The 7 must-do things to do on the Costa Blanca

Vue panoramique de la vieille ville d'Altea située sur la Costa Blanca

Superb beaches with lively or tranquil atmospheres. Historical and artistic heritage along the green hills or by the sea. It’s hard to choose. The 7 must-do things to do on the Costa Blanca.

Fancy a visit to the Costa Blanca? The Costa Blanca stretches along two hundred kilometers of coastline in the province ofAlicante. If it sometimes suffers from a reputation for a concrete coastline, put those preconceptions to one side.

Far from being disfigured, this region offers long sandy beaches, a mild climate, a mountainous hinterland and, above all, great authenticity. Bon vivants also flock here for its lively nightlife, while history buffs wander through its castles and proud little villages.

The Costa Blanca also offers cities renowned for their cosmopolitanism and cultural jewels. One trip probably won’t be enough to sample all the delights of this sublime coastal strip. To see and experience the essentials, follow the guide. Here are the 7 must-see things to do on the Costa Blanca.

1. Water sports

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – Andrzej Kubik

Want to visit the Costa Blanca? It all starts on the water. As you set out to conquer the Costa Blanca, you’ll discover a sea that’s constantly explored by kitesurfers, jet ski pilots, sailors, divers and windsurfers. They evolve in a variety of settings.

Long sandy beaches stretching to infinity alternate with small coves and picturesque cliffs. These spots, with their many shades of blue, welcome water sports aficionados from beginners to experts.

2. Heritage towns

Visiting the Costa Blanca takes you back in time. The towns and villages are steeped in history and relics. These surprising treasures are brimming with visual and photogenic attractions.

In addition to castles, religious buildings, noble residences and immovable fortifications, discovering the Costa Blanca’s heritage also takes you to fishing villages. Here’s a list of the most beautiful and interesting heritage towns along the coast.

  • Villajoyosa: picturesque, colorful houses tumble down to a small, translucent, moon-shaped beach. Villajoyosa is almost Havana-like. Its charm lies in its tranquility and the way time seems to stand still. While the village’s fishing traditions are strong, it is best known for its chocolate. You’ll even find a dedicated museum: gourmands, welcome to paradise;
  • Calpe: at the foot of the symbolic Ilfach rock, after climbing huge, ornate staircases, the old town of Calpe will amaze you. Adorned with mosaics, refreshed by the sea and influenced by the mountains, Calpe’s influences are manifold. Sports enthusiasts will appreciate the forays along the cycle paths, which allow you to discover the village in a different way;
  • Guadalest: just over two hundred inhabitants live in this village of medieval essence. It’s dotted with buildings that look as if they’ve sprung straight from the rock. The « Castillo San José » fortress and the « Castillo de Guadalest » castle dominate the entire valley. Breathtaking views;
  • Altea: often described as the most beautiful village in the province of Alicante, Altea’s charm leaves no one indifferent. Nestled like an oasis in the middle of the desert, its winding streets are lined with white houses and friendly, traditional places. Just like a typical fishing village. The highlight of your visit will be the Nuestra Señora del Consuelo church, nestled beneath its illustrious blue dome;
  • Elche: the Lady of Elche and the Palmeral are the emblems of this pretty Spanish city. Europe’s largest palm grove and a beautiful historic center are waiting for you. All in a sunny atmosphere, with deliciously oriental fragrances;
  • Dénia: under the watchful eye of the impressive Montgó Massif, Denia boasts the title of Creative City of Gastronomy and its intact period buildings. Its castle rises like a butterfly with stone-paved wings, and bears witness to the Islamic era of the 11th century.

3. The party

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – FOTO Petrymusz

Among the must-do things to do on the Costa Blanca, a bit of fiesta is a must. Partying in Spain is an institution. We’re not just talking about wild beach parties, but also patron saint festivals. Of great importance to Spaniards, these festivities dot the Costa Blanca throughout the year. To name but three:

  • The processions of Las Fiestas Mayores de la Santísma Sangre in Dénia ;
  • La Fiesta Des Moros y Cristianos de Villajoyosa ;
  • Las Hogueras de San Jan in Alicante.

In mid-August, in Elche, you’ll also have the privilege of listening to the Misteri d’Eix sung in the Basilica of Santa María. This masterpiece is part of humanity’s intangible heritage. Every summer, Torrevieja celebrates the Creole songs that accompany the departure of the fishermen during the Habaneras festival.

For night owls, the Costa Blanca has plenty to offer in the way of discos, sandy after-work parties and dance bars. In the seaside resorts, the pace can be frenetic. Ibiza is no exception. For a turntable vacation, Benidorm is your first choice, followed closely by Alicante.

4. Local specialities

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – ANCH

One of the must-dos if you visit the Costa Blanca is to discover its essence through its cuisine. Gastronomy is divided between products of the sea and those of the land. These two entities meet and merge to perfection on your plates. Rice, in all its forms, accompanies an impressive array of fish, seafood and white meat dishes.

In fact, you’re in the mother region of paella. There’s no doubt that a genuine portion of this dish will surprise and tantalize your taste buds. Also on the menu: fideuá, a variation on paella with vermicelli, and ragoûts mariniers, a kind of bouillabaisse.

Finally, the Costa Blanca is also the birthplace of turrón: a typical Christmas confection made from honey and almonds, in the form of hard candy bars.

