The Costa Blanca is the original Spanish destination for winter Sun. It remains one of the best for sure. The climbing around Costa Blanca is awesome, and the weather is the best in the whole country. But where you stay will make or break your trip...

I’ve been there a lot of times, maybe 15 over the years, first visit way back in about 1989 with my parents when I’d barely even seen a bolt; the routes to me were trad climbs with bolts in.  I managed a 7b, by far the hardest thing I tried, and went home with what felt like a proud E5 tick. Years later I camped at Sella, crimping up 7a’s, dossed at the refuge and discovered Wild-Side, then stayed at The Orange House and began to visit everywhere else in the area. This last trip in February 2018 I went to three crags I’ve not seen before, onsighted 6 routes above 8a and am left desperate to get back for the routes I didn’t get time to try. But there is more to the place than climbing; I’m back because it’s the ultimate family holiday in February: We swam in the Med, walked over 1000m passes, scrambled ridges above the sea, chilled in the sun, and of course climbed on awesome stone. All for under 400 quid for the flight and the car.

But where we stay is what makes it. You could stay in Benidorm, a cheap apartment will be cheap between 4, or maybe camp at Sella, even cheaper but below zero at night. The Orange House fits the bill, whether with a family or a bunch of climbing mates. I know the owners, but I’m not writing this as a favour to them, it’s a favour to visitors; to be in the know. Firstly it’s in the right spot, quiet, in fact silent at night and away from it all, but within walking distance of the beautiful Spainsh Village of Finestrat. Out of sight but just 10 minutes away the vast expanse of Bennidorm, complete with cheap bars, supermarkets and everything makes life very convenient. And as for the climbing, OK, there is nothing right on the doorstep, but I’d say if you wanted a base to visit the best in the area, you’d not do better if you tried. And to be fair, the climbing is almost on the doorstep, with Sella being only 10 minutes away, and the vast Puig with its multi-pitch wanders towering overhead and within walking distance. Alicante Airport is about the cheapest to fly to from the UK, and is 35 minutes drive away.

But it’s the actual place that makes it, chilling by the pool in the sun in the morning, and relaxing on the terrace in the evening with no one around. On a rest day you can easily just hang. And the scene is great, a constant flow of climbers moving through, some staying a few days, others for weeks. This is one of the few places on Earth where you can just turn up and you’ll find a partner. I’ve been here a fair few times, just arriving with no partner, and every time I’ve got out climbing, and met some great people too.

I’ve been to a lot of places. But this is the place I’ve been back to the most, and for sure I’m not alone in that.

The Orange House

18 2 Spain