 4 rooms dedicated to the Iberian, Roman, Muslim and Christian eras. A proper visit to the castle will easily take you 2 hours.
5. Municipal Market
Back to the town center, walk to the Mercat de Dénia, an obligatory stop in a first class gastronomic destination such as Dénia(recognized by UNESCO). Here, in addition to getting to know the local products, you can recharge your batteries in one of the bars.
6. Marqués de Campo Avenue
One of the most lively historical streets of Denia. It is the commercial boulevard par excellence and in the shade of its large plane trees you will find some of the historic stores of the town, as well as several restaurants and cafes. On the way to the next point you can take a detour to visit the Toy Museum.
7. Port of Denia
If you walk along Marqués de Campo towards the sea, you will come face to face with the monument known as Portal del Viento, in the middle of the promenade of the Port of Dénia. Time to board! A visit to this town cannot be considered complete if it does not include at least one boat excursion. Choose your favorite of these three:
8. Fish Market and Marine Quarter
Surely you have heard of the Dénia red shrimp. Well, pay attention: the Baix La Mar neighborhood is the old fishermen’s quarter of Dénia. There is a special atmosphere in its streets. Do you want to soak up its history? Don’t miss this 2-hour guided tour that includes the Museum of the Sea and the Lonja de Dénia. Living history and an unrepeatable experience.
9. The Magazinos
To recharge your batteries after the guided tour of the seaside neighborhood, I recommend you stop by Els Magazinos, a gastronomic market with a cheerful and modern atmosphere where you will find a wide range of restaurants, including the fun terrace of A la Fresca. In addition, Els Magazinos often organizes gastronomic events around products such as olive oil, tomatoes, cheese and more. Visit their website and make a reservation.
10. Montgó Natural Park
After the gastronomic tribute, it’s time to put on your boots and discover the Montgó Natural Park: yes, that beautiful mountain that you will have seen from almost every corner of Dénia. The Montgó is an icon for the region and a natural border between Dénia and Xàbia. There are many hiking trails that can be enjoyed in its surroundings, so I encourage you to discover them here: Routes in the Montgó.
11. Les Rotes
To the south of Dénia there is a rocky coastal strip where the mountain and the sea merge harmoniously, in a landscape dotted with pine trees and cottages. If you are looking for a hotel in a quiet environment and by the sea, Les Rotes is your best bet in Denia. Here you can see the best hotels and save up to 15%.
12. Les Arenetes Beach
At the end of Les Rotes you will arrive at Platja de Les Arenetes. Right there you have two good restaurants where it is worth eating: Mena and Ca Nano (reserve before). Depending on the time you have available, you can explore the rocky coves in the area (including a naturist cove), or put on your hiking boots and continue to the next must-see spot:
13. Cova Tallada
One of the star attractions of Denia (although it belongs to Xàbia) and the place that everyone wants to visit. Watch out! Access is not easy and involves walking through rocky terrain and climbing to access the cave. In addition, you will have to book in advance if you go in summer or Easter. I tell you all the details here: Cova Tallada Guide.
14. Gerro Tower
If you consider that the Cova Tallada route is too difficult for you, then I encourage you to visit the Torre del Gerro. Located at the top of the cliffs, it is an ancient anticorsair watchtower. As you can hear! Pirate attacks were very frequent during the XV-XVII centuries and these defensive towers were erected all along the Mediterranean coast.
15. Lighthouse of Cap de Sant Antoni
After the visit to Les Rotes, we will take the scenic road CV-736 towards Jávea. This road crosses the Plana del Cap de Sant Antoni, the seaward extension of Montgó, which in turn leads to the Marine Reserve where the Cova Tallada is located. Well, at the highest point of this road you can not miss the visit to the Cabo de San Antonio lighthouse, with stunning views of the bay of Javea / Xàbia. Nearby you can also visit the Molinos de la Plana which, like the lighthouse, are part of the Route of the Viewpoints of Xàbia.
16. Poor Jesus
Continuing along the CV-736 road, it is hard not to stop and visit Jávea, but on this occasion we passed by. We take the CV-735 road and in a jiffy we arrive at Jesús Pobre, a charming village that rests peacefully on the southern slope of Montgó. Pay attention because the visit to Jesús Pobre gives a lot:
17. Riurau Market
Every Sunday morning, the Riurau Market is held here in Jesús Pobre. As they define themselves: a market of local products committed to responsible consumption. The chosen place could not be more suitable: the Gran Riurau del Senyoret, a typical construction of the Marina linked to the elaboration of the raisin of Muscatel grape, once the star product of the region.
This market is, without a doubt, one of the most fun-loving in the whole province. While you are here, take the opportunity to visit Celler Les Freses and taste its wines. Do you want a special souvenir? With this one you will succeed.
