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Guadalest. A early evening trip in land from Benidorm to this Moorish castle, surrounded by mountains makes an ideal outing

The mountains of the Sierra de Aitana rise steeply behind Benidorm’s coastline, towering above lush and fertile valleys and dotted with hilltop villages.

These valleys were terraced and irrigated by the Moors, who built the network of castles from which they controlled the northern valleys

The most dramatically sited of these fortress villages is Guadalest, perched on a rocky crag above terraced orchards and a lake

Driving inland from the coast, the best view of the castle and bell tower perched precariously on the summit of a spectacular rock, is from the almond terraces and olive groves on either side of the twisting road

Although this castle was never over run, Jamie 1 of Aragon took it after a lengthy siege in the 13th century. It successfully repelled Charles Duke of Habsburg during the war of the Spanish Succession and survived an earth quake in 1644

Attractions include a small museum and gift shop

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