A Quick Guide to the Costa Blanca South
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The Costa Blanca has a lot to offer you as a holiday maker or as a resident. Just make sure you come with a sense of fun and enjoy it all!
Ok, so you want to holiday or live in the Costa Blanca South, Spain? Well there’s loads of reasons why you might visit or stay in the Costa Blanca. Here are just a few good reasons...
Seven Good 'S' reasons why you will enjoy Costa Blanca South
- Sun: Over 310+ days of warm lovely sunshine every year!
- Sand: Blue flag beaches galore that stretch for miles and miles
- Sea: Swim safely in the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea, calmly washing your cares away
- Scenery: Step away from the coast for a while and see the wonder of the mountains and valleys full of lush palms, fruit and vegetables.
- Sangria: The famous chilled fruity wine drink that suits those lazy days around the pool, terrace or seaside bar.
- Spanish Tapas: Serrano Ham, olives, salted almonds, chorizo sausage, cheeses, paella, vino, fresh fish and other tasty Tapas dishes of Spain. A must-have traditional treat found in most Spanish bars and restaurants... we love ‘em!
- Siestas and Fiestas: Lots of them. The Spanish love their casual and fun way of life. There's no 9 to 5 here... there’s just too much outdoor living to do and local fiestas to attend. And by heck, do they know how to put on a party. Ole!
If you noticed, you’ll realise all the above are Al Fresco activities. It makes sense to enjoy Spanish way of living outdoors. Enjoy the freedom and certainty of being able to 'play' outside or sit in a sunny café-bar and watch the world go by is a far cry from the cold, damp winters of Northern Europe. What other reasons do you need?
Off the Beaten Track
Costa Blanca South is more than just a collection of glitzy resorts and beaches. It’s beauty and diversity will amaze you and it is not hard to find. But you have to get a map, get a tourist book, get in the car and EXPLORE. We highly recommend you do because you’ll be missing out on so much history, culture and outdoor events if not.
To visit Costa Blanca means finding the hidden corners, the treasures of the inland where traditional Spanish life has hardly changed, where the baker and butcher still ply their trades from a local shop, where market day with it’s freshly picked produce is the community hub of the week. Where prices are not inflated to fleece the tourists and where the locals are friendly and welcoming. Get off the beaten track and see the real Spain... it’s amusing and rewarding.
Visitor Top Tips
The Costa Blanca South is a BIG place so here are some general tips on making more of your time
Get a Bit Of Sun:
Feel the warmth! With 310+ days of sunshine you will get out and about, swim in the Med’, enjoy your pool, have a BBQ, walk the dog, bike somewhere, sun-bathe or watch the world go by from under a restaurant parasol. Even if you are not a sun-bather, the Spanish sunshine is a major reason their lifestyle and climate is so different from us Northern Europeans. And the World Health Organisation keep saying that the climate and air quality here is one of the healthiest on the planet.
Eat, Drink and be Happy
Spanish cuisine is full of goodness, all those fresh fruit and vegetables, a vast variety of healthy fish, tasty meats and local traditional Tapas dishes are a must. And you've heard how the Mediterranean Diet is one of the best in the World. So be adventurous for once. Try that Chorizo sausage in red wine, salted almonds or the Ali-Oli garlic dip (delicious but very fattening). I recommend Patatas Bravas or a hearty Chicken Paella. And if you like your drinks fruity – check out a freshly made Sangria. Yummmmmy! At festival times, the food is in abundance, so no good dieting then – get stuck in.
Take a Trip:
Don't just stay in doors at your accommodation, get a life! Costa Blanca South has a load of historical and interesting places to visit, especially in Fiesta Season (usually in the warmer months). Try Elche (City of Palms) with it’s beautiful parks, Plaza and Basilica, or visit the Alicante Marina and promenade (especially late at night when it comes alive). Go see tiny Guadalest (north of Benidorm) which is the most visited village in Spain apparently. Mind, it’s up some steep mountains and a little chilly but well worth the trip and the mountain views. Of course if you are young at heart try the Benidorm area for theme parks – there’s loads to see and do in "Beni" for all ages.
With miles of coast line the Costa Blanca is great for water sports and boat trips in the summer sun on the Med’. That's always a nice way to spend a day. The fresh breezes will soon cool you down. Try the islands of Tabarca for water sports and marine life (off Alicante), Mar Menor salt lake (near Cartagena) for wild life, and for resorts and beaches try Benidorm, Albir, Moraira which are all pretty but different from each other.
The Spanish Markets:
The Spanish market is a way of weekly life. There’s bound to be one near you in Costa Blanca everyday, just ask a local. They are usually full of fresh produce from local farmers, fish and meats, nuts & pulses, clothing (very cheap), household items and leather goods (shoes, handbags and belts). The bigger ones tend to be near the tourist traps but the local village ones are worth a look and a lot cheaper usually. Some of the large popular ones close to the N332 coast road have catering sections serving all types of food, like the BIG English Breakfasts.
Head for the Hills:
Within 30/40 minutes drive from the coastal towns of Costa Blanca you can be in the most fertile of valleys, surrounded by a dramatic mountain-scape begging to be walked or climbed. In spring / summer you’ll see 1000′s of acres of agricultural land growing grapes, olives, almonds, oranges, tomatoes, artichokes, pears, lemons, palms, the list goes on. Of course it's easy to drive through the mountains but head for Medieval Novelda, Jumilla or Monavar (wine making). Hondon de las Nieves itself has a well stocked and beautiful Cerda Bodega that makes and sells local wines. Orhuela, north of Torrevieja is a nice drive through lemon groves and good for a shopping trip.
In the tourist areas it’s hard to spot so go inland a little or off the beaten track to find a rich history, flamenco dancing, bull-runs, Spanish guitar evenings, festivals and fiestas, themed markets, religious ceremonies and firework nights. These are always very popular in Costa Blanca South. Elche has a magnificent firework display during August - another must-see. So do as the Spanish do go for a late stroll before dinner and wile the late hours with some live music or late dinner. Alicante, Elche and the coastal areas have lots of live music bars.
Fiestas, Fiestas, Fiestas:
There are loads of Spanish Fiestas to choose from. Some are very sober affairs with religious connections, (Christmas, Easter, etc) and others are just an excuse to have a bl**dy good time - a community party. The Medieval Festivals do the rounds and are well worth a trip, usually ending with more fireworks. New Year is the 12 grape festival + cava, and more fireworks usually with live music and gastronomic feasts. The Giantas (big heads) are tall models dancing with marching bands, music festivals, trade fairs with stalls. Locally the village water fights are great fun. Fiestas are not always well publicised so you may have to dig around for dates but they are surprising good in small towns and villages.
OK even the most ardent culture vulture wants to have a few home comforts which you’ll easily get in the tourist traps of Costa Blanca. The good old English breakfast is nice around here but the 'traditional British Sunday roast' is very popular on the coast and usually of good quality and good value. And just ask around and you'll find many Expats have opened shops and bars that cater for your UK food and drinks needs... there's even an Iceland near Guardamar / La Marina where you can get your typical English tea, tins, sweets and favourite biscuits!
So ... we say just ENJOY IT ALL !!
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