Javea Lighthouse – Cap de San Antoni – Video
The figurative and literal highlight of Javea’s scenic views stands high above the town, looking out over the bay of Javea to the south, the gulf of Valencia to the north, the town of Denia and out in the distance on a clear day, the party island of Ibiza. A lighthouse sits atop Cap de San Antoni, the headland named in honour of Saint Antonio, way back in the 16th century.
The site has been used throughout hundreds of years for various defensive and religious purposes. It has held watchtowers guarding the area against pirates and a monastery for the order dedicated to San Jeronimo. The chapel of San Antoni was built in the 1500s by hermits who found the headland a perfect spot to remove themselves from other people and worldly activities, and the name has remained to this day.
It was not until the mid-1800s that the conversion was made from fort and chapel to lighthouse; the San Antoni Lighthouse was first lit in 1855. Obviously, its location is ideal as a beacon and warning for shipping along the rugged coastline and in the port of Javea; however its strongest allure for most is the magnificent view. No visitor to this area should miss the gorgeous panorama – and few do, since it’s recognised as one of the most beautiful on the eastern Spanish coast.
In 1993 the area encompassing around 110 hectares was dedicated as a natural reserve, the impressive cliffs reach a height of around 150 metres. The area is also popular with divers as there are several varieties of coral and unusual underwater plants such as Posinania as well as Sciaphilic algae. There is also a variety of marine life such as octopus, grouper and strange crustacia including the Sea Cicada.
Visitors can park in a designated parking area about 200m from the lighthouse and walk from there. Public conveniences are available in the form of picnic benches and tables as well as toilets. This is an ideal spot if you bring your own picnic, but just taking-in the indescribable views will be such a bounty of beauty making the trip very worthwhile.
If you are even a little adventurous, take advantage of the marked trails that lead away from and around about the headland and the lighthouse. One path that is fairly steep and rocky leads up to the cliff edge, others you can take are easier walking (though mostly unpaved) and take you through the woods on scenic routes, all of which eventually lead back to the main road and the car park or picnic area. If at all possible choose a clear day for your venture so you get the most and best of the coastal panorama.
A couple of years ago the citizens of Javea were presented with the news that a business consortium wanted to convert the building into a hotel complex. They reacted with genuine dismay; the Council called upon every organisation imaginable, commissioning reports from the urban planning department, city planning, natural resources management, port regulators and the Merchant Marine. They even obtained reports from the local police and the municipal water company.
Every one of those agencies resoundingly denied the viability of such a proposal; it was proven that such a project would flout a number of existing regulations regarding property development. With such a strong showing of anti-hotel sentiment the proposal was officially rejected. However another plan was proposed – that of turning the buildings into a visitor center for the Parque Natural de Montgo, or Montgo Nature Park.
At the time of writing nothing has been decided for certain regarding the future of Cap de San Antoni Lighthouse. There was a strong recommendation that it be incorporated into the nature park, with facilities for visitors, restaurant and other amenities (which would bring in some extra tourist cash). Many local citizens feel that any commercial alteration would be a distraction and a detraction from the natural magnificence of this site and its history.