Living in Spain
Living on the Spanish Costas
Spain is still one of the most popular expat destinations for the International Market and a Costa Blanca property remains an affordable dream. With North European summers as unpredictable as ever, Spain’s attractions remain constant: the Costa Blanca has an exceptional climate with 3000 hours of sunshine a year, low rainfall, low humidity and an average temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius. The mild winters mean you can live an outdoor lifestyle all year round. The World Health Organisation has declared the area around Torrevieja, Orihuela Coast, Moraira, Javea and Denia to be “one of the most environmentally perfect climates in the world.”’
The Costa Blanca
The Costa Blanca, or White Coast, stretches for 170 miles along Spain’s East coast – from Gandia in the North to Murcia in the South – with the city of Alicante marking a rough halfway point. It has more Blue Flag beaches than any other Spanish Costa – a guarantee that they are clean, unpolluted and safe for all the family. The Costa Blanca is a cosmopolitan and varied place to live: as well as stunning beaches there are dramatic mountains, lush valleys, breathtakingly pretty villages with white-washed houses, modern resorts, golf, water sports, fiestas and festivals, history and culture, food and wine.
Tourism and development are concentrated on the coast – a short drive inland reveals peaceful villages, small rural towns and gorgeous, unspoilt countryside, with the excellent road network making it simple to get around.
Costa Blanca North
At the northern end of the Costa Blanca the terrain is rocky and mountainous – north of Altea is particularly green and lush. Olives, lemons, oranges, almonds and cherries are cultivated here on terraced hillsides and exported worldwide. This part of the Costa Blanca is less developed than the Southern end – with building heights and density strictly regulated in many of the towns. From larger resorts like Calpe to small market towns like Benitachell and Pedreguer, Costa Blanca North has something for everyone. Particularly popular with walkers and hikers, there are twenty natural parks and a mix of sand and pebble beaches.
Costa Blanca South
Less dramatic than Costa Blanca North, the southern reaches of the Costa Blanca are perhaps a more typically Spanish coastline – flatter and more arid as you head towards Murcia, with miles of sandy beaches, palm tree forests and salt lakes. There is a bigger expat population in the South – particularly around places like Torrevieja, Playa Flamenca and Villamartin. Golfers are spoilt for choice here – with numerous top class, championship courses to choose from. Property for sale on the Costa Blanca is immensely varied and there is something to suit all requirements and budgets. There are plenty of new developments on offer – gated and golfing communities – and also a huge variety of re-sale properties. For investment potential, the Costa Blanca is hard to beat. If you are considering buying to let, 12 months of sunshine and the family appeal of the region make year-round rental a real possibility.
An introduction to the Costa Calida, Murcia
A Spanish property on the Costa Calida, or inland in Murcia, is the perfect way to enjoy everything that life in Spain has to offer, in an area still relatively unscathed by tourism and large scale development. Costa Calida, otherwise known as the “Warm Coast” extends along 250 kilometres of Spanish coastline – stunning, mostly sandy, beaches sheltered by impressive mountain ranges.
THE COSTA CALIDA, MURCIA
There is a lot more to Murcia and the Costa Calida Region than La Manga – though if golf, tennis, water sports and rubbing shoulders with sports stars and celebrities are your thing, La Manga resort is a good bet. Los Alcazares, on the shores of the Mar Menor, is a busy tourist resort and very popular with Spanish, as well as overseas, holidaymakers.
THE DIVERSE MURCIA LANDSCAPE
There is a great diversity of landscape in Murcia – from the coast and the Mar Menor, to breathtaking mountainous areas, to the wide arid plains where many spaghetti Westerns were filmed (the sets were left behind and there are three ‘Wild West’ theme parks to visit). There are beautiful National Parks in this region too, one of which – the Sierra de Espuna National Park – is only 40 minutes’ drive from Murcia Town, and is an unspoilt, mountainous pine forest and haven for wildlife.
THE TRADITION, BEAUTY AND HISTORY OF MURCIA
Only a short distance inland from the obvious attractions of the coast there are some stunning places to be found – most of the towns and villages here, places like Balsicas and Sucina, are still typically Spanish in character. One of the loveliest places in Murcia is the Ricote Valley. This was the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain and has a lush and beautiful landscape running alongside the River Segura. The capital of the region is the city of Murcia which is significant culturally and historically – parts of the city walls date back to the year 831. It is a University town (a two University town, to be precise) – it has a lovely Old Quarter and a beautiful Baroque cathedral, fabulous shops, and is compact enough to explore on foot. As you would expect, Murcia City has a vibrant cultural life with restaurants, authentic tapas bars and clubs – and seemingly constant festivals and celebration.
The weather is outstanding, even by Spanish standards (315 days of sunshine a year with temperature averaging out at 22 degrees). It has some of the best beaches in Spain, with lovely seaside towns like San Pedro del Pinatar and Santiago de la Ribera. There are well over a hundred beaches along the Costa Calida – from tiny, deserted coves only accessible by boat, to vast stretches of beach with every facility imaginable. Throw in awe-inspiring mountain ranges, spectacular countryside dotted with citrus, olive and almond groves…what are you waiting for?
It takes around 2 hours average to fly to the Costa Blanca from most European Airport. Alicante Airport, being midway along the coast, is ideally located for easy access to North and South Costa Blanca. With so many airlines operating services to Alicante it’s easy to shop around and get a good deal on flights. Murcia San Javier Airport is handy for Costa Blanca South, and Valencia Airport is a possible alternative to Alicante if you are travelling to Costa Blanca North.