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Top five music festivals on the Costa Blanca

Top five music festivals on the Costa Blanca

Among the many delightful things about living on the Costa Blanca is its vibrant cultural life it has to offer. Besides the countless town festivals and saints’ days that draw local crowds, there are also larger music festivals, most of which take place in summer, that draw in performers and party goers from around Spain and abroad. Here is Sonneil’s pick of the top five music festivals on the Costa Blanca.

Alicante Spring Festival

The Alicante Spring festival, which plays out over two days in the last week of May features the best in indie, pop and urban rhythms. In its new home in the car park of the Alicante Fairtrade Institution the Spring Festival has succeeded in maintaining the same laid-back atmosphere it had at its old home in the Port of Alicante. And it still attracts coolest music-lovers around. 

Date: May 24-25

Ticket prices start at 22 euros and Children 11 years old and under can access for free, until the reserved capacity of 200 minors is reached.

Reggaeton Beach Festival

After the success of the two Reggaeton Beach Festivals held in 2018 in Benidorm and Barcelona, the largest Urban Beach Festival in Europe continues to grow, offering a showcase for the biggest names in urban music and reggaeton. Apart from enjoying great concerts, you can also partake in a range of other cultural, gastronomic and sports activities suitable for all audiences. 

Date July 13

Tickets on sale from 30 euros. Children under 14 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Low Festival 

From 26-28 July Benidorm once again plays host to the Low Festival which takes place in the Guillermo Amor Sports City.

This Indie-pop music festival began in 2008 and has since established itself as one of the most popular summer festivals on the national scene, with more than 70 rock, pop and electronic artists. Boasting four stages and an incredible atmosphere, it is one of the standout events in Alicante summer schedule. There are three types of tickets available: the 3-day ticket, the 3-day VIP ticket and the 3-day VIP Pool ticket, which allows you to access an exclusive area with an Olympic-sized pool.

Denia Jazz Festival

For those with a more laid-back disposition, the Denia Jazz festival could be right up your alley. The music, which draws on renowned acts from the global jazz scene is complemented by a wide range of activities designed to get the whole town of Denia tapping its toes to the rhythm, including Lindy Hop dance classes and free city centre performances. Unlike most festivals that take place over a few consecutive days, Denia’s jazz fest, held in the gardens of the Torrecremada estate, plays out on the nights of August 1, 8 and 22.

Tickets cost 15 euro per day.

Benidorm Summer Festival

During this festival, which takes place in the first week of July, Benidorm becomes the European city of Bachata, Kizomba, Cubano and Salsa. In addition to concerts, shows and classes, various other activities are held with the aim of familiarising the uninitiated with the wonderful world of dance.

Five best festivals on the Costa Blanca

One of the most notable differences between life in Spain and life in the UK is the bewildering amount of festivals and public holidays in the Spanish calendar. To somebody raised outside Spain, it can seem that every other day some festival or other is taking place. In fact, in any given year, there are more than twenty public holidays throughout the country, some of which are only celebrated in certain regions while others are nationwide. Below is Sonneil’s list of the five best festivals to be enjoyed on the Costa Blanca. 

Moros and Christians

The festival of Moors and Christians celebrates the reconquest of Spain by the Catholic monarchy after 700 years of Muslim rule in 1492. The reconquest is celebrated annually throughout Spain, but the cities of Valencia and Alicante have a particularly strong association with the tradition. Locals dress as either Moors or Christians for the occasion and re-enact battles. The two groups fight it out in the streets, which are filled with noise and smoke, watched by thousands of spectators. In contrast, in mid-August, Dénia celebrates the festival of Moors and Christians as a tribute to the coexistence of cultures, highlighting the virtues of tolerance and multiculturalism.

San Juan

The fires of St. John (Fuegos de Sant Juan) announce the arrival of summer. At midnight, the city of Alicante offers a magnificent firework display and papier-mâché statues are burned during a ceremony called the Cremá de la Hoguera. In the afternoon, everyone heads to the beach to share a picnic and barbecue grilled sardines or meat. This is followed by the customary midnight swim, which is said to wash away bad luck and invite good fortune.

