Xàbia is situated in the north of the province, the Mediterranean Sea is found at the entire of its east coast. Flat agricultural land stretches for miles inland, cut by small streams and used primarily for growing citrus & olive trees. 90km to the east is the island of Ibiza, which can be seen on a clear day. A boat service is offered between the two in both Xàbia and it's neighboring town, Dénia. Xàbia is the largest place geographically in the Cap de la Nau, the headland that encompasses Xàbia, "Cap Négre" and "San Martín".
The Montgó, which shelters Xàbia, is the highest summit of the region at over 750m tall. From the Xàbia side, it is said to resemble an elephant. The Natural Park of Montgo was declared in 1987, it stretches across the area of La Plana to the Cape of Saint Antoni.
Since 2004 the town has been running a local Agenda 21 programme. This is a UN-sponsored non-political initiative in which the inhabitants of Xàbia/Jávea can have a say in plans for the long-term sustainable development of the town. See Xàbia Town Hall website (in Castellano) The town is currently (2008) drawing up a general town plan for development over the next 15 years.
The town can be split into three distinct areas: the old town, the port and the Arenal.
Old Quarter The old town was once a walled town to protect the inhabitants from marauding pirates that once sailed this coast and there is still evidence of the presence of these fortifications; stone crosses mark the original gates in three locations. In the centre of town, mostly built in original Tosca stone hewn from the rocky shore, sits the Church of Sant Bartolomé which dates back to the late 14th century but there is evidence that some of the structure may date back a further 300 years. The church suffered extensive damage during the Spanish Civil War and its southern and western walls remain pockmarked with bullet and shell holes. It was listed as a National Historic and Artistic Monument in 1931 and remains a centrepiece of Xàbia's 'old quarter'.
The modern municipal market sits opposite on the northern side of the church and stands on the site of the convent of "Agustinas Descalzas" (the barefoot Augustine nuns). Built in 1946, and recently refurbished, the market retains the style of the area and sells fresh fruit and vegetables, locally-caught fish, and meat from the local area.
There is also a historical and ethnographical museum ("Museo Historico y Etnografico Municipal J.B. Soler Blasco Javea") and an established art gallery in the old town, Atelier 1 with regular art exhibitions are held in the gallery at the town's library.
There is range of bars and restaurants which serve local and international cuisine.
Puerto - Aduanas del Mar The port also has a number of restaurants (some on the sea front), a gravel beach and marina. Whilst the history of the harbour stretches back to the 15th century, the first jetty was built in 1871 and it became an important gateway for the export of raisins. The raisin trade collapsed at the end of the 19th century and the settlement became a mere fishing harbour. The modern harbour was built in the 1950s and 1960s. The nautical club has been in the central area of the harbour since 1963. The landmark is the church of Nuestra Señora del Loreto, built in 1967 to represent the heart and feelings of Xàbia's fishing quarter. Its shape is that of an oval boat keel and it was built to resemble a fishing vessel bursting through the waves.
Arenal The sandy beach area is an arc of wide white sand flanked by a promenade of shops, bars and restaurants. During the summer evenings there are a number of stalls selling handmade crafts. Many of the bars offer live music and stay open until the early hours. Sand artists and street entertainers work along the Arenal beach during the summer months. The 'Punta del Arenal' behind the Parador Nacional Hotel was once an important Roman settlement where the fish sauce garum was produced. On the other end of the small bay once stood the Fontana Castle, built in 1424 and destroyed by the English during the Peninsular War in the early 19th century; the ruins of the castle now lie under modern apartment buildings but some of the castle's surviving cannons sit outside the Church of Sant Bartolomé in the old town.
The Montgó Natural Park was declared on 16th March 1987. It covers approximately 21.5 km² situated between Xàbia and its neighbours Jesus Pobre and Dénia. Standing at 753 m high (2,471 ft), the summit of Montgó is the second highest peak so close to the sea in the Mediterranean; on a clear day the island of Ibiza can be seen.
Traces of the earliest human presence in this area date back 30,000 years, from the upper Paleolithic. They were small nomadic groups which occupied the Foradada cove and ravines facing the sea at Cabo de San Antonio. These were hunter/gatherer communities.
Around 5,000 bc the first agriculture and livestock communities developed with the appearance of pottery and polished stone. Arrowheads, fragments of various vessels, carved stone and bone, as well as remains of human burials from this period have been found in the Cave of Montgo, and in the Cova Barranc de Migdia where schematic paintings are also found. Metal utensils dating from the Bronze Age (3,000 bc) have also been found in the Cave of Montgo and the Cave of Barranco de Migdia. The villages were situated on small hills, like the one where Javea's chapel of Santa Llucia is located.
