Surrounded by the Aitana, Serella & Xorta Mountains the village was a strategic military stronghold with fortifications. dating back to 715AD and the period of Moorish occupation of Spain. It has a long history. It saw action during the Moorish occupation, a strong earthquake in 1644 seriously damaged the fort and houses of the village, and during the War of the Spanish Succession, it again suffered serious damage from a mine explosion.
The town grew up around the fortress. Originally the population lived within the protection of the castle walls. The castle can only be entered by one small tunnel cut through the rock at the San Jose gate. The area inside the walls includes the ancient city dungeon, the bell tower, Saint Josep castle, the Orduña House, parish church and the Moorish fortified building called Alcozaiba.
The houses the Moors lived in then were built outside the San Jose gate. This part of the town, “el Arrabal”, with its little streets and squares is where the majority of the shops, craft shops, museums and restaurants are today.
The river Guadalest flows through the area and has been dammed to form a spectacular a reservoir below the town.
Guadalest has been declared a ‘Monument of Historical and Artistic Value’ and is a major tourist attraction in Spain.