The municipal boundaries of Benissa are irregularly shaped. The coast is made up of small coves and beaches and the mountain area is formed by Sierra de Oltá, La Sollana, La Malla and Sierra de Bernia, with an altitude of almost 1200 metres. The town has a historic old quarter and has taken great care to preserve its origins, with a large number of ancient buildings and monuments.
Its coastline boasts lovely coves and beaches and care is taken to protect this coastline. The best known and most popular beach is Fustera Beach. Benissa also has a marina, Les Basetes, which is almost on the municipal border with Calpe, with a bar, restaurant, sailing school and diving centre.
The Sierra de Bernia is one of the municipality’s greatest natural treasures. The Bernia mountains stretch for some 11 Km west to east, running perpendicular to the Mediterranean coast, covering an area of some 1900 hectares, and where the municipalities of Callosa d’En Sarriá, Altea, Calpe, Benissa and Jalón are located. The Sierra de Bernia offers us the opportunity of spending a day in contact with nature, exploring its rambling routes.
The town has a rich history and carefully preserved monuments, noteworthy among which is the Church of Purísima Xiqueta, in the Neo-gothic style, also known as the “Cathedral of Marina Alta” due to its size.
The Franciscan Monastery, ‘El Riberero’, and the House of Juan Vives are some of the major monuments and buildings, but Benissa itself is a museum – to stroll through its streets is to breathe in its history and culture.
There is a saying in Benissa, “Benissa polp y missa”, ‘Benissa octopus and mass’, because octopus stew is one of its most traditional dishes. The municipality offers a varied gastronomy typical of the area. It is famous for its cured sausages, which can be bought in any of the numerous butchers in the old quarter of the town.
Benissa offers many options for sports activities. Almost every sport is catered for and has its own club or association. We give more information on this in the fiestas and sports section. Like all Valencian towns, Benissa’s calendar of fiestas and cultural activities is an extensive one. The biggest, busiest and most traditional are the Fiestas for Patron Saint Purísima Xiqueta, the Moors and Christians fiestas and the Fair of San Antonio.
This municipality has a large number of cultural events taking place throughout the year: conferences, theatre, music concerts, cinema, excursions, and camping trips, stamp collectors markets, etc.