Area guide – Costa Blanca north

19 Feb | 82 min read

A near perfect climate will keep you on the beaches all year round but look a little further afield and you will find medieval ruins, diverse landscapes and thriving towns.

Set on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, Alicante province is home to the Costa Blanca, 160 kilometres of stunning beaches. You’ll find some of Spain’s most famous resorts here. Glorious sandy white beaches of the south turn into characterful coves and limestone crags further north. All come with a reliable climate all year round; winters are warm and dry, the summers hot, but thankfully a shade cooler than in the southern provinces.

Inland the landscape offers just as much variety, from the rugged mountain terrain of the north to the fertile plains of the south where you’ll find lemon groves and colourful salt lakes, perfect if you are seeking a little seclusion.

This is a region steeped in history and culture. There are Roman ruins to discover and dozens of castles dotted across the countryside, once part of a fortified border between the ancient kingdoms of Castilla and Aragon. And over the city of Alicante itself, the Castle of Santa Barbara looks down on the ancient harbour and is surrounded by streets and houses that are reminders of the region’s Arabic heritage.

Alicante is well served by its tourism industry which forms the largest part of the economy and offers the most job opportunities. Traditional Spanish trades also still thrive, including agriculture, vineyards and fishing – as the miles of striking nets strung out along the coast prove.

There is a lively community of international residents – the largest ratio of expats to Spanish in the country, with some areas at fifty percent. You’ll find a warm welcome in this community, along with reliable services to support you wherever you choose to settle.

The Costa Blanca is a place of two halves, with the Northern areas offering a little more tranquillity, but a higher cost of living, and the Southern towns attracting more Northern European tourism, resulting in bustling resorts. For example, Moraira, a small town to the North, has been dubbed the St Tropez of Spain.

The major centres on the Costa Blanca have comprehensive transport networks, within the cities and between them, but in the smaller towns, you’ll need a car.

Alicante is the best-placed airport for travel abroad, and like any major city, offers a variety of destinations and price points for the budget conscious. The working day is often seasonal, with later opening hours over the summer months, and many businesses still close during traditional siesta hours.

Many of the towns in the Costa Blanca have thriving markets, sports facilities and nearby beaches. Most centre around nightlife yet remain incredibly family friendly. Golf is the reigning sport, with over 30 courses to choose from in the area.

The Costa Blanca offers a life filled with fresh food, stacks of sunshine and relaxation. Just don’t forget your sun-cream.

 

Guide to towns on Costa Blanca north (Alicante province)

In this order: Denia, Jávea, Moraira,  Calpe, Altea, Benidorm, El Campello, Albir, Alfaz del Pi, Polop, Villajoyosa, Finestrat, Jalon Valley, Pego, Teulada.

 

Denia

Denia offers the very best of this popular coastline, whether you want to explore rocky coves and mountains or revel in sand, sun and amazing seafood.

On a stretch of coast where tourism dominates, Denia is a breath of fresh air. It has beaches, hotels and restaurants but this working city has also maintained its character. A major passenger port serving the Balearic Islands, Denia feels different from some of the resorts further south. The city bustles with life both day and night – from the narrow shopping streets of the Moorish old town to the lively beach bars and restaurants. Once you’ve had your fill of incredible freshly caught seafood, move on to paella which is among the best in the region thanks to the proximity of the nearby rice fields.

Denia is separated from the rest of the coast by the Montgó natural park, a humped peak packed with rare plants. On either side of the harbour you’ll find two distinct flavours of beach – long and sandy Las Marinas to the north and rocky Las Rotas to the south.

The city is steeped in several millennia of history; the first thing you’ll notice is the tumbledown Moorish castle which contains an archaeological museum. Tradition is important here and it’s impossible not to get sucked into the excitement of its fiestas, like fiery ‘Fallas’ in March where giant statues of famous figures are burned to the ground.

Community

Denia is home to 42,000 people, a fifth of whom are from other countries, including Britain, Germany, Holland and France. Many more move here from all over Spain. You’ll find a warm welcome in this cosmopolitan community.

Property

There’s no denying that Denia is one of the more attractive areas for house hunters, so expect to pay a little more than in some of the resorts further down the coast. However it’s well worth it. You’ll find a range of apartments, villas and rural homes along the coast and in the historic town centre. If you want a truly spectacular view (and if money’s no object), look for something on the slopes of Montgó mountain.

Amenities

As a working city, Denia is well served by shops, including an outdoor market on Mondays, and you won’t want to miss the spectacle of the La Lonja fish market where the very freshest red shrimp – a local delicacy – can be found. Leisure activities include water sports and a golf course, Oliva Nova, designed and built by the legendary Seve Ballesteros.

Transport

Separated from the main road by the positioning of the Montgó natural park, Denia feels like its own separate kingdom. Should you need to get anywhere there is a good bus service and a ferry if you want to get away to Ibiza – just 55 miles out at sea!

