A long-standing holiday favourite, Spain’s Costa Blanca is the perfect retreat for beach dwellers and old town wanderers alike.
The sun shines down on this 120-mile stretch of coast for the majority of the year, with the cool sea breeze taking the edge off the heat in the summer months. The terrain is varied and provides ample opportunities to explore - from sandy shorelines to traditional fishing villages, the White Coast is an ideal year-round holiday destination for those looking to embrace the best of iconic Spanish hot spots, while also discovering some charming hidden gems along the way.
As popular today as they were 60 years ago, Benidorm’s Blue Flag beaches, outdoor activities and bustling social scene continue to entice holidaymakers to Spain's east coast. Renowned for stunning scenery and a varied nightlife that includes everything, from bingo and karaoke, to club nights and festivals, Benidorm is a great holiday destination for all ages.
Boasting a selection of world-class beaches, two of Benidorm’s most famous are Playa de Levante and Playa de Poniente. Perfect for sunrise and sunset respectively, these two locations offer soft golden sand and a wealth of activities between them. Playa de Levante is a more lively spot, with water sports aplenty, rows of sunbeds for sunbathing and beach-side cafés for lunch. Playa de Poniente is still well-equipped, yet quieter and ideal for evening swims before watching the sunset illuminate the skies.
As well as relaxing on the beach, Benidorm offers a host of outdoor activities that will take you away from the beach and into the mountains for a change of scenery. The Downhill Bike Ride takes participants on a thrilling 19-mile descent that’s suitable for all levels of cycling ability. Gliding downhill at a self-set pace, you will travel through traditional villages while getting a whole new perspective of the coastline below. After a day of cycling, finish the day off in a local bar for a well-earned refreshing drink.
If cycling doesn’t appeal, why not try Segways? Perfect for uphill climbs, a trip on a Segway is a memorable experience and a unique way to see the sights.
Trips are run in smalls groups, led by a knowledgeable tour guide; this is a mode of transport that requires minimum effort to reap great rewards.
An ideal family destination, Benidorm’s pleasing climate lends itself to outdoor fun suitable for the young and young at heart. Aqualandia Waterpark is one of the region’s most popular attractions and features over 20 rides and areas which include Europe’s highest standing slide and the world’s highest capsule slide - recommended only for the brave! Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the park is equally equipped for thrill and chill seekers alike.
The charming Old Town of Benidorm is home to pretty cobbled streets and authentic Spanish architecture. White houses and historic churches are waiting to be discovered along your winding ramblas, and there are lots of boutiques where you can find one-off souvenirs to take home to remind you of your holiday. There are also plenty of inviting eateries ready to provide a true taste of Spain. Head to Tapas Alley for a selection of small plates that will appeal to every palate. Local specialities include classic paella that's perfect for sharing, and horchata - a cold, sweet drink typical of the region - that’s made from tiger nuts and traditionally served with pastries.
To the north of Benidorm lies Dénia - a port city where an imposing ruined castle takes centre stage on a skyline where the mountains of the Montgó Natural Park provide the backdrop. With a diverse history that paved the way for the Dénia of today, the city is home to eclectic architecture and an expansive marina.
From rocky coves to sandy shores, Dénia is one of Costa Blanca’s most appealing bases for visitors looking to experience a sense of the old-world charm the region was once renowned for.
Dénia’s beaches are somewhat quieter than those of Benidorm, though just as remarkable. With some 12 miles of golden sand to choose from, the beaches north of the harbour offer a little more in the way of atmosphere and activities, while those to the south are perfect for rest and relaxation. Les Rotes is a pretty area to explore. The rocky coves are ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving for those who want to get close to the local marine life, and there’s a large selection of restaurants and bars to enjoy a bite to eat and a cocktail or two.
Surrounded by Mount Montgó Natural Park, there’s no shortage of hiking trails on offer for those looking to see Dénia from a whole new height. At 753 metres above sea level, the nature reserve is home to over 650 varieties of flora and fauna. The park is also home to a range of wildlife, from eagles to badgers. Mount Montgó itself is renowned for its unique shape and is often described as 'the elephant' whose body looms from the sea and sprawls impressively across the skyline. There are many hiking trails available, all of which guarantee stunning ocean views - look out for Ibiza which is visible on a clear day.
Dénia’s cosmopolitan marina has long been a draw for visitors. This picturesque part of town is full of bars and restaurants perfectly placed to watch the boats bob up and down on the water. Home to vessels of all shapes and sizes, there is the option to take up water sports in the summer, as well as boat trips further afield.
Direct ferries to the Balearic Islands run from here several times a week, making day trips to Ibiza a breeze.
Alternatively, the vibrant city of Valencia is only 90 minutes away by bus. With plenty to see and do, this is a perfect excursion to experience Spanish city life. Must-see attractions in Valencia include The City of Arts and Sciences - a feat of contemporary design which houses a science museum, the IMAX cinema and planetarium, the opera house and the marine park. Explore Central Market for the best in local produce before taking a trip to Turia Gardens; a park that has been created on the site of the old Turia River bed.
Benidorm and Dénia are two of Costa Blanca’s best-loved areas and it’s easy to see why. With at least 320 days of sun each year, there’s never a bad time to pack a bag and pick a beach to escape from it all. “Y Viva España” indeed.
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