Reflecting the tranquil ambience of Valencia coupled with the sun-and-fun atmosphere of Spain's popular Costa Blanca coast, Javea is a pretty holiday resort town set between the capes of San Antonio and La Nao, about 50 miles (80km) northeast of Alicante. Fronted by the bright blue Mediterranean Sea, and backed by the conical Mount Montgo, the narrow streets of the historic town centre are filled with wrought iron balconies and stone porticoes, while the surrounding developments have been carefully controlled to ensure no high-rise modern concrete buildings impose on the serenity of the landscape.
The old town is situated a mile or so inland because its inhabitants feared the incursions of pirates in days of yore. The waterfront of Javea centres around the working fishing port of Aduanas de Mar and the adjacent busy marina. The promenade is lined with good seafood restaurants, boutiques and pavement cafes. The most popular beach, Arenal, is a long, sandy stretch with safe bathing, and it is just one of the many sandy bays and coves to be enjoyed along the coastline.
Several times a year Javea lets its hair down with a lively fiesta. The best known, and most enjoyed by visitors, is the 'Moors and Christians' celebration, when locals re-enact the Moorish landings on the coast and the recapture of the peninsula by Christian defenders. During the second half of July the town is enveloped in an orgy of feasting, street parades, dancing, music and fireworks.
The port area offers some interesting boutique shopping opportunities for holidaymakers, while along Arenal Beach holidaymakers are well catered for with kiosks and shops selling all the trappings from sunscreen to souvenirs. In Javea's old town there is a daily indoor covered market, mostly stocking fresh produce, and on Thursdays the weekly outdoor market on the Place de la Constitution is an entertaining experience, with street performers spicing up the variety of wares on offer on hundreds of stalls. Browse for all manner of things from fresh fish to leather sandals, toys and juicy Valencia oranges and 'churros' (similar to donuts). The sprawling suburban area around Javea, which connects to other resorts along the Costa Blanca, is well supplied with shopping malls and modern supermarkets. Smaller shops tend to close for siesta from around 2pm to 5pm, but stay open late in the evenings. Larger chain stores and supermarkets remain open all day until late at night.
The holiday destination of Javea offers some fantastic eateries including Karma Lounge Restaurant, Pizzeria Pepa, Restaurante Masena and La Boheme. The port area of Javea is a popular dining spot, with a host of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines situated along the waterfront, where it is possible to enjoy anything from pizza to paella with a view of the harbour or beach. The old town is less well supplied with restaurants, but those that do inhabit its narrow streets are cheaper than the more touristy areas. The area fronting Arenal Beach is where most tourists congregate to dine out, and the choice is vast, ranging from Burger King to Chinese food. The majority of establishments cater for all tastes, offering an international selection on their menus.
Holiday visitors in pursuit of a hectic holiday nightlife may well be disappointed with Javea, where activity after dark is limited to the strumming of Spanish guitars in a few restaurants and bars, or the odd flamenco show, even during the height of the summer season. A few British bars offer football, pool tables and sometimes karaoke nights. There are one or two discreet discotheques open during summer in the Arenal area. For a rollicking night out visitors will have to travel to the larger, more frenetic resorts nearby, particularly Benidorm.
A holiday in Javea is mainly about relaxing on the beach or beside the pool, but there are water sports facilities on Arenal Beach and at the port, and golf courses in easy reach, including the Javea Golf Club surrounded by orange and lemon groves. Local sightseeing includes a few interesting old churches and an archaeological museum. Visitors can also enjoy walks up the Cabo de Nao from the harbour, for a breathtaking view of the bay. Families are advised to hire a car in order to make excursions to the numerous entertaining theme parks and water parks in the area, most less than half an hour's drive away.
Javea is a sedate resort with limited nightlife and entertainment options.