Health

You’ll find a range of health care providers here including dentists and a well-equipped new public health hospital (Marina Salud) on the way out of town.

Cost of Living

Denia is a popular place to live and so things are a little pricier than you’d find further south on the Costa Blanca. However, it offers a slightly cheaper alternative to its near neighbours of fashionable Altea and Javea.

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Jávea

The scents of lavender and lemon groves mingle with honey and bougainvillea. This is Mediterranean living at its best: family oriented, with beaches and sea food to die for.

Jávea (or Xàbia), is an idyllic location for the thousands of residents looking for something a bit different to the resorts further south. A wide bay positioned between two rocky headlands and sheltered by the dramatic Montgó Massif, Jávea is the Costa Blanca’s great unspoiled location.

In fact, you will find three locations for the price of one in Jávea. On the slopes of the mountain is an old town dating back to the 14th century – a warren of narrow streets, honeyed sandstone buildings, some still riddled with bullet holes from the civil war.

Head north to the charming port of Cabo de San Antonio. Overlooked by ruined 17th century windmills (for that Don Quixote feeling) is a marina that has drawn comparisons with Dartmouth in the UK. In the bay fishing boats bob alongside pleasure cruisers and you can sample the catch of the day including ‘erizos de mar’ (sea urchins) from the daily fish market.

Stroll for a couple of kilometres along the beach promenade and you’ll reach Arenal, Jávea’s most popular beach resort. This is where you’ll find the main apartment complexes, bars and restaurants aplenty. Whether you are people watching or meditating on the rocky headlands, Jávea’s coast is compelling.

Community

A medium sized town with 33,000 citizens, half of the people you will meet in Jávea now hail from Britain and northern Europe. English is widely spoken and even the newsstands are multilingual.

Property

You’ll find different types of property depending on where you choose to settle. Apartments are in abundance around the beach at Arenal, period town houses come at a premium in the old town and there are family sized villas to be found at the developments in the immediate vicinity.

Transport

Positioned between two airports, Jávea is roughly 100 km to Alicante in the south and Valencia to the north. You can catch regular bus and train services, or whizz down the express toll road, the AP-7 that runs down the Mediterranean coast.

Amenities

It might be a small town, but Jávea serves its residents well with numerous shops, including a weekly market, a flea market and bookshop. You’ll also find a cinema and numerous banks.

Health

Although there is no hospital in Jávea, you can access two public health care clinics in the old town and at the port, including an emergency room. If you don’t qualify for state care then there are also numerous private clinics.

Jobs

The majority of work in Jávea is centred around the tourism and the services industry. It’s a small town and much of the work is seasonal so it’s a good idea to explore opportunities in Benidorm and Alicante down the coast.

Cost of Living

Jávea is a beautiful and exclusive town, so as you might find your daily spending’s to be a little pricier than you’d find in busy Benidorm or the city of Alicante.

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Moraira

Strict planning laws that protect the surrounding pine forests and restrict the height of buildings, have made Moraira one of the most unspoilt resorts on the Costa Blanca.

The Moraira valley is the convergent point of several mountain streams. These flow down to the beach even during the driest August weather. Over time, these streams have deposited their rich fertile soil on the valley bottom making the region famous for agriculture, especially wine growing.

The Cap d’Or peninsula borders the town to the North. Between this headland and the surrounding foothills, there’s protection from harsh weather during the winter and a natural vortex cools sea breezes in the summer. The original fishing village has now merged with the neighbouring El Portet to form a tourist resort on the Costa Blanca strip, with eight kilometres of coastline.

Moraira historical roots as a fishing village are still in evidence; its port still has fishing boats in operation. But tourism along the Costa Blanca has threatened the coastline. To preserve the heritage of the area, the council passed strict planning laws to protect the native pine tree forests and limit the height of buildings. This means that, unusually, there are no unattractive looking hotels or high-rise apartments. Moraira still maintains the character of a sleepy fishing village.

The town is a mix of quaint cobblestone streets and broad modern avenues dotted with palm trees. It’s shopping quarters, watering holes and restaurants entice travellers from Madrid as well as a wide range of Northern Europeans in the summer. There are also three white sand beaches within walking distance, popular with families and many rocky coves and inlets of interest to snorkelers and scuba divers. There is a privately owned marina operated by Club Náutico Moraira which has 620 embarkation points for hire. In summer the yacht club runs sailing courses and regattas.

The Friday morning market, held in the town square, offers fresh produce and there’s a regular fish market for the locally caught seafood. There’s dining to suit all budgets and styles, ranging from tapas to Michelin-starred restaurants. In the valley, just inland, vineyards prosper in this micro-climate, where Muscat grapes are grown to make the sweet dessert wine, Muscatel.

Property

The planning regulations mean most of the properties are detached two-storey villas with private pools tucked into the hillside forests along the coast or Spanish “pueblo-style” developments with communal pools, making it a competitive market. With soft white sand and shallow turquoise water, many of the most beautiful villas in Moraira overlook the sheltered bay of Portet Beach.

