Last week we talked about the places we thought that were worth looking at (And also Oropesa) to the North of Valencia. Today we go down the coast from Valencia towards and into Alicante to show you places you should be investigating if you are interested in living near the best beaches in Valencia.
As we mentioned last week the majority of our clients want to live in or around Valencia but that doesn't mean if you want to live elsewhere we cannot give you the best service possible. Our tentacles reach out both up and down the coast despite our focus being the city of Valencia itself and the areas around it. Also, just to reiterate what we said in the first part of the guide to the beach towns in the Valencia community, we are looking at places which don't become ghost towns in the winter and to a large extent don't get overrun in the summer (You'll notice a distinct lack of Benidorm here). So let's start and we will be going from north to south, from the nearest to Valencia to the furthest away.
Lying between the Mediterranean sea to the one side and the Albufera lake to the other, El Saler is probably one of the few places on our list where it's possible to see both sunrise and sunset over water if you get the right apartment. Every evening people gather on the bridges going south out of El Saler to take sunset pictures over the Albufera so instagram can continue to have more than its fair share of images of the sun going down.
El Saler has a peculiarity which most other places don't, most of the properties you can find there were originally constructed totally illegally or during a lull in the protection of the coastline between 1968-74. Eventually this destruction of the sand dunes, the protected area of the Monte de la Dehesa and the Albufera was stopped and since then a reconversion of the area to it's original state has happened. All that is left are the tower blocks and small urbs of the Gola de Pujol which despite their illegality are protected from being knocked down.
Therefore, a limited supply of properties in a protected area so close to the city means that there is a lot of demand when these properties come up for sale, however ugly they may look (And they mostly do look ugly because after all, this was the 70s, not a decade known for its stunning architectural feats). However when you are in your ugly 70s tower block you look over the tree canopy towards either the Mediterranean or the Albufera or on rare occasions both. Remember you are not looking at the tower blocks.
And just a little side note here, just to the north of El Saler beach and to the south of Valencia's Port you can find Pinedo beach which merits a mention not because it is a place to recommend living but because it's a dog beach, one where you can take your little furry friends and they can play with the other dogs.
Sueca is a strange one. When you get to the south of the Albufera lake having gone past Perrelló and Perollenet (And yes, go past them and try not to look left at the 1970s carbuncles in a strip along the coast) you get to a few places such as Mareny de Barraquetes, Mareny Blau and Bega del Mar where you can get peace and quiet, even during the summer months in certain areas, a huge long strip of golden sands and decent value properties. Essentially this is the area of Sueca. From the town of Sueca to the beaches you have a flat area which lends itself to great photographs with big skies and little fluffy clouds as can be seen in the images below and the town of Sueca itself is rather fetching and even has a chocolate museum. Valencia is reachable by train from Sueca past the Albufera and it's a decent train ride or a leisurely drive.
Cullera continues to grow on me. I used to think it a mini-Benidorm but there's a lot to be said for the sheltered cove, the lighthouse on the headland and the long beaches leading to Sueca in the north. It used to be totally dead in the winter but that's not the case now and the stable population of over 22000 is complmented by large numbers of people coming into the town at weekends, holidays and in the summer. The walks around the mountains behind the town give spectacular views and sometimes you manage to see sights such as those captured by my drone earlier this year and also a few others that can be seen below.
Gandia is composed of two areas, Gandia town and Gandia Playa and really they couldn't be more different.
Gandia town is a large town of over 75000 people and it has everything you may want for comfortable living. It was the home of the Borgias (The really debauched popes in the 15th century, although to be fair debauchery was common at the time, they just took it to a new level) and maybe they should have just stayed in Gandia and waited a few centuries rather than disappearing off to Rome.
The second part of Gandia is Gandia Playa and the Borgias would definitely be at home there in the summer now. It's known as Madrid's beach and it's where the Madrileños go to let their hair down in the summer. It's not pretty and it's not recommended. They even recorded Gandia Shore there which was the Spanish equivalent of Jersey Shore in the States or Geordie Shore in the UK. It was cancelled after just one series among a series of scandals and the fear of the taking of Gandia downmarket. It did its job.
