With more than 200km of coastline packed with soft-sand beaches washed by calm, warm waters, 2,800 hours of sunshine a year and watersports facilities galore, the Costa Blanca – part of the Alicante region of south-east Spain – is an excellent family holiday destination.
But the landscape is not only defined by the sea – in the mountains that overlook the coast nestle tiny villages begging to be explored.
Things to do with kids in Costa Blanca
Sailing, windsurfing, flysurfing, rowing, canoeing, jetskiing, catamaraning and cruising are just a few of the watersports widley available in the province of Alicante.
The north of the province, the Marina Alta district, is cut across by mountains that reach the sea to create impressive cliffs towering over tiny, secluded coves in such places as Denia, Jávea, El Poble Nou de Benitatxell and Benissa.
The Marina Baixa district has some of the best-known fine-sand beaches, such as those in Benidorm (Levante and Poniente).
The south of the province, from Alicante to Pilar de la Horadada, is also famous for its long beaches, as well as for the many wetlands and saltings (the Lagunas de la Mata lagoons in Torrevieja and the El Hondo wetlands in Elche) and for sand dunes of exceptional natural value, especially those in Guardamar.
The seabed of the Costa Blanca is especially rich and beautiful, and places such as L’Illa de Benidorm and the Cabo de San Antonio and Tabarca marine reserves are idyllic settings for family holidays involving scuba-diving.
Costa Blanca coastline
Food and drink is one of the main attractions of family holidays on the Costa Blanca, where the culture is shaped both by the region's Moorish agricultural past and its Mediterranean setting. There are, however, no end of tourist traps selling Western staples and fast food, so choose wisely.
Rice is the star ingredient of local dishes – as well as paella, enjoy rice broth dishes such as arròs amb fessols i naps (rice with beans and turnip) and sticky rice dishes, plus arroz con costra (baked in the oven with egg and sausage). Caldero (stew) and arroz a banda (rice with a fish broth) are very simple rice dishes that reproduce the recipes of seamen sailing from the ports of Alicante and can be accompanied by aperitifs such as salted and dried tuna.
Alicante by night
When to go to Costa Blanca
The climate is the Costa Blanca’s main asset where family holidays are concerned, with spring-like and summer weather normal for most of the year (the average temperature is 18ºC).
Accommodation prices on the Costa Blanca vary enormously, with self-catering apartments or villas generally the best value for money on family holidays. Hotels can be less expensive when booked as part of a package. Flight-inclusive 7-night packages start from £200pp and rise to more than £1000 per adult, depending on time of year and when you book. Flights vary from £35 to more than £200pp – book far in advance to get the best deals with low-cost airlines.
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Flying time2.25hrs All flight times are based on flights from UK London airports, to the capital or nearest destination airport.
Carbon footprint1.3 CO2 Estimated tonnes of CO2 produced for return flights for a family of four.
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