The Costa Blanca
Benidorm might be a world away from the style of holiday you will enjoy in the "real" Costa Blancan resorts of Javea and Moraira but if you're on holiday with a young or young at heart family, Benidorm does offer a few attractions that all the family will love and all within half an hour or so of your villa.
Terra Mitica, the theme park based on the five major civilisations around the Med, full of fun and white knuckle roller-coaster rides with bit of history and culture thrown in.
Aqualandia is a fantastic water park with lots for all the family to enjoy from spectacular slides like Big Bang and Kamikaze to gentle floating or bathing in the lagoon.
Terra Natura is another great day out for kids all ages, waterslides, animals, marine life, history, there's a great swimming pool and a water tower that drops a thousand litres of water over you every 15 minutes. Don't miss feeding time with the elephants!
Mundomar is a fascinating look at marine life, performing dolphins and seals, parrots, children's amusement park and giant aquarium.
What we would do…
Guadalest - Morning out
The Eagle's nest is a hilltop fortress like no other in Spain, carved into the the top of a mountain amidst truly stunning scenery. Built by the invading Moors, Guadalest was an Islamic stronghold that is mostly ruined today, the village is delightful and reached by a 20m tunnel through the rock, it has a number of cafes and souvenir shops to browse. The castle tour is just a few euros and gives you spectacular views form the ramparts over the countryside to the sea at Altea. Get here fairly early in the morning before the hoards arrive and have the place almost to yourselves.
Jalon Valley - Afternoon
The Jalon valley is named after the Jalon river, the southern slopes of the valley rise to meet the Sierra de Bernia mountain range and the area is a walkers paradise. Famed for its almond, orange and lemon trees which give a colourful display in the spring. The area is also famed for its embutidos (sausages). In the village fourteen butchers jealously preserve their own family recipe. The famous Jalon wines (the strong red and the sweet mistela or moscatel wine) are sold in two bodegas where they encourage you to try out their product before you buy.
Do a theme park - Whole Day
Most families enjoy a day out at a theme park and with Benidorn just a half hour drive down the coast, you're spoilt for choice. Terra Mitica for roller-coaster rides and history, Aqualandia for waterslides, Terra Natura for animals and more waterslides and Mundomar for natural wildlife from the oceans. With entrance prices under €20 a head and group incentives you can all enjoy great day out.
Alicante Afternoon to evening
The provincial capital and one of the most pleasant and relaxing cities in Spain. It has a splendid seafront, with a fine promenade and an esplanade shaded with giant palms. The views across the marina and harbour are magnificent particularly from the castle. Although a major city, it possesses some really splendid beaches amazingly close to the city centre, so that you can conclude a sight-seeing or shopping trip with a jaunt to a beach-side bar or one of the top rated michelin-starred restaurants.
Breathtaking Views of Javea
A drive to the lighthouse atop Cabo de San Antonio is recommended, the cliffs plunge hundreds of feet into the iridescent sea below. The views are absolutely breathtaking but not for those prone to vertigo. Likewise a visit to the lighthouse on the opposite cape at Cabo La Nao will afford the perfect opportunity stop at the restaurant situated close to the lighthouse and enjoy a meal or a drink with breathtaking views of the coast.
FROM THE AIRPORT
Transfer to Moraira is around 45 minutes, Javea is around an hour.
EAT AND DRINK
NO EXPENSE SPARED
Monastrell - Alicante
If you do spend an afternoon in Alicante, treat yourself to a culinary experience to remember, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, book in advance.
MIDDLE OF THE ROAD
Arenal in Javea
Not just one restaurant but several, the attractive area behind the Arenal beach has a number of excellent restaurants from Viennese to Spanish with something to suit every taste. The children also get to play on the beach between courses whilst you keep an eye on them from the restaurant.
On of the best known restaurants in the area and deservedly so, splash out on the a la carte menu or choose from the menu del dia if you're on a budget. Either way you'll enjoy great service and very good food.
Pan Pan Jamon Jamon
Our favourite for lunch, upstairs is a busy sandwich bar but head downstairs and you're in a relaxed bodega, sample some of their excellent wines and enjoy a simple yet delicious lunch that might last a while.
ON A BUDGET
This is one of the places that the locals like to keep to themselves, very unpretentious and welcoming; choose 3 courses from the menu del dia with wine and lots of extras for less than €15 a head.
ON THE GROUND
Key Areas The pedestrianised old town of Moraira is a pleasure to explore and very rewarding, some great restaurants and cafes, shops and stylish boutiques, set between the marina and the town beach. There's a weekly street market on Friday and street stalls selling handicrafts every night in summer.
Javea is three villages in one; the old village is 5km inland with narrow winding streets around the 16th century church, the port is at the north end of the bay for fish restaurants and shopping, whilst at the south end of the bay is the Arenal, a broad swathe of sand with a quality shopping and dining area beside the beach.
Town beach has a children's playground, restaurant and fine golden sand gently shelving into the sea.
El Portet is popular with families and is 2km to the north of the centre. It’s a dramatic setting with the golden, sandy beach bounded by headlands. There are several restaurants and bars nearby serving appetising snacks and meals.
The Arenal beach at the south end of the bay has a children's playground, fine sand and a great selection of places to eat.
Granadella cove is a snorkelers paradise and the shingle beach with grass umbrellas is a delight. Two super restaurants at the edge of the beach offer simple cuisine and a welcome drink.
COASTLINE AND WATERSPORTS
The coastline between Moraira and Altea to the south is very much like the Corniche in the South of France. White cliffs and capes sheltering many small coves and bays with both sand and shingle beaches. It’s well worth spending a couple of days exploring, you may find a paradise of your own.
The rocky headlands offer excellent snorkelling and scuba diving (certificate needed for latter). There’s a large yacht-marina and motor boats of varying descriptions may be hired - including jet-skis. Water-skiing and sea-fishing is also available.
Las Besetes Sailing Club heading south towards Calpe has sailboards, dingies and catamarans for hire.