La Zenia is an amazing destination set in the heart of Costa Blanca, Spain. Access is easy as it is serviced by two airports: Alicante which is 45 minutes drive to the North and San Javier, Murcia which is 15 minutes to the south. La Zenia is a coastal location set between Alicante city and Cartagena and has two major roads passing through, the AP7 motorway, the speedy way to get places and the N332 which runs along the coast offering the traveller unrivalled scenery and views of the beauty of this region of Spain. La Zenia is also 10 km from the Spanish city of Torrevieja with its variety of sporting activities, cultural events, festivals and shopping. For those thinking of buying property in Spain and looking to start "Living the dream’ this is the perfect location, and for those wanting a nice holiday home or that lovely break away, look no further – La Zenia really has it all.
Let’s have a look at what people want from their "ideal and happy’ location:
Beaches: La Zenia has a wonderful beaches in the immediate vicinity, the beautiful La Zenia beach which is large and spacious, offers a children’s play area, a beach bar and is overlooked by low cliffs and has the delightful La Mirada Restaurant & Bar right beside it. The La Zenia Hotel just a few minutes walk away. The "La Mirada” offers beautiful vistas, seating areas both indoors and outdoors with views across the Mediterranean Sea; an Ideal place for a cold beer or a plate of tapas after a hard day on the beach. The staff are very attentive and the service is always excellent. There are many other beaches very close by including the small safe beach of Playa Flamenca and the sheltered beach of Cabo Roig with its wonderful selection of water sports and boating activities.
Views: Many of the properties of La Zenia have beautiful views across the Mediterranean Sea and if your property does not have that, a two minute stroll is all that is needed to sit on some lovely strategically placed bench and enjoy the gentle roll of the waves. The La Zenia roundabout, also knows as the Paddys Point roundabout is 300 meters to the sea.
Good Shopping: La Zenia is home to the Zenia Boulevard, a large American style shopping Mall opened in September 2012 but with a Mediterranean feel. This mall is over 160,000 square meters and has more than 1,502 shopping outlets. The second floor of the mall has a large choice of restaurants and a huge area for children’s activities. There are many well-known High Street retailers here trading side by side with designer stores such as Guess, Desigual and Via de Milano. One of my wife’s personal favourites is Zara Clothing which offers quality ladies, gents and children’s fashion at generous discount to what you would pay for Zara in other mainstream European destinations. Zara Home Furnishing also has some lovely pieces for the home at very good prices. The shoe shops here are fantastic where you can buy those excellent quality and design that the Spanish Shoe designers are famous for. There are also matching leather bags, and the prices are a bargain for the excellent quality. The shopping centre could be a lovely day and evening out for the young and the old, with shopping for everyone, lovely restaurants to eat in and to enjoy some of the many evening free entertainments of various live music performers, magicians, Zumba dancers and other shows.
Besides this shopping mall there are other beautiful shops in Zenia Golf Commercial Centre on the roundabout. Ponderosa is a beautiful shop which offers a range of high quality jewellery, cards, household items and unusual items that would make lovely quality presents. The staff here are very friendly and very helpful in helping you choose something for a special person or a special occasion. Ponderosa has been here since the time we opened up so that’s a good sign right there. Right next to Ponderosa is "Looking Good Boutique” which, I’m told, offers unique fashion and accessories including some beautiful "Haute Couture” from designer Josef Ribkoff. They often feature personally selected up- and- coming design labels which are also high quality. For the slightly higher prices this boutique is a must for dressing for that special event.
Evening entertainment: Oh where to begin?!! From live bands to Musicals to comedians and drag artists the biggest problem is narrowing down what you want to see on a certain evening in Spain. Paddy’s Point Bar at Zenia Golf Commercial Centre on the roundabout is a personal favourite. They have live bands every evening featuring traditional Irish, rock n roll and contemporary music. There is always a fantastic friendly fun atmosphere and the bar is full without being too crowded. The staff are very efficient and pleasant, their customer service is superb and you won’t be waiting long for your favourite tipple. Paddy’s Point also offer a vast menu with such a variety of good food that you could eat here every lunch and dinner and never have the same meal twice. And if you’re a sports buff you’ll be lost for choice as they show all the football, hurling, golf, horse racing, tennis and any other sport you could mention.
Another fabulous place and typically Spanish is Alfie’s Place on the Zenia Golf Commercial Centre, they offer breakfast, lunch, tapas and evening menus, competitively priced and very tasty. They have musicians playing in the afternoon which is a lovely way to wile away a few lazy hours in good company.