18. Mills of Jesús Pobre
If you have stayed for lunch at the Mercat del Riurau (highly recommended), then in the afternoon you can make a simple but very interesting tour: the old windmills of Jesus Pobre. You can be guided by this wikiloc track that includes the visit to the Franciscan convent of Jesús Pobre. Essential stop!
And if you are still strong enough, you can finish off the day at La Tasca de Jesús Pobre, a place that in summer offers live music, in a fantastic atmosphere with a very cozy inner courtyard.
Garden of l’Albarda
We take the car but we don’t go very far. It’s time to enter a fascinating natural world. If you like charming gardens, then you can’t miss this stop in the town of Pedreguer: El Jardín de l’Albarda. You will be surprised by its history and different environments.
20. Cave of the Skulls
In another small village in the area, Benidoleig, you have the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful caves in the Valencian Community: the Cueva de las Calaveras. Very interesting from a geological point of view, but also from a historical point of view, since a group of human skulls was found inside (hence its name).
21. Quique Dacosta
We set course to Les Marines beach. With 3 Michelin Stars and considered one of the 50 best restaurants in Europe, you have to come here at least once in your life to eat. The price of the menu per person at Quique Dacosta Restaurant for the 2023 season is 275€.
Do you prefer something more affordable but without sacrificing quality? Check out our selection of nature restaurants in Alicante. One of them, Pont Sec, is a place that we love and is also located near the Playa de les Marines, north of Denia.
Best Excursions near Dénia
22. Pego and its Marjal
If you have eaten in the area of Les Marines, less than half an hour away I recommend you to visit the Natural Park of Marjal de Pego-Oliva. An oasis of peace and nature where you can observe aquatic birds while enjoying a pleasant walk, ideal for families. From the tourist office of Pego i les valls there are many free activities throughout the year, I encourage you to take a look and book.
23. Vall de Laguar
If you like hiking, take the opportunity to visit this beautiful valley perched on the mountains of La Carrasca and Migdia. Formed by three picturesque villages, here is the route known as the Cathedral of Hiking. Watch out! To overcome this hiking baptism, the Barranc de l’Infern, a good physical shape is required. It is also the location of two of our favorite restaurants.
Historical note: the expulsion of the Moors from the Kingdom of Valencia, in 1609, had one of its most tragic episodes in Laguar, ending with the embarkation of thousands of refugees in the port of Denia. In the castle of the latter you can learn about the history, including some engravings that illustrate what happened.
24. Xàbia / Jávea
Essential visit: if you come to spend several days in Dénia, dedicate at least one to Jávea. Better if it is in low season, I warn you. You can get there by the road I already told you about, the Cabo de San Antonio, or by ferry along the cliffs and the Marine Reserve that delimits the same geographical feature.
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Summary: Reasons to visit Dénia
Denia is one of my favorite towns in the whole province of Alicante. This great little town has practically everything one could need: beach and mountains, history and culture, leisure and gastronomy, services and traditional commerce.
It has a special charm due to the fact that it has been an important Mediterranean port for centuries, still in use today with those ferries that connect it with the Balearic Islands.
If we talk about mountains, the reference would be, without a doubt, the Natural Park of the Montgó Massif. A real treasure as far as natural heritage is concerned, offering a multitude of routes to explore it, of varying levels of difficulty. But we are also close to those incredible inland valleys: Vall de Laguar, Vall de Gallinera, Vall d’Ebo…
If we talk about beaches, I personally prefer the Marine Reserve of Cap de Sant Antoni, a rugged landscape of steep cliffs that plunge into the sea from hundreds of meters high. But Denia also has friendly beaches, such as those found in the area of Les Marines, with miles of sand for walking and suitable for the whole family.
Denia has a rich history that can be appreciated by visiting its castle, located on top of a small hill and overlooking the sea. Denia also has an excellent gastronomy, highlighting its famous red shrimp and delicious rice dishes, with Quique Dacosta and his three Michelin stars as standard bearer.
When it comes to staying in Denia, you can choose between modern hotels or apartments in the city center, or opt for a charming hotel in Les Rotes. To book, you can use a portal such as Holidu, a website (or smartphone app) that allows you to compare prices from different providers.
Plans near Dénia
Everything you need to know to visit the Cova Tallada from Denia. A fascinating place you have to see in the Comunitat Valenciana.
Discover what to see and do in Jávea / Xàbia (Alicante). The best plans that you can not miss in this beautiful town in the Marina Alta.
What to see in Altea: beautiful places, beaches, routes, gastronomy and the best plans to enjoy the most beautiful coastal town in Alicante.