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The Costa Blanca province of Alicante draws in tourists by the bucket (and spade) load, and understandably so. Charming towns, sandy coves, palm groves and important archaeological sites—including 9th-century hilltop castle, Santa Bárbara—can all be discovered, tucked around its mountainous terrain.
But there’s no need to accept the crowds, and there’s definitely no need to cram onto the sand like one of so many sardines. After picking up your hire car at Alicante airport, swerve the tourist hotspots and drive to one of these hidden beaches instead.
Tucked below the white lighthouse of Cap de Creus, this hidden Alicante beach comes highly recommended by Salvador Dalí and Catalan author, Josep Pla. If that’s not enough to persuade you, how about the fact that this gorgeous curl of sand comes flanked by craggy cliffs and lapped by limpid waters, perfect for snorkelling? It’s a half-hour, downhill hike from the nearest car park, following a dry riverbed dotted with fragrant plants.
A seasonal cafe bar perches over this enchanting cove in the town of Benitatxell, though that and a few beach umbrellas are just about it in the way of modern facilities. But then, all the better for keeping its “unspoilt” charms intact. Tucked between sheer, shrub-capped cliffs and fringed by palm trees, it’s rocky underfoot but that hardly matters when you have views of natural rock arches and a seemingly endless blue sea. Its network of underwater caves and tunnels draws divers and serious snorkelers, though not many other people seem to know about it.
In a largely residential area northwest of Alicante City, this stretch of sand comes with a wave of fascinating history: the name comes from the small coastal lake that occupied this spot, ringed by a harbour that served the Ancient Roman village of Lucentum. These may be long gone but, essentially, to sunbathe here is to lie on the origins of the Alicante province. This locals’ favourite is also rather lovely, with soft, pale sand, rocks jutting into the water, and a chiringuitos (al fresco bar).
The twin curves of this relatively small and quiet beach curl towards a rocky breakwater, while local fisherman land their catch nearby, completing the idyllic scene. The harbour, whose waterside tapas restaurants overlook rows of sleek yachts, is a lovely, peaceful spot to sit and stare out to sea – despite the central location.
This sandy smudge is one of five small, secluded bays tucked just below Parc Natural del Montgó, a mountainous nature reserve and idyllic picnic spot. Further along, a string of endless coves dots the gin-clear water like a necklace of yellow diamonds and aquamarine. Do as the locals do and stay for sunset, perching on the end of one of the stone jetties. Afterwards, you might want to walk into Dénia, a picturesque port city with top-rated seafood restaurants.
An easy, 5km drive from Alicante City centre, this flawless stretch of burnished gold sand is pinch-yourself perfect. There are a few hotels and residential blocks nearby, but the seemingly endless beach never feels crowded. Pad barefoot by the waves or explore the rolling, natural sand dunes. Next door (or next cove) is dog-friendly Playa Agua Amarga, which also has pedal boats for rent—so you can pootle about the waters, perhaps seeking out the next secluded bay.
Sometimes, you have to earn your beach time. This rugged slice of coastline conceals three tucked-away coves that are well worth a rocky hike down the cliffside. Just think how much more rewarding and lovely it will be when you finally feel the champagne-hued sand under your soles. Don’t be shocked if the few people around are starkers, though—two of the coves are popular nudist beaches.
All feels quiet and still at this small beach, whose fine, shimmery sand is dotted with shaggy palm trees and blonde rocks. With fewer crowds and gentle waves, the most prevalent sounds are fishing boats bobbing in the water and palm fronds ruffled by a soft breeze. A little off the tourist path, this is a favourite with locals who gather with drinks and snacks to watch the sun begin its evening dip, casting a soft pink glow on Santa Bárbara Castle across the bay.