On the Gourmet Trail. Spain: Paella

This delicious dish is from Spain and is the ideal meal for a night in with your friends and family.

 

Ingredients 

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, chopped

125g (4¼ oz) fresh chorizo sausage, casing removed and diced

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets, diced

350g (12 oz) uncooked Arborio rice

1.25 litres (2 pints) chicken stock

100ml (4 fl oz) white wine

1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves only

1 pinch saffron

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 squid, cleaned and diced

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

75g (3 oz) frozen garden peas

12 large prawns, peeled and deveined

500g (1 1/4 lb) mussels, cleaned and debearded

Generous handful chopped parsley

8 wedges lemon to garnish

 

Method

1. Heat olive oil in paella pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and pepper; cook and stir for a few minutes. Add chorizo, chicken and rice; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 of the stock, wine, thyme leaves and saffron. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes; stir occasionally.

2. Taste the rice and check to see if it is cooked. If the rice is uncooked, stir in 1/3 of the remaining stock. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Stir in additional stock as necessary. Cook until rice is done.

3. Stir in squid, tomatoes and peas. Cook for 2 minutes. Arrange prawns and mussels on top. Cover with aluminium foil and leave for 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Remove the foil and sprinkle parsley over the top. Serve in paella pan garnished with lemon wedges.

Ode to Costa Blanca

Here at Villa Plus we’re passionate about everything we do. Rachel, from our Costa Blanca team, is multi-talented and has written us a poem about this stunning destination.

Costa Blanca known as the jewel of Spain ,
A destination too enchanting to really explain.
With beautiful beaches & restaurants galore,
And magical places for you to explore !
Javea is special & very unique
And offers you everything you could possibly seek.
At the foot of Montgo Mountain so stunning to see.
Making the temperatures here the best place to be.
Its historical old town with tradition & charm,
Or the port to relax & admire the palms.
And the Arenal beach for families & friends,
From morning till night your time you can spend !

For a village of beauty Moraira is fine,
With its tiny stone castle & places to dine.
Its exclusive marina & surrounding coast,
It understandably has something special to boast.
With its breath taking coves for you to explore,
Leaving you amazed & wanting much more.

Then Calpe is larger & buzzing with fun,
And a beautiful beach for days in the sun !
Its known for its restaurants & specialist dish,
With a great choice of seafood & delicious fresh fish.
A vast promenade full of bars & places to shop,
This Spanish resort certainly has got the lot.
So do come & visit to relax & unwind,
The beautiful Costa Blanca is a fantastic find !
For a wonderful holiday you won´t want to leave.
Just now choose your villa & truly believe!

Albir Beach 2

 

Costa Blanca vs Costa del Sol: which holiday is for me?

Many people consider the coastal resort regions of Spain to be largely interchangeable. But, while these areas usually all boast sun, sea and sand, there are some key differences you should consider before taking the plunge and booking your next getaway.

To help you come to your decision, we weighed up the USPs of two of the country’s most popular regions – the Costa Blanca vs Costa del Sol.

Where are these destinations?

The Costa Blanca (or White Coast) is situated in southeast Spain. Popular towns here include Javea, in the province of Alicante, Moraira, part of the Teulada municipality, and Calpe, a small town two hours’ drive south of here.

The Costa del Sol (or Sun Coast) is in southern Spain, centralising around the city of Malaga. People visit here for thriving hubs like Benalmadena and Marbella, and more relaxed sunspots like Mijas and Nerja.

Are they good for a beach holiday?

Good news for all you sun-worshippers – the weather in both destinations is similarly sunny all year-round. Temperatures in the summer reach the high 20s and early 30s, whereas in the winter they rarely dip below 13 degrees.

So, you’ve got the weather, now all you need is a few succulent strips of sand to enjoy it from. If you’re hiring a property near the beach, you can easily pack up a picnic and head out to one of these idyllic spots for a dreamy day trip.

On the Costa Blanca, you’ll find gorgeous stretches of sand like Playa del Portet in Moraira. This small inlet is shaped like a sea shell and has safe waters great for a leisurely afternoon spent swimming.

For a more secluded experience, try Cala del Moraig, a tranquil cove just north of Moraira. This is a pebbly beach, which might appeal to visitors who’d rather forgo messing up the rental car with sandy shoes.