Transport

Moraira is easy to reach by air with flights from many locations to nearby Alicante. Or, you can fly to Valencia and then drive the 150km to the town. The nearest railway station is in inland Teulada but there’s also one in the coastal town of Calpe. Buses are infrequent but reliable, and both car hire and taxis are easy to arrange.

Health

Nationally, state healthcare is completely free for residents and shorter stays can be covered with an EHIC card. There is a handful of registered GP’s in Moraira, and the nearby towns of Calpe and Teulada have healthcare providers that you can reach in under half an hour.

Living expenses

Moraira is very popular with affluent retirees, especially the British and much of the town caters for people with expensive tastes, from sailing activities to Michelin-starred dining. However, many amenities and groceries are in line with the rest of the nation, in that they’re relatively inexpensive. In general, rent and social costs are slightly more than the Southern resorts.

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Calpe

Calpe is a resort town on the Costa Blanca near Alicante in Valencia Community. It mixes an old fishing port with a modern marina and traditional culture with contemporary tourist facilities.

Calpe has three beautiful beaches flanked by the landmark Peñón de Ifach, a towering Mediterranean outcrop, and Les Salines De Calp salt flats — both renowned national parks.

Calpe nestles between the Ifach rock, rising 322m out of the sea and the Morro de Toix headland. Resulting in a coastline of sheltered rocky coves with pristine waters and calm bays. A port town since the Roman times, Calpe has built up around an idyllic old centre a bustling, practical resort town.

The unusual mix in topography (both flat and sea cliff habitats) attracts migrating birds and its protected parks are home to many endemic species, drawing nature enthusiasts from around the globe. The climb to the summit of Peñon d’Ifach offers spectacular views of the surrounding coastline. It’s popular with bird lovers who come to see rare species including Audouin’s gull, Eleonora’s falcon and the peregrine falcon. Whereas Las Salinas Natural Park is most famous for its colonies of flamingos. This large saltwater lagoon has a variety of wooden walkways installed to give close-up access to the birds, without having any effect on the precious ecosystem

Calpe is a town stacked with history. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of Iberian tribes; a team of volunteers recently excavated the ruins of a Roman villa, forming part of a Roman fish factory, known as the Banys de la Reina. And its busy ports have historically been attacked by pirates, invaders and saboteurs. As a result, the old town is a patchwork of residential, commercial and defensive architecture influenced by various rulers. The Ifach golf course overlooks the ocean and you can find copious larger courses inland; boat owners can book a birth at the Real Club Náutico de Calpe. Jijona ice-cream, a nougat flavoured popular delicacy, uses locally grown almonds.

Property

Calpe is a town made up of apartments, but you can find villas, chalets and bungalows on the outskirts and hillsides. If you’re looking for something truly unique, plots of land come up every now and then, often with planning consent included.

Transport

Accessed by the A7 motorway and the N332 that runs from Valencia to Alicante, Calpe is only one hour’s drive from the airport at Alicante. A well-serviced bus station runs intercity connections to more than 20 cities in Spain like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and an international connection to Andorra. Calpe train station is small and located just over a mile inland from the beach near the town centre. Trains, run by national service FGV, go between Denia and Benidorm. A local bus connects the station, town centre and beaches.

Health

There are eight GPs listed for the town and two dentists with Clinica Britannia offering a full range of health care services specifically to English speakers. You can reach state hospitals in both nearby Benidorm and Xabia.

Living expenses

Average annual salaries in Calpe generally meet the local costs of goods and services. Some things remain substantially cheaper e.g. the cost of rent, childcare or private schools for example. Healthcare is free for residents and for those visiting from inside the EU.

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Altea

Altea is a seaside resort with a soul. For anyone who loves beaches, bars and bohemian living, this is the place for you.

The cultural capital of Valencia, Altea has been a magnet for artists, musicians and writers from across Europe since the 1950s. It’s just a spit up the coast from bustling Benidorm but with an arty vibe that makes it feels a world away.

Walk from the marbled pebble beach past palm tree lined promenades, up through crooked cobbled streets of the old town, past artists’ studios and tempting shops, bars and eateries until you reach the blue domed church of La Mare de Déu del Consol. You’ll discover in Altea the perfect blend of seaside resort, arty enclave and traditional Spanish village.

An extremely pleasant microclimate provided by the surrounding mountains makes Altea a place you can enjoy all year round. Whether you are exploring the beachfront, investigating its historic buildings or enjoying its famed gastronomy, this is somewhere you’ll love to call home.

Community

By the standards of the some of the Costa Blanca’s bigger resorts, Altea is positively underpopulated. Of the 22,000 permanent inhabitants, one in three has chosen to settle from abroad. Over the years the town has grown from fishing village to accommodate a number of new developments. Without losing its character it remains a friendly, elegant and much sought after location.

