Guardamar del Segura.The small costal town with its dunes and its beautiful beaches is one of the most well-known places in the Costa Blanca region.
The city of Guardamar Del Segura in the region of Alicante has a 14-kilometre coastline of fine sandy beaches, making the city one of the very well-known areas within the Costa Blanca region both among tourists and its more than 10.000 inhabitants. Lying very close to the beach, the city of Guardamar (Guarda-mar), literally translated to “Guardian of the Sea”, often experienced large blasts of sandstorms coming in from the Levante. Throughout the years, this sand accumulation, paired with the silt that was being brought down from the Segura River, aided in the accumulation of sand dunes which threatened to overrun the small coastal town.
Eventually, a huge earthquake in 1829 destroyed the ancient Castillo de Guardamar and a large portion of the old town. This gave the town an opportunity to be re-built in another area, while still remaining close to the sea. Unfortunately, this new location didn't stop the ever moving sand dunes from creeping up to the new town. This resulted in the implementation, towards the end of the nineteenth century, of a system in which a large forest was planted alongside the coast to control the movement of the sand dunes and perhaps prevent future threat to the town. The project ended in 1930 and its success allowed the town to flourish into the city we know today.
This unique natural environment grew over the years, becoming a beautiful and contrasting area that is known today as Dunas de Guardamar. Hundreds of large, rolling, golden dunes covered with shady pine, palm and eucalyptus trees make up this 840 hectare environmentally protected forest which extends along the coast all the way up the salty-marshes of the idyllic fishing town of Santa Pola. Due to the enormous amount of wildlife it has attracted since its implementation, Dunas de Guardamar has been declared an “Area of Natural Interest”.
The wonderful tree-covered area now breaks off into 2 beautiful parks: the Parque Reina Sofia and the smallest natural park in all of Spain, Parque Alfonso XIII. The Reina Sofia Park is the perfect place to admire the magnificent scenery of native flora and fauna which includes waterfalls, beautifully designed trails, and ponds with peacocks, swans and ducks, making it a popular place for leisurely strolls, picnics and open-air festivals. The Alfonso XIII Park also offers similar natural recreational areas, including shaded walkways and bike paths. Together, the Dunas de Guardamar, the Parque Reina Sofia and the Parque Alfonso XIII are a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a typical sunny day.
Another exciting aspect near the dunes is the archaeological site of La Fonteta where a Ribat Caliphate (Rábida Califal de las Dunas), a kind of fortified Muslim religious institution dating back to the X century, was discovered during an excavation in 1996. In its day, this place was considered the Mecca of the Andalusian Arabic world and also proves the existence of ancient civilizations in the area.
It seems that anywhere you go in the Costa Blanca region, at almost any time of the year, you will be pleasantly surprised at the specialties which await you. And why not head over to Alicante and discover Spanish? don Quijote gives you the chance to learn Spanish in Spain… where you do not only learn the culture, but also live it.