Buying a holiday home or finding a retirement location in Spain gives you the opportunity to choose from some truly remarkable locations. But with the whole of this fabulous country to choose from, how do you go about narrowing down your search? To give you a head start we’ve decided to compare two of Spain’s most popular destinations: the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol. These two stretches of sun-drenched coastline attract millions of visitors each year, so which is better?

Natural wonders

The Costa del Sol on Spain’s southern coast is where the spectacular Sierra Nevada Mountains meet the Mediterranean. Buy around here and you could find yourself skiing in the morning and relaxing on the beach in the afternoon. How many places offer that sort of diverse lifestyle?

Head east round the coast to the Costa Blanca to discover sights like the Montgo Natural Park by Javea, the “penon de Ifach” near Calpe and the palm forests of Elche. It even has a manmade wonder of its own: Benidorm. While not everyone will want to venture into this bustling resort, its high-rise hotels are a sight to behold as you bypass it on the motorway.

Calpe , Costa Blanca , Spain

Calpe , Costa Blanca

A warm welcome

The Costa Blanca is known as the friendly costa, which says it all. You’ll also have a smile on your face when you discover that the golf courses and entertainments are generally cheaper than the Costa del Sol.

The Costa del Sol has a reputation for being a bit blingy these days, thanks to places like Marbella attracting the superrich and celebs. This brings with it a first-class infrastructure to support the lavish lifestyle, from wonderful shops and restaurants to the clean beaches. There is also a wonderfully friendly local culture too, with a year-round expat community living it up in the sun.

Whichever costa you choose, head inland and you will unearth Spain’s more traditional side. Here rural villages that hold age-old customs dear still welcome newcomers to their community.


Malaga airport on the Costa del Sol receives 17 million passengers each year, while Alicante on the Costa Blanca welcomes around 12 million. You can also jump on a budget flight to Seville, Granada or Gibraltar for the Costa del Sol, or Murcia or Valencia for the Costa Blanca. Let’s just say they’re both easy to get to wherever you live in the UK.

Property prices

According to the College of Spanish notaries, property prices in the Costa Blanca, which are generally the cheaper of the two, are rising faster than the Costa del Sol. However, for local markets, such as Marbella vs Orihuela, for example, this might not always be the case. What we can be sure of, is that Spanish coastal property prices are rising by as much as 10% per year.

View of the city of Malaga, with the bullring and the Port.

Malaga, Costa del Sol

Sun, sea and sand

Spain is home to a staggering 590 Blue Flag beaches – the most sought-after accolade out there when it comes to cleanliness. The Valencia region – home to the Costa Blanca – has the most (132), while Andalusia is fourth on the list with 97 courtesy of the Costa del Sol.

Culture and history

When it comes to catering for culture vultures, the Costa del Sol really delivers. Having taken a trip to the Picasso Museum in Malaga, why not enjoy a spot of flamenco dancing or bullfighting (if you can stomach it!) which both hail from the region? The Costa Blanca’s cultural highlights are slightly more contemporary. They include the Benicassim music festival (Spain’s answer to Glastonbury but without the mud) just up the road at Castellon.

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