Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

 
The Spanish islands are some of the most popular destinations for tourists. But if you’re looking for some peace and quiet rather than a party, you won’t have to look hard. It will be as easy as finding a (Spanish) island in the sun.
El Hierro

El Hierro Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Golfo Coastline, El Hierro, Canary Islands

Welcome to the Wild West, Canarian style. The furthest Canary Island from Africa is unsurprisingly one of the most verdant. It’s also subject to a mighty wind that blows the juniper trees this way and that, to give the impression they’re bowing to you.
Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Fuerteventura – windmill

Think of Fuerteventura and you think of mile after mile of sand. Its interior, though, is mountainous, populated by goats which outnumber humans on the island. So, it’s a fantastic destination to explore by mountain bike if you ever tire of lying on a beach of white Canarian sand and then beating the heat by splashing about in the ever-so-inviting turquoise waters.
Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Amadores beach, Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is the island of contrasts. The developed south of the island is where the majority of the resorts are. Whereas the north coast is more rugged and resembles the Caribbean as banana plantations flank the Atlantic.

Elsewhere, the east is where you’ll find the main archaelogical remains of the canarii, the Berber tribes who occupied the islands before the 15th-century Spanish invasion. The west, meanwhile, is best for isolated beaches like Guigui. Finally, the interior is perfect for hiking with caminos reales allowing you to get up close and personal with such landmarks as Roque Nublo (Clouded Rock).
Ibiza

Ibiza Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Ibiza – Eivissa view

Party by night, sleep by day doesn’t have to be the way on Ibiza. Discover pretty-as-a-picture-postcard villages away from the excesses of San Antonio where every building’s the colour of ivory. They don’t call this Balearic island the White Isle for nothing.
La Gomera

La Gomera Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Los Roques, La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain

The highlight of a trip to one of the lesser-spotted Canaries is visting the Parque Nacional de Garajonay. Whose 40 square kilometres will transport you to a South American rainforest. Whose trees, despite the odd forest fire, have stood tall for the last 11 million years.
La Palma

La Palma Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma

Visit La Palma’s world-famous Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos during the day and an astronomy tour by night. On a good evening, about 3,000 stars are visible with the naked eye. Recently, La Palma became the world’s first Starlight Reserve as well as Starlight Tourist Destination. For the non-starstruck, hiking around the Caldera de Taburiente will result in some unique holiday snaps.
Lanzarote

Lanzarote Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Timanfaya – Lanzarote

Brace yourself for a moonage daydream on Lanzarote. Especially if you visit this Canary Island’s Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, whose landscape is more lunar than earthly. And a bottle or two of wine from the celebrated La Geria wine region makes for the perfect souvenir.
Mallorca

Mallorca Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Mallorca – Son Marroig, Sa Foradada, Valldemossa, Deia

For generations of holidaymakers, it’s always been Majorca. Think Majorca, though, and you think hedonists’ playground, Magaluf. However, Mallorca, the local spelling, is the Balearic island of glamorous capital Palma de Mallorca and glorious hidden coves.
Menorca

Menorca Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Menorca, Cala Tortuga

If Mallorca is just too hectic for you, how about its smaller neighbour, Menorca? Aka Minorca but not in the native Catalan, this Balearic isle is perfect for families. There are also more beaches to explore than are on Ibiza and Mallorca combined.
Tenerife

Tenerife Discover 10 idyllic islands in Spain

Masca Village, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Tenerife, much like life, is what you make it. If you want banging beatz, head to the clubs of Las Américas and Los Cristianos. If you want something milder, the stunning village of Masca, one of the most picturesque of all the Canary Islands, is a must visit on any tour of the island. And if you’ve got a head for heights, how about scaling Spain’s highest mountain, Teide?

Who’s the King of the Castles in Alicante?

 

Wherever you are in the Alicante province one thing is certain – you are never going to be far away from that most romantic of buildings – a castle. The Alicante region has always been one of the most coveted in Spain. The Moors conquered it and ruled for 700 years turning it into one of the most fertile and productive in the country and to hold it against the various northern kingdoms who sought it the Moors fortified it. Thus any visit to a castle in the region is likely to reveal that the original castle on the site or in the town was founded by the Moors although in some parts the Romans had a hand in the fortifications.

For those with a romantic streak the best way to see the castles of the region is to hire a car – and there are many reasonably priced car hire companies in the resorts of Alicante.

resorts Whos the King of the Castles in Alicante?

Denia castle in Alicante province
Denia’s Moorish roots

Denia, the capital of the Marina Alta area at the northern end of Alicante province has had a castle since Roman times when the town was known as Dianum but its main development came with the conquest of the area by the Moors. Built on a rocky promontory overlooking the town and the sea, the castle can be seen from anywhere in town. The impressive arched entrance dates from Moorish times but inside various buildings date from the castles development over the centuries. The castle also houses the Denia Museum of Archaeology which is well worth a visit. Opening times vary according to the season and there is a small entrance fee.
Oh Villena

Inland from Alicante, taking a pleasant drive along country roads, is the town of Villena which is home to one of the best preserved castles in Alicante province. Known as La Atalaya, which means watchtower, the castle’s role in bygone days was to defend the rich agricultural lands surrounding it. It stands on a hill above the town and has a ring of solid walls before you find the defensive walls. It has a great keep, the Torre de Homenaje, which stands more than 200 feet high. Another castle that owes its origins to Islamic times in Spain, Villena developed in the 12th and 13th centuries but what remains was built in the 15th century.
Sax in the city

No one with an interest in castles and history should miss the impressive castle of Sax, which lies north of Alicante city just off the A31 road. The castle stands, as usual, high above the city and can be seen for miles around in all directions. It is believed the original was built in Roman times but again it was the Moors who developed it to protect the lands they conquered in the region. But the Moors were eventually defeated when the armies of the Crown of Aragon seized the castle in 1239. The crowns of Aragon and Castile were rivals for the domination of the area but castle was finally ceded to Castile under the Treaty of Almizra in 1244. What remains now is the keep and the bastion tower.

bastion Whos the King of the Castles in Alicante?

Moraira castle in Alicante province
Mini castle in Moraira

A few kilometres down the coast south from Denia, a charming little castle can be found in the seaside resort of Moraira. It is an 18th century fortress on a small rock at l’Ampella beach and over the entrance door is the coat of arms of the Bourbon family, the rulers of Spain at the time of the completion of the construction in 1742.There is evidence that the fortress was developed by Felipe II, who ruled in the 16th century, to protect the coast from the ravages of the Barbary pirates. The castle has two floors and three wings and stands 10 metres high. Lookout was kept from slits in the walls and cannon were mounted on the roof. The fortress was badly damaged by the British navy in 1801.
Twin towers

Just south of Sax are the twin cities of Petrer and Elda, both with remnants of the mighty castles that towered over the countryside in the region. Parts of Elda castle have been reconstructed and a pleasant open space has been created. Again both had Islamic or earlier origins but with Reconquista in the 13th century the castles reverted to the Spanish kingdoms of the time, with Jaime II incorporating Peter into the kingdom of Aragon. For the castles, admission is free but opening times vary according to the season.

season Whos the King of the Castles in Alicante?

