For those of you who love history, Orihuela City has to be on your list of places to visit in Alicante, Spain. It is easy to get to being 30 minutes from both Alicante and San Javier Airports. Set about 25 minutes inland from La Zenia, this very Spanish city boasts many religious buildings and museums showing the rich heritage of the area from the Romans who were the first settlers to the different inhabitants down through the ages. It is said that in the 15th century King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel stopped in Orihuela to gather forces to help them fight the Moors in Granada! The Iglesia Santa Justa church constructed in medieval times is a beautiful example of intricate architecture and is a joy to spent time there, another church worth a visit is the gothic styled Catedral Del Salvador y Santa Maria. This church is quite small but has a fantastic choir and organ and is a lovely example of cloister buildings. There are several other churches here too done in fine gothic or baroque style. The Spanish Poet and dramatist Miquel Hernandez was born here, he was jailed for his anti-fascist opinions and in fact wrote his best works from prison. His home is now a museum dedicated to him showing some of his personal belongings and photographs.
In February Orihuela celebrates its rich culture and history with a week-long medieval festival which includes music, tournaments and games. This festival brings visitors from far and near and is full of colour and excitement. We love it. The Rio Segura River runs through Oriheula city and has lovely walkways alongside. There is plenty to see and do in Orihuela including a visit to the theatre "Teatro Circo’, an evening at the Casino, or dine in one of the many bars and restaurants throughout the city. One excellent Spanish tapas restaurant is Casa Pepe, centrally located, a small but lovely Spanish owned bar/restaurant. The food is excellent quality and very innovative with a modern twist and service is excellent and quick. Going slightly more expensive but with excellent European cuisine is the Restaurante El Divino which is highly recommended by the locals and deserves its excellent reputation. From seafood done in pancakes to entrecote steaks beautifully tender this restaurant will have something to suit every taste. The service is very good and the atmosphere is lovely. This is definitely one that you will go back to again and again. For sport lovers there is the Palacio Del Aqua which is a fantastic municipal sports centre which has tennis, paddle, and football as well as a swimming pool. Here you can find different classes including aqua aerobics, Zumba and keep fit.
For shoppers there are many unusual speciality and gift shops selling items by local artists and craft makers. The fabulous boutique Torero Orihuela is a beautiful unique shopping experience, great for finding that special outfit that you know nobody else will have. They also carry beautiful accessories in a great choice of colours. There is also the Ociopia Shopping Centre with all the high street fashion stores alongside cafes and restaurants. This centre also has a cinema with all the latest releases and a gym and spa. It is within walking distance of the town centre and is set out over two floors. This is a very easy city to explore and parking is plentiful although there are parking meters in some of the city centre streets. Market day in Orihuela is Tuesday where the local traders ply their trade, selling everything from arts and crafts to clothing to leather goods to fresh fruits and vegetables from the surrounding orange, lemon and almond groves and agricultural lands.