Flights to Alicante take a little over 3 hours from Glasgow Airport. Once you set foot on Spanish soil, get ready for the constant sunshine and pleasant climate of the Costa Blanca’s stunning Mediterranean coastline.
Which Costa Blanca resort is for you?
You might want to stay somewhere that’s perfect for big groups and late-night partying, or you could choose a quieter resort ideal for the kids. Perhaps you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and fancy, you know, jumping out of a plane from 12,000 ft? From Benidorm and Alicante to Torrevieja and Calp, here are our 4 favourite towns and some things to do along Spain’s 200 km-long “White Coast”.
Benidorm… For Beaches and Nightlife
Did you know Benidorm was the first package holiday destination in Europe? Before that, in the 1960s, it was a sleepy fishing village. Nowadays, the resort attracts around 5 million tourists a year. Visitors travel from across Europe for the town’s year-round sunshine, the selection of Blue Flag beaches, its energetic nightlife, and selection of comfortable, family-friendly hotels.
Two of the most popular beaches in Benidorm are Levante, the sunrise beach, and Poniente, a huge expanse of sand overlooked by the town’s skyscrapers. There are so many tall buildings in Benidorm — only Milan and London have more in Europe — that it’s been compared to Manhattan, so don’t expect a sleepy getaway.
Alicante… For a City Break (With Some Beach Time Too)
With its cultural attractions and abundance of history, the port city of Alicante offers visitors an array of things to do away from the beach. Of course, there are nice beaches — this is the Costa Blanca, after all — so why not spend a morning exploring Santa Bárbara Castle up on the hill before hitting Playa del Postiguet, just a 2-minute walk away? All beached out? Divide your time between discovering old churches, such as the Basilica of Santa Maria built between the 14th and 16th centuries, and wandering around the busy port which hosted the start of the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race.
There are plenty of shopping spots too — such as Plaza Mar 2 where you’ll find H&M and Jack & Jones, as well as a Levi’s store. Alicante is your choice if you want to stay in a bustling spot where there are plenty of other things to do when you want to get off the beach.
Torrevieja… For Lazy Days
Torrevieja is 50 miles south of Alicante. The coastal town, which is situated between two salt lakes, sprung up as a salt-mining community. That was before tourists cottoned on, and an influx of comfortable hotels and attractions such as the Aquopolis Torrevieja water park, turned this once sleepy village into one of the Costa Blanca’s must-visit resort towns.
Next to the harbour at Playa Naufragos and Playa del Acequion, and on the north side of town at Playa La Mata are where you’ll spend your time if you’re looking to top up your tan. Need some time off the sand? There are lush gardens and parks to wander around, whilst you might want to learn about the area’s heritage at the Museum of the Sea and Salt or make a day of it by travelling to Murcia or Alicante.
Calp… For Adventurous Families
The iconic town of Calp (Calpe in Spanish) is dominated by the Natural Park of Penyal d'Ifac, a gigantic limestone outcrop and haven for wildlife that juts out from the mainline into the Mediterranean.
Adventurous visitors might want to leave the beach and explore the park’s rugged pathways. It’s worth it just for the spectacular view from over 1,000 ft above sea level. You’ll even be able to wave at friends or family members who’ve decided to stay put on their sun lounger.
More of a family resort than Benidorm and Alicante, if you stay in Calp you’ll become familiarised with Playa de la Fossa o Levante which curves towards ‘The Penon’ rock at its southern end. Evening walks along one of the town’s two promenades will reveal plenty of bars and restaurants. You might decide to use the seafronts for jogging, cycling, or even rollerblading if you fancy mixing with the locals and whizzing past the evening strollers.
Local events include the Calpe Moors & Christians Fiesta which takes place in October. If you’re visiting then, you’ll get a spectacular taste of Calp’s medieval history through live music, battle reenactments, and elaborate parades.
Other Things to do on The Costa Blanca
There are dozens of towns to choose from along the Costa Blanca and plenty of non-beachy activities to do too. This area of Spain is ideal for adrenaline junkies who want to take to the sea, mountains or air, whether that’s snorkelling, diving, climbing, cycling, hiking, or even microlight flying.
The Terra Mítica theme park in Benidorm will please thrillseekers, whilst the nearby Mundomar marine animal park, where the kids will love seeing the dolphins jump high out of the water, is a great way to spend half a day.
You’ll be spoilt for choice along this stretch of coastline that brings people back year after year.