The Costa Blanca coast, long a favourite with the Brits, stretches up from La Manga and Torrevieja through Alicante, Benidorm, Calpe, round to Javea and up to Denia and Gandia. Cheap family holidays in the sun don't come much better than Benidorm. The largest resort on the Med, Benidorm has three personalities with its bustling Playa Levante, central Benidorm old town and family favourite Playa Poniente. The best of the Med's family beaches are here at Benidorm - blue flags all the way and a host of watersports, parasols, pedaloes and cafes, restaurants and bars lining Benidorm's fine paseo maritimo. For the best of both culture, history and beaches and marinas Alicante is a popular choice with Alicante Airport just to the west making for a short transfer time. Pushing past Benidorm the Coast Blanca offers a superb choice of family holiday resort bases including Calpe, Moraira and Javea - one of the best for family holidays. All are within easy reach of the huge number of family holiday attractions around Benidorm including Aqualandia waterpark, Mundomar Animal Park, Terra Mitica Adventure Amusement Park and Terra Natura Adventure Park.
Costa Blanca golf holiday choice you're certainly not short of. Particularly good for golf is Benidorm and Alicante, but also the La Manga area around the Costa Corrida south of Torrevieja. Inland some stunning scenery awaits. Just a few miles north of Benidorm sits Guadalest where the views of the Serra de Aitana and its high clifftop Moorish castle are breathtaking. Pretty inland Elche is famous for its date palms and gardens whilst Murcia's magnificent Gothic cathedral is not to be missed. Popular excursions from the Costa Blanca's coastal resorts include day trips to Valencia with its architectural marvel the City of Arts and Sciences which includes one of the world's largest aquariums, plus a choice of some of Spain's best art galleries.
Benidorm since the late 1950s has led the way for Spanish holiday resorts, catering always for what the visitors want. And so visitors return, still in huge numbers to enjoy now Benidorm's two glorious blue flag beaches Playa Levante and Playa Poniente, a choice of family holiday attractions including a huge waterpark, amusement park, animal parks and a selection of Benidorm local golf, shows and lively nightlife. For full listings of Benidorm Bars, Benidorm Restaurants, Benidorm Watersports providers and more see the excellent official Benidorm Tourist Guide weblink right for details.
The largest of the Mediterranean resorts, Benidorm offers something for everyone from families to stag and hen parties to relaxing beach base out of season. Essentially it's a resort with three characters - Benidorm Playa Levante, Benidorm Play Poniente and the centrally placed between the two Benidorm old town. Benidorm Levante sweeps to the east of the central Benidorm old town and is the most densely populated, with the golden sands of Playa de Levante beach, a fine promenade lined with huge hotels, bars and restaurants and the liveliest of Benidorm's nightlife is in this area.
Quieter than busy Playa Levante to the east, Benidorm's Playa Poniente area west of the old town is a popular Benidorm base with families. For full listings of Benidorm bars, restaurants, watersports providers and more check the Benidorm Official Tourist Guide website right.
Playa Poniente beach is slightly longer than Levante, with the same Blue flag golden sands. It's a bit wider too and quieter especially out of season and to the far western edge of the beach. There's no shortage of beach bars, and like Levante, Playa Poniente is backed on by a superb Paseo Maritimo. A choice of Benidorm hotels and apartments are up from Playa Poniente, including the famous Hotel Bali - the tallest opened in May 2002 accompanied by Elton John. Hotel Bali is the tallest hotel in Europe, as well as Spain's highest building!
Benidorm Old Town nestles in the middle of Benidorm Levante to the east and Benidorm Poniente to the west. The old town pushes inland from the distinctive rock promontory which was once the site for Benidorm's fortress serving as defence against attack from Berber pirates. The promontory is seeing some jazzing up in recent times. Referred to as the Balcon Del Mediterraneo, the vista offers spectacular views across both Playa Levanate and Poniente, out towards Isla Benidorm and down onto the port and pretty beach cove Mal Pas.
It's the mini Gibraltar Rock on Calpe's waterfront that gives this Costa Blanca resort a distinctive edge. Volcanic in origin, and looming up 990 feet, a trail actually climbs up the Penon de Ifach from the Aula de Naturaleza nature centre at the base to the peak. Calpe's two pretty beaches stretch either side of the rock. Calpe is renowned for its quality beaches, ideal for low key family resort holidays.
As you push north along the Costa Blanca coast towards Valencia, things start getting a little more Spanish and low key. Denia's stunning sandy beaches - endless and spacious, have pulled in some holiday visitors. Things are certainly a little quieter up here. Denia town attractions include the elevated Castillo de Denia and a small but interesting archaeological museum. The 18th century Denia Church of Assumption is also a pretty picture within a small old quarter near Denia's fishing port.
Gandia has over 20km of stunning clean golden sandy beach area, with adjacent promenade with plenty of restaurants. You're only 65km south of Valencia here in Gandia, and the resort feels more Spanish than typical Costa Blanca. Beautiful beaches, easy access north to Valencia, a selection of historic sites and museums in Gandia town including the renowned Palacio Ducal de los Borja palace.
Alicante, much like Malaga on the Costa Del Sol, is where you can have both a superb beach resort holiday and a host of cultural and historic sights on your doorstep. Nicknamed 'The City of Light', Alicante has it all - glorious blue flag beaches, a picturesque marina, a historic hilltop castle, fine shopping centres and superb boutique and specialist shops around its narrow old streets, parks, gardens, acclaimed art galleries, monuments, theme parks and tourist attractions. If you hadn't considered Alicante on the Costa Blanca as a holiday base, take a closer look, you might be surprised.
Costa Blanca inland - stunning scenery awaits particularly around the Guadalest Valley area just a few miles north of Benidorm. Guadalest village with cliff top fortress and spectacular surrounds is a popular day trip, but for those who want to explore and walk the Guadalest Valley accommodation in locations such as Alcoy and Benimantell is available here on Iknow Spain. A selection of Costa Blanca villages have two halves - scenic raised old towns slightly inland and pretty beach fronts. Two locations in this ilk include Altea just east of Benidorm and delightful Javea to the south of Denia. Javea makes a particularly good choice for relaxing family holidays.
Other popular inland Costa Blanca choices include Elche, the town of palm trees and home to the Huerto del Cura Gardens or Orihuela onetime capital of the region which retains its cultural heritage and has a stunning Gothic cathedral dating from the 14th century. The city of Murcia is also growing in popularity - day trips here to see the stunning facade of the Gothic Santa Maria Cathedral are especially popular. Alongside this, Murcia's developing cultural sites and museums make it a superb choice for a city break with easy access down to the coast and historic port town Cartagena (Republican port stronghold during the Spanish Civil War - you can learn more at Cartagena's Spanish Civil War Museum) and east via the fast A7 to Alicante.
A quieter and far south Costa Blanca resort (it just sneaks into the Costa Blanca), Torrevieja has much to offer for all inclusive family holidays. A large waterpark - the Aquopolis is nearby, plus Torrevieja has some pretty beaches with fine sand and good facilities. Main beaches Locos and Cura have calm waters with adjacent delightful promenade.
The Murcia Region's coastal playground, crammed with superb blue flag beaches, luxury golf and more, is the La Manga area. Look at any map and you'll see the area is a vast lagoon, formed by the slow advancing of rocks and sand. La Manga means 'the sleeve' and refers to the channels which push into the strip of land which separates the lagoon from the Mediterranean sea.