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SPAIN: Costa Blanca

The name Costa Blanca conjures up images of everything this popular destination has to offer. Long stretches of inviting white sands, which lend the area its name 'White Coast', the sun beating down and a wide range of resorts catering for all sorts of tastes, budgets and holidays - whatever you want from your break in the Spanish sunshine you will find it at the Costa Blanca. The most famous hotspot for affordable and reliable holidays has been Benidorm, and it's no surprise this vibrant and fun-packed destination has been such a firm favourite among the Brits for so long. There's plenty of accommodation to choose from - the skyline, reminiscent of Manhattan, is dominated by towers and skyscrapers, many of them built specifically to meet tourist demand. Whether you're looking for five star luxury, affordable quality for the budget conscious or self-catering for all the freedom that option offers, you will find it in Benidorm. For most visitors it is the glorious sunshine, 5kms of soft sands and sparkling sea which take up most of the vacation, but don't miss Benidorm's sites, shopping and after-dark atmosphere. You can see the past and the present side by side in Benidorm's Old and New Town districts, pick up locally-made bargains from the many market stalls - for example the tiny square bustling with traders which you can discover down the alleys leading from the Passeig de la Carreterra - and find most of the major labels at the shopping centre in the Ricon de Loix area. When night falls another side of Benidorm comes to life, and hundreds of bars, clubs, restaurants and lively cabarets ensure you are spoiled for choice. Sample the extravagance of the Benidorm Palace, visit the many bars near the old town or tickle your tastebuds with a meal at one of Benidorm's many restaurants. You can try local delicacies, including the mouth-watering paella, or, if you prefer, visit one of the famous international fats food chains. If this tourist favourite isn't for you, just choose one of the other wonderful resorts on offer in the Costa Blanca. Why not visit Altea, which maintains the bohemian spirit which attracted musicians, artists and writers from all over Europe in the 1960s. Altea is home to one of the iconic images of the Costa Blanca, the blue and white domed church. It is an idyllic, picture postcard setting, with cobbled, medieval streets, a joyfully jumbled cluster of streets at the heart of the Old Town and a unique charm. Spend your time wandering through these peaceful streets, visit the shops and stalls offering the wares of the artists and craftsman drawn to this tranquil corner of Spain or take in the spectacular La Marina district - there's plenty to do in Altea. Round off a perfect day with a meal and some relaxation at the picturesque harbour, where you'll find some delightful bars and restaurants. Another option is Alicante, which combines Spanish heritage which modern chic to create a must-visit destination. You can soak up the history in the narrow, whitewashed streets of the old town, visit the trendy marina or relax on the golden sands which lie beneath the imposing fortress. There's also some serious shopping to be done in Alicante, as well as some serious partying in the trendy Explanada de Espana or the sophisticated cafes and nightclubs which line the stylish streets of the Old Town and Barrio Santa Cruz. There's so much to explore in the Costa Blanca - such as Guadalest, with its Moorish history, the charming fishing village of Villajoyosa, known as the Jewel City because of the bright colours of the esplanade, Javea, nestling in the shadow of the Montego Mountains, and Terra Mitica, a theme park which proves popular with families. The Costa Blanca really does have something for everyone.

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Benidorm

The most famous hotspot for affordable and reliable holidays has been Benidorm, and it's no surprise this vibrant and fun-packed destination has been such a firm favourite among the Brits for so long. There's plenty of accommodation to choose from - the skyline, reminiscent of Manhattan, is dominated by towers and skyscrapers, many of them built specifically to meet tourist demand. Whether you're looking for five star luxury, affordable quality for the budget conscious or self-catering for all the freedom that option offers, you will find it in Benidorm.

For most visitors it is the glorious sunshine, 5kms of soft sands and sparkling sea which take up most of the vacation, but don't miss Benidorm's sites, shopping and after-dark atmosphere. You can see the past and the present side by side in Benidorm's Old and New Town districts, pick up locally-made bargains from the many market stalls - for example the tiny square bustling with traders which you can discover down the alleys leading from the Passeig de la Carreterra - and find most of the major labels at the shopping centre in the Ricon de Loix area.

When night falls another side of Benidorm comes to life, and hundreds of bars, clubs, restaurants and lively cabarets ensure you are spoiled for choice. Sample the extravagance of the Benidorm Palace, visit the many bars near the old town or tickle your tastebuds with a meal at one of Benidorm's many restaurants. You can try local delicacies, including the mouth-watering paella, or, if you prefer, visit one of the famous international fats food chains. If this tourist favourite isn't for you, just choose one of the other wonderful resorts on offer in the Costa Blanca.

Altea

Why not visit Altea, which maintains the bohemian spirit which attracted musicians, artists and writers from all over Europe in the 1960s. Altea is home to one of the iconic images of the Costa Blanca, the blue and white domed church. It is an idyllic, picture postcard setting, with cobbled, medieval streets, a joyfully jumbled cluster of streets at the heart of the Old Town and a unique charm. Spend your time wandering through these peaceful streets, visit the shops and stalls offering the wares of the artists and craftsman drawn to this tranquil corner of Spain or take in the spectacular La Marina district - there's plenty to do in Altea. Round off a perfect day with a meal and some relaxation at the picturesque harbour, where you'll find some delightful bars and restaurants.

Alicante

Another option is Alicante, which combines Spanish heritage which modern chic to create a must-visit destination. You can soak up the history in the narrow, whitewashed streets of the old town, visit the trendy marina or relax on the golden sands which lie beneath the imposing fortress. There's also some serious shopping to be done in Alicante, as well as some serious partying in the trendy Explanada de Espana or the sophisticated cafes and nightclubs which line the stylish streets of the Old Town and Barrio Santa Cruz.

There's so much to explore in the Costa Blanca - such as Guadalest, with its Moorish history, the charming fishing village of Villajoyosa, known as the Jewel City because of the bright colours of the esplanade, Javea, nestling in the shadow of the Montego Mountains, and Terra Mitica, a theme park which proves popular with families. The Costa Blanca really does have something for everyone.