Birthplace of Juan Carlos Ferrero, the world's number one tennis player in 2003, Ontinyent can be found inland in the province of Valencia. It has been featured as one of our 5 Underrated Towns In Valencia Spain-Waiting To Be Discovered.
Where is Ontinyent?
Ontinyent is situated in the south of the province of Valencia, in the region of Vall d'Albaida, of which it is the capital. Located a mere 82 km from Valencia city, Ontinyent, although inland, is only 50 km from the seaside city of Gandia.
Top 12 things to do in and near Ontinyent
Ontinyent has a lovely old town, which is considered to be a property of cultural interest by the Spanish authorities. These days the population is around 35,395, making this destination a nice balance between a quiet village and a busy city.
Photo by Salva Barbara
One of its highlights, undoubtedly, is the abundance of waterfalls and natural springs in the area. The best known is El Pozo Claro, which is a really pretty sight and attracts plenty of tourists. Around the town of Ontinyent, there are plenty of hiking trails suitable for abilities and experience of all levels. Discover our choice for the 12 top things to do in and around Ontinyent.
Photo by Salva Barbara
1. Ontinyent Spain old quarter
In the 1970s, the old quarter of Ontinyent was declared to be a site of historic and artistic importance by the Spanish authorities. This charming old quarter can be accessed going through the Portal of St. Roc.
Going this route you can discover the Palace of the town, which dates back originally to the 13th century with constructions and alterations continuing until the 19th century.
It may surprise you to know and actually the town was densely populated at the beginning of the 15th century. In fact it was a commercial hub from the 18th century onwards.
2. Palau de la Vila (the Town Palace) Ontinyent
In 1974 the Palace of Ontinyent was declared to be a monument of artistic and historical interest. Formerly this was an Al Andalus citadel. Its name was the Palace of the Duchess of Almodóvar after the last owner.
Apart from playing a defensive role when necessary, the palace was a Royal Residence for centuries. History states that the Kings Jaume I, Pedro el Grande and Jaume II stayed there.
3. Ontinyent main square
Like all Spanish towns, the hub of activity is focused around the plaza (square). Embraced by a number of fine historic buildings, such as the palace of Condes de Torrefiel, Ontinyent's main square is a lovely place to relax and get a feel for local life. You can imagine people hanging out there in previous centuries as well.
In many cases the town or city halls never cease to amaze me in terms of their architecture, and this one is no exception. The Ontinyent town hall is in the palace of Condes de Torrefiel, which was built between the 15th and 17th centuries. Inside you can see gargoyles on the stone staircase and an impressive 16th century stone porch.
4. El Pozo Claro/Pou Clar
Right throughout Spain, there are numerous examples of relatively undiscovered beauty and the Pou Clar is definitely one of these It is an absolutely spectacular natural pool. So while Ontinyent may be a 45 minute drive to the coast, both the Pou Clar and the river Clariano more than make up for this.
5. Clariano river and trails
The Clariano river runs for around 40 km, ending up in the Albaida River. Its source is in nearby Bocairent, 11 km away from Ontinyent. As the river has coursed its way from Bocairent to Ontinyent, it has managed to sculpt a network of natural pools.
6. Covetes dels Moros
Photo by Antonio Morín Segovia
Located around 300 metres from Ontinyent's old quarter, are the Covetes dels Moros, which are man-made caves. Carved into a rock escarpment, these caves have holes that are shaped like windows. There are other similar cave windows to be found in the area, however these are the most complex group.
7. Museo Nino Bravo: Nino Bravo Museum
The Nino Bravo Museum was set up to honour the singer who sadly died in a car accident aged only 28. Set up by his family and the town council of his hometown, Aielo de Malferit, the museum is a dedicated space to portraying an artist who truly awakened feelings of passion in people, not just in Spain but all over the world. Aielo de Malferit is 9 km from Ontinyent.
8. Serra Grossa
Ontinyent is embraced by the Serra Grossa, a mountain range that runs down to the Med, making up part of the area's exceptionally beautiful natural environment.
9. La Cova de les Finestres
Situated in Pont Trencat, Alfafara, 12 km from Ontinyent, this name translates literally into The Cave of the Windows, and is the same concept as the Covetes del Moros.
Ontinyent as a relocation destination
"My partner and I moved to Ontinyent about a year ago and can confirm that it is a lovely town. Almost without exception the people have been friendly and helpful to a couple of extranjeros. Problem is, having struggled to acquire some Castillian Spanish, we are now faced with the challenge of getting a handle on Valenciano*!" Lynette Smith
*Valenciano to a foreign ear is much the same as Catalan. There are many sounds that are quite different to Spanish, making it a bit of a challenge for those of us who live or spend time in the area and try to fit in by practising the local lingo. That said, most locals know that we are not natives by looking at us and hearing our efforts when speaking, and will normally slip naturally into Spanish when talking to us.
Personally where it has become more challenging for me is the day to day situations of shops, cafés and bars...where naturally the locals are communicating in what they consider to be their first language. This is Valenciano in Ontinyent, although both Valenciano and Spanish are the official languages.
The Moors and Christians Museum
Don't miss this museum that opened in 2001! This is the place to go to enjoy and appreciate the amazing festival in Ontinyent of the Moors and Christians.
(Opening Photo by Xavier Vasquez Freire)