This is a short guide to Hondón de los Frailes, a rural and typically Spanish village inland of the Costa Blanca South, Spain. (Copyright: 1st published by Hondon Villas 2013 and now Updated 2020)
Location & Population
With a name that literally means ‘Gorge of the Friars’ the charming village of Hondón de los Frailes is located in the beautiful Hondón Valley about 45 km from Alicante and the Costa Blanca coastline.
Province: Alicante / Area: “Medio Vinalopó” / Surface area: 12.5 sq km. / Altitude: 415 m. / Population: 1180. Points of interest: Serra de Crevillent, Peña De La Mina, Centre d’interpretació l’acorador
The municipality of Hondón de los Frailes covers an area of about 12 km2 and has a population of about 1,200 (2018). It is bounded by the picturesque Sierra de lo Frailes (which reach a height of 718 metres above sea level).
Hondón de los Frailes is situated on the CV- 845 between Aspe and Barbarroja, Hondón de las Nieves is also on the CV-845 a little closer to Aspe close to the “Medio Vinalopó” area, in the southwest of the Novelda valley and a short distance from the province of Murcia.
To the north it borders Hondón de las Nieves, to the west Orihuela, to the east Bajo Vinalopó and to the south Albatera. The major cities of Alicante, Murcia, Elche and Elda are only 45 minutes away at the most.
The Friars and Independence
The name of the village originates due to the fact that it was owned by an order of Dominican Friars during the 17th Century and was controlled by the Corregimiento de Orihuela until 1833. In 1840 along with the village of Redován, Hondón de los Frailes became part of the municipality of Hondón de las Nieves and remained so until it gained its independence in 1926.
The present day village has mostly grown up around the 19th Century church, the Iglesia de la Virgen de la Salud, which was built by the Dominican Friars.
Geography and Landscape
The town’s land comprises a flat corridor that borders, to the north, the “Sierra de los Frailes” (a range which rises to an altitude of 718 m. at La Solana) and to the south the Sierra of Crevillente and Albatera.
An exceptional geographical location. Hondón de los Frailes perfectly combines the different features of a rural location with more traditional tourism; it has significant landscape resources and ecological assets, and some of the Costa Blanca’s most emblematic beaches are slightly over a half-hour-drive away. This is why many European holiday makers that come to Alicante’s coast have decided to establish their regular residency in Hondón de los Frailes.
A bustling cafe lifestyle, rural traditions and ideal location have made one of Alicante’s inland town’s a magnet for holidaymakers and foreign buyers keen to set up home in Spain.
> Search for Hondon Valley Villas here <
History: Romans, Moors and Farming
There is evidence of settlements in the area going back to ancient times and there was a Roman site there during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsular. Later settlements by the Moors established Hondón as an agricultural area, producing crops such as almonds, olives and grapes.
Historically, the town’s wealth was in agriculture, evident in the local landscape – from traditional dry stone farmhouses to the type of crops grown. Today, dessert grapes, wine grapes, olive and almond trees are harvested in abundance as the town sits idyllically on a plain of fertile land. And trekkers can enjoy the spectacles of the valley, together with a view of the Mediterranean Sea, courtesy of the P.R.V-225 Sendero de Jaime el Barbudo path, opened nine years ago.
Present Day Cafe Culture
During the day, Frailes boasts a bustling ‘cafe lifestyle’, and in the evening there is an array of bars and restaurants offering everything from traditional Spanish beverages and dishes to Italian, Indian and home-cooked English food. Alicante’s cuisine is clearly represented in Hondon’s cooking – traditionally rice with rabbit and snails (paella) and meatballs to cold gazpacho soup – famed for the diversity and quality of its ingredients. Wines produced at the local Virgen de la Salud wine cellar cooperative range from sweet, vermouth and white to rose and red – and they come highly recommended. > See a list of Hondon Bars and Restaurants here <
Fiestas and Religion
As in most of Spain, the fiestas are always a highlight not to be missed. Frailes enjoys festivities at least five times a year, beginning in January with a pilgrimage through the streets followed by a blessing of animals in front of the town’s beautiful Virgen de la Salud parish church, built at the end of the 18th Century.
Later in the year there are Easter celebrations, Hondon’s Holy Week and a five-day extravaganza in the last week of August. From Thursday to Monday, locals honour the Virgen de la Salud (virgin of health) with music, fireworks, processions, a parade and ‘las Calderas’ (water run). With both Alicante and Murcia airports less than three-quarters of an hour away, Hondon de los Frailes is accessible and well worth a visit.
Frailes has a neighbouring village called : Hondón de las Nieves (‘Gorge of the Snows’) with its population of 2,400 is named for the ‘Virgin of the Snow’ and the village church was built in her honour. Hondón de las Nieves is a peaceful agricultural village with a traditional Spanish feel and both villages have a warm and welcoming community. Hondón de las Nieves and Hondón de los Frailes are renowned for their fine table wines.