In the south-east corner of Spain between Valencia and Murcia, is Alicante province. Dubbed the ‘California of Europe’ by some, this part of the Spanish coastline became known as the Costa Blanca or ‘White Coast’ because of its 200kms of pristine sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.
Prior to the tourist boom, Alicante was comprised mainly of fishing villages, wine and citrus farms. However all that changed when the first air routes to the Valencia region opened up in 1957. Today, Alicante is a tourist mecca with first-rate infrastructure and leisure facilities, receiving around five million tourist visitors annually, making it an excellent place to invest in holiday letting properties.
Already fairly populous with nearly two million permanent inhabitants, Alicante has over the years become home to a thriving community of foreign retirees and lifestyle immigrants, many of them British or German, attracted by the healthy Mediterranean climate, unspoilt beauty of the lush, rocky coastline and Uncategorized salt marshes, as well as the fresh local seafood. Today, English is probably the second-most commonly-spoken language in Alicante after the native Valenciano.
Traditionally divided into a more affluent north and less well-heeled south, since the Spanish property boom, such demographics have become meaningless. All along the Costa Blanca, you’ll find luxury beach resorts, spacious villas and modern housing developments, as well as marinas filled with yachts.
The province has not lost all of its original charm though – there are still quaint Mediterranean villages with charming cobbled streets, ancient churches and historical architecture to be found; and the old quarters of many towns such as Altea and Javea continue to act as major drawcards for their historical value and café culture by day, and their restaurants and bars by night.
The capital, Alicante, is a genteel city with an international airport – the main point of access for the province – as well as many historical buildings, tree-lined boulevards, parks, palm-fringed beach and eye-catching harbour with marina.
Other places worth mentioning are Benidorm – the tourist capital of the Costa Blanca with first class entertainment facilities and pleasant micro-climate; Torrevieja -with its great golf courses and bird sanctuary in the Uncategorized salt marshes nearby; and Javea – a lush enclave of exclusive cliffside villas.
Property prices in Alicante are generally 3% higher than the Spanish national average, but buyers can still get good value for money if they do their research. Currently real estate sales in Alicante tend to centre around major tourist centres where holiday rental yields are still healthy, although bargains can still be found in the less-crowded outskirts.
Second home buyers and retirees tend to prefer quieter, less crowded or developed areas such as Benitachell, Denia and Javea. However, this less commercial aspect has begun to take on a certain cache, so that property here is not as cheap as one might expect.
Still, though, for health, lifestyle and quality of life, the Costa Blanca is hard to beat and property in Alicante is well worth considering.