Costa Blanca, something for everyone

The Costa Blanca is located on the east coast of Spain, right in front of the Balearic Islands.  The area between Denia and Torrevieja offers more than two hundred kilometers of coastline. Benidorm, with its impressive skyscraper skyline, is probably the most famous attraction.  But for those who aren’t into mass tourism, the smaller towns and mountain villages also have a lot to offer. Elegant marinas, narrow alleys and charming squares invite you wander about. Local shops seduce with authentic hand crafted and local products, often at very reasonable prices. Churches with shiny cobalt domes are silent reminders of the region’s Arab history.  Fancy local cuisine or would you rather go international? A plethora of restaurants offers something to everyone’s taste and budget. Gourmets can visit one of the eight restaurants that together account for ten Michelin stars on the Costa Blanca.

Costa Blanca, adios winter
Three months of summer and nine months of spring. That’s what the seasons on the Costa Blanc look like. We’re not exaggerating, what with more or less 300 days of sunshine and the largest number of hours of sunshine a year across Europe. An average temperature of 24 degrees, is what turns the Costa Blanca into a popular destination during summer and winter, for both young and old.

Because of the so-called ' micro climate ', the area of the Costa Blanca is one of the most stable regions in terms of climate. There is little rain and the sun shines, both in winter and summer. Temperatures below zero and extreme heat with more than thirty-five degrees are rare. The Mediterranean Sea has a warming effect in the winter, while the mountains and hills that surround the area, prove to be a natural frontier and provide protection against the cold from the inland.

Moreover, the World Health Organization confirms what we, and many of our Stadman International customers, have long known. The warm temperatures all year round, the clean air and the little rainfall, make the Costa Blanca a great place to live.

Costa Blanca, nearer than you think
From northern Europe, the Costa Blanca is one of the most accessible coastal areas in Spain. No less than three airports guarantee frequent air traffic to and from the area.  Also by car, it is a feasible journey. The A7 motorway crosses the entire area and effortlessly brings you wherever you need to be. 

But the rest of Spain is also lying at your feet when you are in the Costa Blanca. The high-speed train takes you to the heart of Madrid in two hours and a half, while after half a day of driving on the motorway you can find yourself in world city Barcelona. Southern Andalusia is perfect for a weekend getaway. At four hours’ drive from Altea, you find lively Granada and its world-famous Alhambra. The popular Balearic Islands are less than two hundred kilometers away from Altea.  From the port of Denia, the ferry takes about two hours to reach trendy Ibiza or its more relaxed sister island Formentera.  

·       Altea - Granada 408 km 

·       Altea - Madrid 470km

·       Altea - Barcelona 490 km

·       Altea - Formentera 170 km 

·       Altea - Ibiza 175 km

Nature's pace   Once you get the know the area, you can’t help but be amazed at how green the Costa Blanca is, especially the northern part.  The magnificent ' Fuentes de Algar ', with its refreshing rivers and waterfalls, is a beautiful natural landscape in which you can enjoy walks and swimming. Golf enthusiasts consciously choose for the Costa Blanca.  Club de Golf Altea is one of the most beautiful golf courses on the Costa Blanca, where you play golf with sea views and surrounded by the mountains.  

The mountainous landscape full of pine trees is anything but arid and dry. Orange fields, vineyards, and olive trees are dotted about and put a green touch to the Costa Blanca all year round. Once a year the Costa Blanca dresses white and pink; the famous blossoming period of the almond trees is a wonderful nature event.

Several cycling and walking routes meander through the inland.  More and more sports enthusiasts, both amateurs and professionals, are heading towards the Costa Blanca, in search of its favorable climate and its beautiful nature to practice their sport. Many professional cycling teams come to the Costa Blanca every winter to prepare for the cycling season. It doesn’t come as a surprise that hiking clubs and guided cycling vacations, such as the Vuelta Turistica, are on the rise. And then there’s the water, of course! Scuba diving, sailing, water skiing, canoeing, windsurfing and paddle surf,...  to name but a few of the countless possibilities. In the many marinas along the coastline, you can rent a boat or a jet ski. 

If you need a break to recover from all the action, head for one of the sheltered bays along the coastline, where the crystal clear water invites you to dip in and refresh yourself. The many chiringuitos (the Spanish word for a beach bar) usually serve drinks, and often also food, throughout the day. It’s the perfect place for a lazy day off, with a Spanish paella on the beach.

Costa Blanca, shop til you drop
Shopaholics and fashionistas love the Costa Blanca. In the big cities, you are spoilt for choice, with trendy and original boutiques as well as the large department stores and famous brands. 'El Corte Ingles' houses all labels and products under one roof. It has always been and still is number one for most Spanish and has meanwhile managed to conquer the hearts of many holidaymakers. When you see the word 'Rebajas ' appearing in all shop windows, you will know the sales are on and it’s time to hunt down some bargains.  The smaller villages can easily compete with the big cities, with attractive main streets full of shops and original local businesses. The weekly local markets provide you with flowers, fruits, vegetables, and bread, as well as clothes, shoes, and handicrafts.

The Spanish opening hours differ greatly from what we are used to in the rest of northern Europe. Every business has its own timetable, but generally speaking, these are the standards:

• Restaurants open for lunch from 13uh00 to 16h30 and for dinner between 19h00 and often until 23h00, although this may depend whether it’s a Spanish restaurant or not. The Spanish restaurants often open and close later, while the international restaurants tend to apply a more Northern-European timetable and often open all day long with no break in-between. 

