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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.