Cannon on Alicante castle
Guarding Alicante

No trip to the castles of the region would be complete without a visit to the mighty fortress of Santa Barbara that looks down 500 feet on to the city of Alicante. Take the lift from opposite Postiguet beach (2.50 euros, pensioners and children free) and hours exploring the castle that dates originally from Roman times and has guarded the city for centuries.
Novelda’s unique castle

Also within easy reach of Alicante city, just 24 kilometres north on the N330, is the unique Castle of Novelda, La Mola. What makes it unique and so special is that it is the only castle in Europe with a triangular-shaped tower, the Torre Triangular. The tower was built in the early 14th century to fortify what remained of a Moorish castle from the 12th century after the Reconquista. It is one of the Valencia Communitat’s best examples of a Gothic civil-military building. It has been extensively renovated and its interior is well worth the visit. The castle stands on a hill surrounded by the river Vinalopo. Next to it a short distance away is the church of the Sanctuary of St Mary Madalena, whose architecture is reminiscent of that of Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona. Ancient Orihuela South of Alicante city is the ancient city of Orihuela, which has some of the most fascinating architecture in the province. The castle, was of Moorish origin and what remains of it, stands high on the Sierra de Orihuela in the area known as the Monte de San Miguel. The ruins overlook the city but these days, without a fertile imagination, there is little that indicates the former glories of the fortifications whose walls originally enclosed the whole city. Visitors can climb to the top of the ruins and enjoy the fabulous views over the Vega Baja (the plain of the river Segura. The climb is quite steep so good footwear and a reasonable state of health are needed but for those who make its worth for the amazing views from the top.

top Whos the King of the Castles in Alicante? Elche castle in Alicante provinceElche prison Also worth the journey is the university city of Elche with its marvellous architecture, massive palm groves and cultural centres, not to mention its castle that was built in the 12th century and then renovated in the 15th. In recent times it has been used as a fabric plant, the city’s town hall, and as a prison during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39. 936-39.

Slow Train To Denia

Although the journey only takes about 30 minutes by car, the train takes a scenic meander along the coast and into the countryside. It makes for an interesting and inexpensive day trip where you can explore other Alicante towns.For the best views, sit on the right side of the train if you are going from Benidorm towards Denia.
You will enjoy fantastic coastal views before the train makes its slow way through the mountains amid the rural countryside. You can make a game for the children to see how many sheep, goats and birds of prey they can spot. You will also see terraces of vines, olive groves and orange trees.There are also some fabulous bridges and viaducts which are worth looking out for,especially when you get close to Gata de Gorgos and Benissa.
The track is pretty high up along here with some sheer drops, which add to the overall excitement of this train trip.The best days to take the train to Denia are on Mondays and Fridays, which are market days. The Monday market sells everything from household goods and clothes to leather items. On Fridays, there are two markets – one selling fruit and veg, with the other selling second-hand goods.The 50-kilometre journey will take about 77 minutes and a return ticket is just€6.40 with a 50% discount for pensioners. It is advisable to take some water with you and maybe a snack.
a snack. Slow Train To Denia
First stop- Benidorm
The journey begins at the bustling resort of Benidorm. The first train is at 6.26am so you could catch this after a very good night in the entertainment capital of the Costa Blanca! Benidorm’s skyscrapers remind many people of the great US city of New York. It’s fabulous skyline, great beaches, superb nightlife including the award-winning Benidorm Palace with its cabaret acts and music, and microclimate have kept Benidorm at the top of the tourism league for many years now. Benidorm also has some top theme parks such as Terra Mitica with its great rides, the Aqua Natura water park, Terra Natura wildlife park and Mundomar for marine life and exotic birds.
All aboard for Altea
All along Slow Train To Denia
All along this part of the train ride, you will enjoy breathtaking coastal views of the magnificent yachts and harbours all the way to Altea. Cross the main N332 road and you’re on the beach within a couple of minutes. Altea is one of the prettiest towns in the Alicante region with two main areas to explore. First stop, the beautiful little beaches and coves which stretch for about eight kilometres. It’s a perfect place for snorkelling, sailing or surfing. The beachfront promenade has plenty of restaurants and bars with many shops along the busy N332 road. From here it is a steep climb up the narrow cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses to the picture-postcard old town with its iconic blue-tiled church dome. If you like curries, the next stop of Olla de Altea has an Indian restaurant, Saffron, on the platform instead of a traditional station café.
Rocking our way to Calpe
The train continues its journey alongside the crystal-clear Mediterranean so you can enjoy far-reaching views as the train gets higher and higher above sea level.The impressive Ifach Rock, standing at 332-metres high, dominates the skyline as it juts out to sea at Calpe. The Ifach attracts serious climbers as well as walkers who can enjoy an easier route to the top where they can stumble across wild flora and fauna as well as being rewarded with fabulous views. Calpe is a vibrant coastal town with sandy beaches, a salt lake where many flamingoes have settled and a pretty little marina.
Onwards and upwards to Benissa
The train now starts to weave its way inland so you can enjoy great rural views. The countryside around here is very fertile with plenty of fruit orchards – especially oranges and lemons, vineyards and olive groves. The mountain views are spectacular with jagged grey cliffs and some hairy sheer drops! This is the best place to see animals such as goats,sheep, rabbits and birds of prey. The next stop of any note is Benissa, which is a pretty, historic town between the cliffs and the sea. It is a popular spot for snorkellers who enjoy the private, little coves and clear waters. Other visitors enjoy strolling through the old town centre which has some beautiful historic buildings such as the monastery, town hall and old council rooms, while the more adventurous can head for the Bernia, La Solana, Olta or Malla Verda mountains, either on foot or by bike.
by bike. Slow Train To Denia
Making tracks to Teulada
The train continues its journey through the green, fertile land to Teulada, a region which is well-known for its wines, particularly the sweet mistela wines. Teulada has a pretty, historic walled town centre with some impressive Gothic buildings.During a gentle stroll through the old streets, you will come across the parish church, several chapels and the courts of justice. In the 19th century, Teulada’s agricultural products were transported by sea from Moraira.Today Moraira is a popular coastal town with pretty beaches, particularly El Portet which is a rocky cove with sparking turquoise water. Moraira also has a pretty marina and old town with some fabulous seafood restaurants.
restaurants. Slow Train To Denia

Weaving along to Gata
Fans of bridges and viaducts will enjoy this stretch of the journey the most. On the way to Gata there are some interesting stone viaducts and bridges taking the train on its final leg towards Denia. The town is full of character with traditional crafts dominating the shop window displays. The local grasses and reeds are dried to make cane furniture, baskets and hats. The displays spill out on to the pavement, giving Gata the name of the ‘bazaar of the Costa Blanca’. There are also two talented guitar makers in the town – Joan Cashmira and the Francisco Bros -and you can visit the workshops to see the musical instruments being crafted by hand.

by hand. Slow Train To Denia

Dining out in Denia
Now the train makes its way around the Montgo mountain, which is a popular challenge for walkers and cyclists, to its final stop at Denia. Denia is the dining capital of the north Costa Blanca region with hundreds of restaurants including Quique Dacosta, which has three coveted Michelin stars. Denia is a delightful coastal town with an impressive castle where you can enjoy far-reaching sea views. The town has 15 kilometres of golden, sandy beaches, a large marina which is home to some expensive yachts, and a pretty old town. It puts on some magnificent fiestas throughout the year, especially fallas where large satirical statues are put up in the streets and burnt, and Moors and Christians, which involves running battles, gunpowder and fireworks.
fireworks. Slow Train To Denia

Getting to know Alicante’s grand castle

Alicante castle is the beach city’s main emblem. A glorious golden fortress standing 166 metres above sea level, the Santa Barbara Castle makes a stunning backdrop to the city centre.

