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Albir & Alfas Del Pi uncovered.....

Alfas del Pi is located in the Spanish region of Alicante on the Costa Blanca. The town originally developed as a fortified settlement to ward off the Barbary pirates who used to plague this stretch of the Spanish coast. The name Alfas (often spelt locally as Alfaz) means "sown land" and was given to the town by the Moors who originally grew fruits and almonds in this area as well as mining metals and gypsum. Now this small town, once a frontier at the heart of the Moors and Christians battles, has developed into one of the Costa Blanca's most popular tourist centres.

Just 47 kilometres north of Alicante and 127 kilometres south of Valencia, Alfas is within easy reach of  these two major international airports. Flying time from London to Alicante is two and a half hours and Alfas is just 20 minutes drive from the airport. Alfas has a resident population of around 13,000 people and about half of those are foreigners - primarily British but also Germans, Norwegians and Dutch. It's a testament to this area's beauty and many attractions that so many foreigners visit the area and then decide never to leave!

Albir's beachfront

The beachfront at Albir boasts one of the most beautiful views offered anywhere along the eastern coast of Spain. The attractive palm fringed esplanade looks out over the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean towards the Pe�on de Ifach at Calpe (a huge rock reminiscent of Gibraltar) and the hillside town of Altea with its distinctive blue-domed church.

The population swells by thousands during the summer months when the beachfront and surrounding area burst into life with bars, restaurants, shops and water sports all geared to the needs of foreign visitors. A wide range of holiday accommodation is available - from hotels and self-catering apartments to villas with private pools.

Most holiday accommodation in Alfas is centred around the beachfront at Albir and you won't need to stray further if you just want beach, sun, bars and restaurants! With an average year-round temperature of 20C and 320 days of sunshine per year, the beach is the best place to be for a good part of the year. The beach at Albir is 500 metres long and offers calm, clear waters for safe and enjoyable bathing. The beach consistently wins the European Blue Flag for its high quality standards. 

Culture

Alfas also has a thriving community and cultural life, aside from its highly successful tourist industry. It's famous for its annual international film festival which takes place in July. The beachfront esplanade is called Paseo de las Estrellas (Stars' Promenade) in honour of the famous actors and actresses who have scooped awards at the festival.

Both the resident community and summer visitors benefit from the excellent local facilities in Alfas - these include a sports centre, health centre and a thriving cultural centre. The cultural centre includes a concert hall, radio and television studios and is the venue for the film festival, a big jazz festival in October, regular classical concerts, art and sculpture exhibitions.

For those interested in the area's history, there's the Roman bridge across the river and Roman remains near the Albir beach. Visit the Casa de Cultura to see what local exhibitions, concerts and activities are taking place during your visit. If you're visiting during the first week of July you'll be able to enjoy the major international film festival which takes place at the Casa de Cultura.

One of the best times to visit Alfas is during the first week of July when the town's international film festival is staged in the Casa de Cultura. There's also a major jazz festival in October as well as a variety of classical and popular music concerts. Pop along to the Casa de Cultura or ask at one of the local tourist information offices for details of shows and concerts taking place during your visit.

No less than eight fiestas take place in Alfas during the year, one of the biggest being the annual "Feast of Holy Christ" from November 7th - 10th. This is when the streets are transformed into a riot of cavalcades, processions, music, dancing and fireworks. In the first weekend in August there are fiestas on the beach with more parades and street dancing. And on March 19th it's party time again when the local Spaniards celebrate the feast of San Jose.

Alfas Del Pi

Take time to visit the original Alfas - the town centre is two kilometres inland from the beach and has a distinctly more Spanish feel to it than Albir, with its strong foreign influence. Visit the Church of San Jose in the town centre and taste some of the delicious local dishes in the town's tapas bars. Try the "pelotas de dacsa" (maize flour balls), "coca a la calda" (similar to pasties), "coca farcida" (like a pizza), "pebrere ofega" (stuffed peppers) or the local rish dishes including paella and "arroz al horno" (oven-baked rice).