You may be after a more adventurous holiday, in which case Costa Blanca’s westerly winds make spots like Santa Pola, south of Alicante, perfect for surfing, sailing and kayaking. Snorkelling, meanwhile, is best done with a guided tour, many of which depart from near Calpe.

Popular beaches along the Costa del Sol include the Playa de Burriana in Nerja, which is known for its golden sand and beach bars. Head here if you’re in search of a livelier holiday, either with a group of friends or as part of a couples’ getaway.

Playa de Maro in Nerja is also very popular, renowned for its picturesque surroundings and abundance of marine life. This makes it appeal both to older holidaymakers and young families looking to see the local ecosystems.

What’s there to do in both?

At the heart of both these regions is two lively, history-rich cities. Costa Blanca’s Alicante is famed for its nightlife, but its real charms lie in the striking 16th century castle at its centre.  Culture-vultures can easily spend a few hours here exploring the museum and enjoying viewpoints of the city.

Malaga, on the Costa del Sol, is notable for its art galleries and buildings of grandiose like the Chapel of Santa Barbara and the grand Moorish Gibralfaro Castle. Otherwise, the Picasso museum appeals to art aficionados and open-minded enthusiasts in equal measures.

…and what’s there to eat?

Whether you’re into history or art, there’s one main attraction that unites all Spanish costa holidaymakers – the food. Indulge yourself with local specialities such as paella, in the Costa Blanca, and fried fish, in the Costa del Sol.

Pick up some ingredients from a nearby market, then whip up your own take on regional delicacies from your holiday rental’s kitchen. The Costa del Sol’s surrounding shorelines are populated with lots of anchovies, which can be made into the perfect starter to any fish-fiend’s meal. Otherwise, buy a selection of the Costa Blanca’s locally sourced chorizo – a delicious addition to any meat-craver’s sandwich.

Where should I stay?

To really make the most of your holiday, look into staying in a self-catered villa. It’ll give you the freedom to explore the region at your own pace, collecting ingredients as you go along. Kids might prefer to stay somewhere near the coast, whereas older couples might want somewhere a little quieter and in the countryside.

…and where should I fly to?

To reach the Costa Blanca you can fly directly into Alicante Airport, which serves UK destinations throughout the year. It takes around two and a half hours to fly here from London.

For the Costa del Sol, it’s best to fly into Malaga Airport. You can catch a flight here from the UK run throughout the year, although it’ll take slightly longer, with journey times from London taking roughly two hours and 45 minutes.

Whether you’re one for the Costa del Sol’s lavish harbours or the Costa Blanca’s bustling nightlife, holidays to a Spanish Costa really do make for one of the best type of getaways.

Want to step things up a game with your villa? Look at luxury properties in both regions.

By Isabella Perkins, a freelance travel writer best known for writing about self-catering holidays. Her writing tends to have a family focus, and she is in the middle of writing a new travel guide due to be published next year.

3 romantic destinations in Spain for a secluded getaway

If you’re planning a honeymoon, or even just an intimate getaway away with your other half, you’ll probably already know that there are plenty of romantic destinations in Spain. The real task at hand, though, is narrowing the list of potential locations down to just one.

Here’s three of the most alluring holiday spots around the country, all known for their viewpoints, culinary delights and beaches.

Nerja

The town of Nerja is on the east of the Costa del Sol and is renowned for its endearing beaches, many of which are ideal for water sports. Flanked by a dramatic mountain range and bordered by a rugged coastline of coves, caves and sandy beaches, the town is the perfect destination for adventurous couples partial to stunning scenery.

Highlights here include the Balcon de Europa, a raised pedestrian promenade looking out over the Mediterranean, and the 17th century Church of El Salvador. For many visitors, though, the Caves of Nerja are the real draw here. These ancient towering caverns contain prehistoric paintings and even play host to a music and dance festival in the summertime.

For a real romantic day out, spend a day hiking up to the top of El Ciel and lose yourself to the panoramic vistas, then return to Nerja for a candlelit dinner, served up from the patio of your fanciful holiday accommodation, and made up of fried fish and spicy prawns.

Moraira

You’ll find the gorgeous coastal town of Moraira towards the northern tip of Costa Blanca. Easily accessed from both Alicante and Valencia, it’s famous for its tranquil atmosphere, unspoilt scenery and Blue Flag beaches.

Spend some time here and make the most of historic sites such as Moraira Castle. Otherwise, enjoy a romantic horse ride at sundown or simply unwind on the sand. The cuisine here is well suited for evenings of amour, too. Paella in Moraira is exquisite, but other local delicacies include fideua (noodles and seafood) and gazpacho (a cold soup containing raw blended vegetables).

