Now that spring has arrived we thought that it was time to turn our attention to the crowning glory of our neighbourhood – the magnificent coastline with its wide beaches and plunging cliffs. As the weather turns warmer and the sea settles people will return to the delights of our world famous Costa Blanca. Time then for us to write about one of our favourite towns on the coast, Albir.
Albir is one of the resorts that pepper the coast north of Benidorm. In summer these seaside towns, beach villages and marinas run like a string of jewels along the shimmering blue of the mediterranean; Albir, Altea, Mascarat, Calpe, Cap Blanc, Moraira, el Portet … everyone has their favourite. For us it’s Albir that offers the best combination of attractions.
Nestled in the crook of a rocky headland (Serra Gelada) the little town of Albir stretches north along the shore until it seamlessly merges into its more famous and glamorous neighbour town of Altea. Famous Altea is renowned for its historic white painted old quarter perched on a hilltop high above the sea and one might suppose that it would be Altea that would have captured our hearts with its pretty winding streets, chic boutiques and classic spanish restaurants. However, one doesn’t necessarily always want chic, quaint or classic at the seaside and so it is with Altea; a visit can leave one feeling somehow a little let down and that is where Albir comes into its own…
Albir packs a big punch because it manages to combine several treats in one location and it works extremely hard to please its visitors. Firstly, there is the obvious attraction of its long, low flat town beach which isn’t just a practical place to put down a towel for a few hours but has been turned into a proper social space with a life all of its own. Running along the beach paseo are a slew of funky and comfortable lounge bars and restaurants offering a much more exotic range of food, snacks and drinks than is normal in Spanish beach resorts; a definite attempt has been successfully made to widen the offering away from the normal Spanish or British Costa Blanca food one still finds in all too many beach resorts. It is entirely possible to spend the entire day drifting from bar to bar sampling inventive cocktails and asian fusion cuisine whilst people-watching at the varied flow of humanity passing along the pavements; if that sounds a little decadent, well isn’t that what beach resorts are for?
The paseo even has its own movie “walk of fame” with bronze stars set into the marble pavement, a testament to the annual Spanish language film festival that takes place in the town, Festival de Cine de l’Alfàs del Pi. Many of the major Spanish film makers and stars have their own plaque. It is perhaps quite telling that the stars honoured tend towards the arthouse end of cinema and this is typical of Albir’s ability to stylishly carry off quite a tacky thing like a “walk of fame” with a twist of sophistication.
For those people able to drag themselves away from the beachfront bars and celebrity pavement the town offers other, different, attractions. Head south through the town and towards the headland that rises up like a great green wall. This is the Parque Natural de la Serra Gelada and is a protected natural space criss-crossed by walking paths. Follow the old road to the lighthouse through tunnels and past worked out mines to step back in time to a wilder and undeveloped landscape. The walk to the lighthouse takes about an hour and offers incredible views over the coast and sea. Perhaps the most precious thing that the parque offers is the chance to step away from the development and bustle of the coast and discover what it was that first made our coast famous and sought after; its immense natural beauty.
Properly restored by the power of nature one is finally ready to end the day with another of Albir’s little surprises; one of the best sunset vantage points on the coast. The rooftop bar of the Hotel Sun Palace Albir has a great menu of classic cocktails, a resident DJ and fantastic views over the towers of Benidorm; no better place to watch the sun sink after another perfect day of lotus eating. Albir offers the visitor a great combination of things to do and see with wonderful food and drink thrown into the mix, So if you are wondering where to spend a day at the seaside we invite you to consider Albir.
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