The beaches in Guardamar del Segura
There are more than 6 kilometers of beach stretching along the region. Like most of the others on the ‘Costa Blanca’, these are long beaches with fine sand and calm waves. Here we want to highlight Playa Centro, La Roqueta and Moncayo, being the biggest of all the beaches and the holders of the ‘blue flag’, signifying their high quality.
- Playa Centro. This beach has moderate waves and it is named ‘centro’ because it’s closest to the urban area. If you’re visiting the town center and want to forget the car, it is very assessible and you mustn’t miss out on taking a walk along the promenade full of great restaurants.
- Playa de la Roqueta. Also in a centric position, this a perfect option if you want a day combining town and beach. This beautiful beach has a blue flag and crystal blue waters as well as having plenty of space. There is easy access both by foot and by car and has also been adapted for people with reduced mobility. Imagine yourself relaxing here in a sunchair, under a parasol with a delicious ice-cream from one of the near-by kiosks.
- Playa Moncayo. This is one of the best examples of virgin beach of the highest quality where you can catch some rays along its 2000 meter length. With a blue flag and soft, fine sand, you can also enjoy a small area with sand dunes. Even though it doesn’t have access from the promenade walk, reaching it is very easy and you can count on a secure carpark.
Apart from these there are others! An example is that of “Playa Les Ortigues”, another beach with fine golden sands and clear crystal water. It’s 1.5km long and considered one of the quietest beaches in Guardamar. You can reach here easily by foot and find a long beautiful path with stunning scenic views. It’s found between Guardamar and La Mata. Last but not least, we must also mention “the Tossals beach” which is separated from the rest by the estuary of the river Segura and is a habitual place for nudists. Once you park your car you must walk a short distance to reach the beach but it is worth every step.
In this links, you can check how is the beach, they day you’re planning to go, there is a camera live recording at Playa Centro:
Estuary of the River Segura
By popular use, the most common name for the town is ‘Guardamar’ but if you want to make it official you can add ‘del Segura’ to the end. This name is given to it because of the estuary of the river Segura running through it. The river flows out into the sea here after passing 325 kilometers through four Spanish south-east provinces: Jaén, Albacete, Murcia and Alicante.
‘Gola del Segura’ is the point at which the river enters the Mediterranean sea, dividing the high costal dunes in two and leaving the valley of the river like an area closed off towards the sea. It measures 221 meters in width at the artificial channel at it’s mouth. Because the closed zone is very low, there are beautiful lagoons in the northern zone such as the Hondo de Elche-Crevillente and the Salinas de Santa Pola. These lagoons are fed by the overflows of the Segura and reach there via trenches made to channel the good and bad waters.
You can find this area to the north-east of the Park Alfonso XIII, beside the marina. It’s not difficult to spot all the fishermen casting their lines into the sea from the jetty. If you’re visiting Guardamar, you can’t fault visiting the river-mouth that gives the town its name.
The Pine Forest in Guardamar del Segura “La Pinada”
The moving dunes of this town cover an extensive length of the coastline, stretching from the south of the salt flats of the neighbouring Santa Pola to Cabo de Cervera which is exactly where the dunes of La Mata begin. This vast expanse of dunes is largely due to the arid climate in the zone. Guardamar only sees perhaps 250mm of rain in a year. This fact makes the formation of dunes more frequent and makes them a lot larger.
Unfortunately, this constant and dynamic movement of the dunes can have grave consequences for the smaller towns and farms in the area, even to the point of burying them completely. This was the exact destiny of the first Phoenician and Arab settlements centuries ago and this is the threat that Guardamar still bears at the start of the 21st century.
Fortunately, an ambitious project was started by the engineer from Alicante, Franciso Mira Botella in 1900 which bought a solution. Up to 600,000 trees were planted in only 700 hectares of land as well as plant nurseries, forest houses and hiking paths. The city was so thankful for this work that one of the most beautiful parks in Guardamar del Segura was named after him and the house where he lived was transformed into an interesting museum where you can find out about him and his work.
