Most British people considering retiring to Spain think of the southern Costas from Malaga up to the more northern towns of Benidorm, Javia and Girona missing what I consider is one of the finest ancient towns of real Spain.- Gandia - just outside of the northern tip of Costa Blanca. It is the second city of the Province of Valencia and the administrative capital of La Safor region. Gandia's prominence and wealth dates back to 1485 when Rodrigo Borja became the first Duke of Gandia and founded the famous/infamous Borgia clan, his son Cesare and daughter Lucretia were implicated in murder and debauchery whilst his great-grandson was canonized as St Francis Borja by Pope Clement X in 1671.
The city of Gandia has many advantages: The Ducal Palace and Cathedral in the advanced stages of restoration offer rare glimpses of old Spain. It is totally unspoilt, yet is a truly sophisticated working Spanish city of much style, well policed with a low crime rate, a wealth of good modern shops, tree lined walkways, parks and squares. The Cultural Centre hosts many attractions from exhibitions of painting and art to open air symphony concerts, jazz and plays.
Recently a grand new theatre building has risen from its old ruins. As to the town's cleanliness, my hat comes off to the hard working street cleaning and parkland maintenance staff. They deserve to be proud of their city.
The whole town is on a level plain. It is compact so that almost any part is within a pleasant walking distance from the city centre which has large underground car parks. The city is surrounded by orange groves and picturesque mountains. The large Saturday market draws visitors from as far away as Benidorm and Valencia. Only three kilometres away is the Port, Yacht Basin and Gandia Playa coastal resort offering a seven km promenade (over underground car parking ) faced with palm trees and golden sands. A major holiday playground for visitors from Madrid. Gandia is within a short car drive of towns such as Tavernes, Oliva, Ondara with its ancient Bull ring, Denia yacht basin, Javia and the Montgo mountain. Benidorm 50 minutes by car and the beautiful city of Valencia just 45 minutes by rail. Last, but by no means least, the ancient city of Xativa with its dramatic well preserved historic castle is just 1 hours pleasant car ride away.
The best thing of all in Gandia is the people. Stylish, warm and friendly.