The 200 km Costa Blanca (White Coast) stretches from the town of Denia in the north to Pilar de la Horadada in the south, for which it is considered one of Europe’s most popular areas. Its popularity grew due to its unspoiled beautiful white sand coastline interspersed with rocky coves and pebbled beaches, as well as Spain being very inexpensive in the 1960’s when it first opened up at the end of Franco’s dictatorship era.
It can seem, on the face of it, that all has changed, but this only applies to the busy touristy areas of Torrevieja in the south and Benidorm in the northern part of the Costa Blanca.
If you enjoy the bustling coastal hot spots with 24 hour entertainment, then you could do no better than staying in the very popular Benidorm. A town that keeps growing with amazing shaped high-rise buildings, with much on offer to entertain the whole family, from water parks to international starred cabaret night clubs.
If, on the other hand, you prefer the more tranquil serenity away from the hurly burly, then staying in the smaller resorts along the coast or just inland can be appealing and is very much a different experience than say Benidorm. It does not prevent you from taking in a visit to see some attractions in and around the big tourist areas, so if some members of the family wish to go to experience the thrill of say the water theme park in the mountains just behind Benidorm, then it is only a 30 minute drive away from towns like Moraira.
With the magnificent backdrop of the Bernia and Montgo mountains you will find quaint Spanish villages, whereby time has stood still for centuries.
Prolific vegetation is in contrast to the drier Costa de Almeria to the south. The production of grapes, oranges, lemons, figs, olives and almonds is much in evidence and very inexpensive to buy. The Late Valencian Orange is probably the sweetest orange of all, and decidedly so in December through to March when they are harvested.
Why rent a villa in the Costa Blanca?
A villa holiday on the Costa Blanca allows you the flexibility to simply relax by your own swimming pool, as well as discover what is on offer and appealing close by.
Superb Climate – the World Health Organization has declared that the Moraira, Javea and Denia peninsula of the Costa Blanca has “one of the most environmentally perfect climates in the world.” This micro climate is also appealing in winter too.
Warm Sea Temperature – the sea off the Costa Blanca is much warmer than the Costa del Sol, which is cooled by the Atlantic sea. Swimming in the sea between September and December is quite usual.
Great coastline – the coastline between Altea and Denia is one of the most dramatic and picturesque in Southern Spain.
Great Sailing – Moraira has one of the most beautiful marinas in the Costa Blanca. Discovering some of the inaccessible beaches can be reached by ski bikes or taking a kayak.
Easy Communications – The area is served by both Alicante and Valencia airports – either of which is around an hour’s drive to Moraira, Calpe and Javea. The motorway extends all along the Costa Blanca and runs through to Northern Europe – Moraira to Calais is an easy 18 hours drive.
Amazing places in Costa Blanca
Located on the CV-70 road, 25 km inland from Altea, is the village of Guadalest. Occupying one of the most stunning positions in Spain, this small village is precariously perched on the pinnacle of a granite mountain, giving fabulous views across the valley carved out by the River from which the village takes its name.
Getting to Guadalest by the twisting road that climbs ever upwards, passing through the village of Polop, is almost as spectacular as the position of the village, but the breathtaking views make the drive worthwhile even for the more nervous passengers!
On reaching Guadalest you can see why the Moors, who constructed fortifications to defend the area, considered this place a site of strategic importance.
Some of these fortifications were unconquerable and the remains of several can still be seen today, even though they were bombarded in the 18th century during the Spanish war of Succession.
However the building you will see on most of the postcards is the whitewashed bell tower of Penon de la Alcala which seems to cling to the mountain face.
Intriguingly the old village and castle is accessed through a tunnel carved from the rock and when you reach the other end and see the ancient houses, you seem to have been transported to another age.
Guadalest has plenty of museums, so you can learn more about its history, little crafts shops and places to buy a souvenir of your visit. Costing only a few euros the visit through the tunnel to the village is definitely worthwhile as the castle tour (starting at 10am) takes in the dungeon (great for the kids) and offers fantastic views across the valley from cobbled footpaths and lookout points.
The population of only 200 people now dedicates itself entirely to tourism, hence some of the area’s best museums being located here. If you want to be transported to another world when land was fiercely defended, don’t miss a trip to the village of Guadalest!
