Gandia is located on the Valencian coast, in an area called la Safor. Gandia’s population exceeds 85,000 people. It is a city and a municipality, and it is part of the Valencian Community. Gandia is well known for its large sandy beaches: the total length of its beaches is 7.5 km. There is also a rural area on the mountains next to the city. Gandia was an important cultural and commercial centre during the 15th and 16th centuries: in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries the city was home to a university. Several important poets lived in Gandia, including Ausiàs March, and also the novelist Joanot Martorell, but the city is perhaps best known for the Borgias, some of whom wore the family title of Dukes of Gandia. Other members of this family would be the Papa Calixt III and Alexandre VI.
Today, Gandia is one of the largest coastal towns in the region, and is a thriving centre for commerce and tourism. There are two main zones: Gandia city, where all the historical monuments, commercial activity, and shopping facilities are located; and Gandia beach, where apartments and residences used mostly during the summer season are to be found.
MAIN LOCAL CULTURAL EVENTS
Several festivals are held in Gandia: Sant Antoni del Porquet is the first festival of the year (January 17th) and it honours the patron of animals: pets and other animals are blessed by priests at some churches. Falles (fah-yes) is the most important festival in the Valencian lands; it takes place in March (16th-19th). In Gandia this tradition is more than 115 years old. Big statues and structures made of wood, paper, etc. are constructed, and on March 19th (Saint Joseph’s Day) they are ceremonially burnt. June 23rd is the magic Nit de Sant Joan (Midsummer Night). Parties are held, and everybody can bring firewood to the beach and start their own fire together with their family and friends. Sant Joan’s is the shortest night in the year. Old rituals, such as jumping over the fire or over the sea waves, can be performed that night in order to attract good luck. Fira i festes is the name of Gandia city’s biggest festival (from the end of September to the beginning of October). This festival is held to honour Saint Francis of Borgia (Sant Francesc de Borja), one of the most famous persons in the history of the city. The festival starts when a man called el Tio de la Porra (‘the Guy with the Bat’) goes to the all schools and leads the children out, thus marking the start of the festivities. Many activities follow, to suit all ages.
HOW TO REACH THE TOWN
Gandia is located 65 km south of València and 116 km north of Alacant. Both València and Alacant are close to airports that are well connected to the most important cities in Europe. Moreover, trains depart from Gandia for València every 20 minutes. Also, three times a day trains depart from el Grau de Gandia (Gandia’s harbour). There are bus stops, of La Marina and L’Urbà companies (see below), at the entrance of the railway station. The coach station is located at the back of Gandia’s railway station. Coaches connect Gandia with other Spanish cities.
TRANSPORT IN TOWN
L’Urbà is the urban bus, which has two different itineraries (the red and the yellow lines). Timetable: on working days and on Saturdays, from 7:00 a. m. to 12:00 midnight. On Sundays and holidays, from 9:00 a. m. to 12:00 midnight.
La Marina: these busses (the blue line) connect the beach to the city. University students travel for free.