The towns of Costa Blanca attract an eclectic mix of holidaymakers each year. This wonderful part of Spain boasts a diverse landscape of sun kissed beaches, arid plains, fragrant orchards, lush valleys and rugged mountain ranges. Throughout these are villages, towns and cities where visitors of all ages can enjoy a superb selection of attractions and activities. There really is something for everyone from stunning architecture to the latest craze in water activities such as flyboarding. Theme parks and multi-activity centres offer thrills and excitement, and for the more discerning visitor there are beautiful nature reserves and many challenging golf courses.
Many of the towns in the north of Costa Blanca are surrounded by lush green valleys and forests that in some areas reach all the way to the coast. One such town is Javea (Xábia) that nestles in the shadow of El Montgó Mountain. An area of natural park, the mountain and forest stretch down to secluded coves and soaring cliffs. Add to that a beach promenade lined with restaurants and bars, and a charming old town, and you have a picture perfect holiday destination.
Also in the north, Moraira is one of those peaceful towns that seem to attract a number of expats and retirees seeking the quiet life in the warm Mediterranean sunshine. A coastline of sandy beaches and rocky coves are complimented by a picturesque marina and nautical club. A bit further south, Calpe is a large cosmopolitan town also popular with expats, boasting a 60% foreign population. Its beaches often receive the Blue Flag Award and its Moorish quarter and old town centre offer a good choice of shops, cafes, traditional tapas bars and restaurants.
A number of Spanish towns have both an inland and coastal area. There are two reasons for this. In days of old as a fall back defensive plan, and in more modern times a purposely built coastal resort area to accommodate increasing amounts of holidaymakers. L'Alfás del Pi is one such town with a beach resort area known as L'Albir. This is the ideal destination for holidaymakers with varying agendas. You have the peace and quiet of L'Alfás del Pi, and just a few kilometres south, the legendary city of Benidorm referred to as the party capital of Costa Blanca.
A bit further south from Benidorm is Villajoyosa. This is a pretty coastal town with colourful beachfront fishermen's cottages. Not to be missed is a visit to the famous Valor chocolate factory where you can experience a free tour and chocolate tasting. Many holidaymakers visiting Costa Blanca's coastal towns are seeking a good choice of water sports and activities. El Campello has favourable wind conditions for water activities such as wind and kite surfing. It also has a lively fish market and busy marina where seafood features highly in the surrounding restaurants.
Gran Alacant receives its fair share of sun seeking holidaymakers and is favoured by a large community of Scandinavian expats. The town lies slightly inland but has two superb beach areas. The picturesque Carabassi Beach is somewhat quieter, and the larger Los Arenals Del Sol is one of the most popular beaches on the entire Costa Blanca. A short distance south from Gran Alacant is the bustling seaside town of Santa Pola. A popular holiday destination with a thriving fishing industry, Santa Pola has the largest fishing boat fleet of any port on the Mediterranean sea.
Guardamar del Segura boasts a 12 kilometre stretch of coastline backed by rolling sand dunes and pine forests. Its beaches have good facilities and a selection of fun water activities. The town has two lovely parks with walking and cycling routes and a large children's playground. Weekend visitors should not miss the nearby Sunday morning Lemon Tree Market.
Orihuela Costa is neither a village, town or city but rather a sprawling coastal resort with both beach and inland residential areas. With so many British and Irish residents and holidaymakers, you will hardly hear Spanish being spoken here. Yes, this area is all about pints of Guinness and full English breakfast. However, for its size, Orihuela Costa's beaches boast the most Blue Flag Awards in all of mainland Spain.
Also listed under towns but more of a large resort area, the glorious Mar Menor forms a large inland sea. It lies in the very south of Costa Blanca and stretches for many miles, dotted with charming coastal villages. The sea is connected to the Mediterranean by narrow fishing channels and has a high salinity. This, combined with its shallow waters makes it very safe for children.
Lying between two mountain ranges in the north of Costa Blanca is the quaint town of Ontinyent. Its old town has a maze of small streets and alleys to explore and there is a lively commercial centre, shopping complex and many traditional bars and restaurants. Not far from Ontinyent is the town of Alcoy. It lies at the foot of the Serra de Mariola mountain and natural park, making it a popular holiday choice for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
Also in the north is the old fortress town of Castalla that boasts sweeping views of the Foia de Castalla Valley and fertile plains of inland Alicante province. Its Moorish Castalla Castle and many other places of interest wait to be explored, and the surrounding countryside has ideal terrain for many outdoor pursuits. On the other side of the Serra del Maigmó mountain from Castalla is the town of Elda, one of Spain's towns with an important footwear industry.
The small town of San Vicente del Raspeig lies behind Alicante City yet just a short drive from the coast. The surrounding mountains and valleys offer perfect terrain for horse riding. Visitors keen on equestrian pursuits can enjoy a variety of hacks at the excellent Club Hípico. They also have a riding school and fun summer camp for the young ones. Not far from here is The sprawling rural town of Callosa de Segura. Two superb natural parks make this town a nature lovers paradise.
Another one of the Costa Blanca towns popular with expats and retirees from Britain and northern Europe is Ciudad Quesada. Its picturesque main street is lined with shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, and on the outskirts of town is the exciting Quesada Aqua Park. Further south is the predominantly Spanish town of San Miguel de Salinas, known for its cave houses and market.