Property

Altea has housing to suit a range of tastes and budgets. In the old town options are limited, and a little pricier, while the seafront developments offer everything from luxury penthouses to affordable apartments and clustered around the town are numerous modern villas and housing complexes.

Amenities

There are endless lovely shops to explore in the old town, while further out are more commercial shops and supermarkets. Weekly street markets are the place to pick up fruit and veg from the region and an array of other interesting goods from farther afield.

Sports are well catered for in the area, whether it’s mountain climbing, golf, tennis or sailing. While this cultural capital also boasts a new arts centre and concert hall providing a wide range of entertainment.

Transport

Located off the main coast road, you are within easy reach of the airport at Alicante to the south by road or rail. There is also a useful local tram system which connects you to Alicante, Benidorm and other local towns.

Health

Named from the Arabic, ‘Althaya’ meaning ‘Health to All’, you’d expect Altea to offer good health provision. It has a public health centre and several private clinics. The nearest local hospital is just ten kilometres away in Benidorm.

Cost of Living

Although a popular location for expats and tourists, Altea remains an affordable place to live, particularly if you shop for deals at the local markets and eat off the delicious menu del dia at the many local restaurants.

See all our properties for sale in Altea

Benidorm

If you want to have fun in the sun, whatever your age, nationality or sexual orientation, Benidorm, on the northern part of the Costa Blanca, offers a warm welcome all year round.

Parallels with Manhattan abound in Benidorm with its remarkable high-rise skyline. It has more skyscrapers per capita than anywhere else in the world, even New York! However, this is not quite the ‘city that never sleeps’ these days; the resort’s reputation for attracting lager louts is thankfully well out of date and you are more likely to encounter older holidaymakers. In fact, this is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, attracting people of all nationalities including a sizeable LGBT community.

With three major beaches and all the attendant pleasures, this is the archetypal seaside resort, and undoubtedly one of the very best. Thanks to forward-thinking planning laws the town feels surprisingly spacious on the ground. Head up the hill into the old town and step onto the Balcon de Mediterraneo and you’ll be treated to one of the most dramatic sea views on the Costa Blanca with an uninhabited island sitting alone in the rich, deep blue Mediterranean.

Community

With 46% Spanish among its 70,000 strong population, in Benidorm you’ll also meet people from Britain, China, Argentina, Bulgaria and Morocco, making it one of the most culturally diverse cities in Europe. Of course, this is just an official count – you’ll need to be there to experience this unique international cross-section of humanity.

Property

Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of apartments to be found in Benidorm. These range from luxury penthouses with rooftop pools to single bedroom studios, ideal if you’re planning to make the most of the nightlife. This is a big city with many distinctly different areas, from lively Rincon and Levante to quieter urbanisations that will suit any budget, plus exclusive gated communities and more modest outlying neighbourhoods of bungalows and villas.

Amenities

It’s not all Brit bars and fish and chips in Benidorm, you can eat practically anything from anywhere in the world – even Spain! With multitudinous golf courses, theme parks, water parks, casinos, free cabaret shows and more… suffice to say you won’t run out of things to do. Benidorm is also great for shopping with a major mall and markets aimed at both tourists and locals.

Transport

Benidorm is very easy to get around, even without your own transport. Reasonably priced buses and trams run regularly around the local area and the airport at Alicante. The bus station is a major hub with services to other parts of Spain and Europe.

Health

There are several public health clinics and a major hospital here, as well as a host of private hospitals many of which have English speaking staff.

Cost of Living

The phrase ‘cheap and cheerful’ could have been coined for Benidorm; food outlets are plentiful and prices are kept low – around ten percent less than in the nearest big city, Alicante.

See all our properties for sale in Benidorm

El Campello

If you want a slice of real Spanish life and culture but also access to the beauty and distinct pleasures of this part of Spain, El Campello is the place for you.

For a town situated at the centre of the Costa Blanca, just 20 minutes from Alicante, El Campello somehow manages to retain the chilled-out atmosphere which is missing from many of the region’s better-known tourist resorts. You’ll find a strongly Spanish character here; visit the busy working port and fish market or take part in one of the vibrant, traditional Fiestas. It all adds up to making El Campello a great place to really embed yourself in the Spanish way of life.

History keeps watch over this seaside town in the form of an imposing watch tower that used to warn against pirate raids and now provides views of the delightful beach. You’ll find fascinating architectural reminders of former Arab, Roman and even Bronze age settlements too. El Campello really is perfect if you want to spend your days outside, whether that means enjoying the wide sandy beach or taking long walks in the stunning countryside and mountains. The perfect Mediterranean climate means you will be able to make the most of the town’s natural riches all year round.

Community

The majority of El Campello’s 27,000 strong population are Spanish, although there is a significant expat population here, comprised mainly of people who are interested in integrating with the locals. And with such a friendly, laid back way of life, why wouldn’t you want to?

Property         

You will find a wide range of apartments in a mixture of high and low-rise blocks along the seafront, many of which are very reasonably priced. Townhouses and villas can be found closer to the town centre, ranging from high end modern to more traditional Spanish properties.

