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The coastline of Spain’s Alicante Province is better known as the Costa Blanca (White Coast). It is hugely popular with Northern European tourists seeking sun, sand and warm seas. Like pretty much all of Spain’s eastern coastline, the Costa Blanca’s natural beauty being bathed by the Mediterranean Sea is the drawcard.
This natural beauty is accompanied by tourist resorts, some tastefully, some recklessly. This Costa Blanca resorts guide will help you decide which resort is right for you.
The list is organised from a north to south basis. The names in brackets are the local dialect version. Accommodation recommendations are listed at the end of the post.
For a comprehensive guide to Spain check out my Spain Travel Tips post.
COSTA BLANCA RESORTS
Starting with my favourite resort on the coast, Denia. It is located at the north end of the Costa Blanca and had everything I needed in a beach resort town.
The mountains of the Parc Natural de Montgo lie to the town’s south while top quality sandy beaches stretch for miles from the north of the town. It has a marina and port which means fresh fish on a daily basis. There’s a plentiful supply of top-quality hotels, shops, cafes, restaurants and tapas bars.
Denia’s history dates back centuries and the architecture reflects this. If you want to combine shopping, good food, a cosmopolitan vibe and history, then Denia is the ideal resort.
Javea, located at the south of the Parc Natural de Montgo, is a large non-descript resort but thankfully has low-rise blocks of apartments that blend into one another. This resort was popular with families so would be packed during school holidays. It has a sandy beach but I found the waves a little strong for swimming at times. However, there are plenty of water-sports options available.
This resort was a quiet but under-rated place, more suited towards older couples. Moraira is a modern resort and is well-laid out. Its beach comes recommended and I found it easy to navigate and find parking.
This is a large resort lying in the shadow of the Penon de Ifach limestone landmass. Although Calpe has a great beach and its Old Town is quaint, the high-rise skyline didn’t do it for me. Calpe has good shops and a lively nightlife. The resort is ideal for younger couples and groups.
North of Benidorm lies the quaint hilly village of Altea. This was my next favourite resort and it reminded me of Cadiz’s traditional pueblo blancos. This is a great place for artisan crafts and a relaxed ambience. Altea has a rocky beach so bring or buy sea shoes.
I’ll get quickly to the point. Benidorm’s very high-rise skyline is a gargantuan eyesore. It is by far the largest resort on the Costa Blanca. How it was allowed to develop, in such a manner, is perplexing.
So are there any positives about the town? Its two sandy beaches are a striking turquoise colour. It is probably the best place on the coast for young families with a plethora of activities available.
Passengers on the return flight home gave Benidorm the thumbs up for shopping, dining and general value for money. But it was my least favourite part of the Costa Blanca.
El Altet airport in Alicante is how most tourists arrive to the Costa Blanca. The city tends to be by-passed by the masses on their way to the northern coasts. But I found Alicante to be a pleasant surprise.
Alicante’s shore is divided into two parts: the marina and the beach. The Paseo Esplanada de Espana is the promenade linking both parts and is a fabulous place for sauntering in the evening time.
Towering above the city is the Castillo de Santa Barbara that offers superb views of the city. The city has great hotels and restaurants, and the Old Town is well preserved.
The Costa Blanca is quite compact in comparison to other Spanish coastal areas. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive from Denia to Alicante on the inland motorway, although much longer on the congested coastal road.
In the Costa Blanca’s small area one will find a huge diversity of holiday resorts, from delightful Denia to planning permission gone mad in Benidorm. This diversity means the area can cater for a wide variety of holiday makers so this may explain the area’s enduring popularity.
In Denia, I stayed in the budget-friendly Hotel Noguera Mar located a few miles north of the town centre. I received multiple recommendations from other tourists for Hotel El Raset and La Posada del Mar in the town centre.
COSTA BLANCA TRANSPORT
I took the public bus from El Altet airport to Alicante city centre and based myself in the city for a few days. I rented a car to explore the remainder of the Costa Blanca. Unless you ventured into the inland mountains, driving was pretty easy along the coast.
A tram connects Alicante with Benidorm, stopping at the coastal developments along the route. Change in Benidorm to a narrow gauge train that runs as far as Denia.