Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Costa Blanca

The long stripe of the Costa Blanca (White Coast) is one of Europe’s most heavily visited areas. If you’re after a secluded midsummer beach, stay away. But if you’re looking for a lively social scene, good beaches and a suntan…
It isn’t all concrete and package deals. Although the original fishing villages have long been engulfed by the sprawl of resorts, a few old town kernels, such as those of Xàbia (Jávea) and Altea, still survive.

In July and August it can be tough finding accommodation if you haven’t booked. Out of season, those places remaining open usually charge far less than in high summer.
Most buses linking Valencia and Alicante head down the motorway, making a stop in Benidorm. A few, however, call by other intervening towns. Renfe trains connect Valencia with Gandia, while the FGV narrow-gauge trains and trams ply the scenic route between Denia and Alicante, stopping at all pueblos en route.

Inland Trips from the Costa Blanca by Derek Workman describes in detail and with flair 20 one-day car excursions into the interior. Pack too his Small Hotels and Inns of Eastern Spain if you’d like to linger and spend the night away from the crowds.

Costa Blanca is in the province of Alicante. It consists of around 200 km of Mediterranean coastline though its borders aren't strictly defined.

To the north it includes the popular resorts of Gandia, Javea and Denia and to the south it extends to the ugly development of Torrevieja. Around here marks the beginning of the
Costa Calida.

A number of smallish resorts such as Moraira, Altea and Calpe are particularly popular with Spanish tourists. In contrast the high rise resort of Benidorm attracts some 5 million foreign and national tourists every year, the vast majority British.

Until the 1960s Benidorm was a sleepy fishing village, yet today in Europe only London and Milan have more skyscrapers than this mega resort (the Gran Hotel Bali is 186 metres high).

So what's the attraction?

Benidorm offers attractions to suit all age groups from young children to OAPs. In the summer the majority of visitors are young Brits looking for craic whilst the low season is appealing to older couples escaping the north European winter. The resort boasts three first class (blue flag) beaches, entertainment for all, countless bars, restaurants and discos and the Terra Mitica theme park on the edge of town which is one of Spain's most visited tourist attractions. All of this within easy reach of Alicante airport.

Few sun worshippers escape the beaches and bars but the ones that do are in for a treat if they head into the stunning interior. Here you'll find one of Spain's great undiscovered gems, an area growing in popularity with walkers, cyclists, birdwatchers and nature lovers in general.

If you want to book a hotel in another exotic city, go to www.medestino.com.

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