This little inland town set in the Valencian Community has become a popular one with international residents whilst still retaining its Spanish charm. It has been a settlement since Grecian times and has been occupied by Christians and Moors during different epochs of Spain’s history. Not that its peaceful and picturesque appearance gives any hint of conflict.
Set in the Sierra de Crevillente, it is populated with pine trees, almond and olive groves and visitors can encounter a range of local wildlife including hares, foxes, rabbits, owls and lizards. It is a municipality in its own right with an independent town hall and all the facilities you want set against a spectacular mountainous backdrop.
Nieves means ‘snow’ in Spanish. You won’t find much of it around here however, although it has been known. Throughout the year the climate is mild reaching your usual Spanish heat in the summer. However, the pace of life means that its inhabitants triumph over this and make the most of the warm evenings with al fresco dining and watching the world go by.
Hondón de las Nieves is primarily an agricultural town with a tradition of vineyard cultivation as part of the wine-producing region of Vinalopo. However, not all the grapes end up as wine. If you take part in the custom of eating the 12 grapes to welcome in the new year then there’s a chance that your grapes might have come from Hondón or one of its neighbouring towns. The Aledo grape is cultivated here and is grown to be eaten rather than made into wine.
It’s a harmonious community where international residents have settled in easily with their Spanish hosts. But most of all it has retained all those features that we associate with and love about Spain and the Spanish.
To see and to do in Hondón de las Nieves
Nestling in the Hondón Valley, this town’s peaceful reputation is sometimes shattered. Some of its fiestas are not quite as tranquil as its day-to-day life. Take that of Hondón Correfocs, for example. Many Spanish towns have at least one traditional celebration that involves fire and fireworks. The Valencian Fallas and the Elche nit de foc are both well document and visited. Not to be outdone, other than perhaps in scale, is Hondón’s own version.
Not every fiesta is quite so noisy though. The religious ceremonies and processions continue to be a focal part of Hondón life with the Plaza being the main gathering area in the town. One of the major celebrations is la Fiesta Mayor in honour of the Virgen de las Nieves, a patron saint that is shared with the neighbouring town of Aspe.
With its gentle growth, Hondón has eased into providing the facilities that its population needs. You will find the usual specialist shops such as butchers and bakers as well as the restaurants and bars you’d expect. There is a small selection of supermarkets, hairdressers and banks and Hondón has its own post office, school, doctor’s surgery and chemists. There is a municipal sports centre and Hondón holds its own cross-country run.
As all Spanish towns, Hondón has its lively and colourful street markets. Wednesdays and Saturdays are market days and there is an indoor weekday market that sells fresh local produce too. So it’s a pretty self-sufficient town for most commodities.
If you do need something a little more unusual or special then you will find nearly everything else you could want in the nearby city of Elche or Alicante; both within easy reach. With the best of city life on tap and the worst left behind, what more could you want?
Hondón de las Nieves facts
- Population: 2,583 (2015)
- Nearest airport: Alicante (30 minutes)
- Road access: AP7, CV 845
- Public transport: Bus
- Beaches: Alicante (30 minutes), Guardamar (45 minutes)
- Nearby local towns: Aspe, Montesol, Hondón de los Frailes
- Cities: Alicante (30 minutes)