The Northern Costa Blanca: Guide for Prospective Expats

Altea Costa Blanca

In this section of our Costa Blanca resort guide, we look at the north end of the coast between Denia and Altea.

This section of the Costa Blanca is generally less built-up than the south and quite different in scenery and ‘feel’. Resorts and beaches tend to be smaller, although all are packed to bursting point in high summer.

We’ve listed resorts in a north-south direction towards Alicante.

Northern Costa Blanca – general characteristics.

Scenery – the northern Costa Blanca is considerably more mountainous than the south. High mountain ranges and hills back the coast, much of which is made up of plunging cliffs.

There are good beaches in this area, although they tend to be smaller than those further south. The Cabo de la Nao, a spectacular rugged cape, is the eastern-most point in this part of Spain and home to some stunning coves, some of which are only accessible by boat.

Weather – the northern end of the Costa Blanca enjoys around 320 days of sunshine a year.

Temperatures tend to be lower, particularly in winter – snow isn’t uncommon inland – and it rains more often here than in the southern part of the coast.

Size – the Costa Blanca resorts in the north are smaller and almost without exception, development is lower density. There’s little urban sprawl here and few high-rise buildings apart from those in Calpe.

Expat population – although the area is very popular with Northern Europeans – the British and German in particular – this area of the Costa Blanca has a lower foreign population. That said, in most resorts, foreigners make up at least a third of the inhabitants.

Cost of living – this is the most expensive section of the Costa Blanca, particularly in and around Altea and Javea. Denia is slightly cheaper.

Transport – buses provide the only public transport, although there are frequent services between Denia and Alicante. Connections from other destinations to Alicante tend to be slow.

A car is a must in many developments, particularly those in Teulada/Moraira.

The AP-7 motorway runs the entire length of this section of the coast, providing a fast but expensive way of getting around. The alternative, the N-332 that follows the coastline, is slow and often grid-locked in the summer.

Property prices – Costa Blanca property reaches its highest prices in this part of the coast.

Altea is home to some of the most expensive property in Spain and villas in the Cabo de la Nao area fetch millions. There are, however, cheaper properties for sale including small villas and apartments in many areas inland or to the north of Denia.

Find out more about the Costa Blanca property market here.

Expat amenities – generally excellent, particularly in enclaves popular with foreign residents.

There’s a good choice of international schools, supermarkets and services catering specifically
for foreigners.

Golf courses – this part of the Costa Blanca has four golf courses at Calpe, Altea, Jávea and Denia.


  • Population (2016): 41,465
  • Foreign population (2016): 8,918, 21.5% of total
  • Distance to Alicante Airport: 103km
  • More information: tourism website

The northern-most resort on the Costa Blanca, Denia is separated from the rest of the coastline by the Montgó natural park, one of the most important nature reserves in the area.

Denia has maintained its traditional Spanish character and continues to appeal mostly to Spanish holidaymakers.

Denia has the advantage of its own good beaches plus easy access to the miles of sands further north in Oliva and Gandía.

The attractive town centre has a castle and several historic streets.

Denia has some of the best amenities in this part of the Costa Blanca. These include healthcare services, excellent shopping and leisure activities such as watersports. Ferries from Denia port connect the Spanish mainland with Ibiza.


  • Population (2016): 27,225
  • Foreign population (2016): 11,680, 43% of total
  • Distance to Alicante Airport: 98km
  • More information: tourism website

Known as Xàbia in the Valencian language, Jávea ranks as one of the most attractive resorts in the area.

The town itself lies slightly inland and has the main services. El Arenal district, home to Jávea’s main beach, forms more of a holiday resort and has restaurants, nightclubs and holiday accommodation.

Jávea is generally one of the more upmarket resorts on the Costa Blanca, a status reflected in the cost of living. Property on the outskirts of the town, particularly in the developments around the Cabo de la Nao such as Portichol and Balcón del Mar, attracts premium prices.


  • Population (2016): 10,654
  • Foreign population (2016): 5,557, 52% of total
  • Distance to Alicante Airport: 93km
  • More information: tourism website

Actually known as Teulada-Moraira, Moraira is one of the most popular places for expat residents in this area of the Costa Blanca.

Teulada village lies inland in a mostly rural setting while the old fishing village of Moraira has a marina and attractive seafront promenade.

Much of this area is developed with villa and townhouse complexes. Few amenities are available although Jávea and Calpe are within easy reach.


  • Population (2016): 19,591
  • Foreign population (2016): 8,150, 42% of total
  • Distance to Alicante Airport: 78km
  • More information: tourism information

Calpe is home to probably the Costa Blanca’s most iconic natural landmark – the Peñón de Ifach, whose high rocky outcrop dominates the coastline.

The town itself is also high-rise with apartment and hotel blocks lining the seafront.

On the outskirts of the town are lots of townhouse and villa developments, popular with foreign residents, particularly Germans. Calpe has good beaches, a marina and a large salt lake, another characteristic of the Costa Blanca.


  • Population (2016): 21,739
  • Foreign population (2016): 6,884, 32% of total
  • Distance to Alicante Airport: 71km
  • More information: tourism website

Home to some of the most expensive property in the country, Altea also ranks as one of the most upmarket resorts on the Costa Blanca. The town itself has the reputation as one of the prettiest in the province and its blue-tiled domes are well-known landmarks.

Altea has a sizeable artist community and a year-round calendar of cultural events. The resort has two marinas and a golf course.