La Pinada of Guardamar is an artificial forest extension of pine, cypress, eucalyptus and palm trees. All of them were planted at the end of the 19th century on an area of sand dunes that threatened all the fertile ground around it.
One of the most pleasant and easy walking paths (2.7km) is one that takes a route from the port, allowing you to contemplate how the River Segura embraces the Mediterranean, passing by the quaint fishing houses of the coast of Guardamar (you will see toll that the fierce sea has had on some!), continuing your walk through La Pinada and ending at the end of the port. It’s a walk which can be done in a couple of hours and is very inviting and photogenic.
In the highest part of the dunes, there is another treasure to see! This time it’s an archaeological find: “La Rábita Califal of the Dunes”. This is a site that transports us to a Muslim Spain in the 10th century. This would have been a type of monastery in the times of Abderramán III and is an exceptional example throughout the whole of Spain, for the level of conservation it shows.
Francisco Mira Walk and Parque Reina Sofía
Returning from the river estuary via the pine forest, we reach the path called ‘Francisco Mira’ where you can find 10 murals with the history of Guardamar throughout the years. Here, in the lazy summer evenings there is a daily market with a multitude of stalls selling local handmade crafts, accessories, clothes, games and more.
Approximately half way along the path is a mural dedicated to the memory and work of the engineer Francisco Mira and at that spot there is also a statue of him sitting on a park bench. It is comforting and commendable that a municipal like Guardamar del Segura maintain the people who have marked its past throughout their history (many of them of foreign nationalities) so alive in its conscience. Moreover, they have managed to make what was once their most terrible enemy into their most characteristic sign of identity: the dunes.
At the other side of the road you will find Parque Reina Sofía. It has a variety of different ponds where many different bird species live. An interesting example is the galápagos breed. In the treetops you will also find lots of squirrels and other birds. Children (and adults!) have a great time here, enjoying the seabirds in their natural habitat and there is also an infant park that is well looked after and very fun. In the summer months a fairground is installed with amusements.
La Torre de Los Americanos
Without a doubt the “Torreta de Guardamar” is one of the most iconic parts of the landscape when driving around N-332. It was constructed in the middle of the Cold War in 1962 by the United States army, inside the military base of logistics in Guardamar. This was part of the agreement that allowed Spain to collaborate with the Americans along with the installation of shared military bases in other strategic locations in Spain (such as those in Rota-Cádiz or the radar station in Aitana, Alicante).
Once the United States army ceased to use the tower after the first Gulf War, it became exclusively used by the Spanish navy which renamed it “Santa Ana Camp”. It is currently monitored by the Spanish marine corps and is operational 365 days a year, without rest, and provides a vigilance service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 30 people pass through their doors daily, 27 military personnel and 3 civilian. Its official name is “Radio Estación Naval – Antena LF 380 metros – Guardamar”. The main objective is to control maritime traffic in the Mediterranean, especially that of the submarine fleet, as they have their base very close by in Cartagena city. Its role has always been the same; listen and give voice to the submarines of the Military Arsenal of Cartagena (Murcia) – allowing the submarines to receive and give messages without rising to the surface.
Paradoxically, for the task it preforms under the Mediterranean waves, it demands a spectacular height. Low frequency electromagnetic waves are used to achieve underwater transmissions and mean that large antennas need to be used. With its height, the antenna of Guardamar, besides being the highest construction in the province of Alicante, holds the record for the highest military structure in Europe and the highest construction in Spain, surpassing any skyscraper built in our country.
Small town, big change.
The chronicles from the time tell us that the arrival of the American military was somewhat of a upheaval for the area. Construction boomed and establishments of all kinds had to make use of import to meet the needs and tastes of the new ‘Yankees’. Mixed marriages began to appear along with better paid jobs and even legends were made about the Native Americans having been those to hammer the tallest nails of the tower in place because they were immune to vertigo.
