A great place for a day trip is Jalon - sometimes referred as Xaló and located around 35km north east of Benidorm. It is an easy 30 minute drive along the N332, just follow the direction for Calpe. Jalon attracts many British expats to set up home there, especially families, as there is the Laude Lady Elizabeth secondary school nearby. Encompassed by some spectacular scenery, with the magnificent Sierra Bernia mountains forming a backdrop to the town, it is surrounded by fields of olive trees, almond & orange groves - but most of all, vines. In February the whole of the valley is covered with pink and white almond blossom and it is truly an amazing spectacle – with trips organized specially to witness what looks like a blanket of snow.
Every Saturday morning Jalon hosts a massive rastro along the riverbed where the info centre is - directly opposite the bodega's, so an ideal day to visit. If you like El Cisne then you´ll love it here – maybe twice as big and laid out in between the large shady trees. You can pick up virtually everything here, from antiques, furniture and paintings to ornaments, books, coins and local produce such as honey, olive oil and nuts.
It begins around 8:30am and stalls slowly start packing up at around 2pm. As you drive through Jalon you will see lots of “P” signs for parking – these are enterprising locals who have converted plots of land into parking areas, competing for your custom and charging €1 per car. There are many Spanish restaurants in the area ... and even an English Fish & Chips shop close by - so all tastes can be catered for!
The Jalon Valley is famous for its wines - the bodegas (wine cellars) of Jalon produce a very good Moscatel and some excellent full-bodied reds. You can visit these bodegas and sample the wines free of charge before buying! But beware ... you can get carried away, literally!
The bodega “Xalon” (a big pink one) is open everyday and probably the most popular.
The wine is stored in huge wooden barrels and dispensed into either 2 or 5 litre plastic bottles - costing a mere €1.20 a LITRE if you fill up your own containers - at today´s exchange that works out to 95p! Many a time I have witnessed people proudly coming out carrying ten 5 litre bottles.
The restaurants all purchase the local wine and it is this that you will be offered with your Menu del Dia - you can understand now how they can offer half a bottle per person for a 10€ menu! Often you will see the restaurateurs coming in and filling up their own 25 litre containers from the vats - a bit like filling your car up with petrol and certainly worth experiencing.