Stretching from Denia to Pilar de la Horadada, the Costa Blanca is as diverse as they come. With a mix of traditional Spain , rural & agricultural areas, long established holiday resorts & residential zones, there is something here for everyone.
Until recently the Costa Blanca was seen by many as an untouched coastline. Today it is a major travel destination for many European citizens, whether for holidays, travel or those moving there permanently. This has injected a cosmopolitan feel to the area, while retaining much of its traditional culture.
Already well known for being relatively inexpensive, with excellent beaches & a wide choice of accommodation, the Costa Blanca has a lot to offer. A great deal of investment has gone into the preservation of its historical & architectural heritage. There are many fiestas (festivals) throughout its calendar, some of which are a real spectacle & well worth a look. The cuisine is another major bonus, with (affordable) good food available everywhere, alongside the middle to high end restaurants. Plenty of shopping opportunities also exist, ranging from souvenirs, local goods & handicrafts, to fashion items & modern shopping centres.
Costa Blanca Tourism
The Costa Blanca is an area of natural beauty. Flanked by mountains & an overall diversity in terrain there is much to see & do; from blue flag beaches, mountain trails, islands & nature reserves, to authentic Spanish villages.
Positively affected by the rise in visitors to the region are the commercial amenities available. A wide array of sporting pursuits (water & land based) are on offer, as well as more cultured choices; such as a mix of established & recently regenerated museums, galleries, & sites of great historical importance.
Cuisine is another major draw, with an array of affordable local & international restaurants serving a mixture of dishes. Fresh fish is a major delicacy (similarly to many coastal areas), but meat also features prominently.
The Costa Blanca is well known for its mild climate & enjoys sunshine for in excess of 320 days per year. The sun is at its hottest during the summer months, with temperatures rarely falling below 30°C (86°F). Winters are typically very mild with averages hovering around 18°C (64°F).
The inland portions of the Northern Costa Blanca are considered by many to be one of the more beautiful parts of rural Spain . The Jalon valley is an excellent example of this, with natural beauty, lush vegetation & stunning mountain backdrops.
The whole area is particularly attractive with olive and orange groves, vineyards and trees/shrubbery providing the backdrop to the hills and cliff tops.
The charming village of Guadalest is one of the best days out in the province of Alicante . Surrounded by the Aitana, Serella & Xorta Mountains the village is widely recognised as being a historically important site, as well as one of great beauty.
Once a military stronghold of great strategic importance, Guadalest is the site of several ancient fortifications. Dating back to 715AD the town is of Islamic origin. It was relied on heavily by the Moors in their bid for control of the region, & again by European forces in the war of Spanish succession.
Today there are 2 main parts to the village; the first is the fortification, a huge area high on the mountain, where the majority of the population lived within the protection of its high walls. The second being the houses that the Moors lived in, which run outwards from the gate of San Jose (the only entrance to the fortification). This part of the town has been (tastefully) extended over the years, & is now home to many little streets & squares, giving the town a very unique appeal.
The town has many visitors (especially during the summer months), although this has done little to affect its aesthetic appeal. As a result a variety of small museums & a host of cafes & restaurants are open for business.
Guadalest is located approximately 25 kilometres inland from Benidorm & can be reached via the CV-70 road. If travelling from Alicante the journey should take no longer than 1 hour.
Rock of Ifach (Calpe)
The Rock of Ifach overlooks the fishing port of Calpe, on the Northern side of the Costa Blanca. It was originally called the “Northern Rock”, named so by the Phoenicians in order to distinguish it from Gibraltar .
The volcanic Rock of Ifach measures 332 metres in height. It has been converted into a natural park zone since 1987, with many colonies of sea birds, over 300 species of animals & plenty of lush vegetation. There is a nature school on site.
For those wishing to get a breathtaking view of the coastline, there is a zigzagging path which takes you to the peak, & a short cut via a tunnel on the sea ward face.
Despite its proximity to one of Europe’s largest tourist spots (Benidorm), the white washed town of Altea has managed to remain untouched by mass tourism. From Alicante airport Altea is best reached via the A-7 toll road, the journey time in most cases taking just under an hour.