Until last year, open days were held where one could visit the military compound and its facilities although these visits have now been suspended. We hope they will return in the near future.
Declared ‘of good cultural interest’ the castle is located on the upper part of a rocky hill from which the walls that surrounded the village opened from. This was a strategic point because it dominates a wide panoramic view of the whole costal bay (Alicante-Santa Pola and Torrevieja) and the inland towns of the region.
During the time of the Arabs in 1264, the stronghold was conquered by the troops of King James the Conqueror. The town of Guardamar was living inside the castle walls until 1829 when a large earthquake destroyed the village. Fortunately, only four townspeople died because there had been another strong seismic movement the previous day in the neighboring Almoradi and the guards were alert to the danger. As a result of this event, the townspeople moved to live on the flatter plains, leaving the castle on the hill.
Recommended Bars and Restaurants in Guardamar
Being a tourist area on the coast, you can imagine that the gastronomic choice is almost unlimited. However, here are some great recommendations:
- If you’re looking for a delicious paella with the best views, Restaurante El Jardín, is found on the ground floor of a small hotel. From the restaurant there are very pleasant views of the sea or you can take a trip upstairs to the Sky Bar on the top floor. They have several menus at a reasonable price. The traditional ‘arroz a banda’ and ‘arroz del senyoret’ are specular, it’s clear that they are made with a carefully chosen broth. Another place to try this marvelous dish is La Cañada Playa and Chema.
- Restaurante Luka. This place is carefully decorated, making it very cozy both for lunch or just for a drink. There are offers for full meals and a menu with tasty octopus, squid, steamed mussels, as well as specular meat, all with a great presentation for each dish. They also do a children’s menu with a drink and a play corner for them. What more could you ask for?
- Eddy’s Street Food. Very close to the previous restaurant, this one has a style of its own. When you walk into the terrace you are in an atmospheric street corner (the name is very fitting). There is also an indoor lounge for colder days. This place has great service and delicious burgers!
- Lastly, good places for tapas and to try a little of everything close to the town center are: Bocaito Playa on the promenade walk, El Fardatxo in the center, and La Maka and Papa’s, both on Avenida de los Pinos.
Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos
Without a doubt, this is the most popular fiesta in Guardamar del Segura though this year (2021) we probably won’t be able to celebrate it as usual due to the covid restrictions.
The main festivities of the Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos, in honour of Saint Jaume and declared a Festival of Regional Tourist Interest of Valencia, takes place in the second half of July. It begins with the reenactment of the legend of L’Encantà, where the Lady of Guardamar is presented and crowned. In the act, the ancient story of a young woman, having suffered an enchantment and who can only be released by the arms of a brave warrior, are told. He must fight against the Evil forces to do so and bathe her feet in the waters of the River Segura.
The processions and parades of the Moros and Christian party are without a doubt, the most spectacular moments of the festival. The history of the medieval Christian reconquest is relived. These parades are an exuberating explosion of light, music and colour. During the festivities we dance together in the “Barraca Popular” and in smaller groups of “cuartelillos” and “kábilas” with people from different areas.
How to reach Guardamar from Ciudad Quesada
If you are holidaying in Quesada and you don’t have your own vehicle there is a bus from the bus stop in Quesada to Guardamar although the times are prone to change. The best way to know the time the bus will arrive is to ask in the Ayuntamiento de Rojales where they have a leaflet with all the updated hours.
Another option would be to travel by bike which takes around 30 minutes. If you’d like to avoid the traffic, there are two options; come down until Rojales and from there follow the course of the river, as there are two dirt paths on either side, or, take the Avenida de los Regantes in Quesada which runs parallel to the irrigation canal, leaving you at the entrance of Guardamar.
If you’d like to take a taxi from Quesada to Guardamar, prices are around 15€ during the day and 18€ at night and on public holidays.