Costa Blanca is the popular name for this part of the Spanish coast, which belongs to the province of Alicante. Known worldwide for its magnificent summer tourist resorts, thanks to the wonderful beaches, the advantages do not end when summer draws to a close The lovely year-round weather offers options for the visitor wishing to explore further inland (mountains and valleys) into areas which most newcomers seldom visit and where the locals retain their customs and traditions and for those who wish to enjoy their leisure time to the full, there is much to see and do throughout the year, with over 200km of Mediterranean beaches, secluded coves and cliffs. Nothing would be complete, of course, without taking time to sample some of Spain s most famous cuisine, with typical dishes based on locally sourced produce (paella, vegetables, fish and seafood, among so many others). The localities located on the Costa Blanca are: Denia, Jávea, Benitatxell, Teulada-Moraira, Benissa, Calpe, Altea, Alfaz del Pi, Benidorm, Finestrat, Villajoyosa, Campello, Alicante, Elche, Santa Pola, Guardamar del Segura, Torrevieja, Playas de Orihuela Costa and Pilar de la Horadada. The transport of the Costa Blanca is articulated in two ways. The first, the AP-7 motorway, is a high-speed toll road of high use that links Valencia and Alicante with the towns of La Marina Baixa. The second transport route is the Trenet de la Marina, a historic railway line that runs along the coast of Alicante in Denia and is currently operated as a long-distance tram. We must also mention the El Altet Airport, which is the main entrance for the millions of tourists visiting from outside Spain.
The dome of Altea s church, blue with a white geometrical design, is one of the symbolic images of the Costa Blanca. Altea is situated on a hill whose peak rises above the white-tiled parish church. The magnificently jumbled and cluttered centre of the Old Town provides Altea with a special charm. When visiting, start at the Plaza del Convento and take the Pont de Moncau - this leads to the Vellaguarda district, an area of steep narrow cobble-stoned streets with balconies and small glorietas (circular intersections). In the Plaza, the cultural and leisure centre of Altea is the Church of the Virgen del Consuelo (Our Lady of Solace). Altea s peacefulness and tranquillity have made it a paradise for artists and craftsmen and their shops and stalls are scattered throughout the Old Town Centre. At the foot of the hill lies the wide sea promenade and the commercial street, the Avenida del Rey Jaime I. Altea has a 6 kilometre beach, with cliffs alternating with shingled bathing areas. Playa de la Roda is located adjacent to the old town centre. The main beach, Playa de Cap Blanch, is located to the south and runs into Albir s beach. The Playa de Cap Negret, a shingled beach ending in a small cove with black pebbles called the "Cala del Soio", is located to the north. L Olla is another much-frequented beach opposite a small island of the same name. Altea ends in the "Mascarat point" and the Sierra de Bernia, where the La Barreta, La Solsida and La Galera shingled coves are located. In earlier times, Altea used to be situated on the road to the Sierra de Bernia and was called Altea la Vella - a small village intersected by a Way of the Cross that ascends to a Calvary surrounded by cypress trees. The Sierra de Bernia, with its Font del Garroferet and ancient fortress, are excellent reasons to visit the area.
ALFÀS DEL PI
L Alfàs del Pi was originally an inland fortified village providing shelter from the Berber pirates. The name "Alfàs "was originally Moor and means "sown land". Its traditional economy is linked to the land and the growing of fruits and almonds and the extraction of metals and gypsum. Tourism has served as a platform to develop the town, the people and the cultural activities of L Alfàs del Pi. It has been possible to control the growth of the town by ensuring that residential developments respect a limit of 4 storeys and by guaranteeing that 50 % of developed land is made up of green areas. In the old town centre there are 930 dwellings, whilst in the developed areas the number of single-family homes rises to 3,945. Of the 12,547 inhabitants, 6,000 are foreigners from some 54 different countries. To accompany these human and urban features L Alfàs del Pi has also created an infrastructure destined to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants - a multi-sports stadium, Municipal Arts Centre, Health Centre and amenities for all are some of the various services on offer. Playa del Albir is located two kilometres away from the old town centre, next to the Sierra Helada. It is a pebbled beach with a range of services and a concentration of leisure amenities, including a free nudist beach near the lighthouse. The Sea promenade is known as the Promenade of Stars as it contains the names of famous actors who have visited L Alfàs del Pi during the annual Cinema Festival in July.
