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Why Should You Retire To The Costa Blanca?

costa blanca
The Costa Blanca is one of the most popular regions for British expats retiring to Spain.  It has a number of resorts that are popular with British retirees and not too overwhelmed by holidaymakers.  Which are the most popular and what are their attractions?

The Costa Blanca is extremely popular with people planning to retire or live in Spain.  They are drawn by the excellent Mediterranean climate as well as affordable property prices.  They go because of the established community of British retirees as much as for the Spanish culture and lifestyle and because they can enjoy hobbies and pastimes, such as golf, bowls, walking, cycling, tennis and watersports.  There are more than fifteen 18-hole golf courses within a two-hour drive of Alicante and a vast number of blue flag beaches.

The ease of getting there is another factor as the area is very accessible with flights to Alicante from most regional airports as well as options to Valencia in the north of the region and Murcia in the south.

To the north of Alicante Denia, Javea and Moraira are around an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half from the airport, which makes them more popular with retirees and permanent residents than people looking for a long weekend.  To the south the land is fairly flat and prices are lower.



The region has a Mediterranean climate.  Daily average temperatures range from about 12°C in January and February to about 26°C in July and August. There are around 320 sunny days a year and even in mid-winter, there are many sunny days, with daytime temperatures reaching or exceeding 20°C.  Very cold days are rare, but very occasionally the temperature can drop to around freezing.

In summer, the sea breeze makes the sultry heat bearable, but there may be periods of intense heat, during which the temperature can reach as high as 38/40°C.

Rainfall in the Costa Blanca is scarce, since it is even lower than 300 mm (12 inches) a year, with most of it falling between September and March.  In summer, it almost never rains, but when it does it can be intense, causing floods.



The city of Alicante divides the Costa Blanca between its northern and southern halves.  Alicante itself is a flourishing tourist spot and attracts many British expats, particularly retirees.  The Castle of Santa Barbara stands at the top of Mount Benacantil overlooking the city and the busy marina and harbour. The ‘Explanada de Espana” is a boulevard that stretches along the harbour lined with palm trees with pavement cafes, restaurants and bars and is a popular place for an evening stroll with local Spanish families and tourists alike.  There are also many attractive beaches, including Playa de San Juan stretching for more than four miles with restaurants and bars along the promenade.  There are however many others within a short distance of the centre of Alicante.

There is a wide choice of restaurants and bars around the port area.  El Barrio, Alicante’s Old Quarter, is popular with both locals and tourists and has many famous bars and restaurants.  The streets, between La Rambla and Avenida de Federica Soto, up to Avenida de Alfonso El Sabio, is the main shopping area, although El Barrio with its narrow streets and curious shops is a great place to find gifts and souvenirs.

Living in an apartment to be in the centre of life in Alicante is popular.  Apartments can be bought for as little as €50,000 in a block and apartments near the sea are available for €100,000 or more.  Prices vary with location, size and facilities and a seven-bedroom 340 m² apartment is available for €1.7 million.  Although there are townhouses and villas available in Alicante you would get a wider choice and better value in one of the resorts to the north or south of the city.


Northern Costs Blanca


Javea has two main centres with the long sweeping sandy beach at Arenal Bay with a wide range of bars and restaurants and the Port area which is popular with locals has the pebbly beach of La Grava.  Between the two there is Playa Muntanya which stretches for over a mile and has a stretch of pebbly beach, but includes rocky areas as well.  You can wander around ancient narrow streets with sandstone buildings in the Old Town of Javea and there is a  local market on a Thursday.

Javea began to develop in the 1970s and has seen rapid growth over the last 20 years. It does not have the high rise buildings of resorts like Benidorm as there are restrictions on the height of buildings.  It is popular with expats looking to live full or part-time in Spain and remains active throughout the year, particularly in the port areas and in Arenal Bay.

In Javea you can get a three-bedroom older townhouse for €160,000 to €195,000.  Modern townhouses in complexes with communal pools and other facilities can be found for around €250,000.  Apartments can be bought for as little as €100,000, but a luxury apartment close to Arenal Bay can be €750,000.  Villas with a pool range in price from €250,000 up to several million.  Rightmove Overseas listed 182 villas over €1 million on the day of writing, 15% of the villas it lists (of which 47 were over €2.5 million).

If you are prepared live inland away from the resort areas, you can find bargains in the towns and villages in the Jalon valley.  You can buy a three- or four-bedroom villa with a pool for €200,000 to €300,000 or a 3-bedroomed townhouse for €120,000 to €150,000.   Life inland can give a quieter and lower pace of life.  However, if you move inland you will be further away from other expats, clubs and facilities and will need to get everywhere by car.  There are also reports that there is a higher chance of being burgled.



