The Costa Blanca’s coastline is gorgeous, with never-ending beaches, towering cliffs and tucked-away coves. A little way inland, you’ve got the Alicante mountains and pine forests, plus the salt marshes near Calpe which draw in flocks of flamingos and other birds.
Alicante is well worth a visit. There are great photo ops to be had at the 16th-century Santa Barbara Castle, which perches above the town; a covered market to browse; and beaches to explore. Stylish Valencia, with its parks and pretty old town, makes for a great day trip.
Packed with watersports, the Blue Flag-awarded beach Levante in Benidorm is a magnet for sun and fun-seekers. La Fossa in Calpe is known for its fine, white sand and lively promenade, while award-winning Playa de Racó de l'Albir has a children’s playground and the full range of watersports. Alicante has its own beaches too – check out Playa de San Juan with its 7 kilometres of golden sand.
Birdwatchers and nature lovers will find lots to do at Las Salinas, the salt flats nature reserve in Calpe. You can get up close to the birds and other wildlife without disturbing them thanks to special walkways. For an authentic Spanish experience, head to the old hilltop villages of Altea and Guadalest.
Watch the dolphins put on a show at Mundomar marine park, and enjoy the thrills and spills on the Aqualandia water slides. You can have a day out at the zoo like no other when you visit Terra Natura, a wildlife park where only practically invisible glass separates you from the animals.
Arroz – rice – is the thing here, with more varieties of paella than you can shake a stick at. Look out for paella made with fresh local seafood. If you love sweets, try turron, a hard nougat made from sugar, honey and egg whites.
You’ll find the big brand names and smaller boutiques in the Avenida Maisonnave in Alicante. For markets, check out the El Cisne flea market in Albir and the Tuesday market in Altea.
Benidorm is the liveliest resort on the Costa Blanca, with everything from cutting-edge clubbing to family nights out in friendly bars and restaurants. Calpe is great for live music, while Albir is the place to enjoy a bottle of wine with friends in a restaurant or bar.
On the south-east coast of Spain, the Costa Blanca stretches along the Mediterranean. The major city is Alicante, where the main airport is located. It’s also the home of resorts like Benidorm, Albir and Calpe.
Time differenceGMT +1 hour
Beerstarts from €1.50
3 course mealfrom €7.95