Spain’s sparkling Costa Blanca

Spain’s Costa Blanca or ‘White Coast’ is a lovely stretch of southern Spanish coastline. Once peppered with fishing villages and now largely engulfed by shining, high-rise hotels, it nevertheless hides some authentic old towns where you can still soak up some authentic ‘old’ Spain. Dénia is a great example, weaving local and tourist life into an easy, colourful tapestry, while towns like Altea and Xàbia show a quieter, less-developed side to the Costa Blanca with their cobbled lanes of whitewashed buildings and gentle pace of life. There are some wonderful walking trails too, along the coast and in protected parks and wetlands where countless species of bird and wildlife have made a home. Saga’s range of holidays to the Costa Blanca include hotel stays, escorted tours and special interest itineraries themed around walking and birdwatching.

Holidays to the Costa Blanca tick all the boxes for a fun and sun-filled getaway, and although it can be busy in summer, it remains one of Spain’s most popular destinations with locals and visitors alike. Here are a few of our Costa Blanca hotpots.

Benidorm has long been a favourite with British holidaymakers. Once you’ve topped up your tan on one of its famous sandy beaches, we recommend heading into town for an evening in ‘Tapas Alley’. It’s an aptly named place with loads of small Spanish bars serving up delicious plates of tapas and fruity sangria to wash them all down.

An hour by boat up the coast from Benidorm - or less than half an hour by road - you come to the popular town of Calpe. Best known for its towering Ifach Rock (and for having some of the best beaches on the Costa Blanca), Calpe is also known for the colourful tiled murals on its streets and building facades. It's a great place for a walk, after which you’ll have earned a rest and a glass of 'la mumba' in one of Calpe’s cafes. This chocolate milk and brandy drink, served hot or cold, is a Spanish favourite and is a refreshing accompaniment on a sunny day.

To find out a little more about the Costa Blanca, visit some of Alicante’s many museums. At the Museum of Archaeology, you’ll see artefacts from over 100,000 years ago - the interactive exhibits bring the past to life before your eyes. For art lovers, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACA) should be at the top of your list. Housed in a 17th-century grain store - which incidentally is one of the oldest public buildings in Alicante - you can see works from some of the world’s most respected painters, including Salvador Dalí.

Warm weather is the order of the day for most of the year in the Costa Blanca. Between June and September, average temperatures range between 24 and 29°C and in July and August the area is blessed with an average of 11 hours of sunshine per day. Even in winter, from December to February, the temperatures on the Costa Blanca can still hit 13°C.

Major credit cards are widely accepted and there are ATMs in the larger towns and cities. However if you want to use cash, the local currency is the Euro.

The Costa Blanca is one hour ahead of the UK.

Most flights to the Costa Blanca from the UK fly into Alicante airport, although you can also fly to Valencia or Murcia.

It takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes to fly from London to the Costa Blanca.

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