This little town is a few minutes inland from the Costa Blanca coast, and would serve as a calm, charming and unfussy haven away from the tourist trail.
What makes it so special?
La Nucia is perfect for people who want easy access to the comforts of the Costa Blanca while staying in an authentic Spanish town. It's made for car rental drivers who'd like to be able to return somewhere peaceful and picturesque in the evenings after days on the golf course, soaking up the sun or taking advantage of the fantastic attractions close by.
Because make no mistake, La Nucia is a sleepy, peaceful place. It has a genuine old town, where the streets are narrow and the homes are whitewashed, with iron balconies overhanging and terracotta roof tiles. On Fridays there are free tours of the town's old centre, taking you up to the best lookout points and past interesting sights like the Purísima Concepción parish church, which is from the 1700s. On Sunday mornings there's a second-hand market on the main square here.
If you happen to be visiting the Costa Blanca in the fringe seasons, when the weather is much warmer than in the UK but temperate enough to be out and about all day, then there's plenty of eye-catching nature next to La Nucia that is begging to be explored.
Leading out from the town is El Calvari, a paved hill that you can scale for lovely views of the valley and the dominating peak, Puig Campana, beyond it. There's a large cross at the top of the hill, and like much of the landscape around, the path is traced by wild lavender, pine trees and cypresses. The valley next to La Nucia is also lovely, with a patchwork of olive, almond and citrus farms.
For those who like their wilderness a bit wilder and a lot more rugged, simply turn your gaze to Puig Campana, a mountain enclosed by a natural park and at 1,406 metres in height, taller than anything you will find in the British Isles. It's a huge slab of limestone, the second-highest in the Alicante province – not a challenge to be taken lightly, and it would be worth getting detailed information from the Ayuntamiento before attempting an ascent. There are several different routes from all angles of the park, and they converge before the final leg to the top.
In the area
Altea is one of the Costa Blanca's most beautiful cities. The older part is extensive and more than merits a wander thanks to its interesting little shops, restaurants, galleries and cobblestone streets.
If you have kids along with you then with just a short drive in your Drivalia hire car you'll be able to swap the sedate atmosphere of La Nucia for something a bit more exhilarating and child-oriented. Terra Mítica for instance is just 20 minutes away on the road to Benidorm. Themed on ancient mythology, this is a professional and well laid-out attraction that recently became gated, meaning you can now buy one ticket for all rides. There are 25 rides in total with roller-coasters and splash flumes that should keep children and adolescents – and plenty of adults – entertained for a good few hours. The same applies to Aqualandia, a water park with all sorts of water slides and pools.
From La Nucia you'll be able to get to a great selection of Costa Blanca beaches in just a few minutes in your car hire. Altea has two Blue Flag beaches – La Roda and Cap Blanc. The former is a gravel beach with a palm-edged promenade. It's a little less popular than the long sweeps of soft sand in nearby Benidorm, but this makes it all the quieter for those who want a bit of relaxation. And all the facilities you could need are on hand. Cap Blanch is just to the south of La Roda, with a mix of sand and pebbles, and is similarly spotless.
You can get to La Nucia within an hour of the Drivalia car rental depot at Alicante Airport (ALC).