Denia has a small but active international community, but also has an authentic Spanish feel with welcoming locals.  It remains busy throughout the year with restaurants and bars remaining open with just short periods of closure as owners take a holiday.

Denia castle, built in the 11th century on the top of a cliff overlooking the coast, is the symbol of the city. It is an unmissable attraction for those who spend their holidays in the area.  At the top you can enjoy views of the old town, the coast and the Montgó massif.  The Casco Antiguo is enclosed by a few streets located at the foot of the Castle.

The Marina del Denia and Marina El Portet with their restaurants offering local cuisine and bars to enjoy the sunset.  They also have boat trips and you can get ferries to the Belearic Islands from Marina El Portet.

Denia has a coastline of almost 9 miles divided into two different stretches: Las Rotas with its rocky and uncrowded coves and Las Marinas with long sandy beaches.  You can enjoy a range of water sports, such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, paddle boarding and kayaking.

A high proportion of properties for sale in Denia are apartments (51% of homes listed on Rightmove Overseas at time of writing).  Apartments in Denia can be obtained for around €110,000 but for a modern apartment or townhouse close to the sea you are likely to pay between €200,000 and €300,000.  Villas range from €200,000 up to €5 million for a luxury villa with sea views.  More rural properties in the mountainous areas provide a more secluded, lower cost option and villas and townhouses start at around €100,000.



Moraira is set against a backdrop of mountains, vineyards and pinewoods and has a 16th century castle on the coastline.  It is a bustling cosmopolitan town with a marina and a range of shops, boutiques and restaurants, which has kept much of its Spanish charm.  The restaurants meet all budgets and styles.  The town’s origins as a fishing village are not forgotten with a popular fish market.

Moraira has four main beaches: the largest Playa la Ampolla is located below the castle ithin walking distance of the town.  Half a mile along the coast, El Portet’s beach has a promenade lined with restaurants and bars.

Moraira is very busy in the main season, but outside the tourist season, it is quieter and as it attracts an affluent older crowd from Britain and Northern Europe it has a different feel out of season.

Moraira benefits from strict planning laws, which mean there are no large hotel or apartment complexes spoiling the views.

Detached two-storey villas with private pools are the most common properties in Moraira (76% of homes listed on Rightmove Overseas at time of writing).  At the top end €7.9 million buys a six-bedroom villa with access to a secluded cove and all the facilities you could need.  There are many luxury multi-million Euro villas in the area.  229 or 22% of villas listed on Rightmove have a price over €I million, but 41% of villas are listed at prices below €500,000.


Southern Costa Blanca

Ciudad Quesada

Ciudad Quesada is a planned development around 30 miles south of Alicante and is 4 miles inland.  It is a residential area rather than a resort, but has a range of restaurants and bars as well as good supermarkets and some shopping.  There is a golf course and water park.  Over 50% of the population are not Spanish with British and Scandinavians being the largest of the non-Spanish groups.  This is an option for those who are looking for an opportunity to live with other expats rather than those seeking a more authentic Spanish experience.

The city of Torrevieja is around 6 miles away and Guardamar del Segura is the nearest town on the coast with a range of restaurants, bars and its seven-mile sandy beach.  A choice of beaches is therefore no  more than 15 minutes away.

Ciudad Quesada has a range of property options ranging from older attached townhouses to modern new build villas with pools.  Apartments and bungalows are available from €50,000 for two bedrooms to over €200,000 if you are looking for a modern villa with a private pool.   At the top end luxury properties are available for around €1 million, although there are not many options for much above this.



Torrevieja spreads from La Mata to Punta Prima, and has 9 miles of coastline.  There is a long promenade running from the docks with many restaurants and bars as well as seats and pergolas where you can relax.  The terrain of Torrevieja is fairly flat and as you move away from the coastal and port area the buildings tend to be boxy apartments meaning that it is functional rather than picturesque.  There are three theatres and a number of museums to meet cultural aspirations.

There are two salt lakes that make up the La Mata and Torrevieja Nature Reserve.  You can see flamingos wading in the pink water, but as this is the centre of salt production there are many piles of salt around the shore.

There is reasonable shopping in Torrevieja, including the Habaneras shopping arcade.  There is also an extensive weekly street market that draws people to the town on a Friday.  A short drive to the south takes you to the Zenia Boulevard shopping centre with a wide range of shops.

Torrevieja is popular with retirees and also attracts some younger families.  It attracts British and northern Europeans.

Apartments in Torrevieja are available for as little as €40,000 and a modern three bedroom apartment with a communal pool and other facilities can be acquired for €100,000 to €150,000.  Modern townhouses can be obtained for €230,000 to €300,000.