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Costa BlancaBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
The Costa Blanca (or White Coast) is a 200 kilometre stretch of coastline between Gandia in the north and the region of Murcia in the south. The area is popular with both expats (expatriados) and tourists and is filled with pretty fishing villages and sandy beaches. Some areas have taken advantage of the influx of visitors and many developments have appeared, with high rise apartments and hotels a common feature of some areas.
Long hailed by tourists and expats as the idyll from which to escape the dreary climes of the UK, the Costa Blanca is no longer the inexpensive haven it once was. However, some areas still retain an old fashioned sense of style and are filled with whitewashed houses that have a wealth of period features and offer the expat the opportunity to experience the laid back lifestyle enjoyed by the Spanish.
Costa Blanca is serviced by the airport in its capital city, Alicante, which is a large connecting airport that runs direct flights to most major European cities. Budget airlines also fly into Alicante, with the most popular being Ryanair, Easyjet and BMIBaby.
Expat population on the Costa Blanca is high (at least in the resort towns) and there are plenty of professional and personal support networks available. That being said, it must be noted that expats can be a transient population, with many returning to their home countries within the first twelve months, never to be seen again. The most common reason for this is simple: Too many people don´t do their homework. Usual mistakes are: Not visiting in winter to see if you still like it, not making sure you have a job to arrive to, not learning Spanish and suffering from isolation, or assuming that Spain is still cheap to live in (it's not). The successful expats are the ones who are realistic: Spain is a great place to live, but problems do not melt away at the airport.
The following may be useful for those affected by any of these issues:
Costa Blanca Samaritans 902 88 35 35
CBS offers a completely confidential, free, telephone-based emotional support service, for English speakers of any age or nationality, anywhere in Spain, who may be troubled by feelings of distress or despair, and who may be feeling suicidal. Our trained volunteers are ready to listen, whatever your issue, and to support you as you explore your feelings about what troubles you. We do not judge, or tell you what to do, but instead listen to allow you to decide how you might go forward. The Helpline on 902 88 35 35 is available every evening from 8.00pm until midnight. If you would like to know more about any aspect of CBS work, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
CBS is registered with Generalitat Valenciana as a 100% not-for-profit organization and is staffed entirely by volunteers.
Costa Blanca is loaded with international schools, although again this is only true for the larger cities. The richest pickings are to be found in Alicante, Valencia and Javea, where British expats are especially well-catered for. International schools offer a foreign curriculum and the IB, and most classes are conducted predominantly in the home country´s language, with some Spanish included. Many expats choose not to send their children to international schools though, as there is a risk of ´ghettoising´ expat kids into expat communities and never giving them a chance to assimilate. Luckily for these families, school in Spain is free.
The major centres on the Costa Blanca have very comprehensive transport networks, within the cities and between them. Once you move further away from the larger centres, you are at the mercy of infrequent (but clean and comfortable) bus and train services. These satellite towns occasionally experiment with Night Buses, but the reality is that if you want any kind of independence it will be necessary to either buy a car or import your own (FYI: It is a headache to import a car from the UK - easier to buy one in Spain).
Like many new arrivals, unless you already own a holiday home on the Costa Blanca, you will probably want to rent for a while when you first arrive. The difference between renting a place in Spain and renting a place anywhere else is that there is so little that is certain about the rental process here. This is one area that is prime for ripoffs, particularly if you don´t speak the language: Unfortunately, this is true even if you are dealing with an agent who is a fellow expat - it seems that we are more trusting of other English-speakers when we are away from home. Don´t pay any agents fees upfront, only AFTER you have signed a lease. Also, don´t be surprised if you are asked for up to six months rent in advance as a security deposit. This part is legal, and you are able negotiate down to only one or two months in advance.
Costa Blanca is basically divided into the North and South. The cost of property in Costa Blanca North is higher as the property market is much more established. Despite the economic squeeze that Spain is experiencing, prices in Costa Blanca North have remained relatively stable: Those who live here often own their homes outright or are not in a precarious situation with mortgage stress. This means that the better prices are now to be found in Costa Blanca South, where some distressed properties are being sold by banks for ´rack rate´ or lower.