Alicante is situated in the Bay formed by the Cabo de las Huertas and the Cabo de Santa Pola, at the foothills of the Monte Benacantil. Alicante has a view over the sea and the fertile "huerta", that surrounds the city. Alicante s historical district is located in the area around the Calle Labradores and the Rambla de Méndez Núñez -a street that a river used to pass through. Town planning and military disasters, such as those suffered during the War of the Spanish Succession, have destroyed the historical architecture of the Medina Laquant. The 19th century was an important time for Alicante as in 1821 the medieval walls were pulled down and the city spread to the east and the north. In 1833 Alicante became the capital of the province; in 1851 it was the first coastal city to be linked to Madrid by train, becoming the national capital s main seaport. Since 1957 more than six and a half million small red, black and cream tiles on the Esplanade have formed one of the most enduring images of Alicante. The esplanade runs parallel to the seafront and is a favourite place to stroll when visiting the city, to eat ice cream, and to listen to concerts performed by the Municipal Band. The Playa del Postiguet is located at one end of the Esplanade, the Canalejas Park with its Fish Market - now converted into the best exhibition hall in Alicante - on the other. An interesting walk can be taken through the streets of the old centre and the Plazas del Carmen and Quijano, climbing up to the Castle of Santa Bárbara -a magnificent vantage point to view the entire city. Descending by the calles Toledo and San Roque you reach Plaza de Santa María where there is a Museum of Art - the Museum of the Asegurada- and the Church of Santa María. From the Plaza del Carmen take the calle de San Rafael and climb up to the Santa Cruz district, a vividly colourful area with geraniums in pots. At night this area full of bars and cafés becomes the centre of Alicante s nightlife. Alicante is an important service centre for the province. Alicante s commercial centre is shifting eastwards, though the more traditional shops still remain in the calles Mayor, Castaños, Gerona and San Francisco. The avenidas Maisonnave, Federico de Soto, Doctor Gadea and the calle de los Reyes Católicos are the "rive droite" of the capital.
Benidorm s beaches and range of leisure amenities explain why has it has become Costa Blanca s main tourist area. Benidorm has some of the best beaches in the world. The fine sand, cleaned daily, the quality of the services and the transparency of the water are the main reasons given by Benidorm s many visitors. The Playa de Levante, where most bathers gather, is located 2 kilometres from the old town centre, the Sierra Gelada and the Ricón de Loix. In the middle of the summer the colourful concentration of human bodies is quite impressive. The Playa de Poniente is located on the edges of the old town centre, near the Finestrat cove. The Playa de Poniente resembles the Playa de Levante, though it is more peaceful. There is a small cove between the Playa de Poniente and the old town centre, known as the Playa del Mal Pas, which can be reached from the port or from stairs that descend from the castle. The historical centre is located around the Canfali vantage point, which is the most emblematic image of Benidorm with a white stone balcony and a vantage point. The neoclassical church dedicated to St James the Apostle is also located in this area. The Levante beach can be reached from the Plaza del Castillo either by walking down through the narrow white streets, or through the town s commercial district. Benidorm s impressive commercial centre is located around the Plaza Triangular, the calle Martínez Alejos, Gambo, Dr. Perez Llorca and the wide avenida del Mediterráneo.
There is an interesting walk that starts from the Ayuntamiento and then runs parallel to the Playa de Levante along Avenida de Alcoy and Avenida Madrid. This area is one of Benidorm s most animated night spots. The Aiguera Park, designed by Ricardo Bofill, is Benidorm s largest park and divides the town in two. Benidorm s attraction lies in the variety of its leisure amenities, with a wide range of activities for foreign and national tourists, children, teenagers and pensioners. All tastes and activities are catered for: gastronomy, music, culture, excursions through the region and cinema. Walks can be taken in the Parque de Elche, excursions taken to the Sierra Gelada, you can go swimming on the best beaches of the Costa Blanca, go to the cinema, visit the Aquatic Park, eat and drink in restaurants for all budgets, and practise sports such as sailing and diving and also enjoy the nightlife.
In the thirties writers such as Hemingway spent their summers in Calpe. Calpe s first hotel was established next to the Peñón Rock: the Ifach Parador. The Morro del Toix and the Peñón de Ifach mark the extremities of Calpe s bay. The Peñón de Ifach (Ifach means north in Phoenician) is the symbol of Calpe and, by extension, of the Costa Blanca. It is the highest rock in the entire Mediterranean and divides Calpe s shoreline in two. The limestone mass is 332 metres high and penetrates 1 kilometre into the sea, forming a first-rate geological feature. Since 1987, a Natural Park has preserved its unique ecological treasures such as the Ifach carnation. The summit of the rock can be visited in organized groups and in the Nature Auditorium the rich fauna and flora of the park is explained. There is also one of the best views of the Costa Blanca from the top of the rock. Prehistoric, Iberian, Phoenician and Roman remains have been found immediately next to the Peñón and on the isthmus which links it to the coast. At the foot of the Peñón are the "Baños de la Reina" (literally, The Queen s Baths) that, in reality, was the site of a Roman "factory" for the drying and salting of fish. The Peñón was also an extremely good watchtower for the people that lived at its base. The Morro de Toix was another place used to watch over the Barranc del Mascarat, which provided access to the coast. During the course of the centuries, the village retreated more inland for greater protection and, following an attack by pirates, protective walls were built around the village in the 15th century. The only sections of these walls remaining are the Peça Tower next to which is found the only church built in a Mudejar-Gothic style in the entire Valencian Region. Between Les Bassetes and the Morro de Toix Calpe there are 11 kilometres of sandy beaches - for instance the Levante and Arenal beaches - and coves like the one at La Manzanera where there are three buildings designed by Ricardo Bofill, and the Les Urques cove where scuba diving and fishing are possible. The Cueva dels Coloms, in the Morro de Toix, which faces towards Altea, is a freshwater cave that is only accessible from the sea. The nature of Calpe can be appreciated through nautical excursions and walks. The Peñón de Ifach is renowned by climbers for its difficulties and unique features, and it can be climbed by a number of routes of varying difficulty. Potholing is possible on the steep banks and peaks of the Monte Oltá and the Barranc del Mascarat. Calpe s attractions have made the village a tourist destination of note for both national and international visitors, who live together all year round in peace and harmony.
