Travelling the World via Spain

but what I have done is started seeing the world of Costa Blanca differently.

Contrary to what the title slightly suggests, I haven’t found a get rich scheme to enable me to start making elaborate plans to travel the world, I haven’t started packing my bags and booking trips, but what I have done is started seeing the world of Costa Blanca differently.

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The world is one. We all feature one another, I’ve always known that. You’d have to be going around blindfolded to think that stepping into Valencia you don’t see elements of Madrid and Barcelona or stepping into California there are definitive elements of the Costa Blanca.

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But, as I wrote this I was sitting in the Carbon bar in La Nucia overlooking Polop devouring a margarita pizza washing it down with white wine, all I could think of is that this must be what Tuscany is like.

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The wine. The pizza. The mountains protecting us from every direction. The blue skies. The greenery growing flourished as ever thanks to our downfall of rain a few weekends ago. Everything about right then screamed everything I’d ever known and saw whilst in Italy.

The bar we were at sits perched on top of La Nucia offering spectacular views. The ranch style decor with a rustic feel makes you feel a million miles away from the Benidorm we’ve just left. It wouldn’t be out of place in Texas. A steakhouse that prides itself on meats and more meat. To be fair to them, the chicken fingers were incredible!

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That’s when I started thinking about all the other places that throw you back to somewhere else in the world. The other times we travel the world without leaving our doorstep. Xàbia and its elements of Greece, the Guadalest reservoir and a village in the Alps or Altea and its flashbacks of Morocco and Spain collided. So many times, we head somewhere and feel like we’re somewhere else, even though we’re just a short drive away.

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It makes sense. Spain has had so many influences impact on its architecture and growth over the years that it’s obvious that structural and architectural wise there would be similarities. But then I think about the world. The landscape.

We were all one, once upon a time.

The landscape changes from skyscraper buildings to open fields and towering mountains just by heading in one direction or the other. Within minutes, brown sunburned fields turn into flourishing green crops and the rugged coastline changes again.

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When we were heading North on our road trip, we would always be so stunned that a few miles down the road would lead us to a whole new sense of landscape, architecture and wildlife. Everywhere was somewhere new.

We were once one world that split apart. But we took pieces of one another away with us.

It makes me think of the world. How much of the world left to see. Places I want to go and places I want to see. I am already thinking of where we should go for the Christmas holidays. Isn’t it funny? We’re all working and counting down for our next holiday, our next day off. We sometimes forget to live in the now.

The Costa Blanca is beautiful. Spain is beautiful. The world is beautiful.

It just needs to be discovered. I hope my blog helps you discover it.

Now excuse me whilst I head over to Skyscanner and find an excuse to search for a flight to anywhere.

Hasta luego,

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The Most Instagrammable Locations in Benidorm

If you’re heading out to Benidorm and holiday and want to make your Instagram pop with beautiful colours and breathtaking scenery, here are some of the best places to snap a gorgeous photo for Instagram!

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It seems like everybody is out to grab a photo for ‘the gram’ these days. Whether that’s the perfect cocktail shot, a blissful beach or a stunning waterfall, if it looks good, we want to capture the photo.

With the world at our fingertips, thanks to social media and with that, more and more people are going out of their way just to get that picture perfect photo to upload. Whether you agree with it or not, they make for beautiful photos in the album, gorgeous canvases for the wall and usually hold a trove of memories. Take the photo, but enjoy it too.

The stigma of Benidorm is still so strong, whether that’s somebody turning their nose up at you heading to the sunny resort or the scoff at the response that Benidorm isn’t as you see it on the tv. People still want to talk down about Benidorm just because it has one trashy area. I’d like to challenge anybody to find a city that doesn’t have a trash area inside of it, it’s near enough impossible. The irony is, those who talk down about Benidorm are those who have never visited.

Who are the ones who look stupid now? Those who drop a verdict on something they know nothing about or those who choose to holiday in a place where there is an endless summer, sandy white beaches and views that are nothing short of beautiful?

Benidorm isn’t all about stag and hen parties, it’s not all about boozy Brits partying until late at night on the strip. There are plenty of beautiful spots in and around Benidorm that are perfect for photos, you just need to know where to go!

People are always asking us where we took our photos, so I thought it would be a good idea to share where the best places are to grab a few photos. If you’re not doing it for the beautiful views, do it for the gram.

If you’re heading out to Benidorm on holiday and want to make your Instagram pop with beautiful colours and breathtaking scenery, here are some of the best places to snap a gorgeous photo for Instagram!

Follow me on Instagram here: @imlaurenbate

Algar Falls

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Algar Falls might just be one of the most beautiful places to capture the serene natural beauty of the Costa Blanca. Situated just 15km away from the major bustle of Benidorm is the calming and tranquil waterfalls where natural clear water flows down from the mountains and creates an oasis of Meditteranean plants and a perfect spot to take a dip and grab a photo.

