Situated a little further along the beautiful Jalon Valley next to the Jalon River is the charming village of Benichembla. Having little more than 600 inhabitants, some of whom are recently settled from other European countries, Benichembla nurtures a distinctly cosmopolitan feel, yet still retains that typical tranquil Spanish village ambience.
Benichembla, like most other villages that collectively make up the “Vall de Pop”, was once a Moorish stronghold, until the Moors were expelled by King Felipe the 3rd in 1609, after this time the inhabitants were mainly Majorcan and western Catalan people, and to this day still speak the Catalan or Valencian language, along with the more conventional Castillian Spanish. Be sure to visit the wonderful Church which was built in 1536, and dominates the village skyline.
There are three main fiestas during the year. In the 3rd week of January, the town celebrates its winter fiesta in honour of Sant Honorat and Sant Antoni with a fayre, and the blessing of house pets and other animals, and other activities. During the summer , the town celebrates its major fiesta from 12th to the 17th of August each year. During this highly entertaining festivity there are concerts, theatre, fireruns (correfoc), dancing, games, running with the bulls, and religious celebrations. Finally, in autumn, there is usually a craft fair on the last weekend of October (darrer diumenge d’octubre)
Benichembla like its neighbouring villages, enjoys a special microclimate, with hot lazy summers and cool winters, with less than average rainfall. October can see the region have two or three continuous days of driving rain in a climatological phenomenon know as the “Gotta Fria” or cold front, signifying the end of summer and the start of the cooler and shorter autumn and winter seasons.
Farming and livestock were the pillars of the economy until the 1970s, but today most of the people work in the services sector, and farming is considered a complementary activity that is done basically on weekends and holidays. Still the farmers of Benichembla make fine wine, olive oil, and they produce almonds, figs, olives, and grapes among others. There are still many old “ruis-ruas”, around the village, which are the old farming buildings with open arches where the grapes were dried before being exported as raisons via the nearby port of Denia to the rest of Europe.
Benichembla also has two restaurants serving fresh and inexpensive local food and drinks, plus a couple of bars and shops for everyday items. There is a communal swimming pool, tennis court, and other facilities available to inhabitants and visitors alike
Benichembla is an ideal place to enjoy hiking, cycling, bird-watching and photography amongst many other pastimes, and visitors are guaranteed a memorable stay in one of the regions loveliest villages.
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