In and Around Alicante
So, you're thinking of taking your holidays in Alicante and you're heading for Benidorm. Off to the sunny Costa Blanca - great! I'm sure you'll enjoy it.... But there's more to Spain than high-rise hotels and apartments blocks. Take a look around. Hire a car and see the REAL Spain.
Real Costa Blanca - Alicante, the province
Alicante has a beautiful promenade and shopping centre. Alicante is perhaps one of the most recognized names on the Costa Blanca, not just because of the city and airport, but because it gives it’s name to the province.
When you live in a locale, it's all too easy to take it for granted. I'm fortunate enough to reside in a beautiful area of the world and hope I never forget it. I don't actually live in Alicante city, I live about 80 km away in the 'campo', the countryside, overlooking a provincial village - but I get to go there occasionally.
Real Costa Blanca - mountains and sea
Holidays Alicante. The shoreline along the whole of the province of Alicante - the Costa Blanca - takes its name from the light-coloured sandy beaches, which extend for many kilometres and are a magnet for holidaymakers. The sun in Alicante shines for about 300 days a year – another magnet.
The extraordinary position of Alicante, flanked as it is by mountains and sea, endows the city with a beguiling beauty, and wherever you walk, the city permeates with the essence of the ocean.
In the words of Gabriel Miro, "My city is pierced through and through by the Mediterranean". Another native author, Joan Fuster, wrote, “Alicante is without a doubt, the friendliest of all Valencian cities, a city one would choose to live in if one were to exchange a village for a city."
Places to visit around Alicante.
- Jalon valley
Alicante - The Real Costa Blanca and beyond
The fondness and warmth which these people conferred on Alicante is probably due to several things, its fortunate location, the kindness of its climate (average year-round temperature of 18C), and it’s beautiful aspect.
There are many places to visit if you’re staying around Alicante, but you’ll need a car to reach them, so be prepared to budget for it. Throughout the province, car rental is relatively cheap and plentiful. The area is geared for tourism and rental is always high on visitor’s lists. There are always fiestas somewhere to visit and enjoy - ones such as the famous Moors and Christians festival - no horror stories here - and maybe the best place to see this is Alcoy. A holiday in Alicante can be an exciting affair.
One of the most popular locations in Alicante, an absolute must, is the tiny mountain village of Guadalest.
Real Costa Blanca - Guadalest
Guadalest Costa Blanca is an extraordinarily picturesque and serene Spanish village balanced precariously on a mountain ridge on the foothills of the Sierra de Aitana. It can be found 25km inland from Benidorm and about a two hour drive from Alicante.
The unique village is a key tourist attraction because of its charm, incredible views and the intriguing ruins of the village's notoriously inaccessible castle.
A few hours sauntering here and there throughout the village is a pleasure – and the best is, it’s free. As you make your way to the top of Guadalest, you find that small fissures and caves have been transformed into tiny museums, or outlets selling crafts and local produce – at quite reasonable prices. Local cafes are cheap, but the stunning features and views can turn a simple picnic into an unforgettable meal.
Real Costa Blanca - The Fuentes del Algar
Close to Guadalest is the dramatic Fuentes del Algar (Algar Waterfalls), which are located in a tranquil and luxuriant national park. Nudge your car along the road to Callosa d'en Sarriá where you’ll find the waterfalls signposted. There are excellent parking facilities. The stroll from the car parks to the falls is full of appealing distractions, including swimming pools, a train museum, and outlets selling local nisperos fruit.
The echo of the tumbling falls can be heard long before they come into view, but when they do, you’re in for a treat You’ll need a pair of strong shoes to walk around the falls, but you simply shouldn’t miss it. I was quite stunned.
Real Costa Blanca - Dénia
If you fancy a longer drive, then head toward Dénia. You'll find it located at the north of the province of Alicante
Dénia’s shorelines are clean and of a notable beauty, and there’s a historic castle seated imposingly over the town centre. Mount Montgó, declared a Natural Park, is only a short distance from the sea.
Things of interest include the castle, museums, churches, quaint streets and old quarters, the Montgó Natural Park, ships scurrying in the fish exchange, sandy beaches, water sports, and local fiestas.
How to reach Dénia
Nose your car north from Alicante, along the AP-7 Motorway, to exit 62.
Beaches of Dénia
Picture the sandy beaches of the Real Costa Blanca, rocky coves, and the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea and you've just about got it. To the north of Dénia is the area known as les Marines, with stretches of fine sandy beaches. To the south of Dénia is les Rotes, with a long sandy beach that changes to rocky coves. It all makes for a landscape of distinctive beauty. All the beaches in Dénia have been awarded International certificates for environmental management. Year after year, beaches in Dénia receive the Blue Flag award, a symbol of the clean seas of Europe. It's nice to know that your beaches are clean.
Dénia is probably the region in Alicante, in fact probably in all of Spain with most fiestas. In fact sometimes I think it’s hard to visit Dénia without some kind of religious or festive celebration taking place.
Overlooking Dénia, the Montgó was formally declared a Natural Park in 1987 due to its landscape, flora and fauna. The Montgó stretches along to the impressive Cape of Sant Antoni, where it reaches the sea forming a 160 m. high cliff. At the feet of the cape is Cape of Sant Antoni Natural Reserve, with a high environmental, scientific, and ecological value. Montgó is often referred to as the Elephant Mountain, due to its resemblance to an elephant’s head and trunk.
