Costa Blanca - Spain's classic “White Coast”
It’s no surprise why property hunters from far and wide choose the Costa Blanca as their favourite destination in Spain. Few would disagree that it is the Spanish ‘costa’ that ticks most boxes for most people. Not surprisingly, weather and property opportunities are two of the main reasons for this widespread popularity, not just with expats but also with Spaniards.
With well over 300 days of sunshine a year and an average temperature of 17 °C it offers one of the most comfortable climates in mainland Spain. It’s never too hot nor too cold, it’s about as good as it gets without leaving Europe. The Costa Blanca also offers some of the most affordable property for sale in Spain, whether you are looking to buy an apartment on a Costa Blanca golf course or a traditional Spanish villa with sea views, along its 200 km Mediterranean coastline with endless sandy beaches and calm waters, you will be spoilt for choice. From North to South there is an opportunity for every budget.
Getting there is a breeze too, whether you’re popping over for a long weekend to your second home or flying back to see the grandchildren, Alicante airport offers regular all year round flights to most European airports: international and regional as well as many more, further afield.
Where is the Costa Blanca in Spain?
The Costa Blanca falls within the province of Alicante and lies on the east coast of Spain, south of Valencia. Alicante is its main city and also marks the midpoint between Costa Blanca North and Costa Blanca South, two very different regions geographically speaking, and both offer very different ways of life. Stretching from Pilar de La Horadada in the South to Denia in the North, the Costa Blanca encompasses many wonderful destinations including traditional rural villages and bustling Spanish towns with their traditional way of life still untouched by tourism.
What’s in Costa Blanca North?
Costa Blanca North offers a milder climate to Costa Blanca South as it is more mountainous and more protected by the mountain range that runs along the Costa Blanca providing it with its famous micro-climate. The most established towns in the north are Denia (nearest airport – Alicante: 104 km) and Javea (nearest airport – Alicante: 98 km) and are very popular locations for Spanish and foreign second-homers or retirees along with a large population of permanent residents. Denia is a large coastal town with a population of just over 40,000 all year round, however, this can more than quadruple in size during the summer season. Denia is home to the Costa Blanca's largest port with ferries leaving daily for the Balearic Islands.
Javea, traditionally a fishing village, has managed to hold onto its roots even though it has developed with the times. Javea has its own marina and white sand beaches as well as narrow winding streets which lead the way to its 14th Century church, San Bartolomé.
Benidorm (nearest airport – Alicante: 58 km) is another town that puts the Costa Blanca on the map, although it is not for everyone, few places in Spain offer so much entertainment all year round. It can feel tourist orientated but it can also provide an exciting lifestyle for overseas property buyers.
Moraira (nearest airport – Alicante: 94 km), on the other hand, is completely different. Nestled between the mountains and the sea this well-preserved fishing village attracts buyers from all over the world seeking an authentic Spanish retreat. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out, whether it be local tapas bars or Michelin-starred restaurants, there is something for everyone. Thriving cafes and bars along with classy boutiques commonly attract city-dwellers from Madrid as well as families from all over Europe making Moraira a sought-after destination.
If we move slightly inland another popular region in Costa Blanca North would be the Jalon Valley (nearest airport – Alicante: 91 km), a winemaking region which offers a more rustic and slower way of life with a property offering which is considerably cheaper than other areas, often more than 20% cheaper for a similar type of property. Popular towns in this area would be Lliber, Parcent and Jalon Town itself.
Costa Blanca North offers traditional properties ranging from around €20,000 to luxury homes with stunning views over to Ibiza priced in the millions. Whatever you are looking for you’ll find it in Costa Blanca North.
What’s in Costa Blanca South?
Costa Blanca South geographically is noticeably flatter than the Northern area and as a result, is generally a little hotter. This is because it isn’t so well protected by the mountainous ridge that follows the Costa Blanca inland, resulting in slightly higher temperatures. However, it is the busiest and most developed stretch along the Costa Blanca.
Beach resort after beach resort line the golden beaches that run south from Torrevieja to Pilar de la Horadada. Popular areas are Playa Flamenca, Punta Prima, Campoamor, La Zenia amongst many others. This part of the Costa is undoubtedly the area to come to if you are searching for great value homes. This is the area where your money will go a long way. If you are looking for a strong expat community, this is the area for you. Expect to find a fairly new townhouse near the beach or on a golf course to be in the region of €100,000 and less if you look hard!
What’s the weather like in Costa Blanca?
The Costa Blanca’s popularity amongst Spaniards and foreigners did not come about by chance. With over 300 days of sunshine a year and an average annual temperature of 17 °C it offers probably one of the most comfortable climates in mainland Spain all year round with temperatures in January ranging from about 10-16 °C and in August from about 22-30 °C. This wonderful all year round weather is thanks to the Costa Blanca’s unique microclimate which is the result of a small mountain range which starts near Murcia and runs north to Denia at a height of 1,000-1,500 m above sea level. This “wall” frequently blocks the bad weather from mainland Spain creating a protected and idyllic climate, one that has made the Costa Blanca what it is today. Thanks to this beneficial micro-climate the Costa Blanca has been declared the healthiest region to live in Europe by the World Health Organisation in 2006.
Where are the best beaches along the Costa Blanca?