• Shops and boutiques often close for siesta. They tend to open around 10h00 ’s in the morning and close again around 14h00.  Somewhere between 16h00 and 17h00, they will open again and they won’t close until  20h00 or later even, especially during summer months. 

• Big department stores and supermarkets normally open all day long, from around 9h00 until 21h00. During the summer months, they also open on Sundays.

• Banks are normally only opened in the morning, between 09h00 and 14h00, although some banks may have one day in the week where they open in the afternoon.  

• Schools teach between 9h00 and 14h00, the afternoon timetable depends upon each school.  

C stands for Culture
No need to get bored when you’re fed up with sun, sea, and beach. A visit to the local winery or so-called 'bodega' by Enrique Mendoza is not only enlightening, but also very tasty because of course there’s an occasion to sample some wines.

If you feel in need for a bit of culture, a city break is what you need. In no time, you will reach one of these four southern cities:

The provincial capital of Alicante is small but delightful. Travel back in time and visit the Moorish castle of Santa Barbara while admiring the impressive panoramic views of the city. There’s always something going on in the elegant theatre and to enjoy a dance performance you don't even have to know a word of Spanish. Enjoy a walk along the stately marina and the elegant esplanade or lose yourself in the narrow streets of the old town. 

Distance Altea - Alicante approx. 60 km, half an hour drive

Valencia is certainly no longer unknown in Northern-Europe. Spain’s third largest city has been on the rise for a few years now. With an impressive combination of modern architecture and its rich history, Valencia is a popular destination for city trips. The elegant cathedral, many musea, a large display of attractive shops and a bustling nightlife are only a few of its many highlights.

Distance Altea - Valencia approx. 130 km, just under an hour and a half drive

Elche, just past Alicante and with an immense palm garden as well as an exotic atmosphere, is well worth a visit. Discover the impressive cathedral, enjoy a leisurely walk through the largest palm tree forest of Europe or follow in the footsteps of the Empress Sissi in the world-renowned ‘Garden of the Priest’.

Distance Altea - Elche approx. 85 km, 45 minutes’ drive 

Murcia oozes pure Southern atmosphere, with attractive shopping streets, impressive palaces and bustling squares full of tapas bars. Discover the many different tapas or instantly order a so-called ‘ración’, a larger serving for when you’re not just a bit peckish but actually hungry. The beer is ice-cold, the portions are generous and the Spanish are loud but good-humored and friendly. 

Distance Altea - Murcia approx. 140 km, just under an hour and a half’s drive 

Time for celebrating
It is probably an impossible task to list each and every festivity, but this is a modest grasp of the very large offer. 

The Fallas of Valencia is a world-famous festival, with huge paper-mâché figures being burnt throughout the city on the evening of March 19th. It is a breath-taking spectacle and needless to say, spectators, from all over the world flock to Valencia. When it comes to fireworks, Altea is second to none, with its famous 'Castell de l'Olla' that attracts about fifty thousand viewers every year.

Another singular event is the colorful Moros & Cristianos celebration. The most beautiful costumes bring the past back to life as the battle between Christians and Arabs is evoked. These festivities take place in many villages along the Costa Blanca, but the Moros & Cristianos in Altea are among the most impressive parades. The festivities of Villajoyosa are also unique; an impressive fleet of boats re-enacts the battle at sea and the arrival on land. 

Semana Santa, the week before Easter, is famous for its beautiful processions. And there’s nothing like celebrating the beginning of the New Year in Altea, if only because of the traditionally soft temperatures during the festive season.

A number of official Spanish bank holidays are the same as in northern Europe.  However, there are also quite a few different ones, that are best taken down in the agenda, because during these Spanish holidays all the official administrations, banks and the most of the shops and businesses are closed.

·       1 January                     Año Nuevo - New Year 

·       6 January                      Epifanía - Three Kings 

·       19 March                      San José - Saint Josef, perfect for visiting the Fallas

·       March - April                Viernes Santo y Lunes de Pascua - Good Friday and Easter Monday

·       1 May                           Día del Trabajo - Labour Day 

·       15 August                     Asunción de María - Assumption Day 

·       12 October                   Día de la Hispanidad/Fiesta Nacional Hispanic Day/National bank holiday  

·       1 November                 Día de Todos Los Santos - All Saint’s Day 

·       6 December                  Día de la Constitución - Constitution Day  

·       8 December                  Inmaculada Concepción - Immaculate Conception  

·       25 December                Navidad - Christmas

The numerous festivities are different from village to village. In Altea, the last Monday and Tuesday of September, are the official local holidays, and all the official administrations, banks as well as the shops and businesses in Altea are closed. 9 October is also a major holiday in the area between Alicante and Valencia. As it is the local holiday of the entire Valencian community, all shops and businesses are closed. 

A place in the sun
Starting to think about your own villa or apartment? It is not just for the happy few... Nowadays, you no longer need to wait for retirement. Our customer base is living proof that young and old are besotted with the Costa Blanca. Those who own a house, try to come to Spain as often as they can. The easy accessibility, with many and affordable charter flights to the airports of Alicante, Valencia or Murcia, make it easy to quickly come over for a long weekend. Within a few hours, Northern Europe is exchanged for sunny Spain. In your own home, equipped with every comfort and with a private or communal swimming pool, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy a relaxing and carefree holiday.  Stadman International is delighted to be your partner in making your Spanish dream come true.

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