Guadalest

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My Instagram seems to be shifting into a Guadalest fan account and it seems that nobody seems to mind when the views there are this beautiful. Nestled away in the mountains, just a short drive from Benidorm, you’ll find the stunning location that looks like it’s burst straight out of a storybook, or at least an episode of Game of Thrones! To grab the best shots, you’ll want to enter the castle and explore its grounds.

The Guadalest Reservoir

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Not just beautiful from afar, the Guadalest reservoir is just as stunning up close too. The reservoir is a gorgeous sparkling backdrop which will brighten up any Instagram feed. The reservoir is much quieter than the village which means you’re guaranteed to get photos without people in the background either.

Villajoyosa Beach

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Much quieter than the beaches of Benidorm, the quiet beach of Villajoyosa located a short drive away from Benidorm is perfect for snapping a beach photo, without having to wade your way through dozens of tourists. The best part is, you’ll have the burst from the coloured houses as a backdrop one way or the crystal blue sea the other way. The beach is away from the hustle and bustle of Benidorm so once you’ve snapped your picture, you can set up for the day with snacks and drinks and enjoy the calming scenery.

Campomanes Port

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Looking to add a touch of class and luxury to the feed? Of course you are, who isn’t? With yachts as the background surrounded by the twinkling Mediterranean Sea, it’s one of my most loved locations on the Costa Blanca. Located a short drive away from Benidorm in the Altea region, it’s worth heading there to enjoy the scenery and a cocktail in one of the bars.

Gran Hotel Bali

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The best place I’ve ever seen a sunset or sunrise in Benidorm is hands down the Suite at the Gran Hotel Bali. With the panoramic windows and the two balconies, sunset and sunrise are worth waiting for. The tallest hotel in Europe boasts gorgeous views of Benidorm, Calpe, Puig Campana, Finestrat and Alicante.

Orcheta

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There are so many villages in the mountains that make for perfect Instagram photos, but I’ve chosen Orcheta, purely for the fact it has a beautiful reservoir located just outside of the village. For a typical Spanish feel with the narrow streets and Spanish style home, it’s sure to add that Mediterranean style to your feed!

The Old Town

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The Old Town has so many beautiful spots perfect for Instagram, but one of the most photographed is the stunning plaza with its iconic eye-catching blue-domed church. The aesthetic white with the burst of the blue is a match made in heaven for the Instagram feed.

Now all that’s left to do is choose that perfect Instagram filter…

Hasta luego,

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How to Get to the Guadalest Lake

Who would believe that nestled in the mountains just a short drive away from Benidorm is the alluring village of Guadalest?

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I posted a few photos on my Facebook page recently and it most certainly sparked some attention. Would you believe that it reached 30,000 people? That’s my biggest yet in terms of photos! A lot of people had the same question. How did you get there? How do you get down to the Guadalest lake that sits so beautifully at the bottom of the mountain? Well, it’s not easy. But, it’s possible.

Opening into a horizon of something completely different, a brand new perspective, a step into the fresh air. Who would believe that nestled in the mountains just a short drive away from Benidorm is the alluring village of Guadalest? But, the fun doesn’t stop at the village. The Embalse adorns Guadalest and boosts it to a whole new level of breathtaking beauty.

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When we saw it nestled at the bottom of the mountain and found out how easy it was for us to get there, we knew we had to go. The light was perfect. The colours were spectacular. The lake was beautiful. It isn’t Banff. It isn’t the Swiss Alps. But, instead, it’s the easily accessible village of Guadalest, holding its own instagrammable gems. Who said Benidorm wasn’t good for the travel gram? I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Benidorm holds some beautiful locations, you just have to go out and get them.

The crystal blue waters of the Guadalest reservoir alone is enough to pull tourists from near and far to the wonderful location, but instead of viewing from afar, is it time to take a closer look? The dazzling colour, caused by tiny particles of silt suspended in the water, creates a picture-perfect photo and a marvel for the eyes. It’s one of those places where you stand there taking it all in. It’s one of those where you wonder how nature can be so beautiful.

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The Guadalest Dam was built across the Guadalest River back in the late 1950s. With 73 meters high and 270 meters long, it supplies water to many local towns and villages, including the city of Benidorm. It’s a spectacular place to spend an hour or so.

If you’re into hiking, Guadalest is a superb option. There is a fairly light walk around the lake, on minor roads and paths. If a 10km walk sounds like your kind of holiday haven, then you’re in luck. If like me, wearing knee-high, high-heeled boots, hiking isn’t quite the desired route, you can drive down the main road and park in the public parking and wander down as far as you fancy.

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Stumbling across cobbled streets might not have been my finest hour, but as they say, the show must go on. I had planned my outfit for a selection of photos for an upcoming collaboration and I knew Guadalest would be the perfect location for those jaw-dropping backdrops. Perhaps I should’ve thought about a change of shoes for getting to the top of the castle though! Alex had a much more sensible attire for the journey and made use of my Kanken backpack. He definitely rocked the Minnie Mouse pin, right?

