Spain - Santa Pola is one of the Costa Blanca's finest holiday destinations with 10 beaches to choose from, many excellent restaurants and plenty of places to visit
I love this resort because it is the first location I stopped at when I began my search for a property in Spain.
I still like to come to this town to enjoy the fresh sea air and stroll along the long promenades and enjoy the coastal facilities.
Santa Pola is a coastal town on Spain’s Costa Blanca. The town is only 20 kilometres from Alicante City and only 14 kilometres from Alicante airport.
Santa Pola’s origins come from the Roman times and in the middle of the town centre you can find a 16th century Roman Fort. At various locations along the coastline, if you look carefully, you will find watchtowers strategically placed; these were built and used to keep a lookout against pirate attacks during the 16th century. Inside the fort, there is a museum and an exhibition room.
Santa Pola is a very popular resort with many Spanish people who enjoy holidays here and nowadays it is increasingly popular with a very diverse population of European visitors.
There are no less than 10 beaches to choose from. Over the years I have been to all of them. Some being Blue Flag award beaches. To the west of Santa Pola are the following beaches: El Pinet Beach, La Gola Beach, Tamarit Beach, Playa Lisa Beach, Gran Playa Beach. During autumn and winter months, I have seen many windsurfers and kite surfers on Gran Playa beach. I have had an enjoyable time watching these people practising and performing their ‘tricks’.
To the east of the main town centre, these are the other beaches: Levante Beach and Varadero Beach
Apparently ‘varadero’ means dry dock. I guess that this beach is called that name because it is located next to a ship repair dock. Moving along from Varadero, you will find three more beaches, which are coves: Santiago Bernabeau Cove, Santa Pola Del Este Cove and El Cabo Cove
Playa Lisa, Gran Playa and Levante beaches are the most popular, being nice sandy beaches, for all the family to enjoy. During the holiday season they have lifeguards on duty, pedalo hire, first aid posts, disabled access and there are many bars, restaurants and kiosks dotted along the promenades with food and drink for everyone’s tastes.
When my Grandson comes to stay on holiday, we got to the Gran Playa beach, which is a nice golden sandy beach, with clear blue sea and also has children's apparatus, which he loves to spend time on. This is a nice beach for families.
Walking / hiking
If you like walking, from Varadero Beach, there is a coastal promenade footpath that stretches quite a few kilometres to the last cove called the Ermita Beach, which is part of the make up of El Cabo Coves. I would only recommend this during cooler weather though!
For another walk, you can take a stroll through the Salt Flats Nature Reserve. This can be accessed by walking through the El Pinet Beach, continuing into the reserve, where all sorts of bird species can be found.
During the Autumn and Winter months, my wife and I regulalrly have walks in Santa Pola, we normally start at Playa Varadero and walk along the promenade footpath to Santa Pola del Este. There are plenty of benches along the way and we do stop and rest and look out over the sea at passing vessels or just admire the scenery and take in the air!
Places to visit
Other places to visit in Santa Pola are The Aquarium situated close to Playa Levante. The species on display are all types that you can find from the Santa Pola Bay. There's also the Salt Museum near the nature reserve, the Old Market building and the Fishing Museum.
Approximately three kilometres off the Santa Pola coast is Tabarca Island. I have not yet visited this island, but there are regular boat trips there from the Port of Santa Pola.
Mentioning the port, Santa Pola has a thriving fishing industry and if you are up early enough in the morning, you will see fishing boats arriving back in port with their early catch ready to sell at the local fish market.
Later in the day, some of the fish will be offered on menus at the local restaurants.
Another interesting fact about Santa Pola is its salt flats. There is a specific area, where there are a number of man made lakes, which at specific times are drained to leave salt deposits. The salt is collected and processed and it is shipped all over Europe to be used for gritting icy roads.
As Santa Pola is a large town there are many restaurants that cater for everyone’s taste and pocket.
A particular restaurant I like is Meson Cervantes (Calle Cervantes, 17). This serves local specialities which are based on fish and rice. This is a typical family run Spanish restaurant, the staff do not speak much English, but there is always a warm welcome and the food is cooked perfectly. You can have a menu in English to order from, as well as other popular languages. At lunchtime they also serve a popular ‘menu del dia’ which at around 10 Euros per person is excellent value for money. A meal I have had in the past consists of a plate of salad placed on your table, for all to sample, followed by a starter of soup or chipirones (squid in batter). The main course I had was sea bream with chips and vegetables, followed by a small dessert of caramel flan. All this was accompanied by a drink of wine or a small beer.
Other restaurants I have been to are: Restaurant Varadero, Avenida Santiago Bernabeau, this is a 'high end' restaurant where I have taken my wife for a birhday meal, in my opinion a place to go for a treat. It has a lovely setting overlooking the Varadero Beach.
I like Chinese food, Restaurant Chino Dragon, Avenida Gonzales Vicens, 12, is a small seafront restaurant, with friendly English speaking staff, that serve typical Chinese meals, where I have had meals from the a la carte menu to a pleasant 'menu del dia' at around 5 euros.
Of course, there are many other restaurants to choose from, many on the main seafront road.
Where to stay
Regarding accommodation, I have stayed in the Hotel Polamar, which is located on the seafront on Playa Levante. It is a nice 3* hotel, with comfortable rooms, good service and nice food. The room I stayed in had a balcony with a fantastic sea view.
Santa Pola also has a range of sporting activities to either watch or partake in. At certain times of the year, the town holds windsurfing competitions, with surfers arriving here from all over Europe. There are nautical clubs, where people can involve themselves in boating sports. There is one event staged during July of each year, where people can swim the 3 kilometres across the bay to Tabarca Island.
Like all Spanish towns, Santa Pola has its own range of Fiestas and celebrations. Fiestas of note are:
April – Semana Santa (Easter Week), where parades take place based on a religious theme. Medieval markets are also opened in the Castle area.
In September, the town holds its annual Moors & Christians parade. These parades, as in many other towns are very colourful and are based around the ancient battles between the two warring factions. The parades are fun and family orientated.
There is something for everyone in Santa Pola.