What to say about this extraordinary Spanish fishing village turned beach resort… By chance I spent a holiday with my parents and sisters here when I was 16. Not knowing that that holiday, or better yet 1 dinner at a local restaurant, would change my life and would be the start of a life spent traveling…
The Costa Blanca, Spain
The Costa Blanca, meaning ‘White Coast’, is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations. The region extends 200 kilometers along the Mediterranean coast, stretching from Gandia in the North to Torrevieja in the South.
The area is popular with both expats and tourists and is filled with pretty fishing villages and sandy beaches. Some areas have taken advantage of the influx of visitors and many developments have appeared, with high rise apartments and hotels a common feature of some areas. Once you move inland you will see less of that though and find the more authentic, quiet Spanish villages.
Moraira, located in the Northern part of the Costa Blanca (Marina Alta), is an old fishing village, chosen by many Northern Europeans as the place to buy a second home. Quiet in winter and lively in summer with nice beaches, a well maintained town center and a nice port area. Moraira offers a surprisingly large number of bars and restaurants ranging from authentic Spanish restaurants and tapas bars to British pubs and international restaurants owned mainly by Northern European expats.
Moraira’s main historic building is the 18th century castle which sits beside l’Ampolla beach. The other building worth checking out is the watchtower or the Torre de Vigilancia del Cap d’Or, on top of the mountain called Cap d’Or. The tower is solid, and does not have a doorway – this was part of its defense. To get into the tower you had to climb a rope ladder which would be let down from above.
Moraira is officially part of the small town of Teulada, which is located just a few kilometers inland. El Portet is one of its best known areas, with a beautiful beach and many expensive villas with some of the best views in Moraira.
Moraira enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters and the average yearly temperature exceeding 20 degrees.
Despite the global financial crisis that hit Spain pretty hard, there is still a high proportion of expats living in Moraira, mainly from Northern Europe, and the area is very popular with retirees.
Where to stay in Moraira
- La Sort Hotel: La Sort Hotel is the only hotel in Moraira’s town centre, located just off the main beach. La Sort Hotel is a cosy, modern boutique hotel with 22 comfortable rooms including family rooms and penthouses. Without a doubt the best location in Moraira.
- Swiss Hotel: Swiss Hotel is a beautiful, stylish hotel located just outside of the centre of Moraira. It has a total of 36 comfortable rooms and a good restaurant. If you are looking for a comfortable, quiet stay in Moraira then this is the best option.
- Hamiltons of London: a large number of tourists choose to rent a villa, or an apartment, for their stay in Moraira. Especially when you are traveling with the family or a group of people this is a good option. There are numerous rental agents worldwide offering property in Moraira but Hamiltons of London is one of the best known agencies with an office in Moraira.
Where to eat in Moraira
Moraira has so many restaurants that it’s almost impossible not to find a place you like. Here are some of the best restaurants in Moraira:
- Le dauphin: this restaurant is one of the two most exclusive restaurants in Moraira. It is located in El Portet’s bay and the building is, for a large part, made out of natural stones and antique wood, giving it a beautiful, luxurious feel. Sitting on the terrace you look out over the bay towards Calpe. Of course not a cheap eat, but for those who can afford it this restaurant comes highly recommended.
- Bona Taula: the other exclusive restaurant in Moraira. Located on the coast just outside the centre of Moraira, towards Calpe, this restaurant with a more traditional Spanish feel to it has a lovely view over the Mediterranean towards Moraira. Offering high quality, creative dishes (and great desserts) accompanied by a good selection of wines.
- Meson El Refugio: a traditional Spanish restaurant run by a local Spanish family. Located in the centre, open from early morning until dinner and loved by the locals: from local fishermen to police officers, if you spend some time in this restaurant you will see them all stopping by. The only downside in summer is that it has no terrace.
- Raco de L’Arros: the best place in Moraira to get an authentic Spanish paella. Located on avda. Madrid, in the centre of Moraira.
- Mesón Tresmall: the best place for tapas in town. Located in the centre of Moraira.
- Dgust: a modern restaurant located on Plaza Sort in the centre of Moraira offering a mix of Spanish and international dishes. They do a great paella!
- Options Restaurant: a modern, British run restaurant with a good international menu and a cosy atmosphere. Located in the centre of Moraira close to the castle. They offer a 2 course menu for 20 euros and a 3 course menu for 25 euros. Good food, friendly service and good value for money.
Where to drink in Moraira
Apart from a large number of restaurants Moraira also has ample choice in bars. These are some of the ones I would recommend:
- Royal Beach Club: a reasonably sized bar just across from the castle. Looks somewhat like an Irish pub with its wooden interior. Liked by locals, expats and tourists, giving it a nice international feel. From the terrace you have a lovely view of the castle.
- Algas bar: if you are looking for a great place to enjoy a cocktail or for a terrace with a perfect view of Moraira, then I would recommend Algas. Located just outside of the town centre, towards Calpe.
- Upper Club: located in the port of Moraira, this is the only lounge bar in Moraira. Great place to spend an afternoon, enjoy a cocktail and stare at expensive yachts…
- Carambano: this bar that also offers some simple food is located close to the port. It has a great terrace and is a good place to spend an afternoon.
What to do in Moraira
- Walk from the centre of Moraira to El Portet for an amazing view of the port and the Mediterranean. Stop for a drink at El Portet beach.
- Climb up to the watchtower on Cap d’Or, accessible from El Portet.
- See if there are any celebrations or Fiestas happening while you are in Moraira. If so, make sure you are in town when they happen because this is the best way to see the local culture. Check out Moraira Online 24 for a yearly calendar of local fiestas.
- Just relax, you are in Spain! Have a glass of wine, try some tapas, enjoy the great weather and accept the slower paced Mediterranean lifestyle….
My life in Spain started at restaurant El Pollo Loco… A restaurant I visited with my parents when I was on holiday in Moraira. They happened to have some Dutch speaking staff and, long story short, I stayed in touch with them, got offered a job, moved to Spain, fell in love with Moraira and with the Spanish lifestyle and never looked back… I did leave Moraira though. When the crisis hit and a lot of my expat friends started leaving Moraira I decided it was time for something new. That is probably when my life as a wanderer started because since then I have not lived in the same country for more than a year…
But, as they say “Not all those who wander are lost”
I’m back in Moraira now, just for a few more days, and then it’s time for a new destination and a new adventure…