Larger-than-life Benidorm may have put this area on the map, but a holiday to the Costa Blanca also packs in old-school towns, miles of beaches and some world-class theme parks
More than meets the eye
With its long strip of sand – stretching from Valencia to Murcia – the Costa Blanca certainly lives up to its ‘White Coast’ name. So it’s no wonder it’s one of Europe’s most popular holiday spots. The region is most famous for its lively resorts, mega theme parks and neon nightlife. But look at the bigger picture and you’ll find rugged mountains, pine forests and sleepy towns where time stands still.
Best of both worlds
If loud and lively floats your boat, head for Benidorm. Yes, buzzing bars, Brit-style pubs and theme parks rule supreme here, but you don’t have to go far to find its Blue Flag beaches. Plus, with its winding cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings, the old town is like an oasis of old-world charm in the middle of the modern resorts.
For something that turns the volume down a notch, try day-tripping to Denia. It's a 40-minute drive from Benidorm, andwith its Moorish castle and old quarter, it’s a taste of traditional Spain. On the flip-side, though, it’s home to cosmopolitan shops, pristine beaches and a smart marina.
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You’ll find the little town of Albir just next to Benidorm. But, while it might share map space with the Costa Blanca’s nightlife capital, the two resorts are poles apart. Albir does things on a much smaller scale – in fact, the town’s biggest draws are its go-slow beach life and its pretty nature walks.
Benidorm is the biggest personality on the Costas, taking 4 million visitors comfortably in its stride. In the old town, you’ll find traces of traditional Spain but it’s the bold, brash sky-rise attitude that pulls in the crowds. And the place has some of the best beaches in the Med.
Even though there’s only a small mountain separating Altea from the Costa Blanca’s loudest resort, Benidorm, the two towns couldn’t be more different. Altea lives life at a much slower pace – neon-lit nightspots make way for seafront tapas bars, and you’ll find traditional restaurants in lieu of Brit-style pubs and fast food joints.
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