Torrevieja car hire guide - beaches and attractions in Costa Blanca, Spain
On the southern coast of Spain there is an abundance of beach holiday resorts sought after by both Spanish and foreign tourists. One location, however, enjoys a fame of a particularly international destination: Torrevieja, a coastal town located approx. 30 miles/48 km southwest of Alicante, on Costa Blanca in the autonomous community of Valencia.
Torrevieja is favourite with visitors from Northern Europe, Scandinavians, German and British, holidaymakers and expatriates. The booming tourism in this area of Costa Blanca makes Torrevieja one of the fastest growing cities in Spain.
‘Costa del Yorkshire’ - British tourism in Torrevieja
A large proportion of Torrevieja real estate is owned by UK citizens who spend more or less lengthy periods of time, or even all year, on Costa del Sol.
Due to a large number of British permanent residents, the highest in the whole Spain, Torrevieja gained the nickname of ‘Costa del Yorkshire’.
English is commonly spoken in Torrevieja and a variety of British products and services is available in the town. This ‘familiar’ quality of Torrevieja attracts great numbers of those holiday tourists from the UK who enjoy combining the southern Spain’s coast and weather and the ‘feels like home’ vibe. In fact, it is for this reason that many British holiday-makers choose Torrevieja as a base for exploring Costa Blanca.
Best beaches of Torrevieja, Spain
The main attraction of Torrevieja are the exceptional white sanded beaches available in a short walk distance from the town centre and slightly further, along the coast both south and north of the town.
Torrevieja’s four ‘city’ beaches - Playa los Locos, Playa del Cura, Playa Naufragos and Playa del Acequion – offer all kinds of facilities for holidaymakers, restaurants and beachfront promenades.
On the northern outskirts of Torrevieja, La Mata (ou Torrelamata) and a bit further up north, Guardamar del Segura beaches are very sought after by tourists in Torrevieja. Both beaches bear a Blue Flag award for cleanliness and safety conditions.
Orihuela Coast - beautiful beaches short drive from Torrevieja
Several exceptional beach locations are found on a 16 km stretch of coast south of Torrevieja, the so called Orihuela Coast.
Amongst the most popular Orihuela Coast beaches are Punta Prima, La Zenia, Cabo Roig, Campoamor, Playa Flamenca and Mil Palmeras. The nautical sports facilities in this area of the coast are plentiful and the water sports can be practiced throughout most of the year.
Tourist attractions Torrevieja
The name, Torre Vieja, meaning Old Tower in Spanish is owned to an 14th century guard tower which remains can still be seen in the northern part of the city, overlooking the sea.
Although Torravieja history dates back to the Moor and Roman period, the city’s historic heritage is relatively limited. Apart from the Old Tower, the ancient port in La Mata deserves attention.
Tourist in Torrevieja, however, can hardly feel bored, as apart from the beaches and water sports opportunities, a number of attractions awaits them within the city limits, or in a short driving distance. The beach front promenade of Torrevieja is lined with restaurants, bars, discos and clubs bursting with life day and night, especially in the marina area.
Along the promenade, there is an open air market selling mostly crafts and souvenirs. For fresh local produce it is better to visit the main Torrevieja market held every Friday morning on the Salinero Street (Calle). With over 1200 permanent stalls, the Torrevieja market is considered one of the largest in Spain, providing bargains on locally grown fruit and vegetables, as well as clothing, handbags, shoes etc.
Amongst the most ‘touristy’ locations of Torrevieja is the Habanera Shopping Mall and the adjacent entertainment area, Ozone Bowling Centre.
Salt lakes Torrevieja
Torrevieja and its surrounding area are known for the salt production.
Two large natural salt water lakes - Laguna Salada de Torrevieja and Laguna Salada de La Mata - are found west and northwest of the city. The lakes set in beautiful landscapes form a natural reserve La Mata and Torrevieja Lagoons Natural Park where a range of activities is available for the tourists, amongt them hiking and birdwatching.
The Torrevieja salt pans, Salinas de Torrevieja open for visitors are some of the main tourist attractions of the area, allowing to get familiar with the unique on the world-scale process of wet salt extraction.
The lakes can be seen from the road N332 leading from Alicante Airport to Torrevieja.
For families with children, a visit to one, or both Torrevieja waterparks is a must.
Aquapark Flamingo in the centre of the city, not far from the Habaneras Mall is more appropriate for younger children as it features mostly small and medium-sized slides and shallow, clean pools. The Flamingo waterpark is opened only during the summer season.
The Aquapolis Water Park, located near Torrevieja marina, is one of the biggest aquaparks of Costa Blanca. The Aquapolis offers fun for all ages, from splash pools for younger children to adrenaline pumping attractions promisingly named as ‘Kamikaze’,‘Boomerang’ or ‘Black Whole’. Be aware though, that entrance fees to Torrevieja Aquapolis vary between €18-23, which in case of a larger family may mean a significant expense. Discount rates for Torrevieja waterpark are, sometimes, available with online booking.
Tabarca Island - a day trip from Torrevieja
Tabarca is a small, inhabited islet on the Mediterranean, in about 5 miles distance from the coastal town of Santa Pola.
Also known as Flat Island (Isla Plana) Tabarca is a perfect refuge from the tourist hustle and bustle of Costa Blanca. As a protected marine reserve Tabarca is a tranquil, pristine location, offering an unique opportunity to admire diverse marine fauna and numerous species of birds. The inhabitants of the island live mostly of tourism and in spite of its small size (the island measures less than 2 km in its widest part) you will find here accommodation and restaurants where you can try some of the best local cuisine, based on the fresh fish and sea food.
