JUST half an hour from built-up Benidorm, you’ll find one of the most relaxed seaside towns in Spain. 

Oozing with charm, Moraira is one of the Costa Blanca’s classic old fishing villages, and it remains full of history and tradition, and largely unspoiled today.

You won’t find signs for English breakfasts or lager at one euro a pint here, this is an upmarket resort as popular with refined Spaniards as it is with upmarket foreign tourists-in-the-know.

This is not to say Moraira is undiscovered by holidaymakers – far from it. 

Moirira 1
Vistas of Moraira from the cape.
Photo: Wikipedia

The demographics confirm its status as a popular tourist destination. 

Moraira’s population of around 10,000, more than triples to 36,000 in summer.

And more than half the people who live here are expats.

“It is such a beautiful place to live. Every morning I have the privilege of a commute to the office via the stunning coast road, and every day it puts a smile on my face,  even in the winter weather,” explains Helen Tye, of Coast and Country Properties.

“I cannot think of anywhere else I would rather be. It’s a wonderful place for children to grow up, it has a great community, and it is unbelievably pretty. Close enough to the airport for people to visit, but small and friendly with lovely beaches and lots of restaurants.” 

Restaurateur Honorato Ibanez, 60, agrees. “The peace here is the main thing. It’s just cortijos and campo. There is almost no stress and there are not even traffic lights.”

It is 35 years since he moved here from his native Granada and he has seen some changes.

In particular in the demographics of the types of foreigners who came to settle here.

“Originally there were loads of Germans alongside the British, but the Brits, by far our preferred customers, really started to dominate.

“Today there are plenty, but now we also have many Dutch and Belgians now and generally a nice all round mix.”

It’s this international community that really appealed to businesswoman Amanda Bourne, 58, who moved here six years ago to take over Polly’s bookshop.

Polly Bookshop
Polly’s bookshop is a local treasure.
Photo: Amanda Bourne.

“I love the multicultural mix. This morning alone I had a Hungarian, a Frenchman, a Dutch couple and a Scouser,” explains the former teacher.

“But best of all I like it here because it is NOT Javea. It is so different in character and much less focused on tourism.

“On top of that it feels really relaxed and safe. It shuts down at 3pm and only slowly comes back to life in the evening.”

While this changes a bit in the summer when the hordes do at times descend, the town always maintains its old school Spanish charm and picture perfect traditional feel.  

And while a great choice for a family beach holiday, there is still plenty to see beyond its beautiful beaches.

For most tourists, the Cap D’Or watchtower is among the top attractions. 

Tower
The Cap D’Or watchtower is a must see.
Photo: Wikipedia

Dating back to the 18th century, the structure served as a defence against attacks from Berber pirates, and was one in a chain of watchtowers working together to warn each other of incoming offensives. 

Today, the tower is more commonly used for enjoying the stunning views it offers of the Moraira coastline than looking out for pirates. 

From the top, you can see the harbour, beaches, and Penyal d’Ifac Natural Park, as well as the gorgeous shades of blue of the Mediterranean.

Moraira 2 1
The shore is abound with beautiful enclaves.
Photo: Wikipedia.

The watchtower can be accessed by a fairly easy hike from Portet beach, one of the most popular playas. You will find a marked footpath leading up to it from the end of Calle Puerto de Alcudia.

Another place to enjoy the area’s nature up close is at the Marjar del Senillar nature reserve, located next to l’Ampolla beach. 

The site was given nature reserve status in 2004 and its several lagoons are home to many species of plants and animals, some of which are in danger of extinction. 

Slightly outside of Moraira and only accessible by boat, though well worth the trip, are the Caves of Les Rates, a site which was also declared a protected reserve in 2004. 

The caves are home to historic artefacts from the Bronze Age, along with several species of bats. Visits are not encouraged between the months of April and August when the bats are breeding. 

Every good coastal town needs a good marina and Moraira is no exception. With a yacht club in addition to a fishing port, Moraira accommodates all seafarers, whether weighing anchor for work or pleasure. 

Fishing continues to be one of the most important sectors in the region’s economy, and the Fishermen’s Guild of Moraira, founded in 1929, is still going strong. 

Moraira 1 2
Photo: Wikipedia

Unsurprisingly, restaurants in the vicinity boast excellent fresh seafood, courtesy of the local fishermen.

Being located on the Mediterranean coast also makes Moraira an ideal retreat for lovers of watersports. It’s possible to rent kayaks and paddleboards at the most popular beaches, and at the marina. 

Best of all is the area’s snorkelling and thanks to clear water, you’ll see plenty of fish and starfish and beautiful rock formations without having to plunge in too deeply. 

Moraira’s busiest beach is Playa de l’Ampolla, thanks to its location next to the town centre. 

The next most popular is Playa el Portet, a blue flag beach and considered one of Costa Blanca’s very best. 

At the other end of the scale, if you are looking for a more secluded spot, try Llebeig Cove, one of many small coves carved into the cliffs along the Costa Blanca’s breathtaking coastline.

If all that is not enough to keep you entertained, its prime location makes it an ideal base for day trips to nearby Javea and the inland Xalon valley, as well as the bigger cities of Alicante and Valencia. 

And there are always the fleshpots of Benidorm if you’re looking for that one off wild night out! But probably you’ll be happy just hanging out in Moraira.

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