It’s a magnificent, well-preserved castle on top of the Benacantil mountain and it dates back to the 9th century, although older artefacts from the Bronze and Roman eras have been found there. In the 9th century, the Moors ruled the peninsula so you may see some Arabic influences in the architecture and layout. The Santa Barbara castle is one of the best examples of medieval fortresses in Spain as well as being one of the largest. It’s a great place for letting your imagination run wild while you explore the dungeons, towers, palaces, cannons, churches and a moat.

moat Getting to know Alicantes grand castle

View of Alicante marina from the castle

The climb to the very top is definitely worth it as here you will find the iconic tower which stars on many photos with its fantastic views down to the marina. The paths up to each level are steep so flat shoes or trainers are advisable. Luckily there are seats to stop for a rest as well as a restaurant and café.
Who was King of the Castle?

The castle has a rich, chequered history and has served many purposes. In 1248, it was captured by forces led by Alfonso XI of Castile, who renamed it Santa Barbara as it was conquered on her feast day, December 4. The Aragonese won control in 1296 during the reign of James II, who was also King of Valencia, and he ordered it to be rebuilt. More reconstruction was ordered during the next four centuries.

centuries Getting to know Alicantes grand castle

Santa Barbara Castle, Alicante

The castle fell into foreign hands in 1691 when it was bombarded by a French squadron. It was then held by the English during the War of Spanish Succession. The war, at the start of the 18th century, was fought between European countries in a bid to decide who should succeed Charles II as King of Spain. It lasted from 1701 until 1714 and was concluded with the Treaty of Utrecht which recognised the French candidate as Philip V of Spain. The war produced famous generals, most notably John Churchill, whose victories for the British at Blenheim and Ramilles saw him created the first Duke of Marlborough. Its military role to protect the city became less important and it was used as a prison in the 18th century.
Breathtaking beach views

The iconic castle was abandoned until 1963 when the city opened it up to the public. It is now a great place for a healthy walk, a meal in the restaurant or to simply enjoy the far-reaching views over Alicante marina, Postiguet beach, the city centre and the nearby mountains.

mountains Getting to know Alicantes grand castle

Alicante Castle

There are three main areas from different epochs. The top level, La Torreta, where you can enjoy fabulous views over Alicante bay, is where you will see the keep and where the oldest remaining parts of the fortress are found. Much of this dates from the 14th century. The governor’s house, impressive towers and old hospital are among the buildings to be explored up here.

On the next level down are some of the castle’s most important buildings. These date from the 16th century and include the Felipe II salon, ruins of the Santa Barbara church, guardhouse, barracks and parade ground. The lower level dates from the 18th century. You can park here and walk up to the top or take the lift. There are large cannons poking through the thick castle walls, the exhibition centre and the dungeon on this level. Also the Alicante museum MUSA can be found in the castle with information and artefacts about the city’s rich and interesting history and people.
Concerts by starlight

In the summer evenings, Alicante council organises special concerts on Fridays and Saturdays in the castle courtyard. They start at about 10pm so you can enjoy a star-lit, outdoor concert with the castle in all its majesty in the background. The castle also has an exhibition centre and this year you can see a fabulous Star Wars exhibition with a collection of hundreds of figures and memorabilia from these sci-fi films.

films Getting to know Alicantes grand castle

Views of Alicante bay from Santa Barbara Castle

It is possible to walk up to the castle but this is a long, hard slog. You can drive up as there is parking on the first level but it may be difficult to find a space in the summer. Otherwise, take the lift from opposite the Postiguet beach, a suntrap for the citizens of Alicante and tourists alike. The elevator costs €2.50 but is free for young children and retired people.Walk through the tunnel carved out of the rock and you will find the lift. Don’t forget to buy your ticket in the machine just inside the tunnel.

It is free to walk around the castle but you may wish to take a guided tour, which is conducted in Spanish and English, for €3 or €1.50 for children, pensioners and people with disabilities. On Saturdays, there are dramatised guided tours so you can really immerse yourself into the spirit of medieval life. It is also possible to hire an audio guide so you can discover the history of the castle at your own pace.

pace Getting to know Alicantes grand castle

Postiguet beach from Alicante castleAt the foot of the castle is the Ereta park, a beautiful green space in the city centre with a restaurant and exhibition hall. It is a great place to relax and have a picnic or meal in the café after spending time walking around the castle. The park has some beautiful native flowers.You could also treat yourself to a meal in La Ereta restaurant, where you can enjoy fine cuisine with fantastic views of the castle and Mediterranean. Star-crossed loversMany people have remarked that the mountain on which the castle sits looks like a person’s face when seen from Postiguet beach. It has been called La Cara del Moro (The Moor’s face). It is said that many years ago a princess lived in the castle and fell in love with a Moor. Her father disapproved and forbade her to marry her sweetheart. She was so heartbroken that she threw herself over the castle wall, down the mountain and died. When her Moor found out, he did the same for love. It is his face that you can see on the side of the castle. Whether or not the legend is true is debatable but no castle is complete without legendary tales of star-crossed lovers.

Top 10 Alicante icons

 

Alicante is famous for its long, sandy beaches and beautiful seaside promenades. Some, like Benidorm, are instantly recognisable. But the region has dozens of emblems which show the diversity and amazing beauty of this popular region of Spain.It’s a dream destination for photographers and artists who have so many great buildings and natural scenery to capture. As well as the beaches, there are dramatic castles, chic marinas, mountains,natural parks, historic buildings and lakes to grab the attention.Spain-Holiday has picked 10 amazing Alicante icons, although there are many more that we could have chosen.
Alicante castle Top 10 Alicante icons
Alicante castle
Looming over the Alicante skyline is theSanta Barbara Castle, which is one of the largest and most impressive of Spain’s medieval fortresses. Much of its magnificent structure is thanks to the Moors who ruled Spain until the 13th century. One of the most photographed views is of the top tower looking out over Alicante marina and the Mediterranean. During your trip you can explore the many dungeons, towers and cannons lining the thick castle walls.You can also catch your breath while enjoying those far-reaching sea views.
Castillo de Santa Barbara Opening hours: Open every day from:July to September, 10am to 12pm, September, 10am to 10pm, October to March, 10am to 8pm, April to June, 10am to 10pm
Further information on Alicante castle
Benidorm skyscrapers
One of Alicante’s most famous shots is of the regimented Benidorm skyscrapers looking out to sea. These buildings first started going up in the 1960s when tourism took off in this former sleepy fishing village. The idea was to build tall hotels and apartment blocks so that everyone had a view of the sea. Many people have remarked that Benidorm is the Spanish Manhattan with about 400 high-rise buildings.
Benidorm skyscrapers Top 10 Alicante icons
The tallest hotel is the Gran Hotel Bali at an impressive 186 metres while the tallest residential building is InTempo, which is still being built, and stands at 200-metres tall. Benidorm cross, at the end of Levante beach, and the Balcon de Benidorm, separating the Poniente and Levante beaches, are two great places to get a panoramic view of Benidorm’s buildings.
La Granadella beach
Often voted Spain’s best beach, La Granadella is a beautiful little beach with crystal-clear turquoise waters.It’s only a little horseshoe-shaped cove flanked by rocks with calm water. The beach is small pebbles rather than golden sand (so no gritty sandwiches). It is surrounded by a pine forest to add to the tranquillity of this amazing beach.However, it does get very crowded in the summer so you are advised to get there early to grab a spot. It is great for snorkelling among the seagrass beds or enjoying lunch in the beachside restaurant.