Las Fallas

The Costa Blanca celebrates the famous Las Fallas festival in March, during which giant satirical statues of celebrities or politicians are carried in procession through the streets before being burned. It is the most important festival of the Valencian community and attracts thousands of tourists each year. While Valencia itself has the most spectacular Fallas celebrations, there are also festivities in Benidorm, Calpe, Denia, and Gandia among others. 

Carnival

Carnival is perhaps most famously associated with Brazil; however it is in fact widely celebrated throughout the Latin world, including the Costa Blanca. Starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday in the Christian calendar, Carnival serves as one last blowout of excess and debauchery before the austerity of Lent. In Benidorm, where the biggest parade takes place, thousands of people turn out to watch the giant decorated floats and dance to the marching bands. 

Tres Reyes

This is one of the most anticipated days of the year for children as it is when the Three Wise Men come bearing gifts. At this time of the year the streets are still decorated with Christmas lights, and the squares are filled with Nativity scenes carol singers. On the night of the epiphany, January 6, The Three Kings arrive on their camels loaded with presents and throw sweets and treats out to the thousands of children assembled along the parade route. Experiencing this deeply rooted Spanish tradition is an absolute must.

Five best golf courses on the Costa Blanca

Five best golf courses on the Costa Blanca

The Costa Blanca is a paradise for golf lovers with 21 courses – including 3 pitch and putt – several of which were designed by some of the most famous names to grace the game. With most of the courses situated along the coast, you can make the most of the warm Mediterranean climate and hit the fairways all round. Below is just a selection of some of the Costa Blanca’s best golf courses.

Las Colinas

Located at the southern tip of the province of Alicante, near Torrevieja, Las Colinas Golf and Country Club has been ranked among the top 100 golf courses in Europe by Golf World magazine. Designed by the renowned North American landscape architect, Cabell B. Robinson, it’s a true championship course, with the sole aim of offering the best services and amenities to ensure that every player has a unique experience.

La Finca

The La Finca golf club lies in natural surroundings of great beauty and with fantastic views. Its facilities are open to those who want to play golf in the heart of nature while being able to enjoy the beaches, sailing clubs and a host of other facilities and services just a few minutes away. Several lakes with running water and reed beds along the course add beauty and difficulty to the game, and have made the course the home of a wide variety of migratory water birds, such as ducks and egrets, while the interior of the course is home to olive and palm trees, thus creating a beautiful backdrop of vegetation with a distinctly Mediterranean flavour.

Don Cayo

Founded in 1974 but completely redesigned in 2006, this 9-hole course offers spectacular views, especially on the third hole which takes in the bay of Altea, north of Benidorm and the 7th, where you can make out the Sierra Bernia mountains surrounding the Marina Baixa. It is very attractively designed, and the location makes this an unbeatable place for a round of golf. It is a semi-private club that is open to the public, with members and green fee players both using the course.

La Sella

Located south of the city of Denia, this 27-hole gem is the work of the great José Maria Olazabal. Built in three 9-hole pitches between 1990 and 2010, the La Sella golf course has hosted the Ladies European Tour on four occasions. This impressive course dotted with pine, almond and carob trees, boasts of wonderful views of the mountains and the Mediterranean. 

Oliva Nova

Created in 1992 by the Spanish legend Severiano Ballesteros, the Oliva Nova links course is spread over 50 hectares. The course, located in a huge residential complex, meaning it is surrounded by homes, but it is nonetheless very attractive. Water is constantly at play on this highly technical 18-hole course that alternates between short holes and much longer holes. Only holes 1, 2, 13 and 14 are free of water hazards but the wind remains a very important element throughout the course. 

