Spain for Sissies
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!
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