Jul 16, 2008

Costa Blanca

Costa Blanca is in the province of Alicante. It consists of around 200 km of Mediterranean coastline though its borders aren't strictly defined.

To the north it includes the popular resorts of Gandia, Javea and Denia and to the south it extends to the ugly development of Torrevieja. Around here marks the beginning of the Costa Calida.

A number of smallish resorts such as Moraira, Altea and Calpe are particularly popular with Spanish tourists. In contrast the high rise resort of Benidorm attracts some 5 million foreign and national tourists every year, the vast majority British.

Until the 1960s Benidorm was a sleepy fishing village, yet today in Europe only London and Milan have more skyscrapers than this mega resort (the Gran Hotel Bali is 186 metres high). So what's the attraction?

Benidorm offers attractions to suit all age groups from young children to OAPs. In the summer the majority of visitors are young Brits looking for craic whilst the low season is appealing to older couples escaping the north European winter. The resort boasts three first class (blue flag) beaches, entertainment for all, countless bars, restaurants and discos and the Terra Mitica theme park on the edge of town which is one of Spain's most visited tourist attractions. All of this within easy reach of Alicante airport.

Few sun worshippers escape the beaches and bars but the ones that do are in for a treat if they head into the stunning interior. Here you'll find one of Spain's great undiscovered gems, an area growing in popularity with walkers, cyclists, birdwatchers and nature lovers in general.

Alicante Airport Transfers

Alicante airport is 9 kilometres to the south east of the city of Alicante. By road You can get to the airport on the A-7 and N-332 national motorways. The journey only takes about fifteen minutes when traffic is normal.

There is a huge supply of flights to Alicante from all over the UK and the rest of Europe thanks to its standing as a the main gateway to the Costa Blanca. Check out our list of operators who currently offer flights to Alicante.

Transfers into Alicante city are easy enough by one of the following means:

(1) You can pre-book a Alicante airport transfer with a travel agent called Viajes Alameda. They will have a vehicle and driver waiting for your flight on arrival. All other destinations will be available on request.

(2) There are bus stops outside both arrivals and departures which run into Alicante every hours and cost approximately €1. There is also an Airport-Benidorm line which leaves from the same place at 10:30, 14:30, 17:30 and 21:30. The price is about €6.

(3) Taxis fares are approximately 12€ to Alicante, 50€ to Benidorm and 55€ to Altea. They depart from immediately outside arrivals.

Javea Information

Javea lies in the shadow of the dominating Montgo Mountain in the northern Costa Blanca and is one of the most popular resorts of the region. The town started attracting north Europeans more than 30 years ago and many of these visitors never left leaving a thriving ex-pat community to this day. But don't let that put you off. Javea is an attractive destination with plenty to offer visitors including some of Spain's finest golden beaches.

Javea is divided into three parts: Javea Pueblo (the old town); Javea Puerto (the bustling port area); and Playa de Arenal (the main beach area). Today the old town and the port are pretty much joined thanks to the property development which has gone on in the town whilst Playa de Arenal lies some 3km along a rocky beach from the Port.

Javea Old Town

The pleasant old centre of Javea is worth passing a few hours at one morning. Just wander around admiring the whitewashed buildings with Gothic features. Take a look in the Gothic Church of San Bartolome and visit the busy food market with its stalls full of fresh fish and fruits and vegetables from the region. Take a coffee break at Temptations below the Church steps or stop at the cafe on C/Major below the steps which lead up to the very helpful tourist information in the Plaza de la Iglesia (Church Square). They'll provide you with a pamphlet which gives you a suggested walking tour of the old center.

Javea Port

Nowadays most ports in tourist destinations have become trendy marinas with designer shopping outlets but not Javea. It still functions as a fishing port with yachts moored in the same vicinity. It is very much a lived in area which is popular with visitors attracted by its lovely promenade with open air terrace restaurants and pleasant local bars. Views across the bay are spectacular. During the first week of September it is home to one of Spain's more unusual fiestas when bulls are released into a paddock area where they are taunted by local youths who jump into the sea when the bull charges them. The aim is to get the bull to fall into the water .

Javea Beach

Playa de Arenal is Javea's beach area. It is a chilled area stretching no more than 300m from the well located Parador in the north as far as the bargain food restaurant of Scallops in the south. There area numerous café bars and restaurants set back from the wide promenade which charge prices inconsistent with a place that hasn't yet acquired exclusive client status. They're also charging 14 EUR. for two sunbeds with a parasol and there's a charge to use the water from the beach showers. That's a first.

If you don't fancy paying over 20 Euros. for a fish main course just head for Scalllops of Javea where you can get a 3 course meal with wine for 7.95 Euros! Beers are also pricey at over 4 Euros. a pint and cocktails around 8 Euros. Cheaper options exist in numerous bars set back from the beach such as Coastal Bar where you'll meet a friendly crowd of ex-pat locals. The beach itself is fabulous with superb fine, golden sand. There are volleyball nets along the back of the beach which are popular later in the day and there are plenty play areas for the kids.

Just 8km south of Playa de Arenal is rocky outlet called Cabo de la Nao which affords stunning views back over Javea and as far as Ibiza on a clear day.

Javea Accommodation

Surprisingly there aren't a great deal of Javea Hotels with most visitors preferring to stay in apartments. For location the Parador de Javea can't be beaten as it stands right on the beach at Playa de Arenal. If you do decide to stay there be sure to request a sea facing room. Another option is camping. There is a wide range of Javea Villas and Javea Apartments that you can book online. There are plenty campsites in the area with El Naranjal the pick of the bunch as it is only a 5 minute walk from Playa de Arenal with good sized pitches, plenty shade, a bar/restaurant area and a great swimming pool.

Things to Do in Javea

As well as whiling away your days on the beach at Playa del Arenal and dining in some fine local eateries there's plenty to do to amuse the whole family. Scuba diving in Javea is highly recommended and there's no end of dive shops offering introductory dives and PADI courses. The Costa Blanca has more than 13 golf courses and sailing opportunities are available from local ports.

There are also some good trekking routes around Javea and if you are interested in doing some trekking you should ask in the Tourist Information office for the booklet "Nature Parks and Trekking Routes".

There are plenty day excursions available to other interesting resorts such as Denia and Gandia and the drive along the coast takes you adjacent to many superb beaches. Some of the best are just beyond Denia from Javea as far as Oliva.

If this all sounds too hectic take the kids to the crazy golf or the go-kart track next to El Naranjal camping set just off the main road neat El Arenal beach while you go for Sunday Roast and a pint of bitter at the popular Quo Vadis bar next door. There are 2 swimming pools within the complex.

For 'foodies' try the local rice based dishes which are typical of the Valencia region at the El Port district of Denia.

Javea Transport

There are buses that run every 30 mins from Arenal beach to the Port and to the Old town. At the time of writing they start at 8.40 and run until 23.10. The return leaves the old town on the hour and half hour starting at 8.00 and running until 23.00.

There are also buses from Javea to both Alicante and Valencia and to Denia. For more information about times and fares you should look at www.alsa.es.

No comments: