Piles Tourist Information
Piles is a municipality in the comarca of Safor in the Valencian Community, Spain
One of the watchtowers to defend Valencia against north-African forces was built in Piles 1577.
Piles is a small coastal town about 2kms North of Oliva, but despite the short distance seems a world apart. It is a typically Spanish town consisting of some 1800 residents in the town itself and a further 200 or so living near the beach. I find the town is characterised by its warm friendly people who will go out of their way to help you.
Piles is centred around its church with its tall spire that doesn’t seem that big on the outside but on entering is like the “Tardis”: its internal dimensions belie its external façade. Although there are only 1600 residents there is a bar for every 100 of them, all Spanish and all with a totally different character.
The town hall square, which is currently undergoing complete reform, is the site of the town Fiestas which occur at the feast of St Philip Neri, on or around the 23rd May. However, the fiestas last all week with themed processions occurring every night and also, an evening market is set up. Themes include ladies day, baby’s day, young children’s day and couples day. The processions start at 10pm and traverse the town in a colourful display of costume and pageantry.
After the processions the crowds head to the outskirts of the town where a huge fireworks display lasts for half an hour and lights up the sky in a torrent of colour and sound that fill the senses. As the week closes the fireworks displays get bigger and better.
After each display everyone heads back to the town hall square where musical entertainment is provided by a variety of bands, which are specially picked for their performing ability and never have we seen a bad performance.
The main produce of Piles is agriculture, specifically oranges. Walk in the orange groves at the end of the march and your senses fill with the glorious smell of orange blossom- a sensory heaven.
Piles has a colourful history. During the Spanish Civil war many people left the town to escape the poverty and went to live in Paris. When the war ended they returned, much richer for their experience and bought property. A lot of people in the age group 30+ were born in Paris and as such there is a distinct French influence – almost everyone speaks French in the town and Spanish is considered a third language behind Valenciano and French although you will easily be able to converse in Spanish.
The playa is seeing something of a rejuvenation. Five years ago it was deathly quiet in the winter until June. However recent directives by the town hall which will only permit licences to businesses that will guarantee opening for at least ten months of the year means the playa is seeing a resurgence in popularity.
In fact Piles seems to be the place to be. A new urbanisation which is currently underway in the playa area, has already seen the prices in this small zone rocket – land prices were some €600 per sq M three years ago now they are €2600/M so that’s a hefty increase, fuelled in part by the Americas Cup and the Indoor athletics Championships. The town now is very popular with Madrileños, French and those from Barcelona.
Sunday 25th March this year – Mothers Day saw the inauguration of the new Piles Sunday market. In an effort to promote local businesses and make the playa an area for permanent living, the town hall organised this first Sunday market. The stalls sell everything from fruit and vegetables, jeans and t shirts, electrical goods, fabrics, paintings and pots and pans thrown in for good measure. Looking around, all the bars were full – so you could say the market has had its desired result. If you want to come, the market starts at 9AM every Sunday, but you’d better come early to get the best seats.
Of course we cannot mention Piles without mentioning the famous Tower, which gave the town its name of Torre De La Playa De Piles. It has recently been renovated and declared a national monument by the National Heritage Society. It is in a strategic position which was set up to warn of invaders and smugglers in the early 16th Century and like the residents here has stood the test of time and has been restored to its former glory. If you are coming here to Piles a visit to the tower is a must.
Summer in the Playa also sees the opening of the summer cinema where films are shown late in the evening on a large outdoor screen. On the beach itself in July and August many a competition are set up for the kids, such as volleyball, football, and beach games, all to boost the enjoyment of the children and stop them getting bored.
For something a bit different there is the international wind and sailing school – Albeig – which is situated in a prime location on the beach front. This accepts students every year from all over the world and teaches children the joys of sailing, sea kayaking and generally having fun.
Also in the summer we have the sole Xiringuito beach bar which is where everyone seems to descend after they have eaten (late of course as this is Spain) and ready to party the night away. But if you want something more traditional then there is always Pampols Disco on the edge of the town where the age group ranges from 21 to 90 (and I kid you not) so whatever your age you may be surprised to find there are people older than you.
In summary then Piles is a wonderful place to live all year round and for this reason it is becoming very popular with those from other towns who strive for authentic Spain whilst remaining by the beach. However it is also very popular with tourists who want a quiet family holiday and the family is still very much king here in Piles. As such property prices are rising steadily. The time to invest in property has never been better.