Central Costa Blanca: Guide for Prospective Expats

In this section of our Costa Blanca resort guide, we look at the central section of the coast from Alfaz del Pi to Santa Pola.

This area includes one of Spain’s most famous tourist resorts as well as some of the key attractions on the Costa Blanca. Resorts are listed in a north-south direction towards Alicante.

Central Costa Blanca – general characteristics.

Scenery – this part of the Costa Blanca marks the transition point between the mountainous north and the flat plains of the south. The landscape remains green in the north with several attractive hilltop villages just a short distance from the coast.

South of Alicante, the scenery almost flattens out completely. Several salt water lagoons are found here as well as some of the best Costa Blanca beaches.

Weather – in general terms, it’s drier and warmer than the northern Costa Blanca, particularly in winter.

Size – with the exception of Benidorm (the largest Costa Blanca resort), most resorts are medium-sized.

Expat population – unlike most of the Costa Blanca, the central section has a smaller foreign population and it’s unusual to find resorts where expats number more than the Spanish.

Cost of living – cheaper than the northern Cost Blanca resorts, particularly in terms of property.

Benidorm ranks among the cheapest places to holiday in Spain.

Transport – public transport includes a good bus service between Alicante and the resort.

There’s also a frequent tram service from Alicante to Benidorm (30 mins) with several stops along the coast. Both the AP-7 toll motorway and the N-3332 road run parallel to the coast. The AP-7 is pricey but considerably quicker.

Property prices – Benidorm is home to some of the most expensive property on the Costa Blanca and prices in the resort stand on a par with those on the Costa del Sol.

Elsewhere, prices are considerably lower, particularly in and around Santa Pola. Find out more about the Costa Blanca property market. Link to CB property market piece

Expat amenities – generally good especially in Benidorm. There’s a choice of international schools, particularly in the Alicante city area plus international shops and services.

Golf courses – the central section of the Costa Blanca runs to six golf courses.

Finestrat and Benidorm both have one golf course and a further four are located around Alicante.

Alfaz del Pi

Alfaz del Pi village is located inland while its beach, known as Albir, lies just to the north of Benidorm.

The iconic Serra Gelada natural park divides the two resort. Albir has a good beach and promenade, and is a favourite with families on holiday. Several townhouse and villa developments are located in the south and popular with foreign residents, most of whom are British.

Benidorm

  • Population (2016): 66,642
  • Foreign population (2016): 17,796, 26.7% of total
  • Distance to Alicante Airport: 58km
  • More information: tourist information

As one of Spain’s most famous holiday resorts, Benidorm needs no introduction.

It boasts Spain’s highest rises with apartment blocks and hotels dominating the resort’s skyline. It has the reputation as a loud, brash resort, particularly in summer, and is crowded all year round.

Benidorm appeals to Northern European and Spanish retirees who flock here outside high season.

The town has two of the best beaches on the Costa Blanca, Levante and Poniente, which divide the resort into two. Benidorm is also home to some of the biggest attractions in the area including the Terra Mítica theme park and Aqulandia water park.

Benidorm property ranks among the most expensive in this part of Spain and average prices for frontline beach apartments exceed €3,000 a square metre.

Property in the resort has experienced one of the highest price hikes over the last year and there’s a shortage of first and second line homes.

Villajoyosa

  • Population (2016): 33,580
  • Foreign population (2016): 6,341, 19% of total
  • Distance to Alicante Airport: 48km
  • More information: tourist information

Called La Vila Joiosa in the Valencian language, this is a small and attractive town with an excellent beach.

The brightly-coloured houses that line the river are one of the area’s most famous images.

The town generally escaped the invasion of expats and remains a typically Spanish enclave. Villajoyosa is home to the Valor Chocolate factory, one of Spain’s largest confectionary manufacturers.

Developments south of Alicante

Several large developments lie to the south of Alicante. They include Los Arenales del Mar, Altomar I and II, Gran Alacant and Don Pueblo.

All have the advantage of being within easy reach of Alicante city and the airport. Amenities and facilities on this part of the Costa Blanca are limited, although those in Alicante are nearby.

Santa Pola

  • Population (2016): 31,309
  • Foreign population (2016): 5,089, 16.25% of total
  • Distance to Alicante Airport: 13km
  • More information: tourist information

The small town of Santa Pola has remained little affected by mass tourism, although it’s a popular spot with Spanish holidaymakers.

It has a working harbour with a sizeable fishing fleet plus several salt factories based around the large salt water lagoon to the west of the town.

South of Santa Pola lie some of the most popular developments with foreign buyers of property on the Costa Blanca.