More information on Granadella beach

Ifach at Calpe Top 10 Alicante icons
Ifach at Calpe
One of the best-loved symbols of the Costa Blanca is the Penon de Ifach. This huge rock rises out from the sea at Calpe.It stands 332 metres high and one kilometre long. It’s a very unusual but beautiful natural feature by the Med. The rock is said to have been formed by a landslide from the Sierra de Olta mountain. Climbers enjoy tackling the challenging rock face while divers explore what lies beneath. There are easier paths up the Ifach, although you do need to take care. It’s certainly worth the climb as you will see plenty of wildlife, birds and flowers as well as get to enjoy fabulous sea views.

Further information on the Peñon de Ifach rock, Calpe

Alicante promenade Top 10 Alicante icons
Alicante promenade
Taking a stroll in the sunshine is one of the delights of Spanish life. Alternatively sitting outside a café sipping a coffee or cool lager while people watching is another favourite pastime. One of the favourite places to go is the Explanada de España, alongside the port and marina. The marbled street is 500 metres long with a mosaic designed to look like waves from the Mediterranean using 6,500,000 red, blue and white tiles.Shaded by four rows of palm trees, it’s a fabulous place for a morning or evening paseo (leisurely walk). The promenade is lined with pavement cafes and bars as well as stalls selling handicrafts and souvenirs. It’s the place to go in Alicante to meet up with friends, mingle with the locals and enjoy the party atmosphere.

Further information on the Explanada de Espana promenade
Denia marina

Denia marina Top 10 Alicante icons
Most beach resorts in the Alicante region have stylish marinas lined with impressive yachts where you can enjoy a drink or meal in an open-air café or restaurant. One of the most scenic is Denia marina where you can enjoy a walk soaking up the views of the yachts, old town with its iconic castle and the magnificent Montgo mountain providing a beautiful backdrop. It’s the perfect place for a meal or cool drink. One of the best views is from the Zensa open-air chill-out bar with pool, especially at night. The marina also hosts the annual Denia boat show in May.

More details about Denia marina, restaurants and events

Altea old town Top 10 Alicante icons
Altea old town
Standing tall above Altea beaches are the bright white hilltop buildings in the old town. The dazzling blue-and-whilte tiled dome of the church is a familiar sight to visitors. Altea old town has a lovely laidback Bohemian feel. It has been a favourite spot for artists throughout the ages who are inspired by the buildings, pretty square, cobbled narrow streets and incredible views across the bay. It’s a bit of a climb to the top but well worth it for the fine views. Although the Nuestra Senora del Consuelo church looks very old, it was only built about 100 years ago.

Further information on Altea

Gorgeous Guadalest Top 10 Alicante icons
Gorgeous Guadalest
Definitely one of the most wonderful landscapes in the Alicante region, Guadalest is a magnificent mountain village about 30 minutes – but a world apart – from the bustling beach resort of Benidorm. The white bell tower on top of the granite mountain 600 metres above sea level features on many Costa Blanca postcards and is the emblem of the town.This is a top tourist spot so can be very busy in the summer months. There’s also a tunnel carved through the rock which splits the village, views down to the turquoise lake (where you can enjoy a boat trip), far-reaching views of the mountains, valleys and out to sea, plus pretty cobbled streets to explore.

More details on Guadalest

Torrevieja casino Top 10 Alicante icons
Torrevieja casino
A beautiful white building with intricate patterns which look like lace, the Casino is often said to be the jewel in Torrevieja’s crown. Many Spanish towns have casinos, which are not gambling dens, but social and community centres where groups and societies can meet. The 19th century casino in Torrevieja is an interesting mix of architectural styles including Arabic and Andalucian. It’s a beautiful building with wooden panelled ceilings with large chandeliers and tiled floors. It has a pavement café, library, games and billiards room.

Further information about Torrevieja casino

Benidorm old town Top 10 Alicante icons
Benidorm old town
Linking Benidorm’s magnificent sandy beaches, Levante and Poniente, is the Balcon del Mediterraneo with views over the beaches and across to the grand skyscrapers for which the resort is so famous. Cafes and restaurants line the square where you can enjoy a coffee or ice-cream while enjoying the amazing vista.
amazing vista. Top 10 Alicante icons
The cobbled streets and pedestrianised areas around the square form Benidorm’s Old Town, where you will find tapas alley (Calle de Santo Domingo) which is a favourite spot for going from bar to bar trying different tapas dishes such as squid, ham, prawns or sausages with wine or a cool glass of lager. The old town is bustling day and night as it has great shops, a market and fabulous nightlife venues, including the well-known Rich Bitch show bar with internationally-renowned female impersonators.

Top 10 Theme Parks In Alicante

Alicante and the Costa Blanca is geared up for family holidays. Its fabulous theme parks with rides that seem to defy gravity, theatrical shows and wild animal parks are among the best in Spain.

