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SOUTHERN SPAIN: On narrow roads from Alicante to Málaga

Southern Europe is a world of its own. But perhaps not in the way you would think. Erik Bergin on how he found the Wild West, a fairy tale castle and the continent's largest palm farm on Spain's narrow roads from Alicante to Málaga.

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Part 1

Ten days in southern Spain 

I get in my rental and drive north of Alicante on highway E18. My first stop is brief – Benidorm is not my kind of place, bu I still want to check it out. The place consists mainly of a long beach behind which a quite ugly row of hotel complexes and apartment buildings have been put up. I sincerely cannot figure out why someone would want to go to Benidorm, but the city seems filled with holiday makers from northern Europe, so there must be something attractive about the place not visible to the naked eye.

Instead, I leave the main road and head up in the mountains towards the small village Guadalest. The old, original part of the village has a dramatic position on top of a steep and narrow mountain. You enter the village by a narrow tunnel straight through the rock. Tourists are swarming the place, but the setting and the views, with the village overlooking a long, green valley stretching towards the sea to the east and with an artificial lake below, makes Guadalest well worth a day trip from Alicante or, for that matter, from Benidorm.

View from the village Guadalest, southern Spain.

From Guadalest, I continue west on the road CV-70, heading for the city of Alcoy.

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The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.