Villamartin is a town which attracts many tourists each year and this is mainly due to the world class golf courses in the area. The area is popular with expats, particularly those from northern Europe and many of the apartments in the area are used as second homes, so they are not always occupied. There are not as many houses (casas) and villas on offer as apartments (pisos), as there has been a great deal of development in recent years.
Moraira is a coastal town which began life as a fishing village and is now an attractive destination for those who are looking to retire to Spain. It is still a relatively small town and there are no high rise developments.
Orihuela is a coastal town and like the rest of the Costa Blanca, attracts a large number of tourists due to the exceptionally good weather. The property prices are quite low when compared to other towns in the region and there is a growing community of expats in the area. There are employment opportunities in the area, though mainly in the retail sector.
Benitachell is a relatively small town in the northern part of the region and is attracting growing numbers of expats. The development of Les Fonts is particularly popular with expats, though mainly British. The small size of the town means that there are not as many employment opportunities as in other areas.
Pinar de Campoverde is a hillside village, just 8 km from the coast. It is not as well populated as some of the coastal areas and the expats in the area are mainly British and German. The properties in the area are mostly large detached houses (chalet) and the prices are on a par with the regional average. The village has everything an individual needs for daily life from shops to sporting facilities.
Guardamar del Segura is a traditional fishing area but now attracts large numbers of tourists thanks to the sandy beaches. Property in the area ranges from holiday apartments (apartamento de vacaciones) to traditional Spanish homes and is much sought after.
Benissa is a small town in the northern part of Alicante. Much of the older part of the town has been restored and the town is known as ‘little Europe’, as many of the residents are now from other countries. The town still manages to keep its Spanish style and the expats here integrate well into the community.
Denis is one of the most northern parts of the Costa Blanca and the area is popular with those who like outdoor activities such as hiking and horse riding. The town is large and is less of a tourist town than many of its neighbours. Expats who come to the area are those looking for work as there is a growing commercial sector.
Cabo Roig is a tourist area and is a very popular beach resort, though while it is very busy in the summer the winter months are far quieter. The area is known for its shopping and fine restaurants and property on offer is mainly apartments. Away from the coast there are traditional houses (casa de epoca) available.
Algorfa is a small town located inland which is popular with golfers, as there are many good quality courses nearby. Agriculture is still strong in the area and there are only around 2000 permanent residents of the town. There are some expats living in the area and many apartments which are used as second homes.
Orba is a rural town which is within easy travelling distance of the beaches and has managed to retain its old Spanish style. Some people may not approve of the running of the bulls each summer through the town, but the area has other attractions. The restaurants in the area serve nearly every type of cuisine and the cost of living is relatively low.
The town of San Miguel de Salinas is fairly small and located inland. It was just a small village until the large amount of development which has taken place in recent years. The town has seen a large influx of expats and the demand for property has increased. The prices may be slightly higher than the average in the surrounding areas but this is due to the fact that the town offers the traditional laid back lifestyle that Spain is famous for.
Campoamor is just a quarter of an hour’s drive from the airport at Murcia and is becoming an increasingly popular seaside resort. There are a number of new developments which are aimed at expats and those looking for holiday homes. The town has everything the visitor needs, from shops to restaurants, and the area is expected to develop further.
Calpe has become home to high rise developments (complejo residencial) and is very much aimed at the tourist market. It is far removed from the fishing village that it used to be. The old town still retains some traditional charm, but this is now a very small part of the town. The town of Pedreguer is in contrast far removed from the tourist trade. It is a traditional Spanish market town that is slowly being discovered by expats.
Gata de Gorgos is also a market town in the north of the region. It is set away from the coast and is known for its furniture manufacturing. There is a small community of expats and properties in the area are very reasonably priced. Santa Pola is another former fishing village that has gradually become a tourist resort. There are many high rise properties and new developments in the area.
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