Orihuela Costa beaches among the best in Valencia
Approximately 16 km of coastline encompasses the Orihuela Costa with the glistening waters of the Mediterranean complementing the sandy coves, many of which are Blue Flag and Q Flag beaches.
What is a Blue Flag beach?
The Foundation for Environmental Education awards blue flag status to beaches internationally, once they have met their strict criteria. This includes safety, environmental education and management, together with the availability of services. The status shows the quality standards of a beach and its excellent environmental criterion.
What is a Q Flag beach?
This certification is awarded by the Spanish Institute for Tourism Quality after a number of evaluations and inspections of quality systems in services to the public. The Q Flag award is conditional upon compliance with strict protocol and specifications. It stands for quality, safety and prominence, a beach that stands out for all the right reasons.
Between Q and Blue Flag awards, Orihuela Costa has the most in the entire Valencian province.
The first of the sandy coves of Orihuela Costa is the popular Punta Prima beach. Accessed through the urbanisation of Punta Prima, having turned off from the N332, parking may be challenging in high season. A bus stop within the urbanisation offers the option of travelling by public transport. Protected from the wind by the cliff above, the beach is accessed by steps, ramps and a recently installed lift, making it easier for physically challenged visitors. This Blue and Q Flag beach has numerous rocks and coves in the surrounding area, which is great if you fancy a spot of snorkelling. The chiringuito (beach bar) makes an ideal place to sit and have a cocktail while people-watching or simply to enjoy a delicious lunch after building up an appetite swimming in the clear blue sea. After lunch take a stroll along the nearby coastal walkway that connects the beaches of the Orihuela Costa.
There are two beaches on the coastline of the popular Playa Flamenca resort. Both are well signposted off the N332 and easily accessible by bus or on foot, if living or holidaying nearby. Parking is available around the beaches but the early bird catches the worm, so to speak.
While not being the widest of the Orihuela Costa beaches, Cala Mosca isn’t the smallest. Facilities in the high season on this Blue Flag beach, include a chiringuito, sunbeds and parasols for hire. If sunbathing isn’t for you, enjoy the volleyball regularly played on this sandy beach. Take a dip in the sea, safe in the knowledge that lifeguard services are available in high season together with a first aid station in the event of an emergency. If you feel the need to clean your sandy feet after a wonderful day in the sun, avail of the foot showers as you leave Cala Mosca.
One of the first beaches of Orihuela Costa to have gained ‘Q’ flag together with its Blue Flag status this cove is wider but shorter than its sister beach, Cala Mosca at Playa Flamenca. Separating the coastline between neighbouring La Zenia and Cala Estaca is a watercourse that prevents flooding in heavy rain, thus shaping this popular cove. With easy access via a ramp, amenities are plentiful on this beach. Sit at the traditional chiringuito enjoying your refreshment of choice or entertain the children at one of the two playgrounds which this beach enjoys. Relax on the sunbeds for hire or slip in under the shade of a parasol for an afternoon snooze. A stroll along the promenade might entice you to peruse the menu at one of the nice cafe bars which overlook both Playa Flamenca beaches.
The coastal walk which links all of the beaches along the Orihuela Costa continues from Playa Flamenca to two beaches in La Zenia. If accessing these by car, turn left off the N332 at the La Zenia roundabout and look for parking anywhere along the palm tree-lined Avenida las Palmeras or nearby streets. There is also a bus stop at the roundabout on the N332 from where a short walk will lead to the two beaches.
La Cala Bosque
One of the most popular on the Orihuela Costa at any time of the year, the Blue Flag beach called Cala Bosque is patrolled by lifeguards during high season. For sun-worshippers, sunbeds and parasols are available for hire and for the more energetic, water sports are popular including pedalos and jet skis.
The current on this beach can be deceptively strong so always take reasonable care when swimming. A chiringuito on the beach competes with the popular Restaurante La Mirada overlooking the sandy cove, where you can eat literally morning, noon and night during the summer months. The restaurant is open throughout the year, even on Christmas day, when this beach is the focus for locals to gather in celebration, having BBQs, singing carols, some wearing Santa suits, even the odd few taking a dip in the Med. For ardent pool lovers, the restaurant boasts a private swimming pool, open in the high season, where you can pay for sunbeds and parasols to cool down without sand between your toes. Watersports are popular at La Zenia beach including pedalos and jet skis, which can be obtained by the shore. Easy flat access fro the pavement, children’s playground, toilet facilities and wooden walkway placed on the sand, are among the facilities that have gained Cala Bosque Blue Flag status.
Cala Cerrada is a beach mainly used by local residents. It is set below the Paseo del Mar, which is the walkway along the seafront of La Zenia.
Fancy a pint but not the sand? If so, sit at that bar overlooking the comparatively small cove which can be accessed via a ramp from the paseo above.
Prefer beach life? That’s ok, quench your thirst at the chiringuito on the beach, with sunbeds and shades for hire in high season.
Continue along the coastal path by foot, from the beaches of La Zenia to find the hidden gem that is Cala Capitan, in the urbanisation of Cabo Roig. Accessing the beach by car, turn off the N332 at the La Regia roundabout, then drive through Avenido del Cabo until you see a sign for the beach, which will be on the left-hand side.
Sitting between the beaches of La Zenia and Cabo Roig this cove, nestled between a backdrop of traditional Spanish villas and the infamous cliff walk that forms part of the coastal path, has also been awarded both Q and Blue Flag status. A short swim from the shore brings you to Carmen’s Island which is popular for scuba diving and fishing. Sitting at the chiringuito sipping sangria in the early evening sun, watch in amazement as the Spanish locals and visitors often choose the latter part of the hot summer days to enjoy the beach.
The La Caleta Blue and Q Flag beach of Cabo Roig is also accessible from Avenido del Cabo, having turned off from the N332 coastal road at the La Regia roundabout. Well signposted, this beautiful cove has three access points, on the right-hand side, through residential streets in the urbanisation. Ramps and steps lead down to the beach, from the road above and even off-season this secluded cove is a great place to find a sun trap with the backdrop of the cliff walk for shelter. Plenty of facilities are on offer, including sunbeds, temporary toilets, pedal boats and jet skis for rent. There is also a first age station and lifeguard patrol in the high season. While the beach has the traditional chiringuito during through summer months, serving food and refreshments, take a hop and a skip north of the cove, to find an established upmarket restaurant, open all year round, serving a delicious menu, with sunbeds for hire, away from the sand. Stroll past the restaurant and you will find a small charming marina, with boats of all sizes berthed by sea-loving owners.
Playa de la Gea
Exiting the N332 after Cabo Roig, then crossing back over the bridge, leads to Playa de la Glea.
One of the longest of the Orihuela Costa beaches, at 513 metres Playa de la Glea is easily accessed in the middle by flat ground. On either end of the beach, where the terrain is more elevated, there are steps and ramps also available. Facilities, reflected in its Blue and Q Flag status, are numerous, including sun chairs, playground, pedalos and jet skis. A chiringuito for that cool refreshment and Spanish tapas, sits temptingly on the white sand, while plenty of parking is available nearby.
Fancy a game of football? A flat area of ground opposite the beach, close to a viaduct dating back to the Roman era, serves as a football pitch with a regular gathering of eager enthusiasts.
Wooden walkways in the summer months, disabled toilet facilities and an aquatic bathing chair, may make a huge difference to the experience of physically challenged beach lovers to this popular spot.
Popular at any time of the year Playa de la Glea has a marina close by, with some bars and restaurants for dining or refreshments. Interesting walks in either direction, include the recently refurbished Punta de La Glea natural path.