Boat trips to Tabarca are available from Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar, Torrevieja and Benidorm. It takes approximately 40 minutes to get to Tabarca from the port of Torrevieja and the prices of tickets range from €10 for children to €22 for adults, depending on the operator. Frequently, glass-bottom boats are used for cruises to Tabarca, allowing the passengers an insight into the proliferous maritime life of the unpolluted waters surrounding the island.
Torrevieja car hire - explore Costa Blanca in Spain
For holidaymakers in Costa Blanca based in Torrevieja there is no reason to stop themselves from visiting plentiful places of interest along the coast, amongst them: Alicante, Benidorm, or Cartagena.
The two main airports serving the tourist traffic to Torrevieja, Alicante Airport and Murcia Airport offer a wide range of car hire solutions and frequently at affordable prices. For best Costa Blanca car rental deals it is advisable to compare prices from many different suppliers with a help from an internet search engines of car hire, such as Cartrawler.
Centauro minibus at Alicante Airport - © Photo: Find-cheap-car-hire.co.uk
Cartrawler displays prices and availability of car hire in any major destination in Spain, including Torrevieja on Costa Blanca.
In Torrevieja car hire is available from a major Spanish rent-a-car suppliers, Goldcar and Centauro, as well as from a number of local car hire companies, namelySol-Mar Rent-A-Car, Coys Rent-A-Car Costa Blanca, Larsen Rent-A-Car and Dickmanns Rent-A-Car.
Spain car hire - tips and recommendations on car rental in Spain
1) Be sure to read the rental conditions carefully before booking
Frequently, when renting a car you will encounter a ‘pick-up full/return empty’ fuel policy, meaning that a charge for a tank of fuel, payable at the counter on arrival will be added to the rental rate. In this case the car will be handed over to you with a full tank and should be returned with and empty, or as empty as possible, tank, as no refund will be given for the unused fuel.
Although, in theory it seems a fair policy, in practice, it turns out to be little beneficial to the customer, as it is hardly ever possible to spend the fuel ‘until the last drop’ before handing back the car.
Additionally, it may happen that the car rental customers used to the ‘pick-up full/return full’ policy, will automatically refuel before returning the car. In such case there are no chances for reimbursement.
2) Stand firm for your rights
The aggressive selling of additional insurance was, unfortunately, a reoccurring problem in several car hire companies in Spain in the summer 2013. Especially Goldcar in Mallorca was notorious for ‘persuading’ clients to purchase extra insurance products, amongst them the additional excess insurance.
In Cartrawler offers/booking all the necessary insurance required by law to be able to drive a hire car is included in rate. While, frequently, customers feel much more comfortable and reassured purchasing extra coverage, it is by no means mandatory. However, standing up for your rights may be sometimes difficult and stressful after a tiring flight and long queuing in front of the car rental desk. If you encounter a particularly insisting employee, claiming you cannot have the car without taking out an extra insurance, be sure to stand firm for your rights.
In an event of disagreement, talking to the car rental station manager may help, although here is no such guarantee. In many cases, there is not much to do, especially if you arrive late at night, with a tired and impatient family and a lot of luggage.
However, if you feel that you were forced to purchase an unnecessary and unwanted insurance, make sure to present an official complaint, registered in the car hire company’s system and including the names of the employees who attended you. In this way it is harder for the car hire supplier to avoid liability later.
If your Spain car rental was booked through www.find-cheap-car-hire.co.uk, please send us an email describing your experience, so we can process your complaint to the proper entity. Make sure to get an invoice for the purchased insurance and provide us with a copy (scan via email). The more people complain, the shorter it will take to pick out the ‘bad apples’ of the Spanish car hire industry.
If possible, try not to let the bad experience with a car rental company spoil your holiday in Spain. Complaints usually take some time to process and a final solution may not be available during your stay in Spain.
Fortunately, the problem of forcing extra insurance onto customer does not concern all of the rent a car companies in Spain. In the summer of 2013, it was Goldcar who ‘made headlines’ due to this sort of practice, however isolated cases where registered with other suppliers. Some of the cases were due to the fact that many employees/managers of local car hire stations are on high commissions for additional sales, including extra insurance, which prompts them to come out, sometimes with their own, less acceptable techniques of ensuring the sales.
3) Cheap car hire Spain – find the right size of the rental car
Renting a car in Spain is generally cheap within the smallest class of rental vehicles. However, the comfort of driving is often compromised by the lack of space and in the smallest models of hire cars in Spain it is, sometimes, difficult to fit in a baby chair and luggage at the same time.
For many, a overall larger car, will provide much better experience and, at times it turns out to be even cheaper, since the engines of bigger cars tend to get less stressed during driving in hilly conditions or fully loaded and thus may use less fuel.
Larger models of cars to rent in Spain are usually better equipped (more efficient air conditioning) and have more safety features. Often there is only a small price difference between the smallest cars and the vehicles in the Ford Fiesta class. At times, even the cars from the VW Golf class will be only a bit more expensive than the cheapest cars to rent in Spain.
4) Book car hire in advance – save money on car rental
Early bookings are recommended especially in the larger classes with space for 5, 6 or 7 people (MPV or minivan to rent in Spain). Frequently considerable savings in Spain car hire can be made by booking well in advance.
Questions, recommendations and guide for car hire in Spain
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