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Spain for Sissies

Carol Sottili

Attention all travelers who like the concept of getting out of their comfort zone and traveling unescorted through foreign lands, but who stick with the tried-and-true because they don't want to maneuver through strange roads, languages, customs, etc. I have discovered the perfect destination. Think exotic enough that you won't hear any American accents, but so comfortable, you'll wish you could afford to stay for a month.

Head to the town of Moraira on Spain's Costa Blanca.

Located north of Alicante and south of Valencia, Moraira is one of a string of fishing villages that have been transformed into quiet tourist towns that attract Europeans, especially those from Germany, Holland and England. Americans have not discovered it yet. Many foreigners have bought property and some have retired there, but the town has no high-rises, and is not dominated by hooligans on holiday (it's very different than Benidorm, a resort close to Alicante that attracts a young, and sometimes boorish, foreign clientele).

The pristine town, dominated by a beachfront promenade, offers upscale shopping and restaurants. The promenade is lined with outdoor cafes, where you can sit for hours watching the sea, eating tapas and drinking reasonably priced Spanish wines. While it's nice to know a few words of Spanish, most everyone speaks some English. The roads are modern and easy to drive. Nearby are other interesting towns and villages, including Javea, which offers both a thriving port city and an old town in the hills with a 15th-century church, and Calpe, with wonderful seafood restaurants and open market shopping.

We flew into Alicante (this will be very easy to do come June 2, when Iberia Airlines begins nonstop service from Dulles to Madrid, with easy connections to Alicante), rented a car at the airport and then drove up to Moraira. We stayed with friends, but there are several hotels (Hotel La Sort, or Hotel Los Limoneros), and many apartments/condos for rent (www.vrbo.com and www.cyberrentals.com offer several).

If anyone has any other ideas for offbeat destinations that won't scare off the less-than-adventurous, please share!

By Carol Sottili |  March 27, 2007; 1:23 PM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili
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Another great place for the adventurous-but-not-so-much is Lagos, Portugal. The downtown area is a bit rowdy, with various pubs owned by British expats, but there are enough hideaways outside of the city proper that it makes for an excellent escape. It's also near the southwestern tip of Portugal and the surrounding cliffs are breathtaking. Most people in the hospitality industry speak conversational English and it's a fairly popular destination for European retirees and expats. WARNING: do not attempt to speak Spanish with any of the native Portuguese unless you want to experience the Portuguese death-stare.

Flying into Seville, Spain, there are plenty of connecting buses that will take you to Lagos or you can rent a car and stick to the main highway that runs along the Portuguese coast. Excellent for a weekend roadtrip if visiting Andalucia, Spain!

Posted by: MikeInMexico | March 27, 2007 4:50 PM

The more we have these specific destinations for travelers who want to speak only English, and pay only in "real money" (US dollars), the less likely it is that the rest of us will have to encounter these nice people on our own travels.

I recommend that every country set up a zone for this purpose and surround it with a moat. Mexico already has Cancun; no reason why other countries should not do the same.

Posted by: Chuckles | March 28, 2007 8:58 PM

There is nothing like The Kingdom Of Valencia! Not only great people & food are combine with art and sweetness. Fun and diversity everywhere you go! Countless numbers of fun activities!
Great Article!
Yes I am Alicantino!

Posted by: SergioIn UTAH | April 13, 2007 4:13 PM

more and more Americans are moving to Alicante than ever, so do yourself a favor and get down there!!

Posted by: anthony dawanyi | August 21, 2008 5:14 AM

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