Dominated by its 11th century Arab castle, the historic town of Villena lies in an inland valley about 60 kilometres from the city of Alicante. Surrounded by beautiful natural parks and mountain ranges, the town's claim to fame is gold. Under lock and key deep within the confines of Villena Archaeological Museum is a collection of gold artefacts that was discovered in 1963 and has been dated to around 1000BC, making it one of the world's most important gold finds.
Places Of Interest
Castillo de la Atalaya takes pride of place on Villena's skyline and the Tower of Homage with its 3 metre thick walls can be seen for miles around. Visitors making the walk up to the castle are rewarded with free guided tours and wonderful views from the turrets and ramparts. Below the castle is the old town of Villena, sadly a bit run down but charming none the less and offering shade among its narrow streets.
Santiago Plaza is home to a number of the town's historical buildings including the City Hall, Archaeological Museum and beautiful 14th century Church of Santiago. Here you will also find the tourist office where information on all Villena's buildings and monuments is available and a tour of the church can be arranged. Further museums include the Museo Santafe boasting interesting sculptures, and the ceramic and art collections of Museo del Festero.
Although Villena is a historical town where visitors come to view the buildings and monuments or stop in on their way to the attractions of the surrounding countryside and mountains, it can get lively and offers a good selection of bars and eateries. A wonder around the narrow streets and hidden plazas reveals traditional tapas bars favoured by Villena's older residents where visitors can sample some of the local delights and wines of the Jalon Valley.