Ontinyent Tourist Information
Ontinyent (in Valencian, Onteniente in Spanish) is a municipality in the comarca of Vall d’Albaida in the Valencian Community, Spain. It is situated on the right bank of the Clariano or Ontinyent, a sub-tributary of the Júcar, and on the Xàtiva–Villena railway. Ontinyent is 360m above sea level, in the southwest of the valley surrounded by mountains, in the province of Valencia. This area forms the Val d’albaida, of which Ontinyent is the capital. At the moment 32,000 people live in the 126m2 municipality.
Ontinyent is a medieval town built around the cliff like banks of the river Clariano. The church of Santa Maria was erected over the older Moorish mosque, and there are numerous examples of this ancient heritage throughout this old town. The new section of town boasts every modern amenity and because of the abundance of clean fast flowing water, the town is affluent and sophisticated without the crowds and fast food outlets found in tourist areas of Spain.
Ontinyent has a parish church remarkable for its lofty square tower, and a palace of the dukes of Almodòver. There is a large modern suburb outside the old town, which was formerly a walled city; some vestiges of the ramparts still remain. Linen and woollen cloth, paper, brandy, furniture and earthenware are manufactured; and there is some trade in cereals, wine and oil.
Ontinyent grew around the textile industry, which has been its main source of income since the Middle Ages, the industry developed due to the abundance of water which propelled the numerous water mills still found in the area. Other industries in Ontinyent include furniture, earthenware, paper, brandy and wine, there has been a rapid increase in population over the last 50 years and almost half of it is employed in the various textiles industries.
As with many Spanish towns, the most important fiesta in Ontinyent is the spectacular Moors and Christians festival which is held in August, other significant festivals include the fiesta of Sant Antoni (January), the Fallas (March), the Fira (November) and the Purisma (December).
Places of interest to visit in Ontinyent include the aforementioned church of Santa Maria, originally from the 13th century, the Plaza Mayor (Town Square), where you will find many old buildings including the old town hall, the Casa del Consell, dating from the 16th century, the Almodi (16th century), the Comtes de Torrefeil Palace (15th -17th centuries) and Els Porxets (the Porticoes) from the 16th century.
Ontinyent is within the district of Vall d’Albaida in the province of Valencia and is situated on the CV-81, north-west of Cocentaina, it is located centrally between Alicante and Valencia and is about 85 kilometres from both cities.
Trains and buses run from and to the local towns in the area, but giving the option of going further a field to Valencia City. Museums, departments stores, and city life are short journey away. With the recently built CV60 road the blue flag beaches at Gandia are only 45 minutes drive away. Both Alicante and Valencia airports are 1 hour drive away also.
Ontinyent enjoys a fine Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine and low rainfall, the town generally experiences long hot summers and mild winters, most of the rain which does fall occurs during the winter months.
Ontinyent is a town with everything you need in amenities but small enough to be a community. The town centre has many schools, doctors, hospital, banks, shops, pharmacies, bars and restaurants. Every Monday the town is alive with the indoor and outdoor markets. Hosting many stalls it is a must to get your fresh produce and meet the locals. Travelling around the market stalls in the Plaza de la Coronació you will find handbags, shoes, clothes and plants as well as many other interesting items. Plus, of course the food stalls with fresh date bread and churros.
A new shopping mall, El Teler, has recently opened in Dos de Maig, boasting many designer retail outlets for clothing and home wares, a hairdressers, café, multi screen cinema and SuperCor (El Corte Ingles) supermarket.
The commercial area of town contains McDonalds, Eroski, Aldi as well as several large retail shops and DIY traders.
There are many communal parks and plazas around the town, with one of the main ones being Plaza Mestre Ferrero. Here children of all ages can play, while the older generations can enjoy the refreshments of one of the nearby ice cream or tapas bars.
The large sports facilities available at the local centre include an Olympic sized outdoor pool, an indoor heated pool, athletics tracks, racquetball and tennis courts. The centre also hosts various concerts through the year.
There is a real sense of community spirit in Ontinyent, this is apparent quite clearly during the many fiestas celebrated throughout the year. The main Moors and Christians fiesta in August is an extravagant and exciting affair thoroughly enjoyed by all. During these many festivities, we can see the true Spanish spirit of living life to the fullest.
The municipality of Ontinyent borders the following locations: Agullent , Ayelo of Malferit , Bocairente , Fontanares , Mogente and Vallada , all from the province of Valencia , and Alfafara and Bañeres of the province of Alicante.
The old town of Ontinyent is basically the area between the River Clariano and Dos de Maig. Many large townhouses are situated in this area with in the labyrinth of small streets. The museums and original state buildings can be found in the Plaza Mayor, including the town hall ( ayuntiamento) and the local/ national police stations. The main road from here to the Plaza de La Concepció is pedestrianised with easy access to the many shops and boutiques along the way. The children’s library can be found here along with the Centre de Cultura and Museu Fester. The latter displaying costumes from the various fiestas celebrated in this proud community. From the Plaza de La Concepció you can turn right and walk straight up Daniel Gil avenue through the new town center.
La Vila is the oldest medieval part of town. The narrow winding streets are steeped in history with many religious architectural buildings still standing. These include the gothic Santa Maria Church and the Sant Roc christian door dating 1256. During the Moors and Christians festival in August, a wonderful medieval market is found with in these streets. Smells of roasted peanuts and churros drift through the town. There is a school and nursery in La Vila and all other amenities in the town within walking distance.
San Rafael is just over the river from the old medieval part of Ontinyent. It has its own schools, medical centre, shops and pharmacy. There is a newly built Vidal supermarket, bakeries and greengrocers. A handful of bars and restaurants enjoyed by the local community, English and Spanish alike. A large park with new children’s play area and palm trees, where all generations come together in the summer evenings. All in all a self contained community but with easy walking distance to the town centre in Ontinyent.