Amenities

There are a good range of shops and supermarkets, including discount chains about the town as well as a Wednesday market. If you want to eat out this is a great spot, with the best of the region’s produce, particularly fresh seafood on offer. Sports enthusiasts are also well served, with several golf courses in the immediate vicinity and a yacht club in the town.

Transport

El Campello is the most northern stop on a very useful tram line that quickly connects you with Alicante and continues down to Benidorm. The town is also perfectly situated for access to Alicante airport.

Health

The town is served by several medical centres including a small emergency room. For anything more, you can visit the larger university hospital in Sant Joan, just north of Alicante.

Cost of Living

This is a place that will suit people on a budget. Although prices around the beach might be a little higher, you can eat out very reasonably in town. If you really want to cut costs, take a visit to the daily fish market where you can haggle for your supper!

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Albir

Positioned at the heart of the Costa Blanca and with a ready-made international community, Albir will suit anyone looking to enjoy this hugely popular area at a more relaxed pace.

With the high rises of Benidorm and the nature reserve of the Sierra Helada (Frozen Mountains) to the south, Albir is a purpose-built seaside community where low rise accommodation spreads out along wide tree lined streets. Take a stroll down a tropical boulevard built over a former river and you will emerge at the award-winning beach, Playa de Racó del Albir, truly a place to stretch out and enjoy the beauty of the Costa Blanca.

Unlike many of the resorts that have risen in Benidorm’s wake, you’ll find many distinctive features in Albir, such as a stunning lighthouse accessible by a delightful winding stroll along the edge of the Sierra Helada. Head down to the Paseo de las Estrellas at the right time of year and you could be rubbing shoulders with Spanish movie royalty at the well-established national film festival. Or simply relax in one of the town’s many excellent restaurants which serve food from around the world alongside classic local rice and noodle dishes – and of course freshly caught fish.

Community

This village of about 5,000 inhabitants attracts a more or less equal split of Spanish and expats mainly drawn from northern European countries including Norway, Holland and the UK. Albir is served by the parent town of Alfaz del Pi, several kilometres inland, which serves to help bond the various international communities.

Property

This is a planned town, with many properties designed to suit the needs of buyers from northern Europe. You’ll find reasonably priced apartments, townhouses and villas here, with the more expensive properties closer to the beach and town centre amenities.

Amenities

The town is very well served by supermarkets, with five large stores, some of which carry products from Britain and Norway. In the summer months there is a small market selling local craft, jewellery and art. Parents will find two handy children’s playgrounds on the beach.

Transport

Albir is helpfully situated between Alicante and Valencia airports, which are both under an hour’s drive on the A7 motorway. You can also take the tram on the Alicante to Denia line, which has 40 stops including Benidorm along its 93 kilometres.

Health

Along with a public health centre you can also find practices where they specialise in the care of English, Norwegian and Dutch patients. The nearest hospital is 10 minutes away in Benidorm.

Cost of Living

Although a popular location for expats and tourists, Albir remains an affordable place to live with five supermarkets and countless reasonably priced restaurants.

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Alfaz del Pi

Perfectly positioned in the heart of the Costa Blanca and with an established international community, Alfaz del Pi will suit anyone wanting to experience the best of this popular area.

With brash Benidorm to the south and artsy Altea to the north, the town of Alfaz del Pi is a happy medium. Set back a few kilometres from the coast, where you will find its sister resort of El Albir, Alfaz is a relaxed environment that has become an enormously popular destination for expats.

Named after the centuries old pine tree planted in the town square, the town is surrounded by green hills and offers views of the sea that combine to make you feel especially close to the beauty of the Mediterranean. Alfas attracts people from all over the world, drawn to its superb sports facilities and annual events including a film festival. Alfaz del Pi offers a range of delights to suit all comers.

Community 

With more foreign residents living here than Spaniards you might be forgiven for mistaking Alfaz del Pi for just another expat town. In fact, with over 90 different nationalities represented among its 21,000 population, this is a highly cosmopolitan town where you will find a distinctive combination of Spanish and Scandinavian culture.

Property

Choose from a great range of apartments, townhouses and villas in town, many with their own pools. Because of its position away from the coast, prices are often a little more affordable than you will find in some of the neighbouring towns.

Amenities

The town has excellent sports facilities including athletics, swimming and football, plus of course easy access to sailing, diving and other water sports. If you’d prefer something a little less energetic there are many restaurants, bars and shops to choose from, offering local seafood along with dark Scandinavian breads.

Transport 

Alicante and its airport is around a 50 minute drive to the south. If you are without transport there are excellent public transport links including the popular tram which connects you with Benidorm, Alicante and many other Costa Blanca towns.

Health

The town has a variety of clinics to choose from including a national health center and you will find the nearest hospital ten minutes away in Benidorm. Many people come to Alfaz for the health benefits, and you will find many complementary and alternative treatments available.

