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Villajoyosa and the Día de la Virgen del Carmen

Updated on July 17, 2015


Villajoyosa is a coastal town on the Costa Blanca in Spain. It is only 6 kilometres from the popular seaside resort of Benidorm.

If you would like to sample the more typical way of life in Spain than Benidorm offers, Villajoyosa is an ideal place to visit.


The Port
The Port | Source
Old Town
Old Town | Source

Excellent Public Transport

Villajoyosa has much to offer its visitors though you will not find out what is going on in Villajoyosa from the town's own publicity.

It is a shame because situated just 6 kilometres from Benidorm it is easily accessible via public transport. The tram/train system and the buses run frequently between Benidorm and Villajoyosa.

The trip from Benidorm to Villajoyosa on either Bus or the tram will cost just over a euro.

Tram Station Villajoyosa

One of three tram stops in Villajoyosa
One of three tram stops in Villajoyosa | Source

Fishing Fleet

If you had come on the 16th of July you would have seen our local fishermen and their families celebrating the Día de la Virgen del Carmen.

Villajoyosa is fortunate because it still has a fishing fleet. If you live down near the port you will hear the engines of the fishing boats roar into life most weekdays at around 4 am. Our fleet unfortunately, is not as big as it once was but it still provides a living for many of Villa's residents.

If you are down on the seafront on the days when the fleet is out you can tell when the fleet is on its way back in.

The cormorants and the seagulls start to take up their positions on the beach front. Usually the birds take up their positions around 3:30 pm, and as soon as the first boat comes into view the seagulls begin to stir.

Patron Saint of Fishermen

I digress, I was telling you about the Día de la Virgen del Carmen – Maris Stella. Translated into English it means the day of the Virgin of Mount Carmel – Star of the Sea.

The name la Virgen del Carmen – Maris Stella is one of the many names given to the Virgin Mary.

Pilgrims trying to follow in the footsteps of the Old Testament Prophet Elijah would ask for protection. It was the Virgin of Mount Carmel (the Virgin Mary) whom the pilgrims would invoke to protect them on their pilgrimage.

Over time, the Virgin del Carmen became known as the patrones and protector of fishermen and seamen everywhere.

Virgen del Carmen – Maris Stella


The Statue leaves the church

The Fishermen celebrate their patron Saint's day on July 16th. In coastal towns all over Spain, those who have anything to do with the sea will be taking part in the celebrations.

The celebrations begin in Villajoyosa at the Church, Esglesia de la Mare de Deu Del Carme. The name of the church is in Valenciano because it is still the spoken language of part of the population in Villajoyosa.

The Celebration starts with a service at the church, after which the young men will carry the statue of the Virgin out from the church where they will carry it on their shoulders down to the port.

The Statue Leaves the Church


Women and Children Lead the Procession

The women and children dressed in their red, white and blue costumes lead the procession. The children carrying a fishing net and the women carrying flowers.

The Women and Children Lead the Procession


The Procession Wends its Way Through the Streets

The procession leaves the church to wend its way through the town down to the Port.


Behind the women and children comes the statue on the shoulders of the menfolk. Following the statue are the priest and dignitaries. Next are the band and the townspeople.

In the photograph below is a representative of the Guardia Civil in his smart dress uniform with our Mayor.

Notice that the Guardia Civil representative is wearing the famous tricorne or Cavalier's hat and not the one worn normally worn on duty by the Guardia today.

Guardia Civil and the Mayor
Guardia Civil and the Mayor | Source
The Band
The Band | Source

It's the Women's Turn

As the procession nears the port it is the women's turn to carry the statue of the Virgin for a while.


The Procession Enters the Port

The procession enters the Port and processes alongside the bottom of the seawall towards the boats.

The Procession Enters the Port


Time to get Onboard

Finally, the Statue and the whole of the procession get onboard one of the small armada of boats.

It seems like if it floats it is taking part in this celebration.

There are boats of all shapes and sizes, ranging from small boats capable of carrying two or three people right up to one of the big trip boats.

Some of the boats are dressed for the occasion with bright bunting.

The Armada sets Sail


The Armada Returns to Port

The ceremony at sea took around twenty minutes and then the armada returned home to the safety of Villajoyosa's Port.

Safe in the knowledge that once again they had secured the protection of the Virgin for another year.

Our next Fiesta in Villajoyosa is the Moors and Christians which is a week long celebration that begins on July 24th.

The Armada Returns to Port

Ave Maris Stella

For your enjoyment the Ave Maris Stella sung by the Sisters of Mary

Ave Maris Stella

Fiesta is it a Draw or a Put Off

As a tourist would a local fiesta be a draw or a put off?

See results


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    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain

      @drbj I am glad that you have enjoyed your virtual visit to our town. I am also very happy that you like the photographs, I think they help bring the text to life. Thank you so much for your comment it is appreciated :D

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      What a lovely tour of Villajoyosa, Maggs. I have toured the Costa del Sol but never made it further north to Costa Blanca. Via your beautiful photos I can view much of what I missed. Muchas gracias.