As for the beverages? Moraira is part of a region famed for its Moscatel grapes and white wine. Order a bottle or two and watch the sun set with your beloved.

Marbella

Marbella is made for couples who are looking to rest and relax in style. Situated on the Costa del Sol and around a 40-minute drive from Malaga Airport, people visit this coastal gem for its glitz and glamour. The cobbled streets and pretty squares make for a truly picturesque backdrop, but don’t be fooled – Marbella isn’t as sleepy as it looks! Spend a romantic break here touring designer shops, sampling Andalusian cuisine, taking wine-tasting tours, and, come nightfall, sipping cocktails under the moonlight.

Alternatively, pick up locally-sourced procured meat, a loaf of bread and whip up a packed lunch from your self-catered accommodation. Head out on a walk along Bounty Beach and enjoy it while letting the lapsing waves tickle your feet.

Staying in a holiday rental provides all the right ingredients for a memorable trip with your partner. Set the ball rolling for your next romantic adventure and take a look at Villa Plus offerings in Spain.

By Lara Scott. A former executive at a major hotel chain, Lara Scott is a freelance travel writer and journalist. She says her previous career gives her extra insight into both sides of the tourism industry.

Best Mediterranean places to visit for cycling holidays

There’s something idyllic about cycling along a clifftop track while the sea gently crashes beneath you. Apart from that and the whizz of your hubs, the world seems mysteriously quiet. It’s moments like this that make cycling holidays in the Mediterranean region so appealing.

Between Spain’s Costa del Sol and Cyprus’ eastern shores you’ll find some of the best Mediterranean places to visit for cycling holidays. Here are a few that any cyclist should tick off.

Spain – Costa del Sol

Like the name suggests, Spain’s Sun Coast largely makes for brightly-lit rides which, depending on when you visit, can get a little hot, so bring a hydration pack! One such Costa del Sol cycle starts from the small hillside town of Mijas.

Study a few maps then make for La Cala Golf Course, a popular spot for golfers that’s south of Mijas. The route entails a mixture of arid single-track and two-lane roads, suited to either hybrid bikes or cross-country models. Like all great bike rides, it’s a mixture of ups, for a challenge, and downs, which leave you with a little more time to enjoy the stunning Andalusian views. Once you get to the river near the golf course, stop for a picnic, made up from the kitchen of your self-catering holiday rental, then prepare to do it all again on your way back to Mijas.


Image by Antonio, used under CC License (CC by 2.0)

Spain – Costa Blanca

Many professional cycling teams use the Costa Blanca as a training hub in the winter. The smooth surfaces here appeal to road cyclists who thrive on gradual climbs, speedy descents and flat stretches.

One of the most renowned climbs in the region is known as the Coll de Rates. You can easily access it from nearby towns, like Javea and Calpe. From Coll de Rates, make your way to the village of Parcent, where the route starts off with a light incline until you reach the summit. Soak up the verdant views of the surrounding region then replenish with a refreshing drink and get ready for a leisurely cruise back down.


Image by Phillip Capper, used under CC License (CC by 2.0)

Greek islands – Crete

If you’re ever struggling to tackle a Greek hill, promise yourself a big platter of mezes when you finish your ride to spur you on. Other than the end-of-ride meal, however, Greek island cycling makes for unbeatable holiday memories on routes you’ll always remember, many of which are found on Crete. A lot of Cretan roads are large and quiet, too, resulting in a wholly tranquil experience when you’re speeding across the island.

While it’s perfectly easy to trundle along these roads at your own pace, a real test of endurance is to brave the near-90km journey from Chania through the inland hills to the stunning village of Kallikratis. From here you’ll be able to see much of the island’s enticing coastline. Make sure you bring a camera, then capture the moment with a panoramic shot which’ll always remind you of your Crete cycling holiday. If you don’t fancy doing it over again, though, get a holiday companion to drive over and take you back to your villa rental.


Image by Andy Montgomery, used under CC License (CC by 2.0)

Cyprus – Paphos

Cyprus serves cyclists a selection of island routes for many different preferences. The city of Paphos and the surrounding resorts of Coral Bay are home to road and off-road paths suited to everyone from the everyday commuter to the endurance junkie who craves another fix of kilometre-rich coastal roads.