Cost of Living

Although a popular location for expats and tourists, Alfaz remains an affordable place to live, particularly if you shop for deals at the local market and eat off the delicious menu del did (menu of the day) at the many local restaurants.

See all our properties for sale in Alfaz del Pi

Polop

If you love the Costa Blanca but also crave the peace and quiet of a traditional Spanish village then try Polop; it’s near Benidorm but feels a world away.

Famed Spanish writer Gabriel Miró Ferrer described Polop as an ‘Oasis on the Costa Blanca’. That’s even more true today than it was in Miro’s time. This pretty town is just 15 kilometers away from the bright lights and tower blocks of Benidorm but couldn’t be more different.

In Polop you’re never far from a breathtaking view or slice of history. Climb the zig zag path to the ruined castle at the top of the town and you’re rewarded with views of the sea and the Leon Dormido the famous ‘sleeping lion’ mountain. Look a little harder and you might find the cave where the military leader El Cid is said to have sheltered during the wars between the Moors and Christians.

Polop is a traditional ‘white and blue’ village of the region where you can happily spend days getting lost in its winding streets or rest in the town square and drink natural water direct from one of its 200 fonts. Take a stroll into the countryside and you’re quickly surrounded by scents of citrus, olives and almonds and, if you’re lucky, a sighting of some enchanting wildlife including eagles, wildcats and even the occasional wild boar.

Community

Some distance from the coast, Polop appeals mainly to people looking for something a little quieter with a traditional Spanish feel. The village has a population of around 4,500 and just over a third of those are expats.

Property

Traditional village townhouses contrast with the modernist white cubes which now scatter the hillside, but they blend to create a pleasing whole. You’ll find a mixture of apartments and villas at prices that are reasonable considering the beauty of the location.

Amenities

Around the main square there are bars and restaurants, with food shops located throughout the village. Other useful services include a bank, post office and a small market every Wednesday.

Transport

It’s around an hour’s drive to the airport at Alicante and 20 minutes to the coast. If you are without your own transport there are regular buses around the region, including an hourly service to Benidorm.

Health

While there is no health centre in the village, near neighbour La Nucia has its own clinic, pharmacy and dentist where you will find staff who speak a variety of languages including English. The nearest hospital is in Benidorm.

Cost of Living

This may not be the cheapest part of the Costa Blanca, but you are within easy reach of a variety of shops and will be able to visit Benidorm to shop around for even greater bargains.

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Villajoyosa

Bright and beautiful, the name of Villajoyosa means the city of joy. It’s a vibrant town among sandy, sunbathing-friendly beaches and peaceful bays, with transport links to Benidorm and Alicante.

Bold, brightly coloured townhouses demarcate this ancient walled town from 3 kilometres of palm brushed beach. Settled by anyone who was anyone in Spanish history — the Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, Moors and finally, built in its current image by an Admiral in Aragon’s navy in 1293 — it has capitalised on its position on the mouth of the river Amadorio as a trading post. Firstly, for olives, cereals and wine until it became a shipbuilding port and finally, in the 19th century, Villajoyosa began its history of chocolate production and distribution. The ubiquitous Valor brand of chocolate is still made here and distributed to supermarkets all over Spain.

Playa del Centro is the largest and best-serviced beach, running alongside the traditional town centre. It has Blue Flag status, various sports facilities, accessible entrance points and an extensive children’s playground right on the sand. Other beaches worth visiting include Playa del Xarco, a small cove with a defensive tower on the headlands, Playa del Paraíso, almost as long but much quieter than the main strip, and Cala Mallaeta, a cliff-edged cove sought by both naturists and naturalists.

The Moros y Cristianos festival held in Villajoyosa is a Fiesta of International Tourist Interest, an honorary distinction given by the Government of Spain. It celebrates a past spent scuppering the Barbary Pirates.

Community

Sandwiched between Benidorm and Alicante, this is a favourite town with European tourists, but because of its industrial history, it has a majority Spanish population.

Property

The town centre is apartment-heavy, with a range of modern and renovated amongst traditional builds. Villas are available if you’re willing to move towards the urbanised town edges or the nearby satellite villages.

Amenities

Not only does Villajoyosa have everything you need for modern life, but there’s also a chocolate museum and cafe. There is a thriving daily fish market, a weekly produce market and a flea market on weekends.

Transport

Alicante is just 32 kilometres down the road and the international airport there is the third busiest coastal airport in Spain. The Alicante Metro Tram is a cheap and easy way to travel to either Benidorm or Alicante. There’s also an ALSA bus service connecting Villajoyosa and Benidorm, but it takes longer and isn’t as frequent.

Health

The Centro de Salud Almassera de Tonda runs a 24-hour public medical service in Villajoyosa and the Centro Medico La Creuetaoffers a private facility with specialised healthcare options.  The Centro Municipal Assistencia Hospital Asilo Santa Marta is on the Career Alacant and the region’s general hospital Hospital Marina Baixa is just 10 minutes drive towards Benidorm.

