There’s a scene in the 2022 action film Uncharted (Tom Holland & Mark Wahlberg) set on a tropical beach – except it wasn’t filmed on a tropical beach, it was filmed on the Arenal beach in Javea.
The blue waters, fine sand and palm trees fooled many people that this was in Europe.
But for thousands of tourists and residents in the know, it’s this tropical island feel that makes them fall in love with the Arenal beachfront and its restaurants in Javea, Spain.
Get an insider’s overview of the top landmarks, restaurants and history of the Arenal beachfront in Javea below.
Top 10 landmarks – Arenal beachfront in Javea
Below find the top 10 places to visit in the Arenal area of Javea:
- Paseo David Ferrer – Beachside promenade for sunset strolling. The paved promenade that runs along the side of the Arenal sandy beach. You can find a variety of cafes, ice cream shops, eateries, restaurants and nightclubs (see below for a list of top restaurants). It’s named after honourary Javea resident the former world no. 3 David Ferrer, who’s tennis club – Academia de Tenis Ferrer – is a short walk away.
- Marina Nou Fontana – The smaller of Javea’s sporting ports, the Marina Nou Fontana is a saltwater lagoon running along the north side of the Arenal. There are 500 spots for residents and holidaymakers to park their boats here year-round, but there are jetski (Maremoto) and boat rentals for tourists.
- Parador de Javea – Parador is a state-owned luxury hotel chain, which has been active since 1928. The Parador de Javea was one of the first landmarks in the Arenal beachfront of Javea, it remains a top hotel in Javea and conference space. Curiously it’s also where Spanish fashion designer Balenciaga spent his final days.
- Xábia Padel Club & Academia de Tenis Ferrer – These two popular padel and tennis clubs are popular in the Arenal area of Javea – padel is a racket sport for doubles which was developed in the Spanish-speaking world.
- Arenal beach in Javea – The Arenal beach is the only sandy beach in Javea. It’s studded with palm trees and has beach volleyball nets, climbing frames and a wide sandy area for sunbathing. By far the most popular beach in Javea in the high season, as it is easy access and family friendly with a blue flag status, lifeguards and a Red Cross hut.
- Javea Park – This small shopping area has many expat-run charity shops, bars, pubs and restaurants and is very popular with the international community.
- Cala del Ministre – This rocky section juts into the Arenal bay, and is one of Javea’s most famous Roman sites. A small bathing pool called the ‘Queen’s baths’ is cut in to the rock and carved waterways make a great area for looking into rockpools.
- Javea Company – This French-run chain of bars and restaurants is a firm favourite in Javea. The elegant Chabada bar and restaurant is a hub of community all year round. There’s also the Bohemians restaurant, Bambula bar with salsa nights and Achill nightclub.
- Restaurante La Fontana – This Javea-run restaurant is one of the top restaurants to buy a traditional paella and enjoy the view and the sunshine – even in January!
- Orange groves and marshland – The Arenal was a rural marshland just 50 years ago – and you don’t have to walk far for the bustle of the beach to stop. You can easily walk to the El Naranjal campsite in Javea, the Karting Javea go-kart track, a paintball area, Barnaby’s Mini Golf and the Saladar Natural Park.
Where is the Arenal area of Javea?
The Arenal is the third urban nucleus in the town of Javea.
It’s a good 40-minute walk from the centre of the Javea old town, and a 30-minute walk along the beachfront from the port area of Javea (this stretch is by far the top spot in Javea for joggers, walkers and cyclists).
You can quickly drive to the Arenal but in the high season you’ll need to park a few streets back. There is no underground parking in the Arenal as it’s an area prone to flooding in April/September.
Javea itself is a 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Alicante Airport and a 1 hour 25 minutes drive from Valencia Airport. It is a 45-minute drive north of Benidorm. The quickest route to Javea to along the AP-7 motorway and exiting either in Benissa when northbound and Denia when southbound.
Javea is a good 25-minute drive once off the motorway.
Top 11 restaurants in the Arenal area of Javea
There are many bars and restaurants in the Arenal area of Javea.
Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know:
- Posidonia Restaurant – according to TripAdvisor this is the best place to get a paella in Javea (La Fontana is the 3rd) on the Arenal beachfront promenade.
- Buddha Palace – this Indian restaurant is one of the top-rated in Javea, and is a few minutes’ walk back from the Arenal beachfront.
- Tula – one of Javea’s two restaurants with a Michelin star, Tula is the peak of fine food in the Arenal in Javea – the waiting list is often months long!
- Caramel et Chocolat – this elegant café serves great coffee and pastries and is a short walk from the beach.
- Bohemians – Bohemians is a lively restaurant run by the Javea Company, with great views over the Arenal beach.
- Geographic – Geographic is a popular gastro pub where you can watch the latest sports matches and enjoy a drink at the bar.
- Octopus – Octopus is a local favourite with cheap drinks and open very late.
- Atalaya Javea – Atalaya offers the best lounge experience in the Arenal, with comfy sofas and great food and drinks all day.
- Pizzeria Pepa – the most well known pizzeria on the Arenal beachfront.
- Chabada – Chabada is better known as a key spot to have coffee, but it serves great food and also has regular music nights.
- Lungo Mare – the most well known restaurant serving Italian food on the Arenal beachfront.
- La Jijonenca – this Spanish chain of ice cream shops is a staple of the Arenal beachfront in Javea; it gets very full in summer!
History of the Arenal beachfront in Javea
Many people in Javea – and many lifelong holidaymakers from Madrid and Valencia – remember days when the Arenal was only reachable by dirt road.
It’s changed a lot: the Arenal is without doubt the most touristic and modern area of Javea today.
But Javea’s Arenal has been a popular place for thousands of years. There are remains of an important Roman settlement where the Parador hotel is, and it’s common to find ancient anchors and amphorae in the waters around the Arenal beachfront in Javea.
Tourism arrived in Javea in 1947. A local called José Berenguer Sivera invited an engineer to lunch while building Javea’s first bus shelter. The engineer loved the coastline beside the Arenal beachfront so much that Berenguer Sivera had a brainwave: he ended up running an entire bus route from Javea to Valencia and built the first hotel, Hotel Venturo, to give tourists something to do.
These Valencian visitors ended up becoming regulars, they bought houses and came back every year with their children and grandchildren.
With international tourism growing from the 1960s many foreigners began visiting Javea and moving to stay permanently. Javea has steadily grown to cater for a constant tourist population who from July-August turn the year-round Javea population of 25,000 into an international community well over 100,000 people strong.
The Arenal is the main place where you can find them.
Top 5 hotels in the Arenal area of Javea
- Parador – The Parador is the most famous hotel in the Arenal area of Javea, and is the most iconic.
- Hotel Villa Naranjos – This large hotel caters for many tourist groups and is a large building located to the north of the Arenal beach.
- Camping Javea – It’s a 10-minute walk from the beach, but Camping Javea is a popular place for camping and holidaymaking all year round.
- Bungalows el Arenal – This series of bungalows are located a stone’s throw from the beach – they get very booked up in summer, especially by younger groups of tourists making the most of the Arenal nightlife.
- Hotel Sol de Javea – It’s a short walk over the Fontana bridge, but Hotel Sol de Javea is a large and well known hotel right on the rocky shoreline just north of the Arenal sandy beach.
Whether you’re looking for a place to work remotely, have coffee or a swim during the day – or whether you’re looking for an evening meal, a place to watch the sunset or keep the kids entertained at night – the Arenal beachfront will always have somewhere open and people around.
Visit the Arenal beachfront in Javea today!