The coast of Spain offers many options and all of them are within similar flying distance, here we try and help you decide between the two principal holiday destination for family villa holidays in Spain, the Brava and the Blanca.
The Costa Brava stretches from the frontier with France down the coast as far as Blanes. It is distinctive for its red rock coastal section with numerous pretty creeks and sandy bays, an area of great natural beauty.
There are a number of charming small resorts along the Costa Brava which are ideal for family holidays, offering medieval village ambiance along with good facilities, places like Begur, Pals, Peratallada and Parafrugel and the lovely seaside villages of Tamariu, Llafranc and Aguiablava. Somewhat larger is Tossa de mar which remains family friendly and bigger still L'Estartit. South of the red rock area the land becomes flat and the beaches spectacularly long and wide and resorts such as Lloret de mer are popular.
The fabulous city of Barcelona is a major plus it being the number one city for visitors in Spain, ahead of Madrid, Seville and Granada, with the Baslica of the Sagrada Familia and Gaudi's Casa Balto being the main attractions. Although not in the same league Gerona is also worth a visit it also has a very handy international airport.
Inland this area of Catalonia also has the majestic Pyrenees where high mountains offer skiing in the winter. In summer visitors can enjoy wonderful walks and magnificent views of the hills and the sea around places like Castel Montgri and Mont Pla or on the dunes between Torroella and L'estartit.
Finally one of the big advantages of the Costa Brava is that you can reasonably drive there using the very good motorway network through France. It is good idea to combine a weeks holiday in each country.
The Costa Blanca makes up in days of sunshine what it lacks in terms of major attractions and diversity. It is limestone cliffs and mountains which dominate the landscape and offer a rich mix of pretty stony pebble beaches, charming creeks, islands and lovely sandy stretches.
There are a number of small fishing villages such as Calpe, Altea, Moriara and Javea which have developed into delightful family friendly holiday resorts with predominantly villa accommodation.
The great thing about places like Calpe is that you can stay there easily with young children and barely need to use the car at all as you can walk from your villa to beaches, shops and a wide choice of cafes and restaurants.
Being further south the Costa Blanca has the better climate and a longer season, that is the principal edge it has over the Brava. So if you were considering which would be best in May or September you would be advised to opt for the Blanca as you can be more certain of getting some warm sunshine. As a consequence more things are open as well outside the main summer months, some people even head down to the likes of Javea for some winter sun and to enjoy the Almond blossoms in February.
The limestone hills of the Costa Blanca attract many walkers and indeed climbers, particularly in the winter months. There are even places where you can enjoy rafting near Murcia just south of Alicante. Sailing and boating are very popular in the area and the limestone cliffs, islands and huge caves are a beautiful sight, you can often see dolphins in the water.
Access is also easy via Alicante airport as well as Valencia which is the main cultural centre on the Blanca. Although it is too far to drive to the Costa Blanca* it is very well serviced with direct flights from all over Europe.
In summary the Costa Brava is the more culturally interesting of the two areas but the Blanca edges it with the weather, especially outside of July and August, both are blessed with beautiful countryside, warm sea and the inimitable Spanish fun way of living which embraces and welcomes families.
We have an impressive, carefully managed and very reliable range of over 100 villas with pool in Costa Blanca along with a well established collection of high quality holiday houses on the Costa Brava. We have an excellent reputation for providing trustworthy holiday rentals in Spain and our experienced team (which includes a Spaniard) are on hand to answer all your questions, assist with travel and advise on what to see and do during your stay.
*Steve at Brittany ferries has just rightly pointed out that you can actually take a car ferry to Bilbao or Santander and take the easy motorway drive across Spain to the Costa Blanca to say Javea in around seven hours drive time.