Guide to Villena, a large town on the Costa Blanca, Spain.

Villena - Costa Blanca - Spain

Villena Spain - A large and prosperous town lying at the centre of wine-producing country along the Val de Vinalopó (Vinalopó Valley), Villena is overlooked by its picture-book 11th Century castle, Castillo de La Atalaya. Having a population of approximately 34,000, Villena is a sizeable town and one of the most attractive in the region always something of a border town, it lies at an important crossroads between the autonomous regions of Castile, Murcia and Valencia.

The 11th Century castle, one of a chain built by the Moors along the Vinalopó Valley, is like something from a childrens fairytale with a monumental outer wall and twelve guard towers, complete with crenellated walls, inside the castle is a courtyard containing a well and a number pathways leading to each of the guard towers, there are also several escape tunnels if retreat was necessary, the castle is still in good condition suggesting an advanced understanding of stonework and masonry by those who built it.

The history of Villena goes back much further than the Moorish occupation however, and this was confirmed during the 1960’s by the discovery of a magnificent hoard of Bronze Age gold artefacts, now displayed in the Museo Archaeológico which is within the Palacio Municipal in the Plaza de Santiago. Here you can see the stunning collection of sixty items, comprising bottles, bowls and bracelets fashioned from sheets of beaten gold and jointly weighing over ten kilogrammes. The hoard was uncovered purely by chance in an old riverbed and dates from about 1000 BC. Further evidence has been discovered in the area confirming that there were settlers in the region around Villena even earlier than this, with pieces of pots, bowls, weapons and arrowheads which probably belonged to cave-dwellers and farmers as far back as 5000 BC.

The Arabs controlled Villena and the entire region from the Eighth to Thirteenth Centuries and Villena itself was finally re-captured for the Christians by th troops of Jaime I of Aragon in about 1240.

Over the centuries wine has been an significant product of Villena and Villena wine is renowned as a quality product, but perhaps the most important industry for the town today is footwear along with neighbouring Elda and Novelda), other important products are pottery and furniture. There are a number of interesting places to visit in and around Villena and visitors should find enough to spend some time here.

Well worth a visit in Villena is the Plaza de Santiago, where you will find the Palacio Municipal and within, the Museo Archaeológico, the Church of Santiago (Iglesia de Santiago) which dates from the Sixteenth Century and has an impressively restored interior, including an ornate font which was designed by Jacopo Fiorentino (an assistant of the more famous Michaelangelo), who once lived and settled in Villena and of course you must not forget to visit the castle.

Opening times for the Palacio Municipal and Museo Archaeológico are Tuesday to Friday - 10am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm, Saturday - 11am to 2pm, admission is free of charge.

Villena is situated just north of Sax and Elda on the main A-31 road from Alicante to Albacete.

Villena Links: Villena Map

Villena Property: Advertise your Villena property on this page: Advertise.

Nearby Places: Elche - Elda - Novelda - Monforte del Cid - Biar - Castalla - Onil - Agost - Santa Pola - Monovar - Sax - Aspe - Jijona - Los Arenales - Hondon de los Frailes

Attractions: Rio Safari Elche - Fortuna Spas - Santa Barbara Castle

Golf Courses: La Finca Golf - La Marquesa Golf - Spain Golf

Related: Valencia - Murcia - Alicante Transfers - Spain - Builders