Cost of living

This is not the cheapest place to buy a property in Spain, but the price of day to day life is considerably lower than in urban northern European.

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Finestrat

A traditional Spanish town with a Moorish accent; this town’s colourful terraced houses look down the mountainside to the beaches of the Cala Finestrat on the Costa Blanca.

Finestrat is Spain’s only village that is part mountain location and part beach several kilometres below on the coast. Built around the foundations of a Moorish Castle the town of Finestrat was given the beach by the Spanish government for its generations of work helping save Spain from pirates. So although the beach is a 20-minute drive from the village of Finestrat, with the intervening kilometres of land owned by other municipalities, it’s all considered part of the same place.

The mountainside’s elevated site is not only good for spotting invaders but also perfect for enjoying the spectacular views of the coastline below. Famed for its colourful terraced houses encircling the rugged rocks, the town has become an iconic landmark.

The Puig Campana mountain is 1410 meters high and is entrenched in legends of medieval battles. It attracts experienced hikers and much of the natural area is protected. Golfers will delight in the two courses nearby, one of which is professional standard, and both of which were designed by Jack Nicklaus, considered by some to be the best professional golfer of all time.

It’s proximity to urban Benidorm and the balmy coast, means that there’s a broad spectrum of recreational pursuits within under half an hour’s drive. Watersports facilities abound on the beachfront of Cala Finestrat, where there is also an annual national beach volleyball tournament. Nearby there are the Terra Mitica amusement park and Terra Natura Benidorm wildlife and water park. For many though, staying in the old town and revelling in the cornucopia of food and drink, festivities and national events, from the Friday food markets to the firework fuelled La Nit de Sant Joan is enough.

Property

Much of the properties within the town itself are multi-storey townhouses or apartments in a traditional Spanish style. If you want to get closer to the beach, new apartment resorts with community pools and outdoor balconies provide the best value accommodation. There are luxury villas if you want to spend a little more.

Transport

Around 8.5 km from Cala Finestrat, 12 km from Benidorm, and 55 km from Alicante airport, you can reach the town of Finestrat easily using the AP-7 motorway or N-332. There is a bus route and an international coach station in the Cala Finestrat. You will also find bus routes connecting Finestrat to local public transport systems or intercity bus stations in Benidorm, Elda, and Alzira.

Health

There is one primary care unit in the Finestrat town and a doctor who can do home visits. The Hospital Marina Baixa is very close to either the town or beach. Benidorm hosts the Hospital IMED Levante and a wider choice of doctor facilities.

Living expenses

Almost everything is cheaper than mainland Europe in this part of Spain. Housing is particularly good value along this area of the Costa Blanca.

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Jalon Valley

An expat community mixes with a regionally characterful Spanish community in Jalon. They come for the tranquillity, the local produce and to escape the heaving summer population of the coast.

The River Gorgos cuts a wide pass between the spines of Sierra de Bernia and Sierra del Forno mountains. This creates a lush micro-climate protected from wind known as the Jalon Valley or Vall de Pop. It flourishes year-round with evergreen pines and crops of almond trees, vineyards and olive groves. Summer visitors miss the January explosion of pink and white almond blossom carpeting the valley and the excitement of the September wine harvests.

Jalon pueblo itself is a charming mix of mudejar and neoclassical architecture and in the central square, there is a remarkable church with a famed blue dome. There are plenty of bodegas selling the region’s ‘denominación de origen‘ Alicante Moscatel and varietal red grape wines and bakeries touting sweets and pastries made with local almonds. The town has a mixture of Spanish and expat influenced bars, restaurants and boutiques.

The mountain paths prove popular with bikers, hikers, ramblers and scramblers and it’s possible to reach either Calpe or Denia by car, bike, or even a manageable trek if you have the stamina! These resorts offer both pristine and urbanised or rugged, out-of-the-way beaches. Near Calpe is the Natural Park of Penyal d’Ifac, a landmark of the Costa Blanca and closer to home, in Gandia, are the Cova de les Meravelles; caves where experts have recently discovered prehistoric remains.

Community  

Jalon Valley attracts international residents searching for countryside existence. In recent years, Jalon has become very popular with UK nationals looking to relocate to a more tranquil, unpopulated Spain in order to be conveniently near to the coast yet escape the hustle and bustle of tourist season.

Property

There is a mix of hideaway homes in the valley proper plus traditional townhouses and modern apartments or villas in the pueblo and surrounding villages.

Amenities

The town centre has characterful local arts and crafts shops, bakeries, butchers and numerous bodegas, as well as practical banks and chemists. The Rastro of Jalon flea market pulls in visitors from all over to rummage in its medley of antique furniture, household items, local crafts and vintage clothes. The weekly produce market is held every Tuesday in the main square.

Transport

Jalon is to the North of Alicante Airport, which is about an hour’s drive. There is also a bus from Denia to Jalon which stops at points of interest along the way. The L9 tram connects all the coastal resorts from Denia towards Benidorm and Alicante.

