With warm sun, a warm welcome and easy access from the UK for visits from the family, no wonder so many of us fancy a retirement on the northern stretch of the Costa Blanca. Dénia, Javéa and the villages between are the perfect place to start your quest for the perfect retirement in Spain.
The Costa Blanca is now one of the most sought after areas in Spain for British people to retire to. Actually, it’s popular with all ages as it offers a wonderful climate combined with over 200km of coastline, natural parks teeming with wildlife and 300 days of sunshine a year.
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The area can really be divided into two sectors, the north and the south. Each has very different terrain and feel. The south is flatter, a prominent tourist area visited by both Spaniards and foreigners. The countryside is a little on the arid side, but there’s no shortage of liquid in the bars of Torrevieja or Benidorm, synonymous with sun, sea, sangria and party time. The north is greener and mountainous. It really depends if you want to have every type of amusement at your fingertips or whether you are seeking a quieter existence, whether you want a very dry climate or one which has some rain and humidity giving lush valleys.
There are 45 golf courses to enjoy, 13 are located in the northern part and this is where we will be concentrating on in this article.
In the northern Costa Blanca, you can still find a Spanish way of life, especially in the little inland villages where siestas are the norm and people don’t necessarily speak good English. On the coast, there are three main towns which are valued for all year round living, Dénia, Javéa and Calpe. Many British people have already found their ideal home here, whether it be in a comfortable villa or a spacious apartment. They are as lively in winter as in summer and offer an excellent lifestyle with every amenity you might need.
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This is a real working town as well as a popular spot to spend all year. It is a smart town with some very good shops and typical café culture. The indoor market is a place for people to meet and to stop for a tapa whilst doing the morning food shopping. There are 32 km of beaches from the town going north while to the south the coast is rockier and a good spot for water sports such as scuba diving and kayaking. The town was inhabited in Iberian times and has seen many peoples come and go, including the Greeks, Romans and Moors. The Moorish castle dominates Dénia, standing proudly on a rocky crag since the 12th century.
The historic Old Town is really pretty with different architectural styles including some very elegant facades as well as old fishermen’s cottages. Down by the port, wander around the two marinas or along the prom, or perhaps take your bike. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to sit in and just watch the boats gently moving in the water and there is also the 3 starred Michelin restaurant, Quique Dacosta.
The backdrop to the town is the 800 metres high Montgó mountain which, with the surrounding area, forms the Montgó Natural Park. This is a perfect place to enjoy the peace and quiet and 650 different species of birds, wildlife and flora. For birdwatchers, this is a paradise with peregrine falcons and eagles soaring above and smaller birds nesting. You can see wild boar, foxes and you can hike or cycle through the park.
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If you fancy a trip to the Balearic Islands, you can take the ferry and your car from Dénia. This is ideal for people who don’t want to fly for ethical or other reasons and who like the freedom to explore in their car.
When thinking of property, modern two-bedroom apartments start from €110,000 and a three-bedroom apartment close to the town and beach will be in the region of €315,000. A three-bedroom townhouse close to the sea has a price tag from €155,000 and villas go from €290,000 up to €3,500,000.
Javéa is a largish town with around 27,000 inhabitants with a mix of Spanish and foreigners. It too has the Montgó mountain overlooking it and boasts a pretty marina and port with the old town lying inland 3 km from the sea. Despite a booming tourism industry, the town is still essentially Spanish, complete with whitewashed houses and narrow, winding streets.
The sea is warm enough to swim in all year round but you might find it a little chilly in the winter months. There is a long promenade where you can enjoy a daily walk or stop and have a coffee or something stronger. Javéa has two beaches and not far from the town are four of the best golf courses on the Costa Blanca.
According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), Javéa lies in a micro-climate which is ideal for one’s health. Health is an important consideration for anyone planning to retire and this can explain the popularity of the town with people of all nationalities. As a result, there is a good support network but you should be aware you will find a very large number of other British ex-pats here. Integration is comparatively easy as there are several friendly organisations to help you find your way and to meet people.
Property prices: a three-bedroom villa costs anything from €200,000 up to over €2 million, and a two-bedroom apartment with sea views will be priced from €112,000 to €500,000.
The region is very easy to get to and is served by Alicante–Elche Airport with direct flights from London Gatwick, Manchester, Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Luton, Southend, Stansted, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Aberdeen and Liverpool. Flights are with British Airways, Easyjet, Ryanair and Jet 2.
The airport is close to the capital city, Alicante which lies in the middle of the Costa Blanca. You can reach the northern towns in around an hour by car. There is also a bus service from the airport.
Valencia airport is 121 km north and also has numerous flights from the United Kingdom with Ryanair and Easyjet. It’s around an hour and a half drive to Javéa from the airport and a considerably longer bus ride.