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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Costa Blanca

Things to do in Costa Blanca

Whether you're hoping to shop 'til you drop, splash around an aquapark or witness beautiful wildlife, holidays to Costa Blanca have you covered. From stunning architecture to waterfalls, there's plenty to see and do on this white sand coast.

Fun parks

To help cool you down, Aqualand waterpark has 15 rides including some of the world's highest, and at Mundomar the animal experiences range from swimming with sea lions to feeding meerkats. For big thrills, head to Terra Mitica theme park. It has rides for different ages and degrees of braveness, a 5D cinema to test all your senses, as well as shows and street acrobatics. Or there's more family-oriented Iberia Park with tamer rides, pirate shows and a spa zone. You can get combined tickets to any two of these parks, allowing you to visit on different days, which can save up to €17 per person.

For the latest concept in wildlife parks, visit Terra Natura, which has a 'Zooinmersion' section. You can get inches from the tigers, elephants and rhinos with nothing in-between you except an almost-invisible piece of glass. It also has the AquaNatura waterpark on the side, with five large sections including a wave pool, water chutes and children's pool. Combined tickets are available for the Natura parks if you fancy visiting both on your holiday. If you're staying in Moraira, there's no need to leave the town for entertainment, as it is home to a fun park and a go-kart track.

Scenic views

It's worth venturing to the top of the old town and finding Placa del Castell, which gives outstanding views across both of Benidorm's beaches. You can have a pit-stop on the walk up at one of the tapas bars in the twisting streets below and at night time the area comes alive with artists and craft stalls.

The Macizo del Montgo Natural Park lies between Denia and Moraira and is a great place to get away from it all – just you and your walking boots. You can pick up a guide to the park's walking routes from Denia Tourist Information, which includes paths that take in the lighthouse.

If you want to take in the mountainous scenery of the area but don't fancy hiking through unchartered land, visit the quaint town of Guadalest which is perched atop a sheer cliff face. As you may prefer to drive to the top, between Javea and Denia, and see the old windmills. well as the awesome scenery, there is a castle, museums, plenty of pavement cafes and a few local craft shops to wander around.

The crystal clear waters of the Algar River are sure to tempt you on a balmy Spanish day. Around 15-minute drive away from both Benidorm and Moraira, as well as the chance to take a dip, there is a 1.5-kilometre walkway that crosses the river and offers amazing views over the Algar Waterfalls.

City sights

For a thoroughly cultured day you can take the tram into Alicante and walk around the hilltop Castle of Santa Barbara for free – the only cost is for the lift to the top for around €2. You may want to visit Michelin-recommended La Ereta restaurant while you're there, situated at the bottom of the castle mound. Alicante's MARQ Provincial Archaeological Museum is a good place to keep the kids entertained and shows different periods of civilisation in the area.

On the other side of the coin, Valencia is an ultra-modern city of arts and sciences which mixes baroque architecture with some that is altogether more space-age. Its oceanographic aquarium is vast and at Albufera Nature Park, you can set sail on a typical Valencian boat for a mini lake cruise.

Pretty towns

The Gibraltar of Costa Blanca, Calpe is a pleasant seaside town which is dominated by a large rocky outcrop called the Penon de lfach, which rises from the sea. Easy to walk round and with a wide path suitable for wheelchairs and prams, the fittest holidaymakers can climb to the top. Just make sure you're wearing your sensible shoes. On either side are two wide sandy beaches where you can lie back and soak up the scenery.

The town of Elche is best known for its botanical gardens, full of cacti and palm trees, some of which look far from your ordinary variety. There is also a large playground for kids. The Palacio de Altamira next door is an interesting place to visit to see how, over the centuries, it has acted as a palace, textile factory and prison.

Shopping

There's plenty of shopping to be done on Costa Blanca holidays. Benidorm alone has all you could need among its malls, designer and independent boutiques. You'll also find designer names in Alicante and on Denia's tree-lined Carrer Marques de Campo. Alicante's Avenida Maisonnave has all the brand names you could wish for and Denia's offerings include high street favourites like Mango and Zara.

Once known as the shoe capital of Spain, Elche's Salvador Artesano shoe factory outlet is the size of a football pitch. Elche also has the L'Aljub shopping mall and El Corte Ingles department store – Spain's equivalent of John Lewis.

The area is also ripe with markets too, where you can pick up all the essentials, as well as a few things you didn't know you needed. In the market town of Moraira, Friday morning is the time to browse for food, clothing, soft furnishings and household goods. Cheap holidays to Benidorm aren't complete without a visit to one of the its three markets, either at the weekend or on a Wednesday. One of which is a flea market, one more for clothes and gifts and the third selling local fruit and vegetables, crafts and other Spanish products. If you're visiting Alicante, you might stumble upon one of the small arts and crafts markets dotted about the city.