more places of interest

Cartagena

This maritime enclave was already known to the Carthaginians and Romans, and its name today comes from the Latin name, Cartago Nova. Cartagena has always been a major port, due to its unique position on the Mediterranean coast and you will see high on the hilltops, several forts and castles. There are plenty of parks and squares to rest in, surrounded by good restaurants and bars and you will almost certainly find life here very slow and easy going.

Elche (Elx)

Boasting the largest palm grove in Europe, its old town has plenty of interesting museums and historical buildings to visit. Stroll through the Huerto del Cura (gardens) with its gold fish ponds, beautiful flowers and numerous shady palms - it's a lovely place to spend an hour or two. Look out for the Imperial Palm, where eight palms grow out of a single stem. Elche is also the centre of Spain's shoe making industry - ask at the Tourist Office for factory visit details to search out the bargains. Approximately 30 minutes from Villa Tocino.

Guadalest

Guadalest Costa Blanca is an extraordinarily picturesque and serene Spanish village balanced precariously on a mountain ridge on the foothills of the Sierra de Aitana. It can be found 25km inland from Benidorm and about a two hour drive from Hondon. The unique village is a key tourist attraction because of its charm, incredible views and the intriguing ruins of the village's notoriously inaccessible castle. A few hours sauntering here and there throughout the village is a pleasure – and the best is, it’s free. As you make your way to the top of Guadalest, you find that small fissures and caves have been transformed into tiny museums, or outlets selling crafts and local produce – at quite reasonable prices. Local cafes are cheap, but the stunning features and views can turn a simple picnic into an unforgettable meal.

The Fuentes del Algar

Close to Guadalest is the dramatic Fuentes del Algar (Algar Waterfalls), which are located in a tranquil and luxuriant national park. Nudge your car along the road to Callosa d'en Sarriá where you’ll find the waterfalls signposted. There are excellent parking facilities. The stroll from the car parks to the falls is full of appealing distractions, including swimming pools, a train museum, and outlets selling local nisperos fruit. The echo of the tumbling falls can be heard long before they come into view, but when they do, you’re in for a treat. You can even walk in the water of the falls, but you simply shouldn’t miss it.

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