1 Top 10 Theme Parks In Alicante

Terra Mitica
Terra Mitica in Benidorm is the most popular theme park in the Alicante region. If you love the adrenalin rush of white-knuckle rides, this is definitely for you. You can zoom through the air at 90km/h, upside down, while 35 metres off the ground, or you can enjoy the views of Benidorm beaches and Terra Mitica while swinging in the breeze. There are rides for all the family as well as many spectacular shows to make a great day out for all the family. The park is divided into ancient Greece, Egypt, Rome, Iberia and the Mediterranean islands, so you can expect to come across Roman gladiators, an Egyptian Phoenix and a Greek labyrinth during your trip. Open April to October. Every day of the week from mid-June to the first week of September.
Terra Natura
Terra Natura is an entertaining wild animal park where the animals live in a specially-designed version of their natural habitat. Huge elephants, camels, tigers, poisonous snakes, and very chatty monkeys live here. In all, more than 200 species, including animals in danger of extinction, form part of the collection. The park is divided into different continents such as Africa and Asia with natural plants and shrubs to create a home from home for the animals. You can watch the elephants being fed, see majestic birds of prey in flight, and meet a variety of animals up-close during your visit. Open all year.
2 Top 10 Theme Parks In Alicante
Aqua Natura
Want to know what it’s like to experience zero gravity? Next door to Terra Natura is Aqua Natura water park, where you can cool off after your visit to the zoo. Aqua Natura says it is the only water park to have The Crest – an enclosed water slide – where you can experience the feeling of weightlessness. The Benidorm theme park has slides and water attractions to suit all ages. You can also watch the sea lion show, where the little creatures are so full of character and fun, or even get the chance to swim with them and have your photo taken. You can buy a joint ticket for Terra Natura and Aqua Natura to save money. Open from May to mid-September.
Rio Safari
Further south, between Elche and Santa Pola, is the fascinating Rio Safari park. Sheltered by 4,000 palm trees, Rio Safari has animals from around the world including lions, elephants, zebras, crocodiles and tigers. Make sure you have time to see the chimpanzees on their special Primates Isle with swings and hammocks for them to play on and rest. During the day is a special sea lion exhibition when they show off their skills, in and out of the water. You can enjoy a camel or pony ride, swim with the sea lions, or talk to the lemurs. In the summer there is a free swimming pool on site and also a karting area. Open all year.
3 Top 10 Theme Parks In Alicante
Safari Aitana
Chance to get up close and personal with the animals, enjoy a private tour of Safari Aitana or even become a keeper for the day. Safari Aitana is an oasis for wild animals from five continents. During your wildlife adventure, you can see giraffes, buffaloes, donkeys, camels, monkeys, elephants, tigers, Vietnamese pigs, jaguars, wolves, snakes, emus and so much more. The park is 1,000 metres above sea level in the Aitana mountain on the Villajoyosa to Alcoy road. It’s a lovely drive up through the mountains too. You will either need your own car to drive through the safari park or go on an organised tour. Open every day.
Aquopolis
A visit to a water park is definitely a great idea for the family during the summer holidays, Aquopolis Torrevieja has challenging slides and chutes as well as gentler rides for the little ones. There’s also an exclusive VIP zone where you can enjoy the peace and quiet to read a book or listen to music from your sunbed. If you’re feeling active you can join in Aquagym or Steps while the younger children can head to the MiniClub for organised games in and out of the pool. Open in the summer months.
4 Top 10 Theme Parks In Alicante
Mundomar
Swimming with dolphins is on many people’s bucket lists. There’s something magical about dolphins, the way they chatter or seem to smile. At Mundomar in Benidorm, you have the chance to get to know these incredible animals, to swim with them, to stroke them and have your photo taken with them. At this amazing marine animal park, you can also watch the dolphins perform in a fantastic show, watch an entertaining parrot show and sea lion show, or see spectacular birds soaring in flight. You could also be a keeper or trainer for the day. Cheeky meerkats, lemurs, giant tortoises, flamingos, macaws, storks, penguins, prairie dogs and owls are among the other creatures to learn about during your visit. Open every day.
Aquapark Rojales
Sliding down a magic carpet, taking up the kamikaze challenge, discovering the secrets of the Amazon, heading down the rapids of the Yucatan River or simply splashing around in the swimming pool are some of the attractions. There’s also a large lawn for relaxing as well as a restaurant offering typical Alicante cuisine including paellas. Aquapark was the second water park to be built in the Valencia province and is found in a natural valley in Ciudad Quesada, near Torrevieja. Open in the summer months.
Pola Park
So many things to do inside one theme park, Pola Park is the ultimate attraction for families with different interests. Enjoy a visit to the Russian mountain – with fabulous views of the Santa Pola salt lakes – feel the thrills of racing on the karting track, avoid getting bumped on the bumper cars, become a superhero on the bouncy castles, head for the merry-go-rounds, beat dad at golf and enjoy all the thrills of fairground rides at the Pola Park in Santa Pola. Open from March to mid-October (weekends only) although open every day In July and August.
Aqualandia
5 Top 10 Theme Parks In Alicante
No fear of heights? How about testing your nerve in the highest capsule slide in the world on the VertiGo toboggan? Aqualandia in Benidorm has some fabulous chutes, slides and waterfalls so you can keep your cool . Some are high action to test your nerves, while others, like the Niagara, are much more relaxing. Aqualandia was the first water park to be built in Spain and is still one of the largest in the world. All the family will be able to enjoy the water rides, splash pools and other great attractions. You can buy tickets for Aqualandia and MundoMar or Terra Mitica, or for all three to save money. Open from May.

Peaceful retreats in the heart of the Alicante countryside

Waking up to the sound of birdsong with views of green and grey mountains or orange orchards conjures up pictures of a Spain far removed from the busy beach resorts in Alicante.

Yet, you only have to go a few kilometres inland to enjoy a traditional, peaceful way of life. A life where neighbours greet each other in the streets, and where the bread is freshly made in a 100-year-old wood oven each morning.
Mountain villages close to beaches

People visiting the towns and villages amid the mountains and valleys of the north Alicante region can discover life in the slow lane of Spain while also being within a few minutes of some of the best sandy beaches in the area.

Mountain villages close to beaches Peaceful retreats in the heart of the Alicante countryside

Benimeli village square, Alicante

The little towns of Benimeli, Benidoleig or Orba are great bases for exploring the countryside, either on foot or by bike. Many professional and amateur cycling groups base themselves around here to tackle the winding mountain roads or the more gentle coastal routes.

As well as being ideal for outdoorsy people, the towns in the Sierra de Segaria region are also popular with photographers, artists and birdwatchers.
Mallorcan flavour of Benimeli

Benimeli was founded by the Arabs, who called it Bani Malik – sons of the Malik tribe. The town sits at the foot of the Sierra de Segaria mountain whose peak still houses Moorish and Iberian remains.

When the remaining Moors were expelled and the village needed to rebuild. Many people from Mallorca settled in and around Benimeli bringing their culture and cuisine with them.

View from rural guesthouse in Benimeli, Alicante

You will find traditional Mallorcan food still available in many local butchers and bakers in the Marina Alta region, including types of sobrasada (paprika-spiced cured pork), sausages and the sweet ensaimada cakes.

One of the finest bakeries is around the corner from the church in Benimeli. The Forn de Pa in Calle Horno (oven street) still makes bread the old-fashioned way in a traditional wood oven which is more than 100 years old.

You may see locals popping in with trays of vegetables or a leg of lamb for the owners to cook in the oven. They are happy to oblige and charge just a small fee – possibly as little as €1 – for their trouble.

There’s a lovely central square, Plaza Mayor, where you will find one of the village’s two bars, a grocery store, the pretty church with bell tower and clock, plus a music school.

In April or May, Benimeli holds a cultural week celebrating art and music with concerts and exhibitions.

From Benimeli, you can walk up the Sierra de Segaria mountain to enjoy far-reaching views. There is a circular tour of about three hours, starting and ending in the village, or there is a direct route straight to the top, which is quicker, taking about an hour, but harder on the legs!

The town and surrounding countryside has fields of orange, almond and olive trees so you can buy great local produce as well as honey and jams from the area.

Mallorcan flavour of Benimeli Peaceful retreats in the heart of the Alicante countryside
Exploring caves in Benidoleig

Four kilometres south of Benimeli is the rural village of Benidoleig on the slopes of the Girona Valley. This area is popular with cyclists and hikers who enjoy the fabulous views from the winding roads around the mountains and valleys.

Farming is mainly orange, almond and olive groves, which produce a mass of pink and white blossom in springtime. The scene provides a perfect photo opportunity or inspiration for artists as well as providing a beautiful scent as you wander through.

Views across from Benidoleig caves

Exploring caves in Benidoleig Peaceful retreats in the heart of the Alicante countryside

Benidoleig has a popular restaurant, El Cid, with its own bowling green, tennis courts and swimming pool with wonderful country views. The restaurant serves Mediterranean and British food as well as the Sunday carvery for a great British roast dinner.

