Famous for its Valor Chocolate Factory, the pretty coastal town of Villajoyosa is just a short drive from Benidorm and visitors to the area should be sure to check out the superb Villajoyosa markets. The town's colourful beachfront houses have a story to tell; originally a fishing village, the houses were painted in bright colours as a beacon for returning fishing boats and even though in this modern age all the fishing boats are equipped with GPS systems, the town's residents continue the tradition thus retaining Villajoyosa's colourful charm.
Exploring the town is a pleasure as it's small enough to get around on foot and offers a variety of attractions, 3 kilometres of golden sand beaches and a good selection of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Villajoyosa still retains its fishing heritage with a daily fish and seafood market during the week and a vibrant street market every Thursday.
Fish Market – Located in Casa del Mar (house of the sea) on Av. del Port in Villajoyosa's marina, the market is open Monday to Friday from 09:00 – 17:00 and is a modern affair with the catch of the day running along a conveyor in front of the bidders viewing gallery. During the busiest hours bids come thick and fast so if you are visiting and want to bid on anything, it's best to get friendly with one of the locals and let them help you. Some of the fish on offer include grey and red mullet, hake, cod, red snapper, sea bream, sea bass, bonito, tuna, sardines, lobster, crayfish, prawns, crab, octopus, squid, mussels, clams and razor clams.
Thursday Market – Situated on Carrer Carles Llorca i Baus near the Valor Chocolate Museum, the market is open every Thursday from 08:00 – 14:00. This is an authentic Spanish market where, unless it's peak season, you won't see many foreigners which means no ‘tourist prices'. The market boasts a good number of stalls, jewellery, clothing and leather goods being the most abundant, although you will also find homeware, kitchen utensils, rugs, cushions, toys, electronics, gadgets, arts and crafts, fresh produce and meat/delicatessen vans.
When visiting the Villajoyosa markets be sure to leave some time to take a tour of the Valor Chocolate Factory. Tours and tasting are free and the tours run hourly during the week and from 10:00 – 13:00 on Saturdays. During the tour visitors get to see the manufacturing process and visit the chocolate museum, as well as getting the chance to try and buy the goodies. The town has a number of tapas bars and restaurants where the delicious seafood from the market features highly on many menus, and a huge choice of attractions, activities and entertainment can be found in neighbouring Benidorm.