Bargain beach pads with year-round appeal make Spain's Costa Blanca British buyers’ favourite destination by quite a stretch. During 2022, Valencia region, home to the Costa Blanca, saw more foreign buyers, and also more British buyers, than any other region of Spain.
Whilst Alicante in the Valencian region is the most popular province for British buyers, according to Spanish government data, it’s also where the most move to with 76,739 Britons residing there in 2022.
Inquiries on aplaceinthesun.com tell the same story, with the Costa Blanca attracting the highest number of searches out of all the global destinations listed on the site, and locations there predominate in our Best Places to Buy Abroad 2024 index. Torrevieja, Villamartin and Ciudad Quesada on the southern Costa Blanca are firm favourites.
Yet anyone about to board a flight to Alicante, the gateway to the region, might well be confused about where to head? Do you go north, south, or inland of either?
Costa Blanca North
Head north from Alicante, as far as Moraira and beyond, and you'll follow a coastline with an imposing mountain backdrop and pine-covered hillsides, where shady villas look down on unspoilt sandy coves.
Costa Blanca North's key resorts start at Benidorm and end at Dénia, but there are also popular inland spots in the unspoilt Jalon Valley. Excluding Benidorm, with its tower blocks, controlled development in the north has maintained a level of exclusivity and limited the supply of new-build.
The result is that property prices tend to be higher in the Northern Costa Blanca, even in parts of Benidorm, which as a resort has lost none of its appeal as a colourful holiday hotspot for British families and young adults.
Calpe, with its unmissable Rock of Ifach, is next, and another popular family resort, with a range of property along its seafront and fanning out into the hills around it. Prime villas with views are priced at £500,000-plus.
After Calpe begins arguably the most desirable stretch of the Costa Blanca North's coastline, including the picturesque resort of Moraira, pine-covered hills dotted with white villas end at the Med in low cliffs, broken up by small sandy bays, such as Cala Fustera, making this a very desirable stretch known as Benissa Costa.
Moraira's residential areas fan out up the west or east side of the wooded valley behind it. A mix of villas, and small apartments and townhouse complexes are on offer. There is a mix of prices, with three-bedroom villas for around €200,000 up to multi-million pound palaces.
Beyond Moraira, any property in the elevated areas of Benitachell and Cumbre del Sol offers incredible panoramic sea views, and beyond this you arrive at the pretty family resort of Jávea.
An easy hour from Alicante airport and 1hr 15 minutes from Valencia airport, Javea’s population of 27,000 triples in size during typical summers. Life still focuses around the port and old town, or the palm tree backed sandy Arenal beach.
You can find a resale apartment for around €140,000, or a villa for less than €500,000, or new two-bedroom apartments for around €200,000.
Unlike Costa Blanca South, the attraction of the north is increasingly inland as much as coastal. The Jalon Valley offers villages that combine an authentic Spanish lifestyle with proximity to the beach.
Popular villages are Jalon, Alcalalí, Parcent, Orba, Lliber and Tormos – buyers enjoy the rustic environment, but also being 20 minutes from the pretty resorts of Dénia or Moraira. Two-bedroom houses are priced from under €200,000 or three-beds €200,000-€300,000. A finca with land will be nearer €500,000.
Costa Blanca South
Driving south from Alicante, Guardamar del Segura is the first big coastal resort with a selection of purpose-built tourist residences, predominantly apartments, many overlooking its sweeping beach. By contrast with the more rugged north described above, if you go south from Alicante as far as Torrevieja, with its salt pans, and the Orihuela Costa, the landscape of Costa Blanca South is flat and arid.
Torrevieja remains a stand-out favourite with buyers. Originally a salt-mining centre, Torrevieja is now a bustling city, and is one of the fastest growing places in Spain. It was the single most searched-for location on aplaceinthesun.com in 2022 and 2023.
Sitting between two lakes and the Mediterranean Sea, it has beautiful sandy beaches and seafront promenades, several golf clubs, water sports, lots of amenities such as waterparks, and a vibrant nightlife.
You can still find an apartment for around €60,000; a villa for €150k in this busy, cosmopolitan place, close to long sandy beaches. The Playa del Cura is perhaps Torrevieja’s most famous beach, conveniently located in the city centre. A large promenade, lined with restaurants and bars, links the north and south beaches.
English and Irish pubs sit happily beside Spanish bars, providing a contrast to the Mediterranean lifestyle. English-speakers are well catered for as Torrevieja has two international schools and numerous clubs and societies.
Inland from Guardamar is the expat hotspot of Rojales, with its neighbouring urbanisation Ciudad Quesada. ‘Quesada’ as it’s known for short, has become a real hot spot in recent years. Less than 50km from Alicante, it is ideally located only 6 km from the Mediterranean Sea within easy reach of the many Blue Flag beaches of the Costa Blanca, Guardamar Del Segura, La Marina, Playa Flamenca, La Zenia and Cabo Roig.
Created in 1972 by a man called Quesada who wanted to have a city named after himself, the result has a large all year-round population, with many nationalities of people, including British and Irish buyers like this couple in 2023.
Now with its own golf course, water park and commercial areas, it provides everything that a resident or tourist requires, from a quiet meal for two through to a vibrant nightlife.
It boasts a range of stylish properties. Resale villas with three bedrooms start at around €130,000, with apartments and bungalows from €60,000-€65,000 for two bedrooms. Murcia airport is also within 50km, or 30 minutes.
The real hotspot of Costa Blanca South is Orihuela Costa, which describes the 10-kilometre string of resorts that run south from Torrevieja along the N-332 main road, namely: Punta Prima, Playa Flamenca, La Zenia, Cabo Roig, Dehesa de Campoamor and the inland areas of Los Dolses and Villamartín.
Why? It offers a large selection of affordable property, new and old, great beaches and the Orihuela Costa Resort Complex offers top sporting facilities, and La Zenia Boulevard is a massive shopping mall. Yes it is more developed and arguably less Spanish than the northern Costa Blanca, but it has everything you'd want from a fun family holiday home.
Inland Costa Blanca
Inland, Villamartin is very popular with its prestigious Club de Golf Villamartin and quality restaurants offered at Villamartin Plaza. Not surprisingly there’s a vibrant international community of owners and expats and demand for property remains strong. Villamartín and Los Dolses are further beyond the N-332 motorway than the areas of homes closest to beaches, so are more tranquil, ideal for permanent residents as well as holiday homeowners.
Two-bed townhouses cost from around €80,000 whilst three-bed villas start at around €150k. At the nearby gated residential community of Los Dolses, prices are a little higher. One buyer explains why she bought a townhouse there in 2022.
The three coastal hotspots of Playa Flamenca, La Zenia and Cabo Roig are all handy for both Murcia and Alicante airports (less than 45 minutes and offer many two- and even three-bed apartments around the €90-100k mark. Inland a little, in the village of Algorfa popular with expats, homes can be even more affordable.
Other highlights of Orihuela Costa are the proximity of four quality golf courses in the Villamartín area, three within five minutes of each other.