Denia, the capital of the Marina Alta, is a modern cosmopolitan city offering both visitors and residents a range of services. It owes its current importance to its being the historical city of the region par excellence, a city that was known in medieval times as the Marquesado de Dénia. Its name derives from the Latin name Dianium which is the origin of the name given to its inhabitants, the "dianenses"; Daniya was its Islamic name. The city experienced its period of urban and cultural glory when it became an independent Taifa following the division of the Caliphate of Córdoba during the 11th century. The historical centre of Denia contains the symbol of the city, its castle. The commercial centre is located in the calle Marqués de Campos and the adjacent streets. Dénia is a coastal city located to the north of the province of Alicante and has a 20-kilometre coastline, made of small, beautiful coves. To the north there are the fine sandy beaches of Les Marines and Les Bovetes and the shingle beaches of Les Deveses and L Almadrava (shingled) beaches which are craggy and rocky; to the south is the Les Rotes beach. Though the beaches are long, they are not enormous and generally appeal to family-type tourism. The mild temperature, the annual average being 18º C, means that it is a pleasant place to stay. A monument was erected to the climate in the eighties. Dénia is close to the sea, though some of its most characteristic features, such as the Mongó and the Natural Park, are situated on the border between Dénia and Jávea. In the surrounding area there are Gothic hermitages from the period of the Conquest and caves where potholing is carried out.
this has not changed the customs and beauty of this peaceful village. The series of small rises (tossalets) that comprise the district are covered in green pine and fruit trees. The Aixortá and the Aitana provide protection from the cold northern winds and ensure an average annual temperature of 15º C. A good time to visit the village is on Sunday mornings when stalls selling second-hand goods stretch over several kilometres, constituting one of the most impressive markets of the province. Trips can be made to the old washhouse and up the road through the white houses, revealing a peaceful village that still enjoys its old customs.
GUADELEST, EL CASTELL DE
One of the most emblematic tourist images of the Costa Blanca is undoubtedly the picture formed by the freestanding elegant bell tower and the tunnel that provides access to the old centre of Castell de Guadalest, both located within a granite mass of striking appearance. Castell de Guadalest is the capital of the valley of the same name. It is bordered by Aitana, Serrella and Xortà mountains. The river Guadalest flows through the municipal area, interrupted by a reservoir near the town. The village is unique as its old urban centre is located on the top of an outcrop, which is only accessed via a tunnel hollowed into the side of the rock. The area at the top of the rock includes the ancient city dungeon, the bell tower, Saint Josep castle where the current cemetery is located, and the recently restored Orduña House. A parish church and the Moorish fortified building called Alcozaiba are also located in this area. A more modern village, "el Arrabal", is located at the foot of the rocky promontory and here you can find many craft shops, museums and restaurants. Tourism has completely transformed Castell de Guadalest and its two hundred inhabitants have devoted themselves entirely to the provision of tourist services; agriculture, the traditional source of income of the village, has become a residual activity. The entire village has become a tourist attraction and there are a large number of gift and craft shops; the most interesting museums of the province are located here and its privileged position offers magnificent views over the valley and Castell de Guadalest s reservoir.
Villajoyosa, or in Valencian La Vila Joiosa, is a municipality of the Valencian Community, Spain. Belonging to the province of Alicante and located on the Costa Blanca, in the region of the Marina Baja, of which it is the capital. It has 33,969 inhabitants (INE 2018). Popularly known as La Vila, its name means "happy city". Through the town of Villajoyosa passes the Amadorio River, from the reservoir of the same name: Amadorio Reservoir. The municipal term has 15 km of coastline. City of great fishing tradition, currently in its economy, the chocolate industries and tourism stand out. Most of the cuisine you can find in Villajoyosa is the Valencian coast s own fresh fish and seafood, as well as the great variety of paellas and typical rice dishes in the area. Surely you will hear their festivities of Moors and Christians, declared of International Tourist Interest, which are celebrated since 1694 in honor of Santa Marta, Patroness of the city. And it is because on July 29, 1538 there was the historic moment that today is celebrated in style: the appearance of Santa Marta to help the vilero town of the attack of the Berber pirates.