Zach Frolich, our local expert guest writer from Valencia, has another important credential to add to his career. He is a chocoholic. Doing research on beaches around Valencia popular for Costa Blanca holidays he found La Vila Joiosa is also the home of a famous chocolate manufacturer. Slather on the sun tan lotion and pass the chocolate.
By Zach Frolich
Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s almost beach time! I recently visited La Vila Joiosa in Alicante on full chocolate mode. La Vila Joiosa, or in Spanish Villajoyosa, is home to the delicious Chocolates Valor, it’s factory and museum. You might recognize the brand Valor from their chocolaterías all over Spain. (Mmm, chocolate con churros.) Or from those rich almond and chocolate candy bars you can find in supermarkets here.
I’m a chocoholic, so it had long been on my to-do list to go to the source, and tour the museum there. What can I say, the Chocolates Valor museum alone makes visiting this town worth it! (The factory smells like chocolate. The shop is chock full of chocolate goodies, and they leave out a sampling tray for you to nibble on while you try not to buy one of each kind of the 30-40 types of chocolate products they sell.)
What I hadn’t anticipate is that La Vila Joiosa is also a great beach town destination. Located on the Costa Blanca, this “jeweled town” is no hidden gem. It is sure to fill up with sun-seekers like nearby Benidorm (only 15-minutes away by car). But it won’t be quite as crowded as Benidorm, and is a step above many of the other towns and “urbanizaciones” in this region because of its local character.
The facades (“fachadas”) of buildings in Vila Joiosa have a distinctive style, each one painted with a different and often bright color. The result is a very charming rainbow effect. Moreover, it was once a fishermen village and thus has windy, narrow streets which makes for great strolls (and great photos) through quiet, hidden corners where it is just you and the neighbors chatting away with each other from their balconies.
That it is an actual town, and not just a built-from-the-ground-up vacation spot, also means you will find those Spanish amenities that make day-to-day life such a pleasure. Its Mercat Central is located in a picturesque building and larger than most markets in towns of comparable size.
The town is not far from my mother-in-law’s hometown, so we were pleased to find all kinds of local products there, including local olive oils, liquors, and jams. My in-laws also took us to an amazing restaurant they knew, Hogar del Pescador, a local institution where you are guaranteed exquisite seafood and fish dishes, or paella if you are looking for it. (In the summer the restaurant opens a beach-front location, so you can enjoy your meal while staring out to sea.)
About a 40-minute drive from the Alicante capital, and an hour and a half drive from Valencia, La Vila Joiosa is easy to go to for a day, but also a wonderful, small-town spot to escape to for a quiet lazy week on a Mediterranean beach.
More Scoop: The Costa Blanca and the area around Valencia and Benidorm is popular with those on Package holidays. Zach’s local tips take visitors beyond the pool and past sangria.Zach has The Scoop on Las Fallas, one of the wildest festivals in Spain. Blogs we love all about Spain.
Zach Frohlich, originally from Austin, Texas, has been traveling between Spain and the U.S. for over a decade, and settled and is living in Valencia for the last couple of years. He is a historian by training and married to a Spaniard. He shares cultural insights and background on Spain at: www.nothemingwaysspain.blogspot.com