A Little Too Close to Benidorm?
I am a little concerned when I realise that Albir is close to Benidorm. I remember Benidorm as having crammed beaches, tea as mother makes it, fish and chips on every corner and towering garish apartment blocks. In the event we drive through parts of it on our airport transfers - is has calmed down considerably - but we don’t really experience its delights.
Albir is lovely. We stay on the edge of an urban seaside sprawl. But it is a gentle one, though full of bars and restaurants mainly frequented by the Spanish, Germans and Dutch. The beach is tiny pebbles, backed by a small vibrant marina and a wide esplanade. The town's website boasts that the Playa de Racó de l’Albir, has 'received many times over the European Union Blue Ribbon award'. The beach side promenade, the Paseo de Las Estrellas has Hollywood style plaques honouring the stars who have won awards at Albir's own film festival. I hire a bike and cycle alongside it every day.
There is a lighthouse on cliffs to stroll to and pleasant views across the rocky bay. Dolphins cavorting Not to mention caves and old ochre mines with red and yellow veins.
When you get to the end, past the various eating establishments you are rewarded by Altea. There is a charming old town precariously balanced on the top of a hill. This naturally involves cobbled streets, wrought iron balconies and countless flights of steep stone steps.
Also picturesque churches with gorgeous domes. The most photographed has to be Nuestra Senora del Consuelo with its blue and white tiled domes. There's a great view across town from the Mirador Cronistas de Espana, at the Plaza de la Iglesia, alongside. I'm lucky enough to hit on the colourful Tuesday morning street market, down in the new town.. All very authentic Spanish.
The Spa, Albir
The spa at Albir isn’t bad either. I have juice for four days. And I lose weight, even though some of the offerings come in very strange colours and consistencies. There’s a menu to choose from in advance, but it’s hard to know which raw vegetables are going to taste acceptable after they've been whizzed up. And I’m not sure how fair it is to supply the juice at the same time as everyone else is tucking into a heaving vegetarian buffet. There is also a full programme of yoga and other exercise classes - if you want to do them. There are plenty of sun beds.