Among the most picturesque features to be found on the Costa Blanca coastline are calas, or coves, in English.

Formed by a process of erosion whereby softer rocks are worn away faster than the harder rocks surrounding them, the result is shell-shaped, pocket-sized bays, often surrounded by precipitous cliffs that are fringed by wild flora like Spanish firs, junipers, and oak trees.

Their secluded nature can make them a little harder to reach, but all the more rewarding when found, and contrasts markedly with the long, sandy expanse that comes to most people’s minds when they think of a Spanish beach.

Here are some of Sonneil’s favourite calas on the Costa Blanca.

La Granadella, Jávea

La Granadella is a stunning horseshoe-shaped shingle beach near Jávea. Surrounded by pine forests and overlooked by a castle that offers spectacular views over the bay, its popularity with locals means it can get quite busy in summer. But that doesn’t detract from its beauty, or the quality of the snorkelling on offer, allowing you to explore the seagrass beds just off the shore.

Cala la Mosca, Orihuela

With white sand and turquoise waters this is an ideal place to enjoy a cool swim and escape from the masses thronging the other beaches of the Vega Baja. The cala can only be accessed by foot or by bike, making it a bit of a trek to get to, but well worth the effort.

Calas del Cabo de Santa Pola

The coves that punctuate the Cape of Santa Pola are located in a special protection area of great scenic and environmental value. These include the natural coves of l’Aljub,

Cuartel, and those next to Bancal de la Arena, near which you can find an important marine research centre called CIMAR. There clear and aquamarine waters are perfect for diving.

Calas del Cabo de las Huertas, Alicante

Cabo de las Huertas, located between Playa de San Juan and Playa de la Albufereta, is made up of four coves – La Calita, Cala de la Palmera, Cala de Cantalar and Cala de los Judíos. All of which combine shingle and sand and attract visitors looking to escape the bustle of Alicante’s larger beaches with their peace and tranquility.

Cala del Penyal, Calp

This small cove with transparent waters is located in the shade of the impressive rock of Peñón de Ifach and is excellent for scuba diving and fishing thanks to its location and interesting seabed. It also offers wonderful opportunities for nautical excursions and hiking.