When planning a trip to white sands of Spain’s Costa Blanca, most will head to the traditional choices of Alicante and Benidorm. While these resorts are famous for a reason and certainly have their charms, the region has a lot more to offer which many are unaware of.
For example, the Marina Alta region is located on the east coast in the province of Valencia and offers some of the most stunning scenery you’ll find on the east coast including traditional Spanish towns, rolling countryside, warm Spanish sunshine and unspoiled beaches.
If you are considering a trip to Costa Blanca, here are seven destinations to consider when deciding where to stay.
- Playa del Arenal
The largest beach in the Javea area is Playa del Arenal and is also the only soft-sanded beach. It is one of the most popular which may be a deterrent for holidaymakers looking for peace and tranquillity, but it’s absolutely perfect for families and people looking for fun-filled days of activity.
The beach has a modern promenade with restaurants and bars as well as plenty of activities like water sports, volleyball and football. The beach’s water has a Blue Flag rating which means you can enjoy the stunningly clear waters with no worries about the quality of the water.
Another advantage of choosing Playa del Arenal is that it sits next to the town of Javea which offers some of the best villas in Costa Blanca as well as a summer of festivals, markets, and fireworks as well as traditional Spanish entertainment. It’s also conveniently located for exploring the rest of the region.
- Playa Ambolo
Playa Ambolo is a must-see for any beach lover as it offers some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the area. To reach Playa Ambolo you need to park your car elsewhere (it’s best to arrive early) and then take a winding and narrow path down a hill, but there’s some incredible scenery on your way thanks to the cliffs and dazzling ocean. The beach itself does have some sandy areas but is mostly pebbled, so underwater shoes or sandals are recommended.
The rocky islands provide great opportunities for diving and, if you bring snorkeling gear or underwater goggles, you can view the wide range of ocean life. It’s worth noting that this beach is popular with local people and while most people wear swimwear, some opt for nudity. When you leave and head back to Javea, you’ll find a restaurant on the hillside which serves delicious tapas and provides incredible views over the beach.
The biggest city in the area is the classically Spanish city of Denia with a 1,000-year-old castle at its centre. The Spanish government has declared the castle a ‘Monument of Cultural Interest’ as it has been through many changes through the centuries including the Renaissance, 18th century and it has also been a Roman settlement.
The old town is a wonderful example of medieval architecture and is a peaceful place to explore. There are plenty of Blue Flag beaches and excellent restaurants in the city, but you are removed from the hustle and bustle of the more well-known cities of Costa Blanca. You’re perfectly placed to take day trips out to tourist attractions as well as being right next to golden sanded beaches such as Les Deveses and Les Marines.
- Playa de la Granadella
Playa de la Granadella is one of the more famous beaches in Spain let alone in Costa Blanca. It is a pebble/rocky beach with ocean water which is simply teeming with life thanks to the seagrass beds just off the shoreline.
This makes a haven for fish and other creatures and the ideal place to hire some equipment and try some snorkeling. Close to the beach, there are several restaurants that specialize in freshly caught seafood where you can enjoy a delicious meal and a cooling drink in the shade.
- Cap de la Nau
If you’re someone who enjoys beautiful scenery, Cap de la Nau is a can’t-miss destination. It’s a rocky headland with cliffs that provide incredible views of Spain’s coastlines. Its name means ‘cape of the ship’ and it is a real highlight in many of the Costa Blanca coastal hiking routes.
The ocean sparkles and shimmers as it crashes against the cliff face providing picture-perfect moments and an electric atmosphere. The coast itself has several hidden coves such as Cala Sardinera (Sardine Cove).
- Old town of Altea
Altea is a hilltop town that dates from the 16th century when it was built to provide a vantage point and to defend the coast. Today it is famous for the views it provides over the countryside, its narrow winding streets, beautiful town square and a domed church which is tiled in blue.
Altea is about 10 miles from Benidorm and, although it offers visitors a range of fantastic cafes, restaurants, markets, boutiques and craft shops, is a more tranquil alternative to Benidorm. You could easily spend a whole day in Altea, but at the very least try to make it there for an evening meal with an after-dinner stroll through the streets.
- Playa la Barraca
Playa la Barraca is probably one of the more difficult beaches to find, but it is certainly worth the effort. However, once you have navigated your ways through the winding roads, hills and lots and lots of villas, you will find car parking very close to the beach. The advantage of having a somewhat complicated route to follow is that this beach is quieter than some of the more accessible beaches.
It’s worth noting that this beach can also be unpredictable in terms of how calm the sea is as the undercurrents can be strong, but as long as you are responsible there shouldn’t be any issues.
The beach is a combination of sand, pebbles, and rocks and is sheltered by cliffs with modern villas overlooking the beach. When you’re ready for refreshments, you are just a short way from La Barraca which is a tapas restaurant overlooking the beach. There are also some traditional fisherman’s huts just past the restaurant.