Costa Blanca north
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Calle Puchal with the fishermen's houses and access only on foot. The narrow Calpe old town streets are decorated with potted plants and decked out with flags and streamers on fiesta days. Calpe originally consisted of the walled old town around the church and an a single street (now Avenida Gabriel Miró) leading down to the sea. It has traditionally been a fishing village with the fishing boats sheltering under the Peñon de Ifach until the harbour was built. Only part of the original wall remains around the church square but the medieval old town can be seen in Calpe's narrow, shady and winding streets.
The old townhouses are still occupied and are surprisingly roomy considering their small frontages. They're designed to keep out the sun so they're quite dark inside although many of them do have a roof terrace, often with good sea views. Parking can be a problem but most of the Calpe old town residents have everything that they need on their doorstep such as bakeries, shops, newsagents, restaurants etc. making the area a small world in itself. It also benefits from the weekly Saturday street market that provides every kind of fresh produce
Cannons recovered from the sea beside Calpe Rock. They are thought to be British and no doubt there is some interesting unknown history explaining how they got there. They've been mounted on carriages and are now on display beside the old town wall under the Church Square. A new trend is for older unsound properties to be removed completely and new town houses built in their place that respect the traditional style. This works very well and makes these properties much more liveable apart from smartening up the town.
The "Torreon de la Peca" the Calpe old town wall built to defend the residents against the frequent attacks by North African pirates that continued until the 17th century. Only part of the wall remains along with a watchtower towards the port and another overlooking the Mascarat pass. This part of the wall incorporates the excellent "La Plaza" Swiss restaurant that is on the left of the picture.
Another view of the wall with Calpe church tower in the background. The path leads up to the Plaza de la Villa with some good restaurants located here such as the Calambache (very good Argentinian steaks), Los Dos Canones, La Plaza and the Campanari that apart from the pizzas and home baked bread make wonderful tomato soup and a lasagne to die for. The town hall is introducing small parks and squares in Calpe old town along with Mediterranean wall paintings that respect the traditional style.
Calpe church entrance facing the Plaza de la Villa with a decorative mosaic donated by a Calpe resident. Calpe church is not as large as those of Altea or Benissa but it has a good following and is the focus of the Fiesta de Carmen (July 16th) honouring the Virgin and commemorating fishermen lost at sea, the Virgen de las Nieves (August 5th) with an offering of flowers and the Santisimo Cristo del Sudor patron saint of Calpe since 1682 that combines with the Moors and Christians Fiesta. Spain has more public holidays than any other country in Europe and a Calpe takes, public holidays, regional holidays of Valencia and Alicante plus Altean holidays and local Calpe holidays. The town has an active British Christian Fellowship located in the Perlamar building on Avenida Gabriel Miró.
Wall paintings at the entrance to Calle Santisimo Cristo leading into Calpe old town. The town houses are being renovated or rebuilt respecting the traditional style like the one on the left and trees are being planted in squares around the town. The orange trees planted in a new square near the Casa Cultura are the bitter seville marmalade oranges to stop them getting picked.
The old town square, "Plaza de la Villa", is located at the top of the town in front of the church. The cobbles have been re layed and the attractive cast iron Castilian steetlamps renewed. Small pedestrian streets lead off this square and are worth exploring on an evening out with a visit to one of the well known townhouse restaurants such as El Santo or Calambache (both Argentinian)
Calpe Saturday morning street market fruit and vegetable stall. The market runs for about 1 km along Avenida del Norte and sells everything that fits in a shopping bag. One thing that you'll notice if you come to live on the Costa Blanca and join the many people who shop in the street markets, is that the produce is perfectly fresh and of excellent quality. What isn't produced locally often comes from the Murcia area of Spain, that has turned into one of Europe's main sources year round fresh vegetables.
Buying by the kilo every kind of fruit and vegetable is available with plenty of peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic that are a big feature of the Mediterranean cuisine. A speciality that is grown locally is the Nispero fruit from Callosa d'en Sarria that is somewhere between a plum and a nectarine. Each Costa Blanca town has it's market day on a different day of the week so that the stall holders can travel from one town to the next each day. Some of them also visit the mountain villages and their vans provide most of the shopping needs in these remote areas.
Saturday shoppers in Calpe. If half of Calpe market is devoted to fruit and vegetables, the other half sells everything from clothes, to household goods to furnishings, cloth, toys, music and most things that you might need. The market is very popular with locals and foreign residents alike and starts early on Saturday morning, finishing around 1.30pm. The local bars and restaurants are full of Saturday shoppers and there is not much parking space left in the north of the town.
This stall sells all the hardware you need to prepare a paella, including the pans of different sizes, the special gas rings and even the gas pipes and gas bottle connectors. Paellas are traditionally prepared out of doors in summer kitchens that range from a setup of bricks in simple rustic fincas to elaborate tiled roofed "paella houses" with fitted appliances and a table can that can seat all the family and friends in comfort.
The small coastal town of Moraira is part of Teulada municipality and lies along the coast road from Calpe and next to Benissa. With few hotels and package holidays it is notable for it's tranquility, with quiet urban streets and a relatively new sports harbour and yacht club.
The town has two blue flag sand beaches, one beside Moraira and the second along the coast road at El Portet that are ideal for family bathing and watersports. Moraira has on average over 320 sunny days a year making it an all year round destination, with the beautiful Marina, and many shops and restaurants.
Moraira is known as a centre of gastronomy on the Costa Blanca and has a number of fine international restaurants such as the "La Sort" in the port and the "Dauphin" in El Portet that organize a Gourmet Festival in autumn with invited famous international chefs. Apart from this, of course you still have the fine traditional Valencia, Calpe, Alicante, Altean cuisine based on rice dishes such as Paella and Arroz a la Banda.
The fiesta calendar includes the Moscatel Fiesta in September, the Moors and Christians in the second week of June and San Vicente Ferrer after Easter with a procession, bull running and firework display.
There are approximately 9,500 inhabitants of Teulada and Moraira with Teulada being the municipality and Moraira the coastal village.
There are two sandy beaches (Moraira and El Portet) and 8km of rocky bays and cliffs. The municipality is notable for it's terraced vineyards that produce the grapes used to make the Moscatel dessert wine for the local cooperative of San Vicente Ferrer.
Try the typical Valencia, Calpe, Alicante, Altean rice dishes like Paella and Arroz a Banda in the Moraira seafront restaurants and Teulada town. Moraira also has a number of prestigious restaurants serving international cuisine that organize a Gourmet Festival in the Autumn. Notable restaurants here are the La Sort in the town, the Girasol on the Moraira-Calpe road km 1.5, and the Dauphin with French "nouvelle cuisine" on El Portet beach.
Why not play a round at the Club de Golf Ifach which has panoramic sea views from the clubhouse. The course is an undemanding 3406m, 9 hole, par 60 and is in the urbanizacion San Jaime. For water sports there is the Moraira Sports Harbour and Yacht Club with 620 berths, sailing school, repair yard, shops, etc. And for the even more energetic there is mountain walking with the "Costa Blanca Mountain Walkers" who go twice a week with an easier walk on Saturday.
Teulada was founded in 1386 after the Christian reconquest and was the property of the Marqueses of Ariza and the Dukes of Gandia among others until it passed to the crown in the 19th century. The evangelical Dominican, San Vicente Ferrer regularly visited the town at the start of the 15th century and became it's patron saint aswell as giving his name to many Marina Alta streets. The Portet Cap d'Or watchtower was built in the 16th Century to warn the town against Barbary pirates and later Moraira village was fortified with a seafront tower being built (still standing and recently renovated).
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