On other days when you fancy a cold pint in a lovely setting there is the relaxing "Quiet Man”, an Irish Bar just a couple of hundred yards from La Zenia Beach towards the roundabout. There you can sup your pint and chat with the locals and the friendly barman away from the hustle and bustle of a busier venue.
The Quiet man is actually on the market- Maybe you want to buy a bar and live the dream in La Zenia year round!
Bus/Taxi Service: There is a very good infrastructure of buses to get from La Zenia to the nearby Villamartin, La Fuente, Campoamor, Playa Flamenca and the various beaches. This bus goes regularly on the hour. There is also a public bus which services from Cartagena to Alicante and stops at Zenia Boulevard Shopping Centre, from this bus you can visit all the little villages and towns and the unspoilt Spanish countryside and beaches along the way. It is very reasonably priced and the service is almost on the hour during the season. There is a taxi rank outside Zenia Boulevard Shopping centre and another located at Zenia Golf Commercial Centre at Paddy’s Point roundabout. Taxis are still a relatively cheap mode of transport and the taxi drivers are very friendly and will let you try out your new Spanish vocabulary on them!
Sports facilities: At Zenia Boulevard there is a Bowling Alley that is a favourite of my family, we have had many a good evening there with lots of arguing, mostly good naturally about the best method of sending that ball down the lane. The atmosphere there is light and its busy in the evenings with young people having a good laugh at some of the efforts made on the night!!. This is fun for all the family and quite a cheap evening out too. You can grab a beer as you bowl- Added bonus.
Just beyond the Boulevard, there is the CDM(Centro Deportivo Municipal )sports centre. For the athlete this is a magnificent facility boasting a 25m long heated indoor swimming pool, 3 Padel tennis Courts, 2 Tennis Courts and 2 multisport courts where you can play basketball, handball and volleyball, a football pitch with artificial turf with 2 x 7 a side fields and a running circuit of 500m. The centre has a little cafeteria with terrace, changing rooms and reception. They offer various classes throughout the year including Pilates, aquarobics, zumba dancing and fitness as well as football, swimming and dance. For those who like to exercise in the open air there is a beautiful coastal walk from La Zenia Beach to Cabo Roig Beach. This walk is about 40 minutes and has the most breathtaking scenery you could imagine as you wind your way along the coast under the overhanging cliffs and looking out beyond the blue sea to the boats and ships in the distance.
Food: Food, glorious Food – Everybody loves to eat and it is a concern with people on their first venture to Spain that they will not find the food items that they are accustomed to buying and cooking in their home country. There is no need to worry about this as there is an abundance of Supermarkets in the La Zenia area including Consum, Mercadona, Lidl and the giant sized Al Campo together with a selection of small grocery outlets that bring in specific delicacies from the home countries that you cannot specifically get here. The 24 Hour Shop to the right of Zenia Golf Commercial centre has wonderful soda bread, mince meat, Irish sausages and bacon and other delicacies that we take for granted until we move abroad. The fish markets section of supermarkets here are overflowing with gorgeous fresh fish and shellfish, just out of the water and such a variety to choose from. The selection of fruit and vegetables brought in from the Spanish countryside always amazes and gives us every option to eat a healthy, varied and exciting diet; its said that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world- We believe it.
On a Saturday morning there is the large outdoor market just behind Zenia Boulevard, this is a long winding street market with traders of fruit, vegetable, leather goods, table cloths, clothing, shoes, plants, pastries and a variety of other items that you never knew you needed!! It is great fun to pass a few hours here listening to the calls of the traders and it is a wonderful experience to haggle with them. The traders themselves are a nice bunch and do not pester you like I’ve seen in other markets in different countries.
Health: There are several pharmacies in La Zenia, one at the Zenia Boulevard, another across the road towards the sea at Zenia Golf Commercial Centre. Also across from the Zenia Golf Commercial Centre is a health shop which sells the popular vitamins, minerals and such things as wheatgrass and other speciality health items. There are two good dentist practises here also and another dentist across from Zenia Boulevard. The medical centre is about 5 minutes drive at the top of the Cabo Roig strip and is a fast and efficient medical centre. Although the medical staff do not have to speak with you in English most of them have a good knowledge and will try to explain things to you as clearly as possible. There is also a private medical practise in Cabo Roig where the doctor is of German/Irish descent and was educated in University College Cork. This area of Spain is renowned to