The port area of Javea has captured the world’s attention since at least 1908.
It was from 1896 that Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla painted the San Antonio headland and its coves that shelter the Javea port from the north. Sorolla sold some of these paintings in London in 1908 – likely the first time foreigners had seen or heard of Javea.
There’s a lifesize sculpture of Sorolla with an easel on the promenade above the Playa de la Grava, the port’s beach.
He stands in front of the former fishermen’s association – now Restaurante Pósit – which pays homage to the reason that this town exists: the fresh fish teeming in the bay of Javea.
Below, get an insider’s overview of the top landmarks, restaurants and history of the port area of Javea.
Top 5 landmarks – The port of Javea
Below find the top 10 places to visit in the port area of Javea:
- Playa la Grava – this 300m-long beach is one of three blueflag beaches in Javea. It’s the beach where you’ll most likely see swimmers from early morning to late evening – and from April to October. It’s a pebble beach with crystal waters when the weather is calm, and has lifeguards and a Red Cross hut in the high season.
- La Lonja – the Lonja is the present-day fish market in Javea. You can watch fishing boats unload their catches in the morning and buy fresh fish (monkfish, red prawns, sea bream, octopus, cuttlefish, moray eel, crab, lobster and more) when the market is open.
- Iglesia del Mar – Javea’s famous modernist church is built to resemble a boat in a storm – from the inside, you look up to a roof that resembles the hull of a boat. Local legend has it that a group of Javea fishermen promised to build a church if God would deliver them from a storm at sea.
- Club Náutico Javea – the Javea nautical club is a place where young and old can learn to sail or drive boats and jetskis, and marks the entrance to Javea’s main sporting port.
- La Casa del Cable – this building once housed one end of a telecommunications cable which connected Ibiza to the mainland. Javea is the closest point on the Spanish peninsular to the Balearics. Today, the building holds regular art exhibitions.
Where is the port area of Javea?
The port area of Javea is located right below the hill where the old town of Javea lies.
But it’s a good 25-minute walk from the town centre. You can reach it easily by car from the old town or the Arenal, and in 2022 a public carpark with electric charging points was built a few streets back (on Avenida del Port).
Otherwise you can always park on the Avenida de Augusta. There is also public parking on the beach itself, just past the Triana bridge which runs over the mouth of the Gorgos river.
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 port area of Javea
There are many bars and restaurants in the port area of Javea.
Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know:
- Restaurante Cala Bandida – this bar-restaurant certainly has the best views in the port area of Javea, with wide glass windows that let you see the entire coastline of urban Javea. It’s just inside the actual port area of Javea, and the building resembles a steamboat.
- Monsoon Thai – this authentic Thai restaurant is popular year round, and often features in local news when filmstars like Matt Damon turn up. (We asked what he ate: a Massaman curry.)
- Curry Palace – this Indian restaurant is located right on Playa de la Grava, and is currently the top rated restaurant in Javea on Trip Advisor.
- Restaurante Piri-Piri – this top-rated seafood restaurant is located on the charming promenade with restaurants just below the Playa de la Grava.
- Attico Restaurante – on top of the Javea Hotel is a top-floor restaurant with fantastic views over the bay of Javea.
- Casa della Pasta – this popular pasta restaurant is located a few minutes’ walk inland from the Playa de la Grava, and has a cosy and elegant outdoor seating area.
- Sileno Gastrobar – this fine dining gastrobar offers something different from the tapas restaurants common in the port of Javea.
- Pósit – this seafood restaurants has an enviable position right on the Playa de la Grava beachfront, and in the former fishermen’s association of Javea.
- Noray – this beachfront restaurant is one of the port’s most well known locations, and offers an array of seafood with a grill on-site.
- La Cantina – this restaurant is located right in the port area of Javea, right next to the moorings of fishing boats. You will need to book in advance in summer as it fills up!
- Cande – this Javea-run business offers a traditional paella, cooked just as you would taste it at a local’s home.
History of the port area in Javea
In the days when pirates still raided the coasts of the Costa Blanca, it was dangerous to live right on the waterfront.
The fishing families lived inside the former walls that sheltered the town of Javea from sudden attack. Over the past hundreds of years, more and more people have moved down from the town to live there permanently. This is the case for many fishing families still living in the townhouses to the northern flank of the port.
And it’s these locals who keep alive their own set of festivals and traditions that define the event calendar of Javea.
First up comes the Moors & Christians festival in July, where you can watch theatrical reenactments of Moorish pirate attacks and the subsequent liberation by Christians. At the end of August is the biggest festival in the port area of Javea: the Festes de la Mare de Deu de Loreto.
So the story goes, in 1850 a group of fishermen were salvaging the remains of an Italian merchant boat which ran aground in Javea during a storm. All they could find was an icon of Our Lady of Loreto, a patron saint of seafaring towns, fishermen and travellers in Catholic countries.
Every year, the icon is solemnly paraded through the town at the end of two weeks of street parties, bull-running, sports events, fresh seafood and drinks and an aquatic fireworks display.
With the onset of marine tourism, Javea has become a singular reference point for smaller cruises and yachts rounding the dramatic San Antonio headland. (It’s not uncommon to be in a bar and overhear someone who just parked their yacht here for lunch.)
Top 5 hotels in the port area of Javea
- Hotel Javea – this well-loved hotel is located right on the Playa de la Grava, and offers affordable rooms for couples, solo travellers and families.
- Nomad Hotel – this chic hotel is one of the newest in the port of Javea, with balconies overlooking the bay of Javea and a rooftop chillout area.
- Hotel Miramar – this staple of the port of Javea is located right in the centre of the Playa de la Grava, with a restaurant on its ground floor.
- Hostal Javea – this cheap and cheerful hostal is popular with backpackers and families travelling light.
- Villa Dora – this green and leafy hotel is built a few minutes’ walk into the hills from the Playa de la Grava. It is for adults only, and offers a quiet and luxury place to relax.
The port area of Javea is a fantastic place to take a sunset or sunrise stroll. There are always people keeping active whether swimming, jogging, paddle boarding or sunbathing. More and more luxury apartments are springing up in the former olive groves that separate the port from the old town of Javea, and it’s a great place for many to wander or cycle in and enjoy the atmosphere.
Visit the port area in Javea today!