For a real challenge, cycle into the Troodos mountain range from Paphos. The journey itself is roughly 65 kilometres and is mostly downhill, making for a highly enjoyable and breezy trip. It’s suited to both road and off-road cyclists – just make sure your trusty steed is fitted with a good set of brakes for when you need to stop!

Take the time to soak up gorgeous Cypriot views, like that of the Diarizos river, which you’ll encounter along the way. It’s the fourth largest river on the island, although every twist and turn makes for a serene spot for a sandwich and a bottle of water. Failing that, you can always dip your feet in the river to help cool off before hitting the road again!


Image by Tomasz Huczek, used under CC License (CC by 2.0)

Mediterranean destinations have all the right ingredients for a cycling holiday – sun, scenery and a fair whack of sandy strips where you can put your feet up after a long day of pedalling!

Thinking about bringing your beloved bicycle on your next getaway? Here’s how to go about taking it onto an aeroplane.

By Isabella Perkins, a freelance travel writer best known for writing about self-catering holidays. Her writing tends to have a family focus, and she is in the middle of writing a new travel guide due to be published next year.

Good snorkelling holidays for villa-loving travellers

Holiday rentals provide the perfect basecamp for snorkelling getaways. Hiring a villa gives you the freedom to prepare your own packed lunches and dinners, and you’ll have plenty of room to store your snorkels, flippers and wetsuits.


Image by Lance, used under CC License (CC by 2.0

Good snorkelling holidays unlock a country’s most enthralling secrets. Pack your underwater camera and get ready to delve deep in some of these top destinations…

Costa del Sol, Spain

Costa del Sol is blessed with tepid waters bustling with marine life. On top of that, there’s plenty of sun-kissed beaches where you can set up camp before a few hours of snorkelling. Visit Maro beach, near the town of Nerja, and try to find its fascinating underwater cave if you’re feeling daring.

The shores surrounding Las Yucas and La Viborilla beaches, near Benalmadena, house a wide range of fish such as tuna, bonitos, and dolphinfish.

Costa Blanca, Spain

Like Costa del Sol, the Costa Blanca is a snorkelers’ paradise. Explore the region’s shorelines and you’ll quickly find that it’s simply brimming with underwater life. Granadella Cove, near Javea, has notoriously clear waters. Not only that, it’s quite sheltered so younger snorkellers can see the bay’s treasures, too.

The Algarve, Portugal

Portugal’s Algarve coast comprises playful Atlantic waters and warming sands. It’s also home to the famed Ria Formosa lagoon, one of the country’s many natural wonders. Here you’ll find one of the largest populations of seahorses in the world – wipe down your face mask and prepare to dive amongst them.

Cyprus

If you visit Cyprus during summertime, you might encounter beautiful green and loggerhead turtles on the island’s western coast. The island’s Cape Greco National Park is well worth a visit, too, complete with some of the clearest waters in the region and picturesque in every sense of the word.

Corfu, Greece

The Greek island of Corfu has plenty of spots for a good snorkelling holiday. Its pebbly beaches tend to have clearer waters, but you might want to wear a wetsuit or flippers to protect your feet from the jaggier rocks! Keep your eyes peeled for a diverse range of silverside fish, alongside flathead mullet and painted combers.

Pula, Croatia


Image by Christoph Sammer, used under CC License (CC by 2.0)

Croatia’s idyllic Adriatic coastlines are the envy of the world. Pula houses some of its finest and along with these renowned views, it has a number of great snorkelling spots.

Take Brijuni National Park, a short boat journey from Pula. The waters of these 14 small, protected islands are alive with flora, fauna and old Roman artefacts. In Verige Bay, on the western coast of the park, you can get a guided tour to explore submerged archaeological sites. Take full advantage and get excited for a day of underwater education.

Whether you’re travelling as a family, with friends or with your partner or spouse, a snorkelling holiday provides an unrivalled way to get to know a country’s ins and outs. Uncover exotic species of fish or simply paddle around and let the waves wash over you – underwater getaways are always ones to remember.

Have a look at some of the Villa Plus offerings in these hotspots and let your snorkelling dreams come to life.

By Isabella Perkins, a freelance travel writer best known for writing about self-catering holidays. Her writing tends to have a family focus, and she is in the middle of writing a new travel guide due to be published next year.