Also, whilst you are in the area, visit the nearby waterfalls mentioned, below.
2) Algar Waterfalls at Callosa d’En Sarrià
Callosa d’En Sarria is situated 30 minutes by car from Teulada – Moraira. The journey there is an experience in itself; Vast plantations of orange trees follow the road on both sides. But the special attraction of Callosa d’En Sarria is in the beauty of its Nature Park known as Fonts d’Algar and it was named “Fonts de Fonts” (Fountains of all Fountains).
From Callosa the distance to the Fonts de Algar is not very long and it is all well sign posted. When you leave Callosa, you can see the water channels and the exuberant green countryside of the Nature Park on the right side of the valley.
Numerous small fountains that merge into marvelous waterfalls and small lakes, form the Fonts d’Algar. Here you can find many paths to explore the area and see natural pools carved out by the famous waterfalls. In the Summer, visiting the Fountains is a great alternative to a day at the beach, as the water temperature of 18C offers you a refreshing swim and you can always find a shady spot. So don’t forget your swimming costume.
Other attractions in the park are the Environment Museum and the tree nurseries, which are watered by the fountains’ existing irrigation channels.
Elche is the third largest city in the Valencia region in terms of population size and resources. A stroll through the city’s streets will reveal an interesting historical centre, a silent witness to its glorious past. Between the 8th and 9th centuries it was a walled city of Al-Andalus, falling to the Christians in 1265; however, a mere two kilometres south of the present city is its original site, La Alcudia, known as Heliké. It was continuously inhabited from the Neolithic period until the Visigoth period. The primitive settlement developed into the Iberian city of Heliké. The city’s Iberian culture experienced a golden age, producing sculptures such as the Dama d’Elx. The Iberian city was Romanized in 209 BC and in the 1st century BC it was granted the title of Colonia Iulia Ilice Augusta. This glorious past contrasts harmoniously with all of the elements characteristic of a young, dynamic city with a unique townscape due to its location in Europe’s largest palm grove. The Palm Grove, legacy of the Andalusí farming culture, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The night of August 13th Nit de l’Albà, is one of the celebrations that the townspeople of Elche look forward to most eagerly. Hundreds of fireworks light up the sky in a barrage of colour and sound.
4) Visit the city of Valencia.
The regional capital city of Valencia is about 1 ½ hours’ drive north from Moraira. Stroll through the old city center, visiting the Lonja, the Central Market, the Cathedral, the Palau de la Generalitar, the Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas, the Serranos and the Quart towers. Wander up the Calle Colon where you will find top Spanish fashion brands shops, which are cheaper than in the UK. Continue on to the Mercado Central, Plaza de Mercado, whereby you’ll see an Art Nouveau glass and girder-covered market with over 1,000 stalls, selling everything from live eels and ostrich eggs to vegetables and cheese. Don’t leave without sampling the paella.
Visit the futuristic City of Arts and Science, Calle Arzobispo Mayoral 14. Forget walking: you have done enough. Pick up a cab and prepare for the jaw-dropping design by Santiago Calatrava. Puncturing the skyline like bleached cathedrals, the complex houses interactive exhibitions, an Imax cinema, galleries, a concert hall, a science museum, oceanographic park and Europe’s largest aquarium.
5) Get closer to nature.
A short drive from Benidorm is the natural park of Serra Gelada (ice mountain) which is a rugged area on the coast that rises more than 300 metres over Benidorm, Alfàs del Pì and Altea.
Whilst in the area you may wish to take a beautiful drive up to the Bernia mountain national park plateau, which then allows you to walk around the mountain and even through the natural cave, without having to climb up the mountain.
6) Take the ‘Lemon Train’
Not that you necessarily need a car to enjoy the Costa Blanca. There’s a charming narrow gauge railway called the ‘Lemon Train’ that sways and rattles all the way from Alicante to Denia, with stations at all the main towns, simply a must to experience.
It’s worthwhile as an experience in itself because it gives a quite different view of the countryside, away from the main roads, and can be quite exciting as it plunges through tunnels and over bridges. But it’s also worth taking the train into Alicante for a city away-day – it’s an impressive, vibrant city with an attractive waterfront.