Spain | 5 Things to do on the Costa Blanca

When we think of the Spanish costas, we picture sandy beaches, perfect blue seas and lazy days lounging by a pool, cocktail in hand. While all of this sounds fab, it's not all boozy Brits on beaches. There is so much more to Spain's east coast and I'm hoping this post will inspire you to discover it, with 5 things to do on the Costa Blanca!

El Zulo sculpture by the port in Cartagena

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Fruit at a local Costa Blanca market
Cake and pastry stall at San Miguel de Salinas market

1. Shop at the local markets - The Costa Blanca is a popular holiday destination for us Brits, and has a big expat community too. I love that about the area - you'll find people from Germany, Sweden and the UK wherever you go - but one of the best ways to meet the locals and sample the Spanish way of life, is to head to your nearest market!

The sheer variety and size of fresh produce on offer is unrivalled. I love stocking up on juicy strawberries, huge peppers and delicious oranges - perfect for sangria! You'll usually find rotisserie chicken, chorizo and cured meats, huge chunks of cheese, the most amazing selection of pastries and cake and, of course, olives! So many flavours and varieties of olives, alongside sun dried tomatoes and pickled onions.

Varieties of olives at a Costa Blanca market

Many stall holders will hand out tasters and it's all fresher and cheaper than any supermarket. It's not all food though. You'll find books, scarves, clothes, jewellery and all sorts of souvenirs. It's also the perfect place to practise your Spanish while you interact with the locals. We love the Wednesday morning market in San Miguel de Salinas, and Playa Flamenca on a Saturday. There's a list of Costa Blanca markets here but ask at your hotel or a local café for the days and times of your nearest one!

La Bocana exterior in Torrevieja
SUP - Paddleboarding at Cabo Roig on the Costa Blanca

2. Try Stand Up Paddleboarding - This is one of my favourite things to do when we're staying on the Costa Blanca! We took a lesson with Sun Sea Adventures at Cabo Roig beach a couple of years ago so now we can just hire a board and head out ourselves. If you're not a fan of extreme water sports, give this a go instead. Not only is paddleboarding good exercise, I find it a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours out on the water, soaking up the sun.

Strawberry daquiri at La Bocana, Torrevieja
Stand up paddleboarding at Cabo Roig beach

You can find Sun Sea Adventures on the beach at Cabo Roig during the summer, or book via Stella Maris in the off season. They've also recently started doing lessons and hire from a new location at La Bocana in Torrevieja. Perfect if you fancy a change of scenery or a post paddling cocktail!

Tapas and cocktails at The Hen's Teeth in Villamartin

3. Eat tapas - This is one of the best ways to sample local cuisine, but not all tapas is created equally! At one particular chain we ended up with five plates of bland, beige food. You could argue it's down to bad ordering, but we found that some places just don't offer the variety and flavours you'd expect from traditional Spanish tapas. Perhaps they're catering more towards typical tourist taste buds?

Albondigas (meatballs) at a Costa Blanca tapas bar

Our favourite tapas spot on the Costa Blanca so far is The Hen's Teeth in Villamartin Plaza. I recommend the chicken with chorizo and olives, and the garlic and chilli king prawns. Not to mention the fresh bread with lashings of aioli! For a less costly experience, head to Coffee & Tapa in Torrevieja.

My top tips? Ask for recommendations and order a variety of flavours, colours and textures. Explore the meat, fish and veggie dishes and, most importantly, share. You could even do a tapas tour - a kind of bar crawl where you sample one or two dishes from a few different restaurants!

Santa Barbara castle in Alicante

4. Take a day trip - On our first trip to the Costa Blanca, we visited Cartagena and the ancient Roman theatre. Next time we took a drive into Alicante city and hiked up to Santa Barbara Castle. I can't recommend it enough. Hire a car, jump on a bus or take a boat tour - just get out there and see more of the country. Explore lesser known parts and learn more about their culture.

At the Roman theatre in Cartagena, Spain

The Costa Blanca is perfectly positioned with lots of beautiful and historic cities just a short distance from each other. North of Benidorm you can visit Javea, Altea or Calpe where you can climb the Penon de I'fach, or even go as far as Valencia - the home of paella! Alternatively head inland to Murcia or Elche and it's picturesque UNESCO palm groves.

Pink salt lake at Torrevieja

5. See the pink salt lakes - Head south of Alicante and you'll discover the pink salt lakes. Torrevieja is the home of two breath taking lakes - one pink, and one green. The deep pink hues come from the algae that thrive in the salt water environment. Aside from being a beautiful nature spot, and a great photo opportunity, the salt water is famously good for your skin and many people will bathe in the lake! 

The easiest way to get there is the tourist train which leaves from the marina in Torrevieja. You can also visit the town's Sea and Salt Museum to learn more about the lagoons.

I'd love to hear your suggestions of things to do on the Costa Blanca - is there anything I've missed?

You may also enjoy:
Spain | 20 Best Restaurants in Torrevieja & the Orihuela Costa
Spain | A Day Trip to the Palm Groves of Elche
Spain | How to spend one day in beautiful Murcia

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5 Things to do on the Costa Blanca
Torrevieja's pink salt lake & more things to do on the Costa Blanca

3 comments:

  1. Spain is my favorite!! I've spent a lot of time in Barcelona, but after reading this post I need to get to Costa Blanca!

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  2. Ah!! I so want to see a pink salt lake. It's beautiful!! Eating tapas style is always so relaxing to me for some reason - just to sit and share and talk. Spain is on my list - I haven't been there yet, but I really want to go!!

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  3. This sounds like the perfect Costa Blanca itinerary! When I was in Spain, I didn’t visit this area but I did get to try other markets and plenty of tapas. Honestly, they were my favorite thing about Spain. This makes me want to plan another trip!

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