Health

A GP is based in the pueblo of Jalon but the nearest 24-hour medical centre is the Centro de Salud de Benissa in neighbouring Benissa. The closest general hospital is Hospital de Denia-Marina on the Av. Marina Alta in Denia.

Cost of Living

In general, the house prices in Jalon are less than the equivalent on the coast. The cost of eating well, household bills and public transport are considerably lower than in northern Europe.

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Pego

As well as being beautiful, Pego is one of the best examples of a Spanish village that has managed to keep its identity whilst welcoming a broad international community.

As soon as you arrive through the town’s final surviving medieval gate it’s clear that you’re in a town steeped in history and beauty. Head for the central square with its gorgeous fountain and discover a friendly atmosphere where people talk and children play in the shade of the trees.

Pego is the fiesta capital of the region, with an event taking place every month. Food is hugely important here as you’ll find when you visit one of the town’s excellent restaurants or bars offering more varieties of paella than Heinz do beans. After all of this you might want to walk it off in the surrounding countryside filled with the orange groves, or up into the mountains for truly breathtaking views.

Community

Pego is a cosmopolitan community of around 10,000 people. Although it has become popular with incomers from northern Europe, the town still has a distinctly Spanish feel with around 80% of inhabitants hailing from Spain.

Property

There are a mixture of traditional townhouses and modern apartments in town and larger villas on the outskirts. This is a popular location so prices aren’t the cheapest on the Costa Blanca.

Amenities

This lively town is chock full of bars, restaurants, shops, banks and a weekly market. Pego also has a sports centre with tennis courts and a swimming pool and there are several golf courses in easy reach.

Transport

The airports of Alicante and Valencia are both around 60 minutes drive. If you do not have your own transport, there is a reliable local bus service connecting you with the cities and many of the local towns and villages.

Health

There is a public health centre in Pego but if you need more specialist care the closest hospital is in Denia, which is a 20 minute drive.

Cost of Living

With its mainly Spanish population, Pego avoids some of the premium prices you might experience in the resorts along the coast and with an excellent weekly market you should be able to keep costs down.

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Teulada

The tranquil town of Teulada is a getaway for people who love the Costa Blanca but not the tourists, and who seek a green and pleasant land instead.

Teulada is a small Spanish town and the seat of the Teulada-Morairalocal government. The old town centre is surrounded by a medieval wall and landmarked by the Gothic church of Santa Catalina. Points of interest include both old and new: the Ermita de la Font Santa, a fountain and hermits house which was built in honour of a miracle performed on the site by Saint Vicent Ferrer in the 15th century; whereas the Auditorium of Teulada-Moraira built in 2011, is a striking, modern concert hall designed by architect Francisco Robado Beloqui.

Subsumed by agriculture ever since the surrounding hillsides were terraced and irrigated by the Moors, the region is known for its abundance of wine and raisins, oranges, olives and almonds. The availability of lush local produce means that there is an excellent restaurant scene with something for every budget, including the Michelin-endorsed Sand in Moraira.

However, agriculture has been surpassed by tourism as the economic force these days. Mostly because of the municipality’s coastal counterpart, Moraira, some 6 kilometres away and its 8 kilometres of beaches and coves. The Playas of Platgetes, Portet, and L’Ampolla are picturesque and perfect for pursuits like scuba diving, sailing or bike riding.

Teulada is almost equidistant from Denia, Javea and Calpe; Benidorm, with all its big-city pleasures, is only a half an hour’s drive away.

Community

The influence of the expatriate community in Teulada is so significant that in 1999, The Moraira Party won control of the town hall. This party was made up of predominantly English, German, and Dutch residents of the region to represent their interests. Although the national Spanish People’s Party now runs it, foreign-born residents made up a third of the registered voters in the 2015 election. Currently, 55% of permanent residents are expats.

Property

This is an excellent area for countryside buyers, as traditional Spanish fincas (farmsteads) are still available for purchase and renovation. In the town centre, you’ll find terraced town-houses and apartments, then on the outskirts, modern private villas or pueblo-style developments with communal pools.

Amenities

The town itself has a brilliantly serviced high-street and street market held on Wednesday mornings. For larger shopping centres, it’s a short drive to either Denia, Benidorm or Finestrat.

Transport

The closest airport is in Alicante. The L9 metro line runs from the Luceros station to central Teulada and there are plans to connect the airport to this tram line in the future.

Health

The local medical centre, Centro de Salud, for Teulada is on Calle Doctor José Pitarch and the nearby Centro de Salud de Benissa is open 24 hours. The Policlinica IMED offers private healthcare and the closest state-run general hospital is in Denia.

Cost of Living

Because Teulada is inland, house prices are a lot lower than in Moraira, but with many of the same benefits. This is a comfortable place to live well for less, as the cost of transport, groceries, household bills and health are low.

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