Things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with Kids: Spain Family Travel

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Looking for things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with kids? When parents visiting Spain with children start looking for family-friendly activities, several obvious choices appear in their Google searches. I’m here to tell you what we would recommend.

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Things to Do in Costa Blanca Spain

We enjoyed our visit to the Costa Blanca (“white coast”) region of Spain’s Alicante province. In northern Spain, we had already visited major Spanish destinations like Santander, San SebastianSantiago de Compostela, and Bilbao. This time, however, we’ve decided to stay close to our home base in Valencia and check out a few towns in the northern corner of Costa Blanca Spain.

The Costa Blanca region is just an hour or two by car from our apartment near downtown Valencia. Now that we’ve visited and can see what it has to offer, I’m kicking myself for not going earlier. Typical, right? Sometimes travelers like me daydream about distant locales. All the while, we overlook great places nearby…for over a year!

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Our Favorite Costa Blanca Spain Attractions

When most families visit Alicante with children, they head straight to a number of amusement parks and animal attractions in the area. All seem like popular choices when visiting Costa Blanca Spain with kids, but the water parks were closed for the season during our visit, and we don’t visit many zoos. The list below focuses on visiting the northern part of Costa Blanca Spain with kids.

Dénia Castle

Things to do in Costa Blanca with Kids: Spain Family Trave denia-castle

Around an hour’s drive from Valencia or Alicante, the city of Dénia has a massive 12-century castle looming above the city.

Located on a hill overlooking the sea, this castle was built by the Moors and then renovated by the French in the 19th century. Today, the Dénia Castle and the archeological museum within its walls are open to the public most days of the year.

Benidorm

Benidorm Things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with kids

Thanks to its early adoption of package tourism, Benidorm has been a vacation hotspot for the British and their neighbors since the 1950s. It’s easily one of the most popular things to do in Costa Blanca Spain, and the crowds prove it. Benidorm has recently been trying to shake its reputation as merely a tourist town, but the city still attracts thousands of pasty Europeans with promises of sun, sand, and sangria. 

The Old Quarter of Benidorm

The boulevards and winding passages of Benidorm’s Old Quarter are full of cafes, restaurants and other eateries, including one alley, comprised entirely of pintxo and tapas bars.

One thing we noticed about pintxo bars in Benidorm: almost everything is displayed behind glass or above eye level. This is different than most pinxto places we’ve been to in cities like Valencia, Santiago de Compostella, and San Sebastian. In all of these places, each heaving plate is displayed on open shelves where you can grab them at your leisure without the help of restaurant staff (you pay by the toothpick). This could be an adjustment for the out-of-towners (do tourists prefer a sneeze guard?), or could just be a coincidence. Eating tapas is a great thing to do in Costa Blanca or anywhere in Spain, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities here.

We were in Benidorm in late autumn, long after the summer crowds were gone. And yet the streets were full of people out for a drink or a simple stroll. If this was the low season, I can hardly imagine what it looks like during the height of summer holidays.

Benidorm: Our Verdict

What did we think of the place? I arrived as a skeptic but must report that we kind of liked Benidorm. Perhaps it was because we visited on Halloween weekend (kids in costume everywhere). Perhaps it was because the high season was over and we saw more Spanish people walking the streets. Or it could have been the cute local group of pensioners dancing in the streets.

Whatever the reason, we actually found the place bustling and quite charming and that’s why it makes our list of things to do in Costa Blanca Spain. Sure, it’s a tourist town. That said, the old quarter’s winding alleys and vibrant tapas scene won us over. What we found most interesting, however, was how prominent English was (did I mention this place had a lot of British tourists?). Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city, but proportionately, very few residents speak English.

In Benidorm and the surrounding towns, however, it seemed like lots of people spoke English, and signs in English and German were everywhere. We even came across English-language radio stations as we drove into town.

Terra Mítica

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Using the mythologies of Greece, Rome, and Egypt as its theme, Terra Mítica is an amusement park perched on the hillside overlooking Benidorm. If you and the kids like amusement parks, then this is one of the most fun things to do in Costa Blanca Spain.

We went on Halloween and had a blast. The high season was over, and it sometimes felt like we had much of the place to ourselves. All four of us would recommend Terra Mítica as one of the most fun things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with kids.

Altea

Things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with Kids altea white

Things to do in Costa Blanca with Kids: Spain Family Travel

Drive 20 minutes north of Benidorm and you’ll find this charming beachside town. Here all the buildings hug the coastline and are painted white. Sleepy cafes serve beer, paella, and apple strudel. If you want a slower pace, then a day or three in Altea is a mellower thing to do in Costa Blanca Spain.

