Santuario de la Malladeta - ea historic excursion
If you need a historic stroll on a Sunday morning, Santuario de la Malladeta can be a good option. There you can study archaeological excavations, admire the view and have a snack on the beach afterwards.
The tower that is erected on top of the area today is inspired by the many wachtowers that were build along the Mediterranean coast in the battle against the pirates, but this tower was set up as a studio for Dr. José Maria Esquerdo.
It is only a few hundred meters to the top from the parking lot by the beach. From the old residence there is a processed walking trail all the way to the top (about 100 meters).
From the tower, the sun rises from the sea on the right side of Benidorm island twice a year, by spring equinox and autumn equinox. This was probably one of the reasons why a temple was placed here in ancient times.
Looking at the north east, you'll see the remains of the once so impressive residence of Dr. José Maria Esquerdo. He was a well-known physician, psychiatrist and politician who reformed psychiatry in Spain and introduced modern treatment principles for the mentally ill.
Santuario de la Malladeta was a sacred place a hundred years before Christ's birth. A temple was set up at the top where the tower is now. Eventually there were also houses built along the sides of the hill to the south and east. The archaeological excavations have up to now revealed 9 houses built in terraces. The area was abandoned in the year 80 after Christ when the Romans moved the religious center to Allon inside the Villajoyosa.
If you look towards the west, you can see a real watch tower on a promontory one kilometer further south-west. When the towers were in use, they had visual contact from one tower to another and lit fire when the pirates approached. The picture above is taken from a closer lookpoint.
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The excursion of the week: Santuario de la Malladeta
Difficulty: Easy, even for small children.
Duration: 10 minutes walk from the parking lot, 1-2 minutes from the residens.
Recommended route: Leave your car at the beach at Puntos del Moro (where there is a beach cafe in the summer) and go one of the many trails up the cliffs. As you approach a peak, you will see the tower at a hill close by. It does not matter which path you follow, everyone ends up more or less in the same place. The path closest to the cliff edge gives the best view.
Activities: It is possible to swim on the beach at Puntos del Moro, but the Paraiso beach which you see from the tower or the town beach of Villajoyosa a few kilometers further east are far better.
Chiriguito Sunset (a spanish beach cafe) is open in summer, serving ice cream, drinks and simple food.
Getting there: Take the exit to Villajoyosa sur (south) fra N-332. Go stright a head until you reach a slope with a roundabout. Turn right at the roundabout - sign to Malladeta. To drive up to the residence, turn right 20-30 meters after the roundabout. If you want to drive down to the beach (recommended), take the first proper road to the right called Calle Campello. There is painted a small train on the wall where you should take off. Calle Campello will lead you down to the sea after a few hundred meters. Leave your car in the parking lot at Puntos del Moro.
Challenge: Can you find this spot?