The heart of Javea is the historic centre, Javea old town. Often overlooked or ignored by tourists as it is set a couple of kilometres from the beach in hilly terrain, the historic centre of Javea features one of the most genuinely authentic Spanish experiences you can achieve at a Costa Blanca holiday resort.
The centerpiece of oldtown is the church, Sant Bertomeu. Still marred by bullet holes from fighting during the Spanish civil war. Surrounded by a small plaza with nice outdoor cafées and tapas bars. From the church narrow streets take you on an adventure past everyday Spanish village life with old men arguing about the world at cervezerias, kids playing football against the walls of ancient townhouses and tiny specialist stores quality offerings of fresh vegetables, handcrafted leatherworks and stylish Spanish designer clothes.
The atmosphere of oldtown is always a strange combination of vibrancy and tranquility. Its sleepy in some ways, but life is always buzzing on every corner and every café. The tranquil vibes are at every moment about to interrupted by honking car horns, enthusiastic arguments about football and the weather or fiesta parade.
As a first time visitor to Javea old town its relatively easy to get lost in the spiderweb of narrow streets. Chill out. Every corner contains a café with ready refreshments. Every new little calle you explore reveals new amazing ancient buildings and interesting specialist stores. And in reality the area is quite small, you will make your way out eventually!
Enjoy a stroll through the indoor market right by the church. It contains all the fresh food stores you could dream off. Fish are coming in directly from the Javea port through the day, local farmers provide a steady supply of vegetables and fruits, freshly baked bread and countless other delicately tasty goodies are always on sale. Dont forget the siesta hours are strictly observed in the indoor market, as well as the rest of old town. Early afternoon is for chilling, eating tapas or paella and having some cava.
If you enjoyed the indoor market try timing your visit for the big weekly outdoor one. Its kind of a giant carboot sale spread out all over the historic centre, but with much more interesting items than your average second hand market. Theres fresh food stores, homemade soaps and beauty products, clothing, crafts and the odd tacky overload of tourist memorabilia. Normally the outdoor market in Javea unfolds on thursday mornings till siesta time. You cant miss it, it literally spreads all round the narrow streets of old town.
From early spring till late autumn there are continous fiestas and other celebrations unfolding in old town. It is always recommended to try and catch the beauty and madness of some of these Spanish fiestas but be warned, they are not happening for the sake of tourists and have no concern for northern european health and safety regulations or morality. Kids will jump through fires, toddlers be chased by bulls, giant fire be lit in residential areas and fireworks be fired in all directions. Its fantastic fun, its authentic and real – and you might survive the day with a smile on your face.
The largest celebration in old town is the annual fiesta of San Juan / Fogueras. Programs for the summer event are available in most supermarkets and tourist info shops round town. It truly shouldnt be missed.
A more relaxing but no less exciting activity is to seek out one of the many local bars for a big game – Spain, Valencia CF or Barcelona – to experience the passion that surrounds Spanish football. Bar Jose by the post office in the middle of oldtown Javea is always a good spot to catch a game, but every cervezeria in town will be full to the brim when a significant game is on.
A holiday in Javea simply isnt complete without at least a day spent in the historic centre. You may go for there for a specific one of the many fiestas or cultural events, you may go for the weekly outdoor market or you may simply decide to have a stroll through Spanish present and past as it occurs in a charming Spanish village. But in either case, dont cheat yourself out of the pleasures of Javea old town.