Spain Guide


Oliva Nightlife

Oliva offers a typically Spanish nightlife with bars and restaurants staying open till late and colourful fiestas taking place practically every month of the year. For more international entertainment, the cosmopolitan town of Denia is only 15 minutes down the road and is packed with music bars, clubs and restaurants geared to the tastes of foreign holidaymakers.

The best known night spot in Oliva is undoubtedly Viva España, just outside the town on the national road to Valencia. The restaurant is open all week and at weekends you can enjoy a fun night out with dinner followed by a flamenco and international cabaret show.

This is a family run business with dad playing the perfect "mien host" a great showman who addresses his audience in several languages, croons quite passably and gets everyone dancing until the small hours. Mum runs the kitchen, one daughter handles the admin and the other is one of the lead dancers! It's a popular venue, especially among foreigners, and whilst the flamenco dancers may not be your authentic Andalucian gypsies they still manage to put on a very slick and enjoyable performance.

For a cheaper night out, tour the tapas bars in the town for a taste of "the real Spain". You don't normally get free tapas here, as you still do in parts of southern Spain, but these delicious local snacks are very reasonably priced and it's a great way to sample the various regional specialities. Oliva is proud of its culinary heritage, so much so that a group of bar owners and restaurateurs have formed an association designed to revive and promote local dishes.

Try the "figatells" (meat balls of minced bacon and pig's liver), the "coca a las calfo" (Spanish style pizza), "pebreres farcides" (red peppers with tuna stuffing) or the "vespa" (dry, salted tuna with garlic and olive oil.

The Spanish sit down to eat much later than northern Europeans (often starting their evening meal at 9.30 or 10pm) and many bars stay open until the small hours, especially at fiesta time.

One of the biggest fiestas of the year is the Moors and Christians celebration in the third week of July. The streets of Oliva become a riot of chaos and colour as the locals don extravagant costumes and stage mock battles to mark the ousting of the Moors after their 500 year dominance of this region. There are street parties, music, dancing and fireworks. If you're holidaying here at this time of year, it's a spectacle not to be missed. You can pick up a full programme of events from the local town hall or tourist information office.

From the last Sunday in June to the first Sunday in July, there's the big "Feria de Oliva" which started life as a commercial fair to enable local merchants to promote their wares but has now turned into a week long fiesta of round the clock parades and partying.

You'll find a lively nightlife all year round in the nearby town of Denia. In the summer months the coast road leading into Denia from the northern side of the town is chock a block with international bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs.

One word of caution when you see the brightly lit "club" signs which litter the N332 national road in this area, be aware that these are brothels (not international cabaret venues!).

If it's international cabaret you're after, head for the Benidorm Palace one night. It's only 40 minutes drive south of Oliva and offers a great night out with some top class acts accompanied by a very reasonable dinner, all at an affordable price.