The riches of the sea with micro reserves of flora and the survival of posydonia prairies along the coast, are deemed of special scientific interest, which makes it one of the Peninsula’s most popular areas for scuba diving.
From a writer in Spain
About the author
- Inspirational stories by AJ Barnett have been published since 1994 in magazines, summer specials and international competitions, broadcast on radio and recorded for audio books.
Real Costa Blanca - Javea
The city of Javea on the Real Costa Blanca, (or Xabia in Valenciano - complicated - two languages here), lies about 80 km north east of Alicante, sandwiched between Denia and Altea.
You can take your car to Javea via the N 332, a sometimes-breathtaking road that follows the coastline of the Costa Blanca. If you have time to explore the area along this road – you’ll find it irresistible.
Javea, between Denia to the north and Cabo de Nao to the south, is rooted between two bays - the Cabo San Antonio and the Cabo San Martin - places out of a millionaire romance.
The residents of Javea congregate into three distinct areas of the city.
- Javea Pueblo (the old town)
- Javea Puerto (the bustling port area)
- Playa de Arenal (the main beach area)
Nowadays the old town and port are pretty much joined due to property development The old-town of Javea is about 3 km land inward. In old-town Javea you’ll still find delightfully traditional houses with balconies.
Things to do in Javea
- Stroll along the Avenida del Mediterraneo, which runs down to the Javea harbour area, you will find many restaurants and bars.
- Visit the church Iglesia de San Bartolome, which was built in the 12th century.
- Explore the museum Soler Blasco, which can be found in the calle Primicias.
- Visit Cabo de Nao - a small hill - with a lighthouse on top.
Javea is an attractive destination with plenty to offer visitors including some of Spain's finest golden beaches. It lies in the shadow of the dominating Montgo Mountain in the northern Real Costa Blanca and is one of the most popular resorts of the region.
The delightful old centre of Javea is well worth a good stroll. Just amble around and appreciate the whitewashed buildings with Gothic features. Visit the Gothic Church of San Bartolome and the food market with its stalls of local fresh fish, fruits and vegetables.
Most ports in tourist destinations have turned into marinas with designer shopping outlets but not Javea. It still functions as a fishing port with yachts moored. It is very much a working area, fashionable amongst tourists attracted by its attractive promenade and terrace restaurants. The panorama across the bay is impressive.
Javea's main beach area is called Playa de Arenal. There are several café bars and restaurants set back from the wide promenade, and boy, is it worth a visit. The sands are delightful and even have a couple of volleyball nets along the back of the Costa Blanca beach, and there are plenty of safe play areas for the kids.
I hope this has given you a flavour of why so many people choose to holiday in Alicante, Costa Blanca.... and settle to live. Maybe I'll see around sometime, driving your car rental, checking out some of my favourite spots.... If you do see me, give me a wave and say hello... maybe we'll have a drink...
Real Costa Blanca - Jalón (Xaló)
And whilst you're visiting this area of the Real Costa Blanca, don't forget to call at the inland village of Jalón (also spelled Xaló) - setting for several Kindle Romances.
Visit a bodega where they press wine from the very vineyards you drive through; sample a small glass or two for free. Take in the stunning views, try the local delicacies, sip a coffee and brandy and watch the world go by. You won't be disappointed.
Derek on June 12, 2016:
Great help thanks.
Tapas on Route on September 05, 2012:
Enjoy the best tapas in Alicante with our free iPhone app www.tapasonroute.com!! :-)))
flexy123 on February 24, 2012:
Wow...nice to see those pictures of Alicante!
Would you believe we live like 25mins from Alicante (Catral) for two years and have never been in Alicante yet..yes i know it's crazy. Problem is there is really nothing like a scheduled bus/taxi and we would need to walk to the train station...but i swear we will do it this summer!
PS. if you look for a place, check http://www.spain4rent.eu it's the site of my landlord and they are great :)
StarCreate from Spain on February 12, 2011:
You never know! We are almost certainly going to do the blossom walk tomorrow, children's social lives permitting...
ajbarnett (author) from Costa Blanca, Spain on February 12, 2011:
Thank you, Starcreate. I live in Jalon, but love Javea. Maybe our paths will cross sometime.
StarCreate from Spain on February 12, 2011:
We live in Javea but usually end up taking new visitors to Guadalest for the day at some point, then back over the mountain and through Jalon... the beach is lovely but we need to remind ourselves occasionally what stunning scenery and mountains are just a short drive away.
ajbarnett (author) from Costa Blanca, Spain on February 23, 2009:
Thanks, Elena. The places are all quite close to me so I go fairly regularly - more especially when we have visitors.
It's a shame you never visited Guadalest. It isn't just the village - it's the run there. The countryside is awe-inspiring. I take the route Parcent -Tarbena- Callosa, over the sierras, and the scenery blows your mind.
Elena. from Madrid on February 23, 2009:
Anthony, great hub on Alicante and villages around -- you picked nice ones, it shows you're like a native! :-) The photos make me want to go go go! It's been a while since I last stayed in Alicante, and ages since Denia and Javea! Never been to Guadalest, and you really make it sound tempting!! Kudos, and thanks for depicting the pretty Spanish villages so nicely! :-)