El Castell de Guadalest was built during the Moors occupation of Spain in the 12th century. After the Christian re conquest in the 13th century Guadalest still had a very large muslim population and continued thus under the dominion of different Catalan-Aragonese noblemen.
King Jaime II gave the castle of Guadalest to Bernardo de Sarrià in 1293 and for the next 42 years the castle and the surrounding country belonged to the Sarrià family.
In 1335 the castle reverted to the Crown, who sold it to Prince Pedro of Aragon, and it was then inherited by his son the royal Duke of Gandía.
After the last Duke of Gandia died, the castle was owned by the Cardona family. The Cardona family became Admirals of Aragón, and in 1543 the king and queen (Carlos and Juana) gave Don Sancho de Cardona and his descendants the permanent title of Marquis of Guadalest. The majority of his estates remained uninhabited following the expulsion of the Moors in 1609.
On 22nd of July 1644 an earthquake destroyed the Castle, and in December 1644 r another earth tremor destroyed part of the town.
The last Cardona, Marquis of Guadalest, died in 1699 without any descendants, and the title of marquis went to the Marquis of Ariza. The marquisate continued, but power declined in the 19th century.
While the Cardona family owned Guadalest,the Orduña family gained in local prominence. The Orduñas were Mayors of Guadalest from 1669 and were ennobled in 1756 when Pedro Antonio Buenaventura de Orduña y García was elevated to The Santiago Order.
During the War of the Spanish Succession in 1708 the Castle of San José was bombarded and destroyed along its western wall, and the Orduña house was burnt down.
In 1748 and 1752 more earthquakes hit the town although these two was smaller than the 1644 quake.
The Orduña family steadily gained power and influence in La Marina county. In 1934 the last Orduña died without any heirs and his estates went to distant relatives.
The town walls came under the protection law of the 22nd of April 1949 for Spanish castles.
In 1974 El Castell de Guadalest was given the title of historcal-artistical town.
In 1994 the Orduña house was bought by the town hall in order to refurbish it and make it into a Municipal Museum.
Local fiestas and festivals are covered on another web page.