Gohar took so many photos of us together in Guadalest and at the Embalse which I’m really excited to share when I get my hands on them. They will be featured in a few upcoming blog posts. I’m so excited for some new photos of Alex and I. I can feel a new Facebook display picture coming along!

There is conflicting data online regarding whether or not you should swim in the Embalse of Guadalest. If I would advise not to. I personally wouldn’t take a dip. There is a very obvious sign at the gate of the Embalse which states “Peligro de Baño” which means Dangerous to Bathe. That alone makes me think it’s not safe to do so. However, many websites show people bathing in the Embalse. I would stay clear and admire from afar. The Reservoir is deep. There’s sign forbidding it for a reason. Use your brains.

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The reservoir is filled with large fish swimming and splashing around. Which, I’m not sure why but it really surprised us. I just didn’t expect it. It all seems so structured and preserved that I just didn’t expect fish, huge fish, to be splashing around. If you do want to fish at the reservoir, tough luck, you’ll need an official fishing license!

You can reach the Guadalest village by Llorente bus, bus tours or by car. To access the reservoir, it will take a 10-minute car drive exiting Guadalest and heading down, or a fairly lengthy hike.

If you’re looking for somewhere different to see Guadalest, and Benidorm, from a whole new perspective, then perhaps it’s time to take a trip to the Embalse. Escape the hustle and bustle and get out in the open air. Nature awaits.

P.S: The Instagram shots will be insane. Your mates won’t believe you’re in Benidorm!

Hasta luego,

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THE BIRTHDAY DIARY // Guadalest, Campomanes and Playa El Xarco

Instead of trying completely new places, we decided to revisit some of my favourites

The Birthday Diary


Tuesday 26th June 2018

Tuesday, my birthday! Instead of trying completely new places, we decided to revisit some of my favourites, with the exception of the beach.

I woke up to Feliz Cumpleaños banners scattered around the apartment and my cards ready to be opened. I won’t scare you with the photos of me opening them, I’ve definitely looked better…

After breakfast, we were ready to go.

First Stop – Guadalest

Guadalest truly deserves its title as being one of the prettiest villages in Spain. I don’t think there are many people who haven’t heard of Guadalest when coming to the Costa Blanca. It’s one of those villages that people just know.

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When you’re travelling up the long and winding roads, it seems much further than the mere 20km that it is from Benidorm. It’s hard to imagine that this route used to only be accessible on a donkey. Can you imagine!?

Guadalest is simply a beautiful village. Overlooking the valley of the River Guadalest and surrounded by mountain ranges, such as Sierra de Aitana, it really proves its worth. Guadalest only has 300 permanent residents, it’s hard to comprehend when you’re walking around and there are evidently a lot more than 300. The village really does come to life with tourists.

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The picturesque village has plenty of things to do, such as a drink in Plaza Gregori, or spoil yourselves with all of the museums they have to offer.

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We enjoyed walking around the village and admiring the crystal blue water, that definitely looked fuller than the last time we saw it!

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Second Stop – Campomanes

This beautiful harbour has been one of my favourite places. When we won’t have a car anymore, it won’t be as easily accessible, so I wanted to spend a bit more time here and take a dip in the sea and try out the beach that we didn’t get to go on before!

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We stopped off at Campomanes to have some lunch on the beach. We did attempt to go to  Bay Club Altea for a cocktail to celebrate my birthday, but with the staff ignoring us for 30 minutes, we headed off to Lounge Bar Macao where we had a lovely drink overlooking the harbour.

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More about Campomanes can be found here: The Birthday Diary // Greenwich Marina and Moraira

Third Stop – Playa El Xarco

The dog beach in Villajoyosa is much nicer than the one in Altea. If you have a dog and you’re wanting to find somewhere to sunbathe and play in the sea with your four-legged friend, then this is the one!

Playa El Xarco is a pebble beach, so come prepared with chairs and umbrella. It’s a beautiful cove with a tower to the right.

The journey down isn’t the easiest and it takes ignoring the signs because they don’t take you there! You have to go past the sign that says turn right and head further down, then you turn right and head downwards.

This beach is also patrolled by local police, so it’s essential you take your pet passport, ensure your dog is chipped, that they have a lead and that if your dog needs a muzzle, it’s wearing its muzzle. 

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The police are ensuring that the dogs there are safe to be roaming around, not causing disturbance to other users of the beach, and for general safety for yourselves and other dogs. The police were really friendly and allowed dogs to be off lead running between the sea and the owners.

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We had a better time at this beach and were able to lay on the pebbles and relax. Unlike in Altea, where the woodchippings were pretty uncomfortable and kept getting stuck in my feet! It’s recommended at both to wear swimming shoes.

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Overall, I had a lovely birthday. It even finished with our guest singing Happy Birthday to me in Norweigan, so there’s a first!

Now my birthday has passed, this doesn’t end yet! We’ll still be discovering new places for a little while more yet!

Hasta luego,

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