Sunday, 7 August 2016
Our Spanish Dream Part 50 Cranes of Hope
We’ve all heard of the Costa Del Sol, The Costa Blanca and the Costa Verde but how many have heard of the Orihuela Costa? Well it’s not a Costa in the way we Brits picture them, it’s just 16km of coast in the very south of the Costa Blanca, Alicante region. Forty years ago it was farmland and coastal scrub land, now it’s a large town divided into several separate areas; Campoamor, Cabo Roig, La Zenia, Playa Flamenca, Los Altos, Villamartin, Las Ramblas and part (not all) of Punta Prima. Although often wrongly classified as part of Torrevieja, the area actually comes under the control of the townhall in the city of Orihuela, some 30km away, hence the name. Popular with ex-pats from across northern Europe it has diverse population.
City of Orihuela
An all year round destination for holiday makers, thanks to the milder winters, blue flag beaches and the famous golf courses of Villamartin, Campoamor, Las Ramblas and the newest addition, Las Colinas. A lack of hotels means most holiday makers rent private apartments and villas, maybe one of the reasons A Place in the Sun magazine named it in their recent Top Ten of places to buy a holiday rental property, although even they mistakenly stated places such as La Zenia and Cabo Roig as being part of Torrevieja!
And now Orihuela Costa boasts the largest shopping mall on the Costas! Opening last October with 150 shops and bars, sporting some of the best known names on the high streets of Europe, plus a bowling alley, casino, ‘town square’ complete with dancing fountains, free parking and sea views, La Zenia Boulevard is a shopper’s paradise. And it’s always busy. Spain may be deep in recession but people still go shopping!
Forever reading in the British press about the unsold new properties littering the coastal resorts and how nothing is being built, this area is genuinely ‘bucking the trend’. At any one time there are half a dozen cranes to be seen on the skyline building new low-rise apartments and houses, which are selling. There is nowhere near the flurry of activity that could be seen a decade ago, but there is building work, a rare sight in Spain these days.