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Costa Blanca

10 of the best things to do in the Costa Blanca

By Eddi Fiegel

22 March 20245 min read

Altea Bored of the beach? Lovely Altea is just waiting to be explored.

Spain’s Costa Blanca may be best known for its palm-tree lined, silky sand beaches and fabulously clear water, but there’s also plenty to do beyond the beach.

From whitewashed hilltop villages and top-notch local tapas to spectacular walking routes through the countryside and coastline, a holiday to the Costa Blanca never stops at the sand. And if you’re travelling with children, you’ll find superb, kid-friendly water attractions and thrilling theme parks guaranteed to keep all the family happy.

Whatever you’re looking for, these things to do in the Costa Blanca should be on your itinerary.

1. Get a bird’s eye view of the Bay of Alicante from Santa Bárbara Castle

Dating back to the 10th century, the sprawling, Moorish Santa Bárbara Castle sits high above Alicante. Not only can you learn out about the city’s history at the excellent MUSA (Museum of the City of Alicante) in the castle’s old dungeons, but the views down to the sea and surrounding coast from the ramparts are spectacular.

A thigh-burning climb from the town will get you to the top, but there’s also a lift if you don’t fancy the walk.

2. Meet creatures great and small at Mundomar

If you’re travelling with children – or even if you just love animals yourself – the Mundomar animal park makes for a great day out. Featuring more than 30 different species, from marine life and tropical birds to reptiles and lemurs, you can get up close and personal with the animals, learning about the different creatures and the importance of conservation.

3. Take a stroll along Alicante’s Explanada d’España

Many of the Costa Blanca’s resorts have lovely beachfront promenades but Alicante’s, with its wave patterned maroon, ivory and midnight blue mosaics tiles, has to be one of the most striking.

Stretching from Santa Bárbara Castle at the northern end to the lush Parque de Canalejas at the south, you’ll find buskers, mime artists and magicians along the way, as well as the cupolas and domes of the art nouveau Casa Carbonell. Or stop at one of the cafes, restaurants and bars lining the route.

4. Go wild in the water at Aqualandia Water Park

Nothing says holiday like a water park and Benidorm’s Aqualandia is not only one of Europe’s largest but also one of its most popular.

There’s something for everyone with 15 different water rides catering for all ages. The toddler-friendly Adventureland has a water maze, slides and model elephants while thrill seekers will love the ‘Verti-Go’ – Europe’s tallest standing slide. Elsewhere, you’ll find zig zag slides, water rapids and a chill-out rock pool.

5. Savour tantalising tapas and culinary delights at Alicante’s Central Market

With its imposing, gabled façade, Alicante’s Central Market looks more like a cathedral or grand museum, but inside you’ll find some of the finest, freshest produce in the Costa Blanca.

This is where shopping trolley-wielding locals come for everything from fresh fish straight from the sea and prime cuts of meat to lavishly displayed ripe tomatoes and luscious lettuces. Take the escalators to the lower floor for freshly baked bread, pastries, olives, nuts and honey, and look out for the stalls serving the best local tapas.

6. Wander the narrow streets of Altea’s whitewashed old town

High on a hilltop between Benidorm and Calpe, Altea’s old town is one of the prettiest in the Costa Blanca. With its narrow, winding streets and spectacular views looking down to the coast as well as Calpe’s giant Penyal d’Ifac rock, it’s not hard to see why the village has been popular with artists since the 18th century.

Wander your way past shops selling souvenirs and crafts before settling down at a café by the impressive, blue domed church in the central square.

7. Let your hair down at the Terra Mitica theme park

Benidorm’s Terra Mitica is one of Spain’s largest and most popular family-friendly theme parks and not only do you get rides, roller coasters and live performances, but it’s educational too.

Divided into historically themed areas, Terra Mitica takes you back in time to different lands including ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. The attractions and spectacular live shows cater for all ages, from the ‘Titánide’ inverted rollercoaster and the ‘Rapids of Argos’ water ride to a special area for toddlers.

8. Soak up the sun at Alicante’s San Juan beach

If you only visit one beach on your Costa Blanca holiday, make it this one. Just half an hour away by tram from Alicante and regularly voted one of the best beaches in the Costa Blanca, Playa de San Juan’s miles of silky soft sand are postcard pretty. On a clear day, you can even see across to Benidorm.

There’s also plenty to do, with children’s playgrounds, football, volleyball and skate parks, as well as kayaking and windsurfing, Or, if you’re feeling peckish or thirsty, you’ll find beach bars and restaurants aplenty.

9. Nab a bargain at Benidorm’s El Cisne flea market

Like a sprawling car boot sale within the walls of a whitewashed Spanish farmhouse, you’ll find everything at Benidorm’s El Cisne market. Once you’ve had your fill of haggling over toys, trainers, and vintage furniture, settle down over a sangria or beer for the free flamenco displays.

Just under an hour’s drive or bus ride from Benidorm and Altea, the market runs on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sunday mornings.

10. Admire the views from Calpe’s Penyal d’Ifac rock

One of the most striking landmarks on the Costa Blanca, the vast, limestone Penyal d’Ifac rock looms over the town of Calpe like a giant.

Admire it from afar or, to see some of the region’s most spectacular views, take a climb through the pines lacing the cliff-face. You’ll need to register online beforehand but it’s well worth it and along the way you can spy rare birds as well as the remains of a 4th-century Iberian settlement.

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