Gandia is a great place to live, Gandia Playa isn't.
Back in the day in the late 80s, I spent a week in Oliva with a load of college friends while interrailing around Spain. One of their parents had bought a townhouse in Oliva town for a princely handful of pesetas to the equivalent of 3000 UK Pounds and they had a handyman on call permanently who didn't speak a word of Spanish, he was really, really Valenciano. I remember the beach area reminding me of one of the recent films I had seen, Betty Blue, I remember the worst Flan I had ever eaten at that point and long lazy days messing around and enjoying the really slow pace of life. I returned home and told my parents to buy a place there. They didn't. People didn't do things like that in the 80s. Spain was for holidays for a maximum of two weeks, usually a coach holiday with a 36 hour journey both ways to the Costa Brava and people didn't think "I'll get myself a villa so I can pop over on Easyjet or Ryanair every month."
Oliva has developed since then and the town of Oliva itself is large with plenty of facilities. Just to the South you can find Oliva Nova for its beach club and golf and between the two there are plenty of sand dune lined beaches. I wouldn't recommend Oliva town for living really, the top part of the Old Town is a bit decrepit and with too many empty and falling down townhouse homes which are targetted at times for robberies (A friend of mine had his place robbed three times when it was up for sale) but the beach area hasn't been massively overdeveloped and the beaches are wonderful fringed by sand dunes that protect the coastline towns. Looking South we can see the rise of the Montgó, the mountain separating Denia from Javea and it is there that we go to next as we move along the coast.
And yes, I know those of you living in Oliva will disagree with me and say how lovely the Old Town is and that it doesn't have greater levels of crime or decrepitude than other places but I beg to differ.
Denia is a bit different from the other towns listed here as it is known for more than its beaches, although those beaches are rather nice. You can catch the ferry over to Mallorca and Ibiza from Denia, there is a smattering of amazing restaurants topped off with Quique Dacosta's Els Poblets and the huge mass of the Montgó mountain to the south gives it a different look to many other places.
Back in the day Denia was known as a more Germanic destination and Javea a more British place but these days both places attract an international crowd along with the local Spanish population too. Denia has an excellent town centre for your retail therapy, is compact and has an excellent Marina for those of you who are into watersports. Prices of property in Denia are hgher than many of the other places because now we are getting into the better known beach areas of Alicante.
Javea as previously mentioned was the closest place to Valencia where you could find UK expat culture for better or for worse. What does that mean? Well, the famous Scallops fish bar which overlooked the Arenal beach, but it isn't as good since it moved, Iceland Supermarket, Specsavers, All Day English Breakfasts and wintering pensioners strolling up and down the prom all day and wondering what time to have their first G+T.
However, these days Javea has a much more international crowd and expensive property prices due to this international demand. Just over an hour and a bit from Valencia city, Javea is reachable for your days out from Valencia and there is a selection of excellent restaurants, cafes and bars by the Arenal and also in the old town around the Port to the North. Used to be known as "God's Waiting Room" for obvious reasons but there are younger families living there now as evidenced by the presence of an international school in the area.
We need to be really careful with what we say about Moraira because "we have had complaints!" But really there is nothing to dislike. It's not as lively as Denia or Javea, it's a smaller town after all but the town beach is lovely and just around the corner the Cala de Portet is amazing, again, like something found on the more rugged Costa Brava with safe, shallow turquoise waters and stunning surroundings.
Just like the other places Moraira has a good selection of cafes, bars and restaurants open all year round and there are enough people around in the winter for it not to be considered a ghost town. Property is expensive here though so you've got to really want it. If you do then like some other people you may consider it heavenly.
