Arenal Beach Javea’s water Playground

Javea has been blessed with more than its share of gorgeous shoreline, but for the quintessential beach qualities dear to the hearts of Northern Europeans in general, Arenal Beach stands head and shoulders above all the rest. Arenal has everything a beach-lover could want, with the possible exception of those who prefer solitude with their sand, sun and clear, clean salt water.

Arenal is the only one of Javea’s beaches to have a large expanse of smooth golden sand which stretches out along the bay for about 550 metres with a width of 150 metres, quite a lavish spread for this area of rocky coves and inlets. It is also, not surprisingly, right in front of the small Arenal ‘town’ where all the attractions of a thriving tourist economy are within easy stroll-able reach.

Just about every review and comment about this gorgeous beach makes the statement that it is remarkably clean and well-serviced, safe for children and with all the adult amenities like shops and bars. Arenal Beach consistently receives the European Blue Flag designation for clean, safe conditions year round, and the water is unbelievably clear and inviting.

Spending a day at this beach is almost inevitable once you get there; if you haven’t brought all the beach-gear you want, just rent a sun-bed or an umbrella for lolling between dips in that so-inviting water. When you’re tired of that, try some beach volley-ball or wall climbing or water skiing, all of which and more are available at various locations on the beach.

If you’re with young children there are great play areas, with both sun and shade, specially designed for them. With Arenal’s wide, shallow gently sloping shore-front the wading is about as good as it gets – plus it’s great for sand castles and moats. Parents of older kids can even keep an eye on them from many of the cafes and bars on the Promenade if so desired, and of course there are lifeguards on duty all day during the summer season.

Image by Ian Theobald

Be aware that dogs are not allowed on the beach, but you’re welcome to walk them on the Promenade or other areas. There are no lockers as such to leave valuables in whilst you’re bathing, but the overall response from visitors and locals is that most people feel comfortable leaving their belongings under a towel on the beach; it’s considered about as safe as you can reasonably expect, but still be very aware of your valuables.

Most beach-goers appreciate a cold drink and a sandwich after exerting themselves in the sun (or not exerting themselves, for that matter), and here the options are many and delightful. Along the palm-lined Promenade facing the beachfront you’ll find all the food and drink you could possibly want, in a variety to suit just about every taste and budget. Many are family oriented but if you’re looking for a romantic dining experience you can find plenty of opportunities for that too.

Image by Ian Theobald

A stroll along the wide boardwalk provides an impressive view of Montgo Massif, the iconic mountain that guards and shelters the bay and town; it’s almost enough to distract a person from the array of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants lining the beach-side. If you’re looking for breakfast or a late-night dinner or anything in between, you’ll find it somewhere along the Promenade at almost any hour of the day or night (during the summer; in winter some will be closed.)

Image by Ian Theobald

One that’s easy to remember is the Arenal Beach Bar & Restaurant, right on the beachfront, serving both lunch and dinner. This one stays open during the winter, and it’s rated high on the good food and friendly service meters; there’s also live entertainment on summer Sundays.

Image by Ian Theobald

Not quite beachfront (about 200 metres back on Avenida Tamarits) but ideal for Brits with or without kids, Scallops in Javea gets mostly rave reviews for its fish and chips especially, with equal emphasis on great value for money. This is a fine place for breakfast; they offer free vouchers (check with the management) and wine is included with just about everything, plus a take-away bottle.

Image by Ian Theobald

In keeping with the variety you’ll notice everywhere in Javea, the Monsoon Cafe serves outstanding Thai food in elegant surroundings; it’s not a casual type establishment and the prices reflect that, but so does the food and service. Bar BBQ Fuego, on the other hand, has opened just recently and seems to be a great hit; by definition BBQ is not an ‘elegant’ sort of dining but the preliminary reviews all rave about the excellent food, service and value, complete with great beach views.

Image by Ian Theobald

We’ve mentioned only a handful of the possibilities for breakfast, lunch and dinner; there are many more and you’re well advised to look around and try something new and different. It you don’t like it you’ve had a useful experience and if you do you’ll pat yourself on the back for your cleverness and carry away a good memory to savour until you can go back there again.

After dark the area takes on a slightly different aura, when the bars and nightclubs get busy with visitors and locals enjoying before or after-dinner drinks and lively entertainment. This is about as ‘urban’ as Javea gets, but there’s a more relaxed and friendly atmosphere than you’ll find in any big city, another testament to Javea’s quietly cosmopolitan ambiance.

The Arenal is much more than a family-friendly beach, though it’s that for sure; it’s also “where the action is” in Javea. When the sun goes down night life begins to stir, and the Promenade bustles with activity. Visitors from Northern Europe will feel right at home (but with a wonderful Javean twist) in any of the bars and nightclubs to be found up and down the beachfront.

Most of these establishments are open for lunch, around noon, with closing hours usually described as ‘late’ – so if you don’t start too early you have hours to stroll and check out some of the options. Bar Baltazar opened not long ago and already has a reputation for top quality Austrian and international food and an inviting atmosphere with good music and unbeatable sea views.

Chabababada (previously named Champagne) is another beachfront bar and restaurant where you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner with cocktails, or just cocktails if that’s your preference, along with close-up views of the beach and sea. For a good Irish bar, there’s An Shebeen with memorable fish and chips or Irish stew; it’s been here for more than ten years and is a favourite with locals and visitors.

Again, the options are more than sufficient to satisfy the most exotic or mundane of tastes; the big challenge is to try as many as time and your budget allow. Prices are generally very reasonable; if you plan a bit ahead, you can have delicious snacks and lunches at minimum prices and splurge on dinner once in a while.

The options for kids along the beach are pretty good, with small children’s play areas, volleyball nets, bikes and skateboard hire for use on the promenade, as well as pedalo and snorkeling equipment hire. The very gentle slope of the sand means that it is pretty rare in the summer to see anything that resembles a real wave inside the bay. There is a permanent daytime lifeguard during the summer months allowing parents to relax a little more. There are other entertainment options such as windsurfer, kayak and paddle-board hire.

The facts are that Arenal Beach is arguably the best of Costa Blanca’s abundant lovely beaches, and many visitors return again and again. Indeed, many visitors from Europe’s chillier climes, especially the British, are so entranced that they come back to stay; you’ll often find them out there sun bathing in February.

Many of the fine images above created by Ian Theoblad 
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