For the more athletic types, the sports centre offers excellent facilities including a 400 metre athletics track, an area for discus throwing, a gymnasium and a 25 metre swimming pool. Alfas also has its own golf course. Albir beach is the main centre of tourist activity for Alfas del Pi - an attractive pebble beach with beautiful views across the bay towards the neighbouring resorts of Altea and Calpe. The Gibraltar-like Pe�on de Ifach at Calpe towers out of the sea on the horizon while the Sierra Helada and Sierra Bernia mountain ranges provide an impressive backdrop for the resort.

Water Sports

Whether you're into swimming, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving or fishing, you'll find plenty to keep you busy during your holiday in Alfas. And you need never leave the beachfront because the attractive esplanade provides an ample number of good bars to quench your thirst and sate your appetite throughout the day. There are two local water sports centres - Campomanes and the Nautic Club - offering swimming, sailing and diving lessons. For experienced divers this is a wonderful stretch of coastline.

For many years diving here was a strictly Spanish past time but an increasing number of foreign divers are now discovering the many delights of the Costa Blanca's unspoilt underwater treasures. Several commercial dive centres are now offering accompanied trips to some fascinating sites within easy reach of Alfas but you won't be bothered by the problems of mass diving which is common in some of the other Spanish coastal regions.

For beginners and qualified divers alike there's an interesting dive site near the marina at Mascarat, a short distance north of Alfas. Here you'll find an intricate maze of shallow water grottos, winding tunnels, narrow crevices and caves. Large underwater boulders, peaks and cliffs burst with life - walls of anemones, gorgonians and octopus abound. The water is exceptionally clean and visibility often exceeds 20 metres. From Benidorm,  10 minutes down the road, you can take hourly boat rides out to the "Peacock Island" - take your mask and fins because the south coast of the island is great for snorkeling.

Or if you're not into underwater adventures, take a submarine tour of the island and view the fascinating world of marine life without setting foot in the water! If you fancy an action-packed family day out on a sandy beach, Benidorm is the place to go. It's nearby and offers every kind of beach-based entertainment imaginable - including banana rides, paragliding and some great rafts with slides, swinging bridges and diving boards.

Out & About

If you get the chance to venture further afield, there's plenty to see and do in and around Alfas. There are sites of historic interest here, great family days out within easy reach of the resort, excellent shopping centres for day excursions and beautiful journeys into the mountainous hinterland.

A fun family night out is right on your doorstep at the Castillo del Conde de Alfaz. This is unusual but superb entertainment with "medieval" knights giving a fantastic display of expert horsemanship and jousting. Find the impressive castle just outside Alfas on the road to Benidorm. Tickets include a medieval supper (which means you eat with your fingers!) and a trip to the terrifying mad monks dungeon (not for the faint hearted). There's a disco afterwards until the small hours.

Throughout the summer you'll find live music and entertainment in the local bars and restaurants. It's plenty for the "average" visitor but those wanting a night (or more) on the wild side, it's Benidorm which offers the all night discos and non-stop partying all summer. The Benidorm Palace offers a great night out with a first class international cabaret show and dinner included. It's excellent value and you'll be entertained by top variety acts from around the world as well as treated to a stunning display of flamenco dancing.

Benidorm's Terra Mitica theme park now opens in the evenings when you can buy half price tickets to enjoy a range of entertainment in the park between 7pm and midnight, culminating in a firework display.

There are some first class family attractions on your doorstep including Spain's biggest theme park, Terra Mitica, on the outskirts of Benidorm just 10 minutes down the road. The fun-filled Aqualandia water park and Mundomar, an exotic bird and marine life centre, are also on the Alfas side of Benidorm.

Take the Lemon Express, a charming old-style train, from Benidorm through the orange and lemon groves for a champagne reception at the artesans' centre of Gata de Gorgos. Visit the beautiful Moorish mountain fortress at Guadalest - local travel agents will arrange a day's excursion by coach if you don't have a car. For a day's shopping, visit the La Marina shopping mall outside Benidorm or go further afield to the excellent shopping centres of Valencia and Alicante.

Alfas is a peaceful resort compared with its frantic next door neighbour Benidorm,  which is one of the Mediterranean's top party spots. You'll find plenty going on in the evenings in Alfas during the high season - live music, concerts, fiestas - but if it's a really wild night you're after then Benidorm's action packed town centre is only 10 minutes drive away.

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