Costa Blanca is the tourist name given to the Mediterranean coast that bathes the province of Alicante, in the southeast of Spain. It comprises from the municipality of Denia in the north, to that of Pilar de la Horadada, to the south. It consists of 244 km of beaches, coves and cliffs.
The Costa Blanca has a contrast of landscapes such as the steep cliffs of the Marina Alta, the beaches of the Vega Baja del Segura, the mountains (Montgó, Sierra Helada, etc.), the lagoons and the salt flats.
The ecological variety makes us find up to four natural parks: El Montgó, El Marjal Oliva-Pego, the Peñón de Ifach and the Lagunas de la Mata and Torrevieja.
There is no lack of ecological enclaves and a large presence of migratory birds and typical Mediterranean species. Holm oak, carrasco pine and palm are the trees that predominate in the Alicante coastal mountains.
In the flat lands the date palm grows, very important in some municipalities such as Orihuela and Elche.
Natural vegetation coexists with species for agricultural use such as olive, carob, pomegranate, lemon, loquat and almond trees.
In the sea, the animal and plant wealth of the posidonia meadows is remarkable, very well preserved off the coast of Cabo Roig and the island of Tabarca, where there is a marine reserve.
The Costa Blanca is one of the most visited by people from outside Spain. The states of origin are: United Kingdom (4,500,000), Germany (700,000), Netherlands (370,000), and Norway (270,000) .1 A large number of Frenchmen also spend the summer.
Each year, Alicante Airport bills about 9 million (9,106,445 in 2007) of arrivals.1 Quality of life, political stability and good weather not only attracts tourists in summer.
A "residential tourism", that is, inter-European immigration, has developed along with other coasts such as the Costa del Sol.
There are important colonies of English, Germans and other peoples of northern Europe throughout the coast, reaching to equal or surpass the native population in some municipalities. 23 More moderately, people from Madrid and other parts of the center of the peninsula have second homes.
This kind of "immigration of the rich" has brought improvements in the coastal economy but also problems derived from the increase in urban density on the coast.
Also noteworthy is the number of immigrants from Morocco, Romania and Latin America, generally in a somewhat more precarious situation. The British population is the largest foreign colony on the Costa Blanca.
They are known as ex-pats (or ex-patriots) which means outside the country, and have established a network of their own cultural tools including radio stations, 4 newspapers and their own associations (full list). There are even foreign elected officials in a few municipalities.