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Costa Blanca North

The Costa Blanca North is a popular part of Spain because of its great weather and fantastic beaches.

This part of Spain has been deemed to be one of the healthiest places in the world to live, according to the World Health Organisation. This is one reason why it has such great appeal for expats and second-home owners from across Europe.

The British, Dutch and Germans have a long-running love affair with the Costa Blanca North area stretching from Denia in the North to Alicante in the South. Now more countries are getting to know the region.

Expats and second-home owners are more likely to settle in smaller and rather exclusive beach resorts or inland areas. Firm favourites for property purchase are Javea, Denia, Calpe, Altea, Moraira, Benissa, Benitachell and the little towns and villages in and around the Jalon Valley.

Javea and Moraira are affluent areas along the coastline of the Costa Blanca North and are not under the same financial constraints as other locations in Spain.

As well as the beautiful beaches and coves, the magnificent mountains and beautiful green scenery with tree covered hills and olive and orange groves are another major attraction.

There are many top class golf courses to choose from. Sports lovers can also participate in tennis, football, rugby, cricket, walking, hiking, climbing and horse-riding.

Cyclists can follow in the tread marks of the professional teams which train in the Costa Blanca region during the winter and spring months. The long stretches of coastal roads and the tough climbs through the mountains such as the Sierra de Bernia are a fabulous test for the cyclists.

Water sports include sailing with various regattas such as the Denia to Ibiza salt race and the Volvo Ocean Race which started its round-the-world marathon from Alicante.

Shoppers can enjoy wandering around open-air markets which are held weekly in most towns or buying fish straight from the boats at the afternoon fish auctions. High-street names such as Zara and Mango are found in most towns along with boutiques and more traditional shops.

Shopping centres with high-street brands can be found at the Portal de la Marina in Ondara and the La Marina mall at Benidorm. Primark can be found in the Gran Via commercial centre in Alicante.

Food lovers are in for a treat with a wide variety of fish and shellfish straight from the fishing boats. The Denia red prawn is a local delicacy and even has an annual cookery competition held in its honour. Other delights include sea urchins, lobsters, tuna, sardines, bass or bream.

Paellas are served in 101 varieties made with rice from Pego, just north of Denia, or the Albufera, near Valencia.

Sweet-toothed food fans may like a visit to the Valor chocolate factory in Villajoyosa or to the turron (similar to nougat) factory in Jijona, near Alicante.

Alicante wines are inexpensive and include some award-winning reds from the Jalon Valley as well as good cavas and sweet moscatel wines.

Throughout the year, fiestas will be held in various Costa Blanca North towns. These include carnival in February or March, fallas in March when giant, satirical statues are put up in the streets in Denia and Benidorm before being burnt, bull-running in Pedreguer, Javea and Denia, and Moors and Christians, which is particularly spectacular in Calpe.

Although the Spanish health and education services are excellent, there are also first-class private schools following the English curriculum and private health services with doctors who speak English, Dutch, French and German as well as Spanish.

The main beach resorts have a good road network with the AP7 toll road and N332 highway providing links to Valencia and Alicante international airports. High-speed trains from these two cities run to most other major Spanish cities including Madrid and Barcelona. There is a daily ferry service from Denia to Ibiza and Mallorca as well as ferries from Alicante to Algeria.

Properties for sale in the Costa Blanca North area range from pretty white washed villas in inland villages or traditional fincas to frontline beach apartments or modern villas with sea or mountain views.