Jávea is a little gem that has it all: gorgeous beaches, delicious food and all the nature activities you desire.
When you’re looking for a sunny holiday by the beach in Spain there’s no shortage of high-profile destinations: Ibiza, Mallorca, Sitges, Málaga. But if you want to truly relax in a quiet destination that’s still packed with fun holiday activities, it doesn’t get much better than Jávea. Located along the stunning Costa Blanca of Alicante on the east coast of Spain, Jávea is a perfect and charming beach town.
HOW TO GET THERE
Jávea is an hour drive away from both Valencia and Alicante. There are buses that go to Jávea from Valencia and Alicante every day, which can take 2.5 – 4 hours depending on the bus route. Once you’re there, if you don’t have a car, renting a motorbike is perfect to get around town and access all of the calas (cove beaches) which are scattered between the mountains.
There are a handful of small hotels, some boutique hotels being trendier than others in the town of Jávea. There’s no presence of huge name-brand resorts (other than the Parador) which is a blessing. The most convenient place to stay is near Playa Arenal, although the Puerto area is quieter albeit a bit further to reach. Many travelers, especially groups and long-stay visitors, opt for house or apartment rentals, of which there are many in Jávea. You can rent a stunning villa with beach views in the mountains or smaller villas for great prices on Airbnb or other rental sites.
Of course you should spend the majority of your time in Jávea, lounging at the beach. Like duh. Although you should be warned that most of the beaches in this area have rocks instead of sand. The most gorgeous beaches are the calas, which are beaches in coves with clear water surrounded by jagged rocks and mountains. The most beautiful beach in Jávea is Cala Granadella, which truly offers one of the most stunning views in Spain. Cala Blanca is my personal favorite for swimming, while Cala Barraca is always lively with groups hanging out on the beach all day. I highly recommend packing a pair of rubber water shoes, crocs or at least some very thick flip flops for walking on the jagged rocks which can be precarious. Playa Arenal is the most touristy beach right next to the main boardwalk, but it is the only beach with sand for those days when you just want to stretch and doze under the sun.
A popular activity is taking a boat ride from the port to the various coves and calas. There are also kayak rentals at Cala Granadella and stand-up paddle-boarding is also popular at Cala Blanca and Barraca. If you’re up for something a bit more active, hiking up to Cova Tallada is a challenging yet rewarding venture. After hiking up and down the Natural Park of Montgo, you’ll reach huge coves with stunning jagged rock formations where you can swim in scenic grottos and caves. The hike is on the challenging side and can get a bit scary when climbing down the rocks by the sea, so wear good shoes and don’t expect to follow a clear-cut path on the way there.
Whenever you’re visiting the east coast of Spain, it’s imperative to eat paella straight out of the pan, preferably while sitting outside next to the ocean. Eat as much of it as you can when in Jávea because paella is native to this region and it’s going to be the most delicious paella you’ll ever have. The best paella that I know I’ll ever have is from Arros I Mes and I refuse to eat paella from anywhere else in Spain. They’re principally a delivery service and they’ll bring the paella to you wherever you are (with the pan), but you can visit El Restaurante Trencall if you want to sit down to have the same food.
The Port area has the best restaurants and all of them have outdoor seating facing the glittering sea. La Cantina de Jávea is famous for serving the freshest seafood straight from the fish market next door. But you can get delicious seafood at any of the restaurants along the boardwalk as well: everything from calamari, cuttlefish, octopus, mussels, cod, shrimp, sea bass and more.
One place you really can’t miss is having a breezy drink at Cala Clemence. Located on the beach at Cala Barraca, it’s easily the most delightful beach bar you’ll ever visit. With beachy boho-chic décor, trendy music and sparkling views of the water, once there, it’s impossible to leave this heavenly hideout. Especially with a sangria in your hand.
Every night when the sun goes down, the place to be is the boardwalk in front of Playa Arenal. This bright, lively boardwalk is lined end-to-end with cocktail bars, restaurants and even a few dance lounges. It’s where everyone comes to wind down and mingle with other holiday-makers looking to have a good time. There’s nothing like sipping a refreshing gin and tonic Spanish-style in a huge goblet to cool off that sunburn.