I don't like Calpe at all. There you go. Cards on the table straight away. Tower blocks, 70s architecture, allied to the worst excesses of the early 2000s and despite the rather excellent Peñon de Ifach it all feels a bit soulless. I also got served the worst coffee I have ever had here once in a bar called the Toro Blanco, now permanently closed (Fortunately) according to Google Maps at least, Mellow Birds in the land of strong coffee. For me there are no redeeming features to Calpe. 24000 people disagree with me and live there. Close to Alicante and one of the last stops before the horrors of Benidorm, Calpe foreshadows what's to come further down the coast.
Altea is a Dutch town full of artists with a new beach and a really lovely old town. OK, that's not exactly true but it's the impression it gives. I really like the Old Town of Altea, built into the hill, but the town is slightly let down by the road going through it and separating the town from the Promenade. 23000 people call Altea their home and that population grows in the summer as the tourists come in. 23000 people though is enough to support a thriving arts scene, plenty of watering holes and excellent restaurants. Again, Altea is not cheap due to this demand but the Northern Costa Blanca part of Alicante which includes Altea, along with the aforementioned Moraira, Javea and Denia, is known for being more expensive than their more down at heel cousins to the Southern Costa Blanca in Torrevieja and the like.
So that's it. That's our guide. Feeling tempted? Remember Valencia is not at all homogenous. The north of the region is very different to the south and each area of Castellón, Valencia itself and Alicante has it's own character and feeling. Inland is very different from the coastal areas and the size of the Valencian Community gives you plenty to explore wherever you choose to base yourself. For most people that we deal with Valencia City itself is a great base to start their explorations because it's slap bang in the middle of the coastline of Valencia and equidistant to both Castellón to the North and Alicante to the South. As usual we finish by asking, what's not to like?
If you are thinking of relocating your family and life to Valencia then contact us and let us help you. You won't find a more knowledgeable team than the group we work together with at Valencia Property (Our staff, the lawyers we work with, the mortgage advisors, the currency firms, the builders and the project managers) and we look forward to helping you find your perfect Valencia Property.
Golden Visa Property of the Week
Ever fancied yourself as a bit of a small hotel owner? In a lovely town just outside one of the nicest cities in Spain and on the edge of the countryside? This property is up for sale In RibaRoja. It's in the town, but backs on to the Huerto, so beautiful open views of fields and orange groves (what did you expect to see, Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain …?).
This 3-star hotel has 12 bedrooms and bathrooms, including 2 suites. You’ll see from the photos that the building has been perfectly maintained and restored. The building dates from the 19th century, so it's seen its fair bit of history, but whatever you do, don’t mention the war. I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it.
There is a large reception area, dining room, living room with a fireplace, a professional kitchen as well as an apartment and staff rooms and a laundry. Barcelona isn’t too far away, would probably be easy to pick up some quality waiting staff from there.
Obviously there’s a lot more to tell you and explain, about the building, the business and all there is to do nearby and if you get in touch we'll be happy to explain all. So not exactly the worst hotel in the world. No, certainly not, I won’t have that, there’s a place in Eastbourne…
It could be a house as well (For insights like this and more wait until you meet David)
Property of the Week
Many of you will know that we are not a typical estate agent. We don't like boring descriptions that don't add anything to your understanding of a property so we try to go out there a bit with our descriptions. One of this week's comes in the form of a poem. Take a look
There was a nice flat in the city
Who’s suitors said “Wow, thats so pretty”
So with foresight and vision
They made a decision
But offered too low, what a pity
And they missed out ten times and again
Good apartments came on and they went
And they couldn’t think why
Their luck had run dry
Though we’d told them the reason no end
The market is booming we know
And the owners are running the show
So open the coffers and make sure a good offer
Or you run risk of receiving a NO
So they took the advice from G Hunt
Said a price that didn’t affront
Bought a wonderful place
With great light and space
Such a shame that the neighbours a £&@!
Ba dum tsss, not really, neighbours are decent folk and the flat is really worth a look, so you know what to do........
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