In the summer of 2006, the Town Hall of Dénia announced the discovery of the archway to the ancient Roman city of Dianium, the namesake of Dénia. In most places this might come as a startling piece of news but in Dénia it is taken in stride as you can almost always find some sort of archeological dig. Dénia is like a giant ripe onion just waiting for the layers to be pulled back revealing more and more of its rich and savory heritage.

The history of Dénia tauntingly reveals itself by stringing together small remnants that time has not been able to erase. The sophisticated bustle of its main street, the hidden and lonely corners, temptations that invite us to interweave the fragments of an extraordinary history in which every culture has left its mark. Dénia is an open book that tells stories of yesterday and today, histories of fishermen, traders, pirates...hundreds of legends washed in with the waves and kept alive through daily life.

The narrow streets of Dénia´s old town can remember the days of Roman Dianium, of Daniya the Muslim, of Medieval Dénia, and the 20th century bourgeois city that prospered through the commerce of raisins. But most of all, permeating through the entire history, is the magical and romantic district of the Port of Dénia. Blended in to the old the new emerges like patches on a beloved old quilt never quite sure where one point in time ends and a new one begins.

But Dénia is not a museum, it is a living, breathing and vibrant town with an average yearly temperature of 19-20º C. Here one can be steeped in history but also steeped in an epicurean paradise. It is considered the gastronomic capital of the Costa Blanca with more than 300 restaurants within the municipal boundaries. Try a tapas crawl down the Marques de Campo in the multitude of bars spilling on to the pavement or wander the old fishing quarter where 19th century houses have been converted to restaurants that charm and delight the most jaded of palettes.

Whether it is the heady aroma of traditional Mediterranean rice dishes, fish stews or grilled fish and seafood you can’t help but be impressed. And don’t forget that Dénia prawns are considered by culinary experts to be the best in the world. Of course the experts probably don’t have to pay for their own! At upwards of €160 per kilo they can be quite an expensive experience.

When you tire of tasting other people’s gastronomic creations join the crowds every afternoon to meet the fishing boats as they sail in to the harbor with a huge range of fresh seafood and fish. Local housewives rush to their favorite fishermen to get first crack at anything catching their fancy. Or go inside the auction and watch as restaurant owners from across the country battle to claim the best lots.

For those who enjoy sports there is ample opportunity for learning or practicing every sort of water sport. There are prestigious schools for sailing, diving, wind surfing, canoeing and rowing not to mention the world championship paragliding competitions. For the land lover there is tennis, hiking, cycling, quaid rentals and three nearby championship golf courses.

Shoppers are rarely disappointed in Dénia. For those of us with a shoe fetish it is quite simply paradise. For others there are a multitude of boutiques plus the Monday open-air market with hundreds of stalls offering varying treasures. During the summer the Cervantes Esplanade becomes a bohemian craft market with handmade jewelry, leather goods and trendy clothing.

Dénia´s port is also the departure point for the colorful ferries plying back and forth at great speed to the Balearic Islands. If you don’t fancy a free concert in the outdoor Plaza de la Constitution, where the Archduke Charles of Austria was declared King, then you can dash over to Ibiza (a mere two hours) for a night of disco and foam.

It is always fiesta time in Dénia. It is known as the Spanish town with the most festivals per year. And festival in Dénia means fireworks, food, dancing, bull running, marching, laughter and much more fireworks! Most of the revelry can be marked on the religious calendar but there are others that are purely local. In winter there are processions to the hermitages of Santa Paula and Santa Lucia quickly followed by Carnival in February then Las Fallas is the magical forerunner to spring. Summer blast in with Hogueras de San Joan and Dénia´s spectacular Patron Saint Fiestas in honor of Santisima Sangre.

This is when the extraordinary Bous a la Mar occurs with all of the young men dashing through the streets in front of the bulls as they lure them to the sea. The end of summer brings the gala processions of the Moors and Christians. But these are just some of the highlights – every week there is something different. There is always something to celebrate in Dénia.