The Best Bars In Relleu, Alicante, Spain

Before I can tell you about the best bars in Relleu, Alicante, Spain it is important to explain a little bit about the history of the town.

Relleu is a village is situated 400 metres above sea level in the mountainous area of the Marina Baixa, 20 miles or so inland from both Benidorm and Alicante in the Valencian region of Spain.

Nestled between three high mountains - Cabezón de Oro (1207m), Sierra de la Grana (1112m) and Sierra del Aguilar (889m), the name Relleu translates as 'relief'. There is evidence of continuing habitation in the area going right back to the Roman occupation of Spain in the 1st and 2nd century BC. Indeed the Romans are credited with establishing the town on its existing location at the end of the 1st century BC. There is evidence of another earlier settlement nearby, but this in a geographical area that even today is difficult to traverse, so it's no surprise that the area was abandoned.

Modern day Relleu is a bustling town with an eclectic mix of old and new dwellings. The old townhouses (some dating back to the 14th century) are mainly in the heart of the village where narrow winding streets built for horses still dominate the landscape, making driving cars through the streets difficult if not impossible, while the outskirts of town are filled with brand new modern urbanisations (housing estates) giving the town a fresh and new look to the casual visitor.

Relleu, Alicante, Spain
Relleu, Alicante, Spain

The population of Relleu was on the decline as its young folk moved away to find work in the cities, reaching a record low of only 717 inhabitants by 1991. The arrival of expats mainly from Britain has reversed the decline, and by 2009 the population had risen to 1262. A massive 40% of residents are now of foreign origin, which causes some resentment within the town.

The Valencianos, well used to feeling repressed under Franco, retaliate in the only way they know, by promoting the local language, Valenciano (very similar if not the same as Catalan) to the detriment of Castellano (the official Spanish language). As a result, many public notices and all fiesta pamphlets are written solely in Valenciano, thus effectively excluding the English speakers from understanding. Even those expats who have made the effort to learn Spanish have trouble understanding what is being said as Valenciano is completely different to Castellano, especially the written version.

So it no surprise to see English bars opening in the village, where expats can relax, speak in the own language without feeling excluded, while watching satellite beamed-in television from Britain.

The Lemon Tree (far left of pic)
The Lemon Tree (far left of pic)

The Lemon Tree, Relleu

The best of the bars in Relleu is without doubt the Lemon Tree. Presently run by Chris and Mandy from Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England, it is a tiny little bar situated right at the start of the village as you arrive from the coastal town of Villajoyosa. They have installed Sky television, and have one flat screen on the wall inside the bar, and another outside in the summer months, where you can sit and enjoy a cool refreshing drink while enjoying the hint of a breeze that occasionally whips up from further down the hill beyond the bar.

They show English Premier League Football as well as all major televised sporting events, and occasionally have live music nights or karaoke.

They also serve up English-style meals at reasonable prices.

A lot of tourists stay in Relleu in the summer months and of course the English speakers amongst them orientate towards this bar, attracted by the friendliness of the staff and patrons as well as the English-speaking TV and cheap prices.

The Lemon Tree is the only bar in the village offering 2 for 1 special offers on cheap non-brand name spirits. They also sell English beers and lagers.

The Lemon Tree, Relleu

Bar Galio

Bar Galio as the name suggests is actually Spanish-owned and run, but the staff are welcoming and friendly. I often sit in there during the day because they offer free wifi, and the connection flies.

Situated further down in the village just off the main square, this bar is very popular during fiestas.

They serve a wide menu of Spanish cuisine and tapas, and their coffee con leche (white coffee) is especially nice.

They have Spanish television showing on a flat screen TV on the wall, and play background music all day through their sound system.

Bar Galio is a big bar with lots of tables and chairs, but no outside terrace. In the summer they run air conditioning making it a pleasant place to sit out of the heat of the sun. Their drink prices are reasonable, but I have not known of them putting on any kind of live music at nights.

Bar Galeo (far left of pic)
Bar Galeo (far left of pic)

While Bar Galio doesn't usually offer live music, an impromtu rendition of a popular local song by members of one of Relleu's bands no doubt after a 'few' livens up an otherwise dull evening in the normally popular and bustling Bar Galio.

Bar Lemon Tree and Bar Galio are to my mind the best bars in Relleu, but they are by no means the only ones. Relleu has a total of 12 bars which with the population being only 1300, is one bar for every 108 people, while the alcalde has apparently given the go-ahead for yet another bar to be built next to the football pitches for using during matches.

