|The Hidden Charms of Holidays Resorts in Winter.|
By Louise Osborne ~ Weekly Exclusive - Global Views On Recent Trends
Wednesday, 1st January 2014
Exclusive Feature: Travel chaos ensued last week as millions took to trains, planes and automobiles to visit their families for the festive season. I was one of those travelling, but instead of heading back home for some quality time with my mum, we decided to brave one of the packed out planes and head to Spain for a week away from the UK and the storms raging across the island.
I have never been the type to spend time at a holiday resorts, full of tourists looking for the comforts of home while abroad, but the promise of a cheap, relaxing apartment and the opportunity of the first vacation with my mum since I was a child persuaded me.
We arrived in Javea, a beach resort located between Alicante and Valencia on the east coast of Spain three days before Christmas Day. After settling in our apartment, we headed down to the promenade – a wide walkway bordered with bars and restaurants.
Part of me was dreading the drunken and loud tourists I thought we were bound to come across, but what I realized is that the busy, boisterous beaches of the summer had changed and instead, in the winter, the resort had a charm I was not expecting.
Beaches that in June, July and August are covered almost completely in blankets, sunbathers and children, were clear leaving visible the tiny waves lapping at the yellow sand, while bars that would have been over flowing in the summer sun, were quiet and comfortable, with Spanish locals sitting at neighbouring tables sharing a winter bottle of wine.
After driving around the area to get a sense of the mountain-backed villages inland from the coast and the hotel lined beaches, we had the pleasure of returning to the quiet promenade, on Christmas Day watching Spanish families walking along the promenade, as we had a drink in one of the open bars to celebrate the day.
Many would not even think of visiting such resorts in the winter, but as well as being a way to escape the cold that permeates everything in northern Europe – we enjoyed temperatures of around 15 degrees every day on our trip – it was also a way to experience a town and its traditions at a time where they can truly be seen, when everything is not completely centred around tourists and their home comforts.
It is a phenomenon I also came across in the beach towns on the east coast of Cyprus, where I spent the festive season last year, visiting the small towns and villages and watching how locals celebrated the festive season, while also feeling part of that and not so much of an outsider.
I cannot say that I’m sold on tourist resorts and that they will be the destinations for my future holidays, but I can say that I have been pleasantly surprised to find myself having fun on the Costa Blanca and it’s good to see there is still a charm here that at other times of the year might be lost.
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Louise Osborne is a correspondent and editor based in Berlin, Germany. She began her career working at regional newspapers in the UK and now works with journalists across the globe as part of international journalism organization, Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA). Living abroad for the second time, she continues to be fascinated by places both near and far, and boards a plane eagerly, as often as she can.
Louise writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com