WE JUST GOT BACK FROM MEXICO! Stay tuned for blogging galore from our adventures in Mexico City and also the colonial towns of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende. But first, here’s one more post from our February Spain trip: Six beautiful towns along Spain’s Costa Blanca region on the eastern Mediterranean Coast.
The Costa Blanca (White Coast) is a stretch of Mediterranean seashore in southeastern Spain. Besides providing a haven for expats (almost 30% of the population is foreigners), the Costa Blanca is well-known for its outstanding year-round weather – with over 300 days of sunshine a year. Couple that with spectacular beaches, fantastic seafood, and friendly locals, and it’s easy to see why Spain’s Costa Blanca is so popular with people from the U.K., Scandinavia, and other colder and darker climes.
From Alicante, we rented a car and spent a week driving up as far as Dénia and then all the way down to the ancient Roman city of Cartagena, visiting dozens of charming coastal Mediterranean villages and towns. Here are our favorites.
(As usual, photos are in galleries – just click the first one to see larger versions of each.)
We made Dénia our base of operations for exploring the Costa Blanca north of Alicante. We loved our two-night stay in this historic city, dominated by a landmark Moorish castle overlooking a scenic and busy yacht harbor.
Fenestrat is a municipality that connects a resort-y beachfront area (Cala Finestrat) to a beautiful, mountainous inland town. We enjoyed strolling the narrow cobbled streets of Finestrat and taking in the views, dominated by the Puig Campana peak.
Villajoyosa (La Villa Joiosa)
We happened on Villajoyosa at lunchtime, and were blown away by its long central beach flanked by colorful houses – reminiscent of Portofino, Italy.
Moraira is another quaint seaside village that offers an interesting mix of Moorish castle ruins and modern art. It was a nice late-afternoon stop.
Playa San Juan/El Campello
Technically, Playa San Juan and El Campello are part of Alicante – but they seem worlds away from the city. Playa San Juan boasts 3 km of brilliant sand beach right on the edge of town and easily reachable by Alicante’s light rail system. Just up the road is El Campello, with its beautiful marina and archaeological sites.
Playa de la Zenia
We popped in to this lovely community on our way south from Alicante to Cartagena. Our goal was to meet a friend from the blogosphere, Nancy Klein, who lives there with her husband Rick. Not only did we enjoy a great lunch with Nancy and Rick, but they took us on a beautiful coastal walk. Here is Nancy’s blog.
Three Runners Up: St. Albir/Altea, Calpe (Calp), and Javea (Xabia)
All three of these places captured our imaginations, even though we didn’t get to spend much time in any one. They’re on our list for future explorations!
Car Tripping on Spain’s Costa Blanca: A Few Tips
- We rented a car in Alicante, traveling first to the north as far as Dénia and then all the way south to Cartagena (about a 1.25-hour drive from Alicante). We were highly pleased with Centauro car rental agency in Alicante, conveniently located across from the train station. Not only is picking up and returning the car super-easy, but the service is outstanding.
- Driving Spain’s Costa Blanca is a breeze. The roads are in near-perfect condition and make good use of signage. And since we were there in off-season, we encountered very little traffic. In February, gas was running about $6 a gallon, but global factors such as the war in Ukraine have driven it up at least a dollar a gallon. And people in the U.S. think they pay too much for gas!
- Our lodging in Dénia was the Hotel El Raset. The no-frills room was fine for a couple of nights, and the location was outstanding – right on the waterfront overlooking the marina, and just a few blocks from the castle and city center.