To finish, I thought I'd leave you with a video of the fabulous Relleu Band playing at a concert. They are quite often to be heard entertaining the crowds at fiestas or other free concerts in the village.

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Comments 19 comments

humagaia profile image

humagaia 6 years ago from United Kingdom

I just knew you would know where they all are.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

Great review. I hope I'll visit Spain one day. I have friends there.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

Loved the historical background in addition to the reviews. Excellent hub!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Hey thanks for the comments :) I would have answered earlier but I was out at the bars I mentioned here (for research purposes you understand)!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

Well this is certainly helpful!! You know...when you travel somewhere new..you really need to know where to go. This will be so needed if I ever make it to Spain! This hub was definitely written from experience. love it!!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

You would love it here - we used to have quite a big community of hippies here, but they have mostly moved on now - they used to buy a piece of land and station their caravans on them and live off the land, but I think they must have got bored with eating olives and almonds! Not a lot grows here - there's not enough rain and the local tap water is so loaded with chemicals it kills the plants off. We do have good cheap pubs though!


tony francis 6 years ago

without doubt the gallio is the best bar in the village, it would be nice if the ex pats made more of an effort to mix with the spanish, and the gallio offers the perfrct opportunity,


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Quite agree with you Tony, but I don't know if you remember the expats congregating at Bar Placa (which is another nice bar, of course) in the summer months. They all sat at the one table (or several put together) and didn't make any attempt to integrate. Poor Pepe found himself learning English to serve them and not the other way round. I like the Galio; the owners and staff are really friendly. I used to like L'era too until they started unofficially charging an extra 10 cents on a cup of coffee if you were using the wi-fi.


Leslie 6 years ago

My grandfather was born and lived in Relleu until he immkigrated to the U.S. and married my grandmother. I have had the cjhance to meet my family in Spain and am in contact with them by email. None live in Relleu, althugh they still own an orchard in the village. Due to some recent communications, i woould like to send a gift certificate to one of the best restaurants in Alicante or Relleu. Any suggestions?


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Leslie, that's a lovely idea. Give me a day or two to ask someone - maybe the padre - to recommend a place.


tony francis, 6 years ago

Izzy,

thanks for your reply tp my post. indeed i am aware that the habit of the ex pats sitting together outside pepes continues to this day. My point was that i felt the Gallio offers any indivudal the chance to mix with the spanish, also offers the chance to learn a bit of the language and culture.....if only people would make an effort.....but they dont, and wont...


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Yet those same people fill the annual Spanish lesson classes, so they are making an effort of sorts. More of them (now) have more Spanish than they realise. Because they don't attempt to integrate and talk the language, they are not confident trying to speak Spanish, yet in shop situations they get by. I think...

I like Galio, but then again I speak Spanish so I can chat away with the staff and customers. Slowly things will change I think. The longer the expats are there, the more Spanish they will learn. Trouble in Relleu is that their first language is Valenciano, and that's not taught to any of us. So in a way, we are both (Spanish and English) communicating in a foreign language.


Susana S profile image

Susana S 6 years ago

Hey Lizzy - Nice hub on the Bars in Relleu :) You really are not far at all from my village, Lliber. Next time I come to Spain can I come and say hello?


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Course you can - in fact it would be great! Where is Liber? - need to get the map out now. If its distant I'm sure we could meet halfway or something :)


Susana S profile image

Susana S 6 years ago

I looked on the map you have here to see how far apart they were - not far at all! Lliber is near Benissa a little inland from Calpe. Look along the E15 going East and you'll see it - I'm guessing it's about 25 miles from you. We could meet for lunch in Altea maybe :)

We haven't got a trip to Spain planned at the moment, but it will only be a matter of time before we go :)


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I never thought of looking on that map LOL I see it now - at least you have main roads near you and not all B roads like we have! Let me know when you are coming out - that would be great to meet up! (and Altea is fine).


Susana S profile image

Susana S 6 years ago

You really up in the mountains there! It must be beautiful, but a total pain for shopping and stuff :)

I will let you know when we decide to come out there :)


Duncan & Sue 5 years ago

Thanks Izzy. Contact number for the bar in Benidorm is 0034678982082. It was nice to see you again


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

oops...I'll sort it! (its the same number I got wrong across all the pages)!

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