IF YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT buying a home on the Orihuela Costa, either for use as a holiday getaway or a permanent home in Spain, it's vital to research different areas before starting your property search.
Perhaps we're biased, but we believe that La Zenia is one of the best areas to own a home – not just in Spain, but in the whole of Europe and perhaps even the entire world.
After all, we decided to live here, and when it comes to affordability, accessibility, overall safety, and quality of local services, as a country, Spain is hard to beat.
Your alternatives? There's no doubting that France is a patently beautiful country but with its more northerly latitude, it can't hold a candle to the fabulous weather you'll find here on the Orihuela Costa.
Florida in the USA offers typically large family homes that provide unbelievable value, but with a median flight time of comfortably under three hours, Spain is undeniably more immediately accessible.
You're unlikely to look forward to a weekend away in Orlando quite the same way you would do in Orihuela Costa, with jet lag, high flight costs, and a nine-hour flight time ahead of you.
The Orihuela Costa is just so much closer to home, and La Zenia property offers outstanding value. So let's take a look at what you'll need to know about La Zenia before you start your search for a home here.
Location, location, location. Where is La Zenia?
La Zenia is an urbanisation located on the eastern coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, in the southernmost quarter of the Alicante province, and 8 km's south of the port city of Torrevieja.
The area is exceptionally popular during the height of the summer season as a respected holiday destination for tourists, attracted by the quality of the beaches and the abundance of quality facilities.
Less than two thousand registered residents live in La Zenia, but that number belies the popularity of the locality, as tourists and seasonal visitors can multiply that figure six-fold throughout the summer months.
Occupying just 1.9 km² of premium beachfront real estate, La Zenia might be considered small, but the community packs plenty of quality into a seemingly diminutive space.
The locality is compact and bordered by Playa Flamenca to the north, the beach district of Cabo Roig to the south, and Los Dolses inland to the west.
Exceptionally well connected, the main N-332 coast road runs north to south through La Zenia, with easy access to the AP-7 motorway which runs in parallel to the coast offering toll-free access south toward Murcia, or a faster toll route northward to Alicante and beyond.
La Zenia is well-served by two international airports, with Alicante airport less than an hour away to the north, and the newly opened Corvera Región de Murcia airport approximately 45 minutes away by car.
The best place to buy a property on the Costa Blanca
La Zenia took off as a holiday destination following the opening of the neighbouring Villamartin Golf Club in 1972. Development of the local area began shortly thereafter, and the Servigroup La Zenia hotel was built on a rocky outcrop that separates the two sandy beaches in 1974.
The Orihuela Costa Resort hotel followed suit in 1979 and occupies a sizeable chunk of beachfront real estate, today offering tennis courts, a large outdoor swimming pool, and informal accommodation set inside spacious private gardens.
The Zenia Boulevard shopping centre opened in 2012 and brought much-needed world-class shopping facilities to the local area. The largest mall in the Alicante province offers 150 stores, a selection of casual and fine dining outlets, and free parking for more than 5,000 vehicles.
The area is characterised by a low-lying relatively flat topography typical of most Mediterranean beachfront locations, and benefits from its immediate proximity to the sea, providing cool onshore breezes during the summer and temperate generally dry winters.
La Zenia benefits from a healthy Mediterranean micro-climate, characterised by low annual rainfall, and an average of 320 days of sunshine each year with a median annual temperature of 19.3°c.
Long warm summers and short mild dry winters are emblematic of this part of the Costa Blanca, and visitors to the area from June through to September can regularly expect temperatures to vary between 25°c at night to 35°c during the day.
The proximity to Torrevieja's salt lakes to the north and the absence of heavy industry in the area contribute to a particularly clean environment and excellent air quality.
Hundreds of bars and restaurants to sample in La Zenia
What La Zenia lacks in size is more than compensated for by a wide variety of amenities and excellent public transport links that connect the community with adjacent towns and cities, including regular services to Torrevieja to the north.
La Zenia possesses two beautiful beaches replete with white sands and Spanish chiringuito beach bars. Both beaches receive Blue Flag accreditation year on year, recognised for their high standards of maintenance and flawlessly clean Mediterranean waters.
La Zenia's main beach, Cala Bosque, offers more than 27,000 m² of pristine sands and La Zenia's smaller beach, Cala Cerrada, offers additional capacity with a wide fine sandy cove-shaped beach that measures 167 m at the waterline.
World-class fine dining restaurants rub shoulders with baroque cafés and intimate eateries, and La Zenia´s gastronomic community offers a veritable choice of dining experiences encompassing the complete spectrum of international cuisine.
La Zenia is also home to Zenia Boulevard shopping centre. A commercial sanctuary for hardcore consumers and casual window-shoppers alike, La Zenia Boulevard boasts a spectacular 161,000 m² of retail heaven.
And for those looking for peace, tranquillity, and open green spaces, three 18-hole championship golf courses are on the doorstep, with Villamartin, Las Ramblas, and Real Club de Campoamor resort all less than 15 minutes away by car.
Public Wi-Fi is widely available at most bars and restaurants, and super-fast fibre-optic broadband services offering data transfer speeds over 100MB are available in the vast majority of residential areas.
La Zenia property, a wide choice of apartments and villas
When it comes to La Zenia property, beachfront homes east of the N-332 coast road tend to be large detached villas – single or two-storey properties on medium-sized private plots that command premium prices.
Newer-style properties in La Zenia constructed further inland are inevitably built on smaller plots. Newer properties typically require less maintenance and are built to modern building standards.
With a few notable exceptions communities of apartments in La Zenia tend to be low-rise, and the area offers a wide selection of affordable townhouses, apartments, and modest detached villas.
One important point of note for potential overseas La Zenia property buyers is that with only a few undeveloped building plots remaining in the urbanisation, within just a few years it simply won't be possible to build new homes in La Zenia.
It has been said that La Zenia is home to people of more than 100 different nationalities, and international residents outnumber the indigenous Spanish population, with a multicultural mix of North European expatriates settled within the community.
Of course, La Zenia can be busy in the summer months, but those of us who live here consider this a small price worth paying to enjoy the wealth of quality year-round amenities and the sheer natural allure the area has to offer.
La Zenia will suit property buyers who value quality services, who desire a great choice of shops and restaurants, and buyers that want to be as close to a beach as they might be able to afford. You'll find a fantastic selection of beautiful homes in La Zenia on the Inmo Investments website.
Looking for holiday ideas and travel inspiration? Find out more about our favourite recommended things to do on the Orihuela Costa or join the La Zenia community Facebook group and find out what's going on in the local area.