Just down the road from El Cid is the Calaveras cave, which means cave of skulls, so called because 12 human skeletons were found when the cave was rediscovered in the 18th century.

The cave is believed to be about 100,000 years old as Neolithic and Bronze age artefacts such as bones, flint axes and arrowheads were found here.

Take your time exploring the stalagmites and stalactites as many people find interesting shapes within the rocks including Sophie Loren’s bust, a map of Spain and an elephant’s head.

During the Spanish Civil War, the cave was used to store ammunition and explosives.

It is open from 9am to 6pm in winter and 9am to 8pm in summer. Entry is €3,50 for adults and €2 for children.

You can visit the official website here

To get to the Calaveras Cave

From the AP7 toll booth at Ondara, turn right on to the CV731. At the roundabout in Benidoleig by the Sabadell bank, take the third exit on to the Ctra Pedreguer and you will see the caves on your right after about 200 metres.

Four kilometres along the CV731 road is the town of Orba which has a few supermarkets, shops, banks, restaurants and bars.

Planting rice in Pego Peaceful retreats in the heart of the Alicante countryside

Pego-Oliva marjalPlanting rice in PegoThe Alicante region is famous for its rice dishes, especially the many varieties of paella. You can see the rice fields in the Pego marshes, 10 kilometres north of Benimeli.The marshlands lie in a scenic setting between the mountains and the sea so they enjoy their own microclimate which is ideal for growing rice. The production was started by the Moors and continues using very similar methods today.The Bomba rice from Pego is perfect for paellas and other rice dishes where you need to absorb the stock to pack in the flavours.You can learn about the history of rice cultivation in Pego at the Ethnological Museum in the cultural centre in Calle Sant Domenec in Pego town centre. It is open from 10am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm on Mondays to Fridays, Saturdays 10am to 2pm. July and August just 10am to 2pm too.View from the window of a rural guesthouse in Benimeli, Alicante

Best for shopping Peaceful retreats in the heart of the Alicante countryside

Best for shopping

Near to the motorway toll booths is the Portal de la Marina shopping centre on the outskirts of Ondara. There is plenty of free parking. Shops include a large Eroski supermarket, C&A, H&M, Lefties, Zara and Mango as well as opticians, mobile phone shops, pet store and more. The mall also has restaurants including McDonald’s and Lizarran tapas bar as well as a cinema.The shopping centre is open from 10am to 10.30pm Monday to Saturday.

Heading for the beach

Heading for the beach Peaceful retreats in the heart of the Alicante countryside

The Sierra de Segaria region is just 10 minutes by car to the beautiful sandy beach of Deveses, just north of Denia. This is perfect for practising water sports such as sailing, snorkelling, surfing or jet skiing or simply sunbathing. It can get windy so is a popular spot for kite surfers too.Denia, Costa BlancaBest restaurants to tryUn Cuiner A L’Escoleta, Carrer Calvari, Sagra, is a restaurant in the old school’s dining room. There is a short menu using local produce from the market cooked ‘with a twist’, including rice dishes, local sausages, meat and fish. Cal Morell, Carrer del Pi, Orba, is another traditional Spanish restaurant serving creative regional cuisine. El Temple, Jacinto Benavente, Benidoleig, also offers regional food cooked to gourmet standards but at bargain prices. There are also pizzas available, which is great if you want to take children who are fussy about their food.

Four Fun Things To See and Do in Altea, Spain (And Don’t Miss The Train Station!)

alteas beautiful church Four Fun Things To See and Do in Altea, Spain (And Don’t Miss The Train Station!)

Altea’s beautiful church

Once a traditional Spanish village built on a hillside, in recent years, Altea on the Costa Blanca has grown to encompass a lovely harbor, a gorgeous promenade and a bustling modern town center. No wonder it’s so popular with tourists. At first glance, it appears there’s not much to see or do in Altea but nothing could be further from the truth. One of the most interesting Spanish towns to visit, Altea has many things to see and do and these are the best.

Visit Altea’s Old Town – Before you explore the modern town of Altea down on flat land, you should climb the steep streets up into Altea’s old town, as here is where the true charm of the town lies. Winding streets and tiny alleys lined with steep steps are home to museums, art galleries, jewelry stores and handicraft shops. At the top of the town, you’ll find Altea’s old church, who’s large blue dome can be seen from anywhere in the area.

Spend some time looking around the church or sit in one of the village squares and enjoy a cafe con leche at a sidewalk cafe. Don’t miss taking photographs from the amazing lookout, which looks over the town of Altea, on into Albir with Benidorm in the distance, and over miles and miles of ocean.

At night, particularly in the summer, the old town is bustling with cute bodegas and cafes and lots of people walking around. Simply magical.

Walk Along Altea’s Promenade – One of the prettiest promenades in the area, Altea’s promenade runs for several kilometers with the ocean on one side and palm trees and sidewalk cafes on the oher. Go for a long walk, a run or a bike ride (there’s a bike path all the way along) or, if you’re with the kids, stop off at one of the extremely cute kids’ playgrounds right by the beach. Don’t forget to take pictures too. The view back to Albir or forward to Calpe is simply stunning.

After a little walk, don’t forget to grab a coffee or a snack at one of the cafes or, if you’re out later in the day, lunch or an early dinner.

coffee Four Fun Things To See and Do in Altea, Spain (And Don’t Miss The Train Station!)

Having a quick cup of coffee at Altea’s cute train station cafe

Have a Coffee and Watch The Train’s at Altea Train Station – One of our favorite places for a coffee in Altea is the lovely train station just off the main road into town. Situated on a one-track line with just a couple of trains per hour, the Altea train station cafe is the perfect spot for a coffee, a pastry or a bite to eat.

For only 1 euro 25 ($1.75) you can get a delicious cafe con leche and either sit inside the very cute cafe, where you can listen to jazz and surf the internet on your laptop (the cafe has Wi-Fi), or you can sit outside on a small patio at the side of the station. Here, you’ll get a great view up to Altea’s old town and, twice an hour, will be able to see the trains coming in and people arriving and departing.

The train station cafe at Altea is a simply lovely spot and, if you like feeling European, you’ll definitely feel it here.

altea from train station cafe Four Fun Things To See and Do in Altea, Spain (And Don’t Miss The Train Station!)

The lovely view of Altea, from the patio of the town’s train station cafe

Go Shopping on Altea’s Main Street – If you like to shop, Altea has the perfect main street for it. Starting at one end with the chain gift shop ‘Ale-Hop’, pick up a few unique, inexpensive gifts to take home for friends and family. Then walk down into town popping into the beauty shops, clothing stores, jewelry shops and houseware stores.

Don’t miss checking out the indoor market, where you can peruse the hundreds of selections of cheese, thousands of kilos of freshly butchered meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, dried nuts, coffees and teas, olive oils and olives and, of course, have a coffee at the tiny coffee bar on the left hand side of the main entrance.

Further down the street, you’ll find several Chinese bazaars packed with everything cheap – clothing, shoes, toys, games, postcards, make-up, kettles, sandwich toasters, cups, jewelry, bras, suitcases – you name it, they sell it and at dirt cheap prices.