The indigenous Iberian culture began to develop in the 8th Century BC. At the top of Benimaquia,(western-most tip of the Montgó) is an Iberian settlement of seventh century BC. Here Phoenician amphorae have been found. Findings of pottery, coins, ornaments in the area of the Coll de Pous (Western end of the Montgó) and the Peña del Aguila with its defensive walls,(on top of the ridge) confirm the presence of the Iberians until 1st Century BC. The Romans continued to use the Montgó as a place for observation and surveillance to protect the increasingly important trading port of Dianum (Denia), which was already a sizeable town in the first century AD. Remains from excavations can be seen in the Xàbia archaeological museum. (Adapted from Parcs Naturals de la Comunidad Valenciana, Generalitat Valenciana (in Castellano))
A range of abandoned windmills crown La Plana, most of which date back to the 18th century.
The park besides its archaeological importance has flora which includes a large number of Iberian endemic plants. The Moorish Caliph Abd ur Rahman the Third who, 1000 years ago, at the beginning of the 10th century, made a special journey from Cordoba to collect over a hundred medicinal herbs from the slopes of Montgó.
Historical Information the area was first inhabited in prehistoric time, 30,000 years ago by cave dwellers on Montgo. Subsequent residents have included Stone Age, Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Visigoths, Germanic, Carthaginians, and Moors, Bronze-age peoples. Roman fishing boats used the port, and there is evidence that dates the Roman occupation of Jávea to the 2nd century BC, it makes Javea the oldest known Roman site on the coast with a commercial port for fish and minerals. In the 6th century AD. Christian Visigoth monks, came to Javea and founded the monastery of San Martin, now gone but probably gave its name to the Cabo San Martin. Hermangildo, son of the Visigoth king Leogevild of Toledo, sought refuge in the Monastery after angering his father by marrying a Christian girl. When his father's troops arrived to arrest him all but one monk fled to Portichol - but Hermengild and the old monk were killed. A number of locals with Visigoth names can be found even today. There is little left of the Moors other than some inscribed gravestones and ceramics, although they were here from about 714AD until being expelled from Jávea in 1609. Also alongside the Montgó is the 14th century Church Ermita de Popol, most likely on a very ancient sacred site, possibly built over an underground stream as were many religious buildings.
The town's market day is on Thursdays, except when there is a local or national holiday. There are also three main fiestas: the Fogueres de San Juan (June) are pagan in origin, commemorating the arrival of the summer solstice, and are widespread throughout the Valencian Community, the Moros y Cristianos (July) parades, take place in the port area and celebrate the defeat of the Moors by Christian forces in the 13th Century, and the Nuestra Señora de Loreto (September) with the bull-running on the harbour walls and a firework display.
Sports and hobby activities are catered for in the area, including cycling, diving, fishing, golf, horse-riding, mountain-biking, photography, bowls, sailing, trekking; there are many shops & rental centres that serve these pursuits.
The nightlife in Javea is centred around the Arenal where there is a selection of bars and clubs to suit all tastes with many open until the early hours of the morning. During the summer, tourists and locals alike are attracted to the bright lights of Achill, the only real nightclub by the beachfront. Other popular bars include President with its regular live music, Jalousie for its lively nightlife, Carnaval for its tasty fajitas and Octopus, a grim but lively venue with a similar feel to a traditional British pub.
During the summer, several chiringuitos (beach bars) spring up along the seafront between the Arenal and the port area. The most popular is Moskito at the Arenal end, famous for its lively music and thirst-quenching mojitos. In place from June to September, the chiringuitos stay open until the early hours, perfect rendezvouz points before heading of to the nightclubs.
Club Deportivo Javea play in the Valencia Regional Preferente Group III, the equivalent level of the Football Conference in the United Kingdom. Managed by Englishman Kenny Brown, CD Javea has attracted plenty of support from Javea's sizeable ex-pat population, who formed the Peña JAVEAMIGOS, the club's official international supporter's club, in the summer of 2005. The club was the subject of a Sky Sports special documentary "La Lower Liga" which was broadcast in January 2008. A follow-up programme "La Lower Liga : The Second Half" was broadcast six months later. In July 2008 CD Javea announced a link with English League One side Southend United to provide access to talented youngsters from both clubs. The partnership also includes use of training facilities in Spain. Three young players have already joined CD Javea on loan from Southend for the 2008/09 season.