The Costa Blanca, probably the most popular region for those looking to buy a house in Spain, covers 218 kilometres with over 170 beaches are characterised by their white sands and shallow waters. Alicante is, with a total of 58 distinctions on beaches and 12 in marinas, the Spanish province with the highest number of blue flags. So, which are the best beaches in Costa Blanca?
- Playa Granadella in Javea: a stunning cove with a 200 m curved beach surrounded by pine trees.
- Another great beach is Playa Carabassi in Elche: A 900 m long beach near Santa Pola, it is a protected beach without a promenade, so it is more isolated and gives a greater feeling of adventure.
- A Costa Blanca classic is Playa Levante in Benidorm: one of the most popular beaches for tourism. If you are looking for entertainment and a lively atmosphere this is your beach.
- Playa de la Fossa in Calpe is another stunning beach located in a bay between cliffs, from it you can see one of the most emblematic natural parks of the Valencian Community: the Peñón de Ifach, symbol of the Costa Blanca.
- Playa La Caleta in Villajoyosa is a hidden gem, this beautiful little cove is located just south of Villajoyosa. Known mostly to locals, you won’t find many tourists here as it is a little off the beaten track.
- Playa Racó de l’Albir in Alfaz del Pi is a popular beach located south of Altea. About 500 metres long, it boasts plenty of facilities, including a range of water sports, beach bars, sunlounger-rental and showers. The promenade is full of shops, bars and cafés.
- Playa Guardamar Moncayo is a wonderful well-kept beach with fine sands and clean waters, although there may be currents to be wary of from time to time.
What else can I do in Costa Blanca?
If you are looking for something more than just fine-sand beaches look no further, the Costa Blanca offers a wide range of activities that will keep you busy day after day. Be it kayaking through the caves and the blue lagoon near Playa Granadella in Javea or jumping into the crystalline rock pools in Las Fuentes del Algar just 15 km from Benidorm, plummeting down a water slide at Benidorm's biggest water park or floating in the pink salt lakes of Torrevieja, the Costa Blanca has it fair share of aquatic adventures.
However if water is not what you are looking for Algar is also an ideal route for a trek, allowing you to enjoy its privileged countryside and stunning waterfalls. And if it is views you are after, just keep walking through the Montgo Natural Park and soon you will be taken by its breath-taking views of the coast. If it is something slightly more challenging you are looking for, why not walk up to the fortified village of Guadalest from Benimantell and visit its 1,000-year-old castle. The Costa Blanca is full of hidden treasures that are waiting to be discovered.
How to get to the Costa Blanca?
The Costa Blanca is extremely well connected with the main Spanish cities. Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia are all connected by direct motorways, bus routes and trains. Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain, is under 1h 35 min away by train or just under 2 hours by car. Car travel is extremely comfortable given the extensive network connecting all parts of the country to the south, the west and the North.
The UK, Germany, Holland, France, Norway, Russia and Ireland are among some of the countries which benefit from regular direct flights. Alicante even offers direct flights to the USA now. Distances of interest from Alicante airport:
- Denia - 104 km - 1 hour 9 min by car / 2h 51 min by train
- Javea - 98 km - 1 hour 16 min by car / 2h 22 min by train
- Moraira - 93 km - 1 hour 8 min by car
- Benidorm - 58 km - 40 min by car / 58 min by train
- Santa Pola - 13 km - 14 min by car
- Elche - 19 km - 20 min by car / 56 min by train
- Guadamar del Segura - 32 km - 31 min by car / 1h 22 min by train
- Torrevieja - 44 km - 42 min by car / 1 h 33 min by train
- Madrid - 423 km - 3 h 57 min by car / 3 h 25 min by train
- Valencia - 171 km - 1 h 47 min by car / 2 h 17 min by train
- Barcelona - 532 km - 5 h 14 min by car / 5 h 57 min by train
- Cartagena - 118km - 1 h 14 min by car / 1 h 47 min by train
- Granada - 342 km - 3 h 19 min by car / 5 h 12 min by train
What is the Costa Blanca property market like?
The Costa Blanca is a very popular destination for both national and international property buyers. Whether you are looking for an apartment by the sea, a villa, a country house or a ‘finca’ with some land you are sure to find it on the Costa Blanca where over 170 beaches, 57 of which hold blue flag recognition, line its stunning 200 km Mediterranean coastline.
If you are thinking of visiting the area with the idea of buying a property, make sure you do your research first. The Costa Blanca is very diverse geographically and in ambience but can cater for all types of buyers. Those who are looking for stylish traditional fishing villages with upmarket restaurants and boutiques may head to the Costa Blanca North and those looking for fantastic facilities and amazing value along with a more extensive expat community would most probably head for the Costa Blanca South.
But wherever you decide to go, long gone are the days when you could offer 50% of the asking price and buy a property in Spain. But that doesn’t mean property is expensive, what it means is that the market in this region is now far more stable and in line with the true market value of the properties. This makes for a far more sensible property market and a safer investment, where a good offer would be in the region of 5-10% below asking price, but not much more. That said there are still incredible bargains to be found from north to south with properties on the market from as little as €25.000. Areas such as Calpe, Altea and Javea in the North and Campoamor, Guardamar del Segura and Torrevieja in the South are among the Costa Blanca’s most popular destinations with hundreds of fantastic villas and apartments for sale today!