Check out the supermarket with all the typical Spanish products – fascinating to walk around and a great place to pick up a can of virgin olive oil, some famous Parma ham, a cheap bottle of wine, or a jar of Spanish jam to take home.

Finally, end up in the square at the end of the street and sit in a cafe and watch the world go by. That’s what all the Spaniards do.

Other things to do in Altea include relaxing on the beach and getting a sun tan, having a swim in the ocean, taking a walk to the end of the promenade to see the ducks on the marshland, going fishing, playing mini golf next to the promenade on the way to Albir, taking a walk down the beach to neighboring Albir, or hop on a train for a short ride to Denia or Alicante.

Playing a round on Alicante golf courses

More than one million holidaymakers head to Spain to play golf. It’s a growing trend with dozens of new courses cropping up along with chic resorts offering golf, spa, cuisine and hotels so you can practically slip out of bed and on to the fairway.
The Alicante region has more than 18 golf courses, some of which are more challenging than others. Whether you are a beginner or want to test your handicap on a championship course, Alicante comes up trumps.
Spain-Holiday has picked a range of courses to suit all levels and budgets for your golf break on the Costa Blanca.

Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Resort Playing a round on Alicante golf courses

Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Resort
Designed by Seve Ballesteros within the five-star Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Resort, just to the north of Denia, This par72 links-style course has some very interesting features. Water features in 15 of the holes to add to the challenge while you need to watch out for the wind which comes into play on holes 13, 14 and 15.
It’s played host to some prestigious tournaments but has been designed to be suitable for beginners and more experienced players. There’s also a pitch and putt course with five holes which is great for practise.
Green fees are €65 for nine holes, €95 for 18 holes, although packages are available which significantly reduce the price.

La Sella Golf Resort and Spa
The prestigious La Sella golf course was the first to be designed by double Masters’ champion Jose Maria Olazabal in 1991.
It’s in a charming setting with the majestic Montgo mountain providing a beautiful natural backdrop.
It consists of three 9-hole courses named after local winds.

La Sella Golf Resort and Spa Playing a round on Alicante golf courses

Llebeig is a varied course to test players as they will have to use almost all of their clubs. Gregai adds some tricky water features and the last holes are designed to be match deciders. Mestral has wide fairways and large greens.
It’s located within the five-star Denia Marriott La Sella Golf Resort and Spa. You can book a special holiday package. Otherwise expect to pay about €75 per round.
Alicante Golf
Close to the San Juan de Alicante beach is another course designed by the late, great Seve Ballesteros.
The Alicante golf course has been described as an oasis in the city and Alicante’s green lung as it provides a natural haven for the beach city.
It is regarded as one of the best designed golf courses in Spain with an entertaining format. The 72-par course has six par-three holes, six par-four and six-par five so golfers will not play two consecutive holes with the same par during their round.

Alicante Golf Playing a round on Alicante golf courses

There are also five large lakes to test your accuracy.
Even more unusually, at the 14th hole are the ruins of a Roman villa which the ball needs to clear to hit the green.
Prices start at about €53.
Bonalba Golf Resort and Spa
Five lakes and plenty of bunkers with broad fairways will test golfers’ skills at the Bonalba Golf Resort.
It’s suitable for all levels and absolute beginners or people looking to improve their game can book lessons as well.
The first nine holes are considered to be the most technical where the short play will help golfers get the ball into the holes.
The next nine holes, especially from 12 to 18, will need the driver more.
You can play nine holes for €32 or the full 18 for €55.
La Finca Golf and Spa Resort
La Finca is one of the newest courses but has rapidly built up a reputation as one of the finest on the Costa Blanca.
The course is on the luxurious five-star Hotel La Finca Golf & Spa Resort at Algorfa, which is also well-known for its fabulous restaurants.
The course has broad fairways with each green offering a different experience. For example, the green at the 7th hole looks like a bowling green while the green at the 14th hole is round and deep to resemble a wok.

La Sella Golf Resort and Spa 1 Playing a round on Alicante golf courses

La Finca Golf has hosted several prestigious tournaments since it opened in 2002.
Its unique design was dreamt up by Pepe Gancedo, one of the best amateur players in Spain.
There are cheaper courses around – you will pay about €70 to play at La Finca – but its design and quality of the course should make it worthwhile.
Villaitana Golf
High in the hills above Benidorm is the Melia Villaitana Resort with two golf courses. The 72-par Levante championship course and 62-par Poniente executive course were designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
The Levante course has been laid out in an America style with wide fairways and amazing views over Benidorm, the Mediterranean sea with the Sierra de Finestrat mountain.
Mountain and sea views can also be enjoyed by the Poniente course which is built on a slope in a pine forest. This is a shorter course and can be completed in three to four hours.

Villaitana Golf Playing a round on Alicante golf courses

Players with a low handicap will find it demanding while golfers with higher handicaps will also find tricky shots to try out.
The Melia Villaitana is a great place for a holiday as the resort has been designed to look like a traditional Mediterranean village with typical Spanish squares, two hotels, restaurants, a conference centre and spa.
In fact, the Villaitana would be the ideal spot to combine a golf break with a business meeting or even a wedding (it has a lovely little chapel!).
Cheapest prices are from €25 to €59 for Poniente and €40 to €75 for Levante.
El Plantio Golf Resort
Another resort where you can enjoy a golf wedding is at the four-star El Plantio Golf Resort, just outside Alicante.
It’s suitable for all levels as there is a championship, 18-hole, par 72 course and another 9-hole course of 27 par.
The resort has 45,000 trees, many of which can be found on the courses, provide shade in the sweltering summer months as well as providing shelter from prying eyes while you play. The trees also provide another barrier for players to negotiate when lining up their shot.
Price from €46.
Villamartin Golf Course
You can enjoy a scenic walk with sea views while playing at the 72-par championship course at Villamartin, between Torrevieja and Murcia airports.
It’s a hilly course designed by Paul Putman, so will test golfers, with the first nine holes being at the highest level with beautiful sea views. The next nine holes are in valleys.
Villamartin’s claim to fame is that it hosted the 1994 Mediterranean Open, so golfers can follow in the footsteps of some of their biggest sporting heroes such as Jose Maria Olazabal .

The course can be enjoyed by players of all levels as it requires you to use every club in your bag.

Prices from €47.

La Marquesa Golf
Fantastic location for a golfing holiday as you can rent a villa at La Marquesa golf resort in Ciudad Quesada, just 30 minutes from Alicante airport. It’s suitable for all the family as the resort has a golf school for children from six to 18.

La Marquesa Golf Playing a round on Alicante golf courses

The course, designed by Justo Quesada Samper, has some tricky holes to test players including the first hole being flanked by water, and the green is designed in places to make unpredictable bounces. There’s also a putting green and driving range to practise these skills.
Prices from €39 for 18 holes, €23 for nine holes with junior fees from €15 for nine holes and €23 for 18.
Las Colinas Golf and Country Club
Close to the popular beach holiday resort of Torrevieja and the Zenia Boulevard shopping centre is the stunning Las Colinas golf and country club.
You can stay in a stunning modern villa by the golf course where you can sharpen your skills at the golf academy or relax at the beach club.
The par-71, 18-hole championship course itself is a work of art and blends in perfectly with the natural landscape across the valleys between the hills.
This stylish resort is suitable for couples who want to combine golf with a chic beach holiday.
It’s one of the premier courses on the Costa Blanca and in the Top 100 in Europe so playing here does come at a price of about €90 although you can pay around €43 if you book after 4pm.