With Altea’s narrow cobbled streets & stepped pathways it is easy to understand why it became a favourite haunt for artists, musicians & writers in the 60’s. Today it retains much of the old charm, with a mixture of well preserved Moorish & Mediterranean architecture, & palm fringed seafront promenade. The town is split between old & new quarters. The picture postcard old quarter (Vellaguarda quarter) sits on top a hill with excellent views of the mountains & Altea bay. The new quarter is down by the seafront & is the site for the majority of recent development, restaurants & other amenities.
Altea has a 6 kilometre beach, made up of cliffs alternating with shingle bathing areas. Playa de la Roda is located near the town centre. The main beach, Playa de Cap Blanch, is located to the south & runs into Albir’s beach (Albir is the next town along from Altea).
There are many fiestas (festivals) throughout Altea’s calendar, some of which are a real spectacle & well worth a look. The cuisine is another major bonus, with (affordable) good food available everywhere, alongside the middle to high end restaurants. Shopping opportunities also exist, mostly in the form of tiny shops offering gifts, local goods & handicrafts.
With a population of 9,500 the town of Moraira is situated on the northern shoulder of the Costa Blanca. Approximately 100 km south of Valencia & 80 km north of Alicante the town is easily reachable form both Alicante & Valencia international airports. Best reached via the A-7 toll road (exit 63), the journey time in most cases takes around an hour.
Like other towns along the coast Moraira has its roots as a fishing village, indeed it is a trade that is still prevalent here. Another ancient trade is that of wine making; a lot of the land around Moraira was dedicated to the growing of Muscatel grapes, & indeed over 1000 hectares of vineyards are still present.
Gladly Moraira is a testament to sensible town planning, there are no high rise hotels here, & package tour holidays are not welcomed. The town is however a favourite for residential tourism, keeping its Spanish way of life, while absorbing international influences. In fact Moraira has been doing this throughout its history; after all Iberians, Moors, Romans & Christians (amongst others) have lived here over the years. Once plagued by Barbary pirates Moraira was fortified with a castle. The castle has been standing since 1746 although badly damaged by the British in 1801; it overlooks the town & surrounding area.
There are numerous blue flag rated sandy beaches around Moraira, in fact they spread out for 15 km on either side of the town. Most are sheltered & good for family bathing. One of the better beaches is the Playa El Portet, located just around the bay from Moraira.
With a population of around 20,000 the town is split into 3 portions; namely Javea old town, Javea port, & the beach area. The medieval old town has not changed much over the years; it is a maze of narrow winding streets, white fronted homes adorned with wrought iron balconies & gothic style windows, & many ancient churches (iglesias) & other structures. The old town leads down to the fishing port & harbour; home to a collection of restaurants & bars, many of them serving the catch of the day. The beach area is the site for much of the expansion & development in recent years, with many low rise developments & a slightly more international feel.
Javea has beaches aplenty, although the majority of them are composed of rocks or shingle. The only sandy beach (& therefore the most popular one) is Playa del Arenal which is situated in the middle of the bay. One end of the bay was once occupied by a large Roman site; mainly thought to be used for salt production.
As in Pamplona bull running (through the town streets) still takes place here on an annual basis, as does betting on the mating habits of racing pigeons (Colombaires).
Javea boasts a coastline made up of striking cliffs, coves, & sandy beaches. With 4 to choose from, ranging from the bustling tourist beach to secluded coves, there is something here to suit all needs.
With a population of just under 29,000 the town is a busier place than its coastal neighbours Javea & Oliva. Although a large proportion of the population increase in recent years can be put down to residential tourism Denia is still very much a working town. Its port & fishing trade is more active than ever, commerce is thriving, & it is host to some of the areas biggest hospitals & courts of justice. Although expansion is evident, Denia has retained a lot of its old charm. The fishermen’s quarter preserves its delightful cobbled streets & whitewashed buildings.
The town is rich in history, deriving its name from the Romans who named it Dianium. They in turn are said to have named the town after the Roman temple Diana , which was excavated here. The town’s main focal point must be its impressive 16th century fortification, which dominates the town from a height of 58 metres. With excellent views of Denia & beyond it is now home to an archaeological museum.
Denia has beaches aplenty, stretching for almost 20 kilometres on either side of the town. They are generally well maintained & consistently win the European blue flag for safety & cleanliness.