From SearchIberia.com

Regions & Cities
The Northern Costa Blanca Region, Part 1
By Kenn Walters
Jun 1, 2004, 03:18

View of Calpe
Spain's Costa Blanca has been popular with tourists for many years, Hemmingway being one of Calpe's frequent visitors during the 1930's. A mild all year round climate and an average of 320 days sunshine each year adds to the attraction. The World Health Organisation has designated this area as possessing one of the finest climates found anywhere, particularly for people with respiratory difficulties and the EU has awarded many of the beaches in the area the prestigious "blue flag" for water quality and cleanliness several years running. In addition, modern infrastructure with low crime rates and the ability to easily reach two international airports, coupled with good quality international schooling at affordable prices, is increasing the attraction of this already popular area for new residents as well as visitors.

The landscape of the Northern Costa Blanca is blessed with greenery year round, unlike that of the Southern Costa Blanca or Costa del Sol, with wonderful mountain vistas looking inland from the kilometres of beaches, or within the fabulous valleys, famous for their wine, (such as the increasingly popular Jalon Valley), or the abundant, but slightly higher elevation Citrus Valleys (notably of the Orba region).

The coast is dotted with unspoilt Spanish villages and resorts, popular with vacationers and residents looking for the more relaxing side of Spain and wishing to avoid mass tourism. 24/7/365 entertainment can still be found a short drive away from these towns and villages in the busy vacation resort city of Benidorm however, for those choosing to enjoy it. In addition the region boasts many established and new Golf courses, one of the biggest water parks and also Theme parks in Europe, as well as unparalleled water sports, both surface and sub-aqua, (there are some of the largest Marine Parks in Europe clustered within the boundaries of the Northern Costa Blanca, as well as good water conditions and visibility). For those wishing to "shop until they drop" apart from Benidorm's dozens of boutiques, shopping mall and pedestrian shopping areas, Alicante, and Valencia Cities both lie within and easy car ride along the coast in either direction. Valencia in particular also offers marvellous Aquarium, Museum and public attractions to the Visitor, as well as historical places of interest.

A number of larger towns provide the focal points of attraction in the Northern Costa Blanca as profiled below


Altea

The dome of Altea's church, blue with a white geometrical design, is one of the symbolic images of the Costa Blanca. Altea is situated on a hill whose peak rises above the white-tiled parish church. The magnificently jumbled and cluttered centre of the Old Town provides Altea with a special charm. When visiting, start at the Plaza del Convento and take the Pont de Moncau - this leads to the Vellaguarda district, an area of steep narrow cobble-stoned streets with balconies and small glorietas (circular intersections). In the Plaza, the cultural and leisure centre of Altea is the Church of the Virgen del Consuelo (Our Lady of Solace). Altea's peacefulness and tranquillity have made it a paradise for artists and craftsmen and their shops and stalls are scattered throughout the Old Town Centre. At the foot of the hill lies the wide sea promenade and the commercial street, the Avenida del Rey Jaime I. Altea has a 6 kilometre beach, with cliffs alternating with shingled bathing areas. Playa de la Roda is located adjacent to the old town centre. The main beach, Playa de Cap Blanch, is located to the south and runs into Albir's beach. The Playa de Cap Negret, a shingled beach ending in a small cove with black pebbles called the 'Cala del Soio', is located to the north. L'Olla is another much-frequented beach opposite a small island of the same name. Altea ends in the 'Mascarat point' and the Sierra de Bernia, where the La Barreta, La Solsida and La Galera shingled coves are located. In earlier times, Altea used to be situated on the road to the Sierra de Bernia and was called Altea la Vella - a small village intersected by a Way of the Cross that ascends to a Calvary surrounded by cypress trees. The Sierra de Bernia, with its Font del Garroferet and ancient fortress, are excellent reasons to visit the area.


Benissa

Benissa is located on the windy coastal road between Valencia and Alicante, and has a white church similar to the churches painted by Constable. The Church called the 'Cathedral of the Marina Alta' was constructed in the 'twenties by pious masons from Benissa who used their own physical strength and monetary contributions to build it. The church was consecrated during the 'Festival of St Peter the Apostle in 1929' and measures 56 metres in length and 29 metres in width. It includes a magnificent altarpiece in honour of the venerable patron saint of the village, the Blessed Xiquet and a statue attributed to Juan de Juanes. When visiting the cathedral, the curious light shining through the roof onto the altar is not to be missed. Interesting walks can be taken through the village starting from the Ayuntamiento -the former Hospital for the Poor - where you can see the magnificent 'huerta' and the beginning of the track used by the ancient ribereros (the workers who emigrated from Benissa to harvest rice on the Valencia coast). On the calle Purísima observe the iron grilles on the white houses bedecked with flowers - the town is reminiscent of Montilla and Albaicín in Granada. The streets of the town are mainly narrow and deserted, enabling a peaceful walk through the most interesting places in the town such as the Casa de la Cultura and the Lonja de Contratación (exchange building)- Benissa's oldest building and the Museum of Ethnography. The medieval centre of Benissa is situated around the ancient prison, which today serves as a Casal de la Joventut (Youth Centre). The municipal district has not been re-developed on a large scale and its 4 km coastline still offers small quiet beaches. These include Fustera -a fine sandy beach with a range of services -, the Cala Pinets and L' Advocat, which combines rocks and sand. Finally, the Cala Baladrar is a shingled beach. Marine excursions and water sports such as diving and fishing can all be enjoyed on these beaches.


Calpe

Home of one of the most well known landmarks of the Costa Blanca, Peñón de Ifach, which is a sheer sided rock rising from the Mediterranean. A lovely historic town with small wonderful beaches and a marvellous marina/port area.

Must See's;

Old town:
- Church of Nuestra Señora de la Nieves
- Iglesia Vieja (Old Church)
- Torreón de la Peca (Tower and Town Walls)
- Forat de la Mar (Part of the exterior wall)
- Arrabal (Puchaltstr., San Roque Str., Pescadores Str.)
- Fishermen's square ( Plaça dels Mariners)
- Mural Mosaic, Festivities Museum, Museum of Archeology, -- Museum of Collectio
Calpe Port
- Walk to the summit of the Rock of Ifach (marvellous panorama)
- Nature Park Peñón (Natur-Room with exhibits and audiovisuals)
- Promenade of the Prince (Camino del Mar)
- Auctions at the Fish Market (Lonja)
Beach Area
- Modern seaside promenade (Paseo Maritimo)
- Banys de la Reyna (Fish salting factory from Roman times)
- Torre del Moli
Surroundings
- Salt flats (migratory birds: flamingos, herons etc)
- Hermitage of San Salvado, Hermitage la Come

Continue to Part 2 for information on Denia, Gata de Gorgos, Jalon, Jávea and Teulada / Moraira.

For more information on the region, please don't hesitate to contact Globus Estates.

© Copyright 2004 by SearchIberia.com & Kenn Walters