5. The beaches

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – lunamarina

Need we tell you that this is one of the must-do things to do on the Costa Blanca? Probably not. It goes without saying that the Costa Blanca appeals first and foremost to lovers of farniente, water sports, iodized landscapes and sea spray. However, given the colossal number of beaches all vying for your attention, we’ve put together a small selection of our favorite spots.

  • Calpe: this multicolored, multi-faceted town offers one of the most surprising beaches on the coast. At Cantal Roig, nature soaks up the clear waters criss-crossed by endemic aquatic animals;
  • Elche: the beach stands out for its vast expanse of sand, covering the entire horizon with its golden mantle. Occasionally, a few dune massifs or forest copses disturb this perfect parterre ;
  • Javea: the coves are reputed to be the most beautiful on the Costa Blanca, as evidenced by the crown of verdant plants and the turquoise lagoons held in their arms ;
  • Tabarca Island: while the island is notable for its many historic sites, it is best known for the beauty of its waters. This paradise is an extraordinarily well-preserved nature reserve;
  • Benidorm: the beaches of this seaside resort appeal to those seeking a blend of urban and rural environments;
  • Villajoyosa: the village blends sandbanks with rocky outcrops, all in a tranquil, translucent atmosphere;
  • Xàbia: one of Spain’s most famous beaches, thanks to its crystal-clear waters where two sea caves emerge. Two natural caves that can be visited by kayak;
  • Alicante: its Blue Flag beach, in the heart of the city, stretches out at the foot of the famous Castillo de Santa Barbara. With its calm waters, golden sand, palm trees and seafront promenades, this beach has an air of Miami about it. But without the bling;
  • Cabo de la Nao: an ideal spot for underwater fishing and water sports, set in a landscape of limestone cliffs and azure waters;
  • Benissa: the most picturesque coves on the Costa Blanca. We’ve swapped the wide, sandy expanses for a more intimate, natural, craggy atmosphere;
  • Moreira: immaculate sandbanks, dotted with pine trees and beautiful white villas, set against a backdrop of hills and vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean: this is the beautiful setting.

6. Alicante, the all-rounder

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – Zagrean Viorel

Visiting the Costa Brava means stopping off in Alicante. A charming town offering a host of activities, it is also a concentrate of traditions and typical atmospheres. « El barrio », the old town, offers a delightful meander of colorful facades, charming squares and architectural masterpieces.

Perched atop Mount Benacantil, Santa Barbara Castle is a must-see for history buffs. Just below this medieval fortress, stroll along the pretty Explanada de Espana promenade. It offers the hypnotic spectacle of boats constantly docking in the marina.

Otherwise, Alicante stands out for its large number of art museums and archaeological sites such as Lucentum. Once the sun goes down, it’s time for the vibrant nightlife. And if you’re looking for a relaxing break, why not take a dip on one of the city’s beaches?

7. Discover the Fonts de l’Algar

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Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ekaterina McClaud

Our latest list of things to see and do on the Costa Blanca? Beautiful scenery – yes, again – and refreshing waterfalls. Les Fonts de l’Algar offers a radical change of scenery. Halfway between Benidorm and Altea, the charming and picturesque village of Callossa d’en Sarrià offers an incredible surprise.

It’s a haven of unspoilt nature and surrealistically pure basins. Between the Mediterranean mountains flows the Algar River, which descends here in a succession of enchanting waterfalls. They form deep lakes that offer enchanting bathing. What’s more, the Fonts de l’Algar are encircled by paths along the waterfalls, to the sound of splashing water and lush nature.

Also read in the Alicante guide :

How to get to the Costa Blanca

To visit the Costa Blanca, you first need to decide on the best way to get there. The quickest and easiest way is undoubtedly byplane. There are several direct flights to Alicante. Alternatively, you can land in Valencia and hop on a train or bus to one of the Costa Blanca towns. Don’t hesitate to check out the offers on the Skyscanner flight comparator, which will help you find the best prices.

By car, from Paris, it will take you around 15 hours to reach the Costa Blanca. This option, though long, offers total autonomy once you’re there. A road trip is the ideal way to discover all the wonders of the coast. Perfectly connected to the freeway and regional roads, the journey is pleasant and straightforward.

Where to sleep on the Costa Blanca?

This destination is teeming with accommodation to suit all budgets and desires: hotels, Airbnb, gîtes, campsites: the choice is dense. To help you, don’t hesitate to use a hotel comparator.

  • For a citybreak-style stay, we recommend spending your nights in Alicante’s old town. Surrounded by historic monuments, close to the main shopping streets and at the heart of the city’s entertainment scene, El Barrio offers an authentic and refreshing change of scenery;
  • For a 100% beach holiday, choose from the towns with the most beautiful beaches on the Costa Blanca;
  • For a luxury vacation on the Costa Blanca: two possibilities. On the one hand, the old town of Javea with its traditional fishing port, beautiful San Bartolomé church, La Granadella beach and secluded coves. On the other, Moraira, with its immaculate white sandy beaches and breathtaking coves surrounded by vineyards;
  • If you’re looking for an economical holiday, Benidorm is the place to go. This town, which combines beaches and urban landscapes, offers something for everyone. It’s also ideal for families;
  • For a peaceful stay, set down your suitcases in the small villages renowned for their historical heritage;
  • For a nightlife-filled visit to the Costa Blanca, Benidorm is the place to be. Another party capital: Alicante. From concert halls to lively bars and discos, it’s all there.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Alicante