With a coastal position in the south of the Costa Blanca and forming part of the municipality of Orihuela, the area commonly known as Orihuela Costa is a hugely popular Spanish holiday destination with visitors from Britain, Ireland and northern Europe. Its favourable Mediterranean climate, beautiful golden sand beaches and predominant use of the English language has also made Orihuela Costa a favourite destination for for those seeking a new life in sunny Spain and is home to large expat communities.
The area is serviced by two international airports, Murcia-San Javier less than 30 minutes drive to the south and Alicante about 45 minutes drive to the north. The main AP-7 motorway runs through the centre of Orihuela Costa making it easily accessible for travellers driving from many of the inland and other coastal towns and cities in Spain.
Most visitors choose to holiday here for the areas excellent choice of glorious beaches and, testimony to this, Orihuela Costa has recently been recognised as having the most Blue Flag Awards for its size in the whole of Spain. I use the word area as Orihuela Costa is not a town or city but rather a collection of coastal resorts and inland residential neighbourhoods, all with their own unique appeal.
Bordering the city of Torrevieja, Punta Prima's beach is made up of small sandy bays and rocky coves favoured by snorkelers and fishermen. The well established and popular Nautilus Restaurant sits at the beginning of the beach and is also where the extensive coastal path starts. From here it's possible to walk the entire stretch of coast all the way to Dehesa de Campoamor, Orihuela Costa's most southern point.
Walking the coastal path is a delight, with varied terrain, splendid views and ample opportunities to stop for a drink or snack. Just a few minutes walk from the Nautilus are two lively beach hut bars, very popular with the expat communities and serving pints of lager for the princely sum of 1.50€. Belonging to the same group, both bars are called Sunrise and often feature live bands on the weekend.
Further dining and entertainment options can be found along the Punta Prima Strip which runs parallel to the N-332 coastal road and boasts a good selection of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. Across the road from the strip is Punta Marina Commercial Centre, also offering shops and restaurants including the popular Captains Table and a drive-thru McDonald's.
Probably the most populous and popular area of Orihuela Costa, Playa Flamenca is home to two golden sand beaches and is the next area reached along the coastal path. There are good facilities, lifeguards in summer and each beach has a quaint grass shack bar, although due to the area's popularity with holidaymakers, drink and snack prices are substantially higher than the Sunrise bars.
The inland area of Playa Flamenca is home to a large and lively outdoor Saturday market, an indoor market, a selection of well stocked supermarkets and a choice of commercial centres offering vibrant nightlife, various takeaways and a whole host of local and international restaurants. There is a large sports centre and for visitors wishing to work in the area, Playa Flamenca is home to the local town hall where NIE numbers (work permit) and various other Spanish documentation is issued.
Next stop along the coastal path is La Zenia which is a favourite ‘watering hole' for Irish holidaymakers and the area's large Irish expat community. Home to the extremely popular Paddy's Point Bar & Restaurant, a number of other excellent eateries and a pleasant sandy beach, La Zenia offers a good choice of holiday apartments and the Hotel Servigroup La Zenia.
A short drive or 15 minute walk inland visitors can enjoy superb shopping options in the famous La Zenia Boulevard, the largest shopping complex in the Alicante Province. The boulevard houses over 150 of the finest shops, boutiques, cafes, bars, restaurants and takeaways. A great selection of well known high street brands can be found and there are small snack stands selling delicious Spanish churros and freshly prepared sushi. On the upper level there is a choice of restaurants and takeaways including the ever popular Burger King. A variety of adult and children's entertainment is offered including the Casino Mediterráneo.
This coastal area here has two small beaches, a number of coves to enjoy a swim and sunbathing, and there are a few beach side bars and restaurants for snacks and refreshments. The vibrant nightlife is a focal point of the area and running parallel to the beach is the lively Cabo Roig Strip. The superb selection of bars and restaurants here include the most well known entertainment venue in Orihuela Costa, the famous Bushwacka Bar that attracts droves of young revellers during the summer months with it's varied live music, top class DJ's, theme nights and foam parties.
Surprisingly, there are very few nightclubs in the area, but with many of Orihuela Costa's bars staying open until the early hours and featuring the latest tunes and live music, I suppose there isn't much need for them. Across the road from the strip are a few establishments that label themselves as nightclubs but you will need an open mind and hefty wallet when you step through the doors of these ‘adult' venues 😉
Dehesa de Campoamor
After a long but rewarding journey, visitors walking the coastal path will come to Orihuela Costa's last holiday and residential area, Dehesa de Campoamor. More commonly referred to as Campoamor, this is an upmarket area with a picturesque marina, yachting club and stunning beach front villas, many fetching upwards of a million euros.
Campoamor boasts a long fine sand beach, a selection of beachfront bars and restaurants, various parks and plazas and a camping ground. Lying slightly inland is the focal point of the area, Real Club de Golf Campoamor Resort and Golf Las Ramblas de Campoamor. Both are excellent 18 hole courses with the resort offering a luxurious hotel, extensive landscaped gardens, a selection of fine dining options and various leisure facilities. Close to the golf clubs is the popular La Fuente Centre that is packed with bars and restaurants, some of the favourites being The Stray Sod Irish Bar and The Stone Grill Restaurant.
Arguably the Orihuela Costa's most popular inland area, Villamartin is less than 10 minutes drive from the coast and boasts an excellent competition standard 18 hole golf course. Opposite the course is the wonderfully designed Villamartin Plaza which is set over 3 levels and has a calm, cool feel with lovely pot plants, rockeries and fountains. Bars and restaurants abound and there is also a small supermarket, 3 hair & beauty salons, a post room and banks.
The area is large and incorporates a number of residential neighbourhoods, a second golf course and the Los Dolses Centre which sadly has seen better days with many of its bars, restaurants and commercial units closed down. The remaining entertainment venues are mainly frequented by local expats who organise darts and pool leagues.
Irish visitors to Orihuela Costa will feel right at home in this inland urbanisation that borders Playa Flamenca on one side and the residential area of Los Altos on the other. The Emerald Isle Irish Bar & Restaurant does a super Sunday roast, has daily live entertainment, and with its large swimming pool and lawn bowls is a family favourite.
The famous Abbey Tavern has been rocking till 4am for many years and attracts a large faithful following. Its beautiful gardens offer 2 bars, shady dining areas and an entertainment stage. Indoors there is a further bar, dance floor, DJ booth and mezzanine lounge. For delicious Spanish food and regular BBQ's and live music in the gardens, the Torre Bar is very reasonably priced with bottles of beer for 1€ and huge Spanish spirit measures just 1.50€ without mixer.
With much of the area bordering Torrevieja's picturesque salt lakes and other areas built on a hillside to take full advantage of the lake views, Los Balcones is the most Spanish part of Orihuela Costa. The reason for this is its close proximity to the predominantly Spanish city of Torrevieja and a good bus service linking the two. The lakes form part of a nature reserve with interesting flora & fauna and hiking trails popular with walkers and cyclists.
Entertainment options in Los Balcones include Via Park 5 and Via Park 3 which is right at the top of the hill where visitors can enjoy excellent value meals in CK Bar, and fun games, bingo and quizzes at the very popular Lime Bar. Via Park 5 has become a bit run down in recent years with many businesses closed down but there are still a few bars and restaurants that get lively on the weekend. Located near the Mercadona Supermarket is the popular Filton Centre that has a great choice of shops, bars and restaurants. Dotted throughout the area visitors will find cafes and Spanish bars serving good filter coffee and tasty tapas.