 

 

Five best running routes in Alicante with the best views

 

As the Alicante region is one of the healthiest places to live it seems only fitting that it should have become a magnet for holidaymakers wanting to play sports, go cycling, hiking or running.

The Alicante region’s beautiful beaches and mountains are perfect outdoor running tracks. You can choose from a jog alongside the beaches, which offer flat routes for speed or gentle jogging or a harder challenge up the mountain trails. Either way, you will be rewarded with views of fabulous natural scenes.
Jog alongside Benidorm’s magnificent beaches

We can start with a gentle beach run along the famous Benidorm beaches with its magnificent skyscrapers forming a backdrop to your left with the shimmering Mediterranean sea and Benidorm Island to your right.Jog alongside Benidorm’s magnificent beaches 300x105 Five best running routes in Alicante with the best views

View to Levante beach, Benidorm

The run begins on the Poniente beach at the southern end by Calle la Cala. A good time is at sunrise or just before sunset as the area is less crowded and the weather will be cooler, especially in the summer months.

If you really want to exercise the legs, you can run on the soft sand part of the way which can be hard work.

Jog along the promenade alongside the beach up to the Parque de Elche park, a lovely shady area that is well-loved by doves and pigeons.

Keep the sea to your right and head towards Benidorm yacht club and on your left you will find the steep steps taking you up to the famous Balcon with its beautiful square, iconic church and amazing views sweeping along the coast.

It’s a great place to stop to catch your breath and take in the views as you can really appreciate why Benidorm is known as the Spanish Manhattan as you count the number of skyscrapers lining the coast. You also get glorious views of Benidorm’s famous sandy beaches and you may see windsurfers or paragliders enjoying the views from another angle.

This jog is about 3.5kms so you could turn back or continue along Poniente beach to take you to the English quarter, well-known for its British bars and entertainment. It’s another 2.5kms from the Balcon to the far end of Levante beach but it is an easy, flat route along the promenade lined with bars and cafes.

Poniente beach – Balcon de Benidorm – Levante beach. Easy, flat route of 6kms.

Run alongside nature at her best in Jalon

Run alongside nature at her best in Jalon 300x166 Five best running routes in Alicante with the best views

This is another gentle run but this time you are surrounded by mountains and natural beauty as the route takes you alongside vineyards and almond orchards in the Jalon valley.

There is a choice of a short circular route of about 2kms alongside the riverbed or a longer run keeping alongside the river to Lliber, which is about 3kms one way.

Views from Jalon

The run starts along the Avenida del Juan Carlos 1 road, opposite the Bodega Xalo, where you can pick up some great wines and olive oil at bargain prices.

Head away from the bridge along the road keeping the riverbed to your left. Take the left turning at the roundabout along the Avenida de las Hortes and you’ll come to a crossroads with the left turning going over the river.

You can take this route to return to the Bodega Xalo but this time running on the other side of the river. For a longer route, head down the Cami del Moli de Lliber which is a good pathway surrounded by farmland leading to the pretty little village of Lliber.

The Jalon Valley is famous for its wine-making and is a very popular spot for cyclists and hikers as there are some fabulous routes.

More adventurous runners may fancy trying more testing routes from Jalon up the Sierra Bernia, a winding road taking you high up into the mountain.

Bodega Xalo circular route, easy running, 2kms or Bodega Xalo – Lliber 3kms.
Taking the Montgo mountain in your stride

Separating the beach towns of Javea and Denia is the impressive Montgo mountain, a haven for wildlife, birds and rare flowers. It is a popular route for cyclists and hikers with several routes of various difficulties available.

Taking the Montgo mountain in your stride 300x217 Five best running routes in Alicante with the best views

It’s a challenge for runners with some challenging uphill scrambles but, rest assured, you will be rewarded with amazing views of the coastline. On a clear day, you can see as far as the party island of Ibiza.

Ermita Pare Pere, Montgo

There are three routes starting from the charming Ermita del Pare Pere chapel on the Denia side of the Montgo. You can see the little cave where the friar Pare Pere prayed and meditated in the 17th century and the chapel built in his honour in the 1980s.

One is a three-hour circular tour of just over 4kms in total which will take around three hours. It’s of medium difficulty as there are some climbs as you head up to L’Aigua cove and the Raco del Bou cove.

Cars are not allowed so you can enjoy a peaceful run in a beautiful, natural setting. You may notice an aroma of lavender or herbs wafting across your path as these plants live in abundance along the track.

Heading up the track from the Pare Pere chapel, you’ll come to a fork in the track and you’ll need to take the east path to your left. Running uphill, the landscape becomes even more impressive with fabulous views across the bay up to Valencia and over the mountains.

Keeping to the eastern path, you’ll come across some steep steps heading up to the cave, which used to be a water reservoir.

There is an inscription in the rock dating to 238AD which is protected by a metal fence.

Going back down to the chapel, you’ll come across the Raco del Bou or Bull’s Corner, so called because of the mountain’s shape here.

Ermita de Pare Pere, Montgo – L’Aigua Cove – Ermita de Pare Pere. Medium difficulty and about 4kms.
Looking out for the Javea miradors

A tough run taking in some or all of Javea’s 15 miradors or viewpoints is a brilliant way to really appreciate the town’s wonderful landscape and views.

Looking out for the Javea miradors 300x168 Five best running routes in Alicante with the best views

It is about 30 kilometres in length with some steep hills to climb from Els Molins mills in the north along the coast to the stunning Granadella beach in the south.

Cabo de San Antonio between Javea and Denia

Every year, the Mirador Challenge is held with 100s of hardy runners and walkers attempting to complete the trail.

Our favourite route is about 6.5kms and starts at the Els Molins viewpoint on the edge of the Montgo and heads off to the Cabo de San Antonio cape with beautiful views across to Denia and Javea as well as over to the lighthouse and the Mediterranean.

We head back along the road as if going back to Els Molins but at the main road, turn left to run down into Javea Port, home to the fishing fleet and stunning sailing boats.

Els Molins – Cabo de San Antonio – Javea Port. Medium difficulty of 6kms.
Finding sanctuary in Font Roja natural park

A stunning inland nature park, Font Roja is a beautiful landscape with more than 1,000 species of aromatic herbs, green countryside, mountains and the crystal-clear Vinalopo river.

Our 12km run takes us from the recreation area with parking on the CV797 road. Head 50 metres from the car park to a walkway.

Keep going straight to jog up to the top of Menejador, which stands 1,365 metres high. The climb is worthwhile as you can see across to the valley of Alcoy and the Sierra de Mariola and Maigmo mountains.

You’ll be running through one of the finest Mediterranean forests in Spain as well as past the Coloma ice house.

CV797 Font Roja natural park – Menejador – CV797. Medium difficult of 12kms.

Remember to wear suitable clothing, especially footwear and carry enough suncream, water and a hat. Don’t walk in the hottest part of the day, especially in summer, as people have taken ill with exhaustion and had to be rescued.