Top things to do in the Costa Blanca

Costa Blanca is without a doubt one of Spain’s most prized regions. Beautiful shores, dazzling sunshine, fascinating history and delicious cuisine are but four of the many reasons people visit here. Fortunately, affordable holiday options to the Costa Blanca are easy enough to come by. Here’s how to plan an unforgettable trip without it costing the earth.

Enjoy the Beauty of Benidorm
Image by rub3nmv, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)

Beaches of Benidorm

There’s no shortage of things to do in Benidorm. When most people picture the city, one image springs to mind – an arc of pristine sands, with turquoise waters lapsing gently over the skyscraper-lined waterfront. Levante Beach is that very arc, and a must for anyone staying near or within the city. Not only that, it’s also a prime spot for holidaymakers looking to soak up that famous Costa Blanca weather!

Take in the sights of the Costa Blanca
Image by felipe_gabaldon, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)

Palms of Elche

Elche provides tourists with a taste into a more traditional side to Spanish life, and is a short drive inland from Alicante. Once you’re here, be sure to visit the Palmeral of Elche, a historic line of palm trees which shows the crossover between North African and European culture. There are plenty of holiday villas in Alicante, all of which make the perfect base camp for exploring the region.

The Algar Waterfalls

Costa Blanca’s beauty isn’t resigned to the coastline. Further inland, the Algar Waterfalls are both beautiful and calming. Dive off the wooden platforms and into one of the surrounding pools. Temperatures here can get pretty toasty, and this makes for the perfect way to cool off.

Flyboarding in Calpe

Bit of a daredevil? Calpe is a hotspot for flyboarding, a jetpack orientated sport which sees participants fly several metres above the waves using state of the art technology. Jetpacking might seem a bit far-fetched for most people, but if you’re renting a villa in the Costa Blanca then this slice of adrenalin-fueled fun is only a short trip away.

Scuba Diving off Moraira

For some, skirting the tips of the waves isn’t enough. They want to submerge themselves beneath them scouring the depths for exotic fish and plant life. Moraraira has some of the best diving spots in Spain, and many local groups and instructors to help you get set up. Keep your eyes peeled for the sea bream and barracuda!

The Historic Centre of Jávea

It’s easy to get lost in the vast swathes of Costa Blanca’s tourism industry, but traditional town centres have stood the test of time. Take a siesta, and visit one of Jávea’s town squares. You might have a self-catering villa, but sometimes it’s worth getting out and sampling some of the local delicacies. Few things are more Spanish than a few tapas dishes whilst reveling in the charming atmosphere. Got a sweeter tooth? Opt for some delicious churros and don’t go easy on the chocolate sauce!

Whether you’re on holiday with family or friends in the Costa Blanca, you’ll leave lusting after its unique allures. Ready to start planning your getaway? Have a look at Villa Plus villas here.

By Isabella Perkins, a freelance travel writer best known for writing about self-catering holidays. Her writing tends to have a family-focus, and she is in the midst of writing a new travel guide due to be published next year.

Why you should choose a holiday let next time you go to the Costa Blanca

Home to 100 miles of gorgeous golden coast, it’s no wonder that the Costa Blanca is an old favourite with holiday-goers. If you fancy a Mediterranean getaway, choosing a holiday let is an ideal way to experience Spain’s southeastern coast from a fresh perspective.

Head to the Costa Blanca this year
A self-catering trip offers a wealth of opportunities that you won’t find if you stay in a hotel. Whether you’re heading to Benidorm to experience the nightlife, or you want to sunbathe and swim in Alicante, you’ll find the perfect rental home for you and your friends or family. Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy:

Take advantage of a holiday let in Benidorm
Image by miguel.discart, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)

More freedom to plan your sightseeing itinerary

In a self-catering rental, you can come and go at all times of day, and you don’t need to worry about making it back in time for dinner. This means you’ll be able to pack in more activities, and explore all the Costa Blanca sights you want to see.


If you’re staying near Benidorm, why not pack a lunch and head out for a day of adventures at Serra Gelada Natural Park? Or, if you’ve got kids, take a trip to a theme park like Terra Mitica. With so much to see and do, it would be a shame to limit yourself to the pool in a hotel resort!


Image by Brett Hodnett, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)

A place to unwind at the end of the day

Holidays are lots of fun, but they can be tiring too. After a busy day of exploring, you’ll look forward to going home to your private villa. If you choose a rental with a pool, you can cool down in the water. Or, you might just want to put your feet up, grab a drink, and enjoy the sunset from your terrace.