Fishing on the Costa Blanca

Fishing on the Costa Blanca

Fishing is a popular pastime, both in the sea off the Costa Blanca and in the rivers and lakes of its inland regions. Fishing expeditions are organised from numerous ports along the Costa Blanca’s 220 km coastline, with some of the best excursions leaving from the port of Denia. They usually begin in the early morning hours and last for half a day or a full day and given the wide variety of large fish species that make their home on the Costa Blanca, the day tripper is not likely to be disappointed. From July to September swordfish are found off the coast of Guardamar and Torrevieja. There is also tuna fishing in the open sea. Likewise frigate mackerel, big toothed pompano, blue fish, sea bass, dorada, amberjacks, corvina, gilthead, grouper, leer fish, barracuda, moray and conger eels as well as some 150 kinds of shark. 

More common than sea fishing; however, is river fishing, where there are various fish species to be netted, such as trout, salmon, gambusias, lampreys and samarugos. The rivers on the Costa Blanca also contain carp, zander, pike, black bass and barbell. The Amadorio and Guadalest dams are said to be the best freshwater fishing spots as they hold the biggest carp and rainbow trout, but the latter are a protected species and require an extra licence.

If you are resident in Spain and want to go out fishing on your own rather than as part of a paid excursion you will need to obtain a Spanish licence from the Ministry of the Environment (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente). Applicants must pass an exam in Spanish before being granted a licence. After the exam, it takes over a month to receive the results and permit.

Three categories of fishing licence are awarded: sea fishing, underwater fishing and river fishing. Once approved, the licence is only valid for one region and one type of fishing. Anyone found to be fishing without a valid licence by the police will have to pay a fine of up to €200 and can expect to have their equipment confiscated. Underwater fishers may use a snorkel tube, mask and mechanical harpoon gun, but underwater fishing with scuba equipment is forbidden. A fishing fee must be paid to fish in certain areas (pesca de pago); in others, fishing is free (pesca libre). Fishing in reservoirs is also permitted with the correct licence. These usually contain plentiful Carp and a lot of them have Barbel and Black Bass, as well as Zander and Pike.

Happy fishing! 

Exploring the Cova Tallada caves

Exploring the Cova Tallada caves

On the Costa Blanca Coastline, between Denia and Javea is the mythical Cova Tallada. A huge cave dug out of Cape San Antonio that for hundreds of years served as a quarry for the stone used to construct historic buildings such as Denia Castle. Nowadays it forms part of the Cabo de San Antonio Nature Park and offers a truly amazing experience for the adventurous souls who dare to enter the cavern.

The partly natural, partly man-made cave was first excavated during the Muslim era and contains evidence of activity dating back to the 12th century. While it’s no longer a working quarry it is rumoured to have served as a secret hideaway and supply depot for German submarines during the Second World War.

The cave is reached from Javea via the Cape lighthouse route or from Denia, thanks to a 750 metre path that runs along the Mediterranean by a small cliff. 

The cave itself is about 75 meters wide and about 15 meters high, with five large “doors” through which the sea and light can enter. The space is large enough to allow for the entrance of canoes, which makes for another very interesting way to take in the experience. The area outside the cave is suitable for swimming thanks to a rocky projection that acts as a breakwater, meaning the surrounding sea is usually calm and ideal for snorkelling.

Inside, the cave has several large passages that you will need a torchlight to explore due to their darkness. Among the interesting features to be seen inside are the marks on the walls made by centuries of stonecutters and, at the entrance of one of the cavernous ‘rooms’, an inscription on the rock that indicates that King Philip II was there in 1599.

It should be noted that due to the huge popularity of the Cova Tallada, especially in summer, the number of visitors allowed to enter at a given time will be limited in order to alleviate the ecological burden on the site. Numbers will be limited to 482 people per day, with no more than 71 people allowed in the cave at the same time. It will also be necessary to make a reservation – allotting a specific day and time – to visit the cave. 

Those wishing to explore the cave should bring water and food with them as well as suitable clothing and footwear, a flashlight and a camera with plenty of storage capacity: you might need it to capture the views and the amazing local flora along the way.

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