Delightful Denia sits in the south east corner of Spain, on the edge of the Costa Blanca magnet. And yet Dénia could not be further from the Costa image that has been generated by decades of tourism. Denia is authentic, vibrant and offers a wide variety of things to see and do. It draws people back year after year. Our properties for sale in Denia are never on the market for long!
Dénia’s story begins way back when it was the capital of the Muslim Kingdom. However the Greeks, Christians and French have also all placed their mark on Dénia in some form or another. Whether it’s been to trade the raisins that were a strategic export from the town for over 100 years or using the 11th Century castle to protect their kingdom, Dénia’s place in history is firmly set.
In the 18th century the Spanish regained control of this important region and it has been firmly in charge ever since. Now a modern grip has been placed on the town offering respite to tourists albeit not in the same way as its Costa cousins around the corner. Dénia manages to maintain its authentic roots, charm and unobtrusive personality – that is until festival time. Denia has more festivals per year than any other city in Spain!
With its busy fishing port and ferry hub for the Balearic Islands, Dénia refuses to remain passive in Spain’s economy. With its discrete hotels and restaurants positioned along the pedestrian promenade and the stretches of sandy beaches and craggy coves, Dénia has something for everyone.
The enormous marina oozes opulence as you weave your way through the Nautical Club and observe the gin palaces on display alongside the town’s promenade. In stark contrast next door the fisherman moor up their rigs ready to off-load their daily catch in preparation for the fish market. Between 5pm and 5.30pm every night, it’s worth heading into town to watch their antics and get a real cultural feel for Dénia’s working personality. Serenaded by parakeets that fly between the palm trees that line the coastal road you can also admire the mastering of the Balearic ferry coming into to dock at 3.30pm each day. A walk around to the breakwater behind the ferry terminal, rewards you with gorgeous views as you look back to the town’s skyline – particularly beautiful as the sun sets.
There is nothing more authentic than a local market, where you rub shoulders with residents going about their daily lives. The feel, smell and look of the markets with their vibrant colours and regional fare on display tempts your taste buds. Dénia has two weekly markets; Monday morning’s market is all about clothes, shoes and accessories located at the western edge of the town at Mercadillo. And Friday morning is all about the fruit and veg stalls which is just two blocks away from Dénia’s shopping area – Marcos de Campo.
At the top end of the Friday market area, there is also an indoor market, which is well worth a look. With meats, fish and some vegetables too, this is a permanent market area and is great to wander around.
Dénia is a Mecca for food, as you might expect, being both in Spain and on the coast. If you love seafood, then you are going to love Dénia’s eating experiences. As it is located about halfway between Valencia and Alicante, Dénia garners culinary influences from both cities. It attracts an urban clientele avid for chef-driven restaurants, buzzy tapas bars and laid-back beachside fish restaurants. So with a unique culinary heritage and outstanding local ingredients, if you’re a foodie looking for gastronomic nirvana, then it’s time to visit.
Dénia has a small, attractive old town arranged around the walls of its Moorish citadel. The quaint, historic street of Carrer Loreto, which is closed to traffic, is the ideal strip to appreciate a wide range of delectable tapas dishes. In the heart of the pedestrian old town, this area is one where it’s entirely possible to take your time and meander for hours. It’s the gastronomic centre of town, where every other shop seems to be serving some delicious morsel which you can knock back with a glass of Valenician wine.
Another great spot for the national past time of tapas and people watching is Calle Marques de Campo which acts as the main artery of the city. It’s a pretty tree-lined boulevard with pavement cafes and on the weekend it becomes pedestrianised and restaurant seats spill out onto the street, creating a convivial vibe for the evening ahead.
The Denia Red Prawn
The Denia red prawn has to be mentioned when talking about Denia and food!
It is a supreme sea specimen that is widely considered to be the best prawn in Spain. They aren’t easy to catch as they like to live in deep, dark and cold water where there is little to no pollution. Here they are free to grow to a deliciously large and plump size as there aren’t many predators lurking at those depths. Taste wise, due to an unusually high concentration of iodine and salt in their flesh, the prawn has an intense ‘ocean flavour’ with a touch of sweetness. Moreover, the head is much larger than your average prawn, offering huge head-sucking possibilities, where a unique explosion of juices, full of concentrated iodized flavours, take the prawn to a whole other level.