As well as offering peace and privacy to relax in the evenings, a staying in a holiday let promises a quiet place to have a lie in if you want a lazy morning. You won’t be woken up by doors banging in the hallway, or noisy people in the room next door.

Lots of space for you and your belongings

In a self-catering villa, you’ll have enough space to rival even the best hotels on the Costa Blanca. You can unpack and store away your clothes in your bedroom, instead of living out of a suitcase.

With a separate kitchen and living area, you won’t feel cooped up if you decide to spend an afternoon inside. Best of all, if you’re travelling in a large group, you’ll still have a bit of personal space.

Explore the local region’s cuisine

All-inclusive package holidays might seem like a convenient option, but self-catering will save you money while still leaving you free to try lots of local food. You can dine out without worrying that a pre-paid meal will go to waste, and take the chance to find the best restaurants in Alicante.

Of course, having a kitchen also means you can cook a meal at home. You could purchase some fresh local ingredients and try making a specialty dish, like Paella Alicantina. Or, cook up one of your favourite meals from home if you find yourself craving comfort food.

By Arianne Fabrice, a travel journalist who specialises in the popular resort destinations in and around Europe. Having worked for some of Paris’ premium travel mags, she’s recently moved into English-language publications.

Best drinks for your self-catering holiday to Costa Blanca

Wherever you go in Costa Blanca, there is no better way to unwind than with a drink in hand, lounging by the pool outside your Spanish villa or sitting on the balcony of your rental apartment. Without a hotel menu to limit your options, you have a wealth of drinks to choose from. By mixing up your own concoctions, you can save money too.

If you want to try some authentic flavours of the Costa Blanca, here are a few local drinks that you can buy or make yourself:

Wine in the Costa Blanca
Image by vreimunde, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)

Wine in Costa Blanca

Spain is famous for its wines, and winemaking in the Alicante province on Costa Blanca started as far back as the 16th century. Vineyards near the coast tend to grow the Moscatel grape, which is used to produce dessert wines. Moscatel de Alicante is a favourite choice, and this is definitely one to enjoy after dinner if you have a sweet tooth.

Further inland in Alicante, red wine production is more common, but you’ll also find lots of locally made rosé. Whether your holiday in Costa Blanca is long or short, make sure you leave time to try the many fantastic wines on offer.

Enjoy a glass of sangria in your Costa Blancan villa
Image by quinn.anya, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY SA 2.0)

Beer in Costa Blanca

In Costa Blanca, beer tends to be overshadowed by the high quality wine production, but beer drinkers shouldn’t despair. You’ll find all the favourite Spanish brands in supermarkets, like San Miguel and Estrella Damm. As you sip a pint in your Costa Blanca villa, you can enjoy the flavours of a familiar brand in its birthplace.

However, there are also some impressive craft beers on offer if you know where to look. Xabiga ale is brewed in Javea, in northern Costa Blanca. With undertones of fruit and caramel, this brew is a hit with locals and travellers alike.

In Altea, just a stone’s throw from Benidorm, you’ll find the Althaia Artesana brewery. The Blonde Ale and Brown Ale produced here are must-try drinks for any beer lover.

Fondillón

This is a little different to other Spanish wines, and is definitely worth trying even if you’re not usually a wine drinker. Fondillón is a sweet wine made from Monastell grapes, which are left to overripen before being picked. It ages in barrels for six years before being bottled, turning from deep red to an amber colour, similar to Sherry.

Fondillón is difficult to find outside the Alicante region, so be sure to buy a bottle – or several. Back in your holiday rental, you can sip on this delicious, sweet drink in the peace and privacy of familiar surroundings.

Sangria

No trip to Spain is complete without enjoying some of this world-famous fruity wine-based punch. Best of all, you can make it in the kitchen of your villa or apartment, and tailor it exactly to your own taste. Strong, sweet, or both, it’s completely up to you.

Rioja is the wine most often used in sangria, but any Spanish red will do the job. Fresh sliced fruit is a must, in addition to a combination of sparkling water, lemonade, or fruit juice. You’ll find brandy in a lot of Spanish sangrias too. For the best drinking experience, serve chilled. This is the perfect way to cool down after a long day in the Costa Blanca sun!

By Shaun Fraser, a former drinks rep, who now focuses on writing about his favourite tipples from Europe and beyond. He credits his good nose to a previous life as a sommelier.