A Brief History of Moraira Spain
The northern Costa Blanca town of Moraira is without doubt one of the most unspoilt resorts along the whole of the Costa Blanca coastline. A small town situated in the Marina Alta district of the Alicante province (around 80km north of Alicante), Moraira was up until 40 years ago, just a tiny cluster of fishermen's cottages sitting near to the sea, under the administration of the neighbouring town of Teulada, since then it has emerged as a more exclusive holiday resort, whilst retaining much of its peaceful aura. Its permanent population of some 9,500 (of which a large percentage are expats), rises to around 30,000 during the busy summer season.
Lying in a sheltered bay and backed by beautiful mountainous countryside, Moraira has not been marred by the huge apartment blocks which have blighted some of its neighbouring resorts, and a large proportion of its buildings are picturesque villas set amongst orange groves and pine forests..
Similar to many other towns and villages along this part of the coast, Moraira has survived predominantly due to the fishing industry, and even today, fishing is very important for the town, its bustling fish market ( Lonja) is one of the most popular in the area. The region around Moraira and Teulada is also renowned for the cultivation of Muscatel grapes, the majority of which are used to make the fine award-winning wines that the area produces.
Moraira is located some distance from the busy coastal road (N332) and so does not have to tolerate the massive influx of tourists that many of the nearby resorts have to endure.
Though the known history of Moraira mostly begins with the Moors during the Arab occupation, there were though to have been settlers in the area around Moraira as long ago as the Bronze Age - cave paintings from about this time have bee found in neighbouring Teulada. Some evidence has been uncovered in a cave (Cova de la Cendra) on the Cap D'Or (Golden Cape) suggesting that there were even earlier settlements here in the Upper Paleolithic Era (15,000-20, 000BC).
The town of Moraira itself was founded by the Moors and although they were defeated and expelled by Jaime I during the 13th Century, they have left their mark in the architecture, irrigation methods and agricultural systems of the town. There exists an ancient fable which suggests that Moraira's name is derived from 'Ira la Mora' the name of a heathen princess, though, of course there is no evidence to support this, a much more likely explanation is that it is derived from the Arabic for 'moorish princess'.
Severely damaged by British forces in 1801, the now restored Moraira castle ( Torréon), was originally built in 1742 by the ruling Bourbon family of the time, their shield still appears over the doorway. Though it is known as a castle, it was originally built as a defensive tower to watch out for pirate attacks, it now looks down on one of the most popular beaches - Playa de la Ampolla.
The tiny harbour houses the popular fish market (Lonja) which is held daily ( Tuesday-Sunday), the superb marina which opened in 1985 is home to the Moraira Club Nautico.
The 2 main beaches of Moraira both carry 'blue flag' status and were in fact amongst the first to achieve this distinction of being the cleanest in Europe. The beaches are well cared for, clean and safe for families and there are a good range of water sports facilities available including jet-skiing, diving, sailing and water skiing. A Friday market is held every week close to the beach, and here you can stock up on fresh, locally grown produce, clothes, gifts and leather goods.
Golfers can enjoy a round or two at the nearby Ifach Golf Club, whilst taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline, including the magnificent Peñon de Ifach at nearby Calpe.
Moraira also claims to be the home of one of the best restaurants in Spain - the award winning 'Girasol' is reputed to be the finest restaurant on the Costa Blanca.
Along with most Spanish towns, Moraira has its fair share of fiestas and festivals, the major ones being the Moors and Christians (Moros y Cristianos) celebrated between 14th and 20th June, the Virgen del Carmen (15th-16th July) and the Fisherman's Fiesta which is also held in July.
Moraira enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters, and along with the whole region, basks in over 300 days of sunshine each year. The town benefits from cooling sea breezes during the hot summer months, keeping temperatures at a bearable level and during the winter, the surrounding mountains help to shelter Moraira from cold northerly winds, keeping temperatures mild.
Moraira is located between Javea and Calpe, about 30 km from Benidorm, it can be reached from the N332 coast road and also from the A-7 motorway (junction 63).