We went to one of Altea’s stone beaches, which was rougher on the kids’ feet. There are sand beaches elsewhere we’ve read, but the stone beach was just 20 or 30 meters away from the cafes. That meant Keiko and I could sit with a nice cafe cortado and watch the kids play in the water.

La Vila Joiosa

la vila joiosa things to do in costa blanca spain

Twenty minutes south of Benidorm is La Vila Joiosa, another sleepy beach town with cafes and restaurants hugging the shoreline. The town of Altea was mostly painted white, but the residents of La Vila Joiosa decided to go Technicolor. We liked the beach here better than in Altea. Moreover, there were some very hammock-worthy trees right there on the sand (no accident, I’m sure). Between Altea and La Vila Joiosa, which is the best town in Costa Blanca Spain to visit? Hard to say. Aesthetically, I like La Vila Joiosa better, but we weren’t in either town long enough to judge which we’d like to spend more time in.

Water Sports in Costa Blanca

Things to do in Costa Blanca with Kids: Spain Family Travel -cave-kids sea kayak snorkel Javea

Water sports are one of the most exciting things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with kids. The rugged, rocky coast is still warm and sunny even in November, and the water is as clear and blue as a swimming pool. There are plenty of outdoor companies in the area to choose from, as well.

Sea Kayaking

This is one of the most popular Costa Blanca activities. We chose Siesta Advisor for a sea kayaking tour and had a blast. That said, sea kayaking may not be best for families with preschoolers, as it requires either too much paddling or too much sitting still. River kayaking is a little different. However, for any other families on Spain’s Costa Blanca with kids between five and up, we can’t recommend this highly enough, especially for teens and tweens.

Coasteering

Things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with Kids coasteering

Okay, so maybe this isn’t for young kids, either, but it’s something we plan to do in the near future. Similar to canyoning (which we love), coasteering is using Spain’s rocky coast as an extreme playground. Once we go, I’ll be sure to write about it here.

Algar Waterfalls

Things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with Kids algar waterfall

Perhaps kayaking sounds too strenuous for your tastes. Maybe jumping off rocks during a coasteering expedition sounds downright crazy? If so, then I suggest Algar Waterfalls as what to do in Costa Blanca. Nestled into a nature reserve, these falls are beautiful year-round, but it’s best to visit when you can take a dip. There are an entrance fee and plenty of stairs alongside the water, but few places in the area are better for a dip.

Where to Stay in Costa Blanca Spain

benidorm hotel 1 Things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with Kids

We stayed at Pierre & Vacances Benidorm Poniente. While not centrally located, we enjoyed our time here and could imagine that its 10-minute-drive separation from downtown would be an asset in the crazy high season.

Our suite had a bedroom and sofa bed, living room and fully-equipped kitchen. There were plenty of pots, pans, plates, and utensils, which we used for a few breakfasts. Inexplicably, toasters were available, but you had to ask for them at the front desk.

benidorm hotel Things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with Kids

Things to do in Costa Blanca with Kids: Spain Family Travel

The view from our deck

It appears as if this place caters to an older generation: everything seems designed for wheelchairs (including our shower), and I saw a sign near the front desk advertising mobility scooter rentals. There was an outdoor pool, but it was too cold by nightfall to use. The indoor heated pool was small, but the kids enjoyed it. Surprisingly, the pool required a shower cap. We had none but used the pool anyway and no one complained. In Japan, you might not be allowed to swim in a public pool without a swimming cap. But in Spain? Well, I’m not sure. It seemed so “un-Spanish” to carry a swimming cap with you.

Have You Visited Costa Blanca Spain?

What did you do? Where did you stay? Where did you eat? We’d love to keep updating this post for those visiting Spain with children. What fun things to do in Costa Blanca Spain with kids would you recommend?

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best things to do in Costa Blanca Spain. 

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Comments

  1. Hi Jason

    What is generally the cost of food and rental of apartment in Spain on average or in Valencia ? Thanks

    • Hi Apple,

      I’m afraid that is hard to answer. The costs can vary dramatically on many factors. Are you eating out much or cooking at home? How many people are you feeding? Are you looking at fine dining or kebabs on the sidewalk? Are you meat-eaters or vegetarians? Are you living downtown or in an apartment in the suburbs. How many bedrooms? Renting a furnished or unfurnished apartment? Prices range from 300 to 1300 euros or much more. We had a 3br furnished apartment near the park for 500 euro/month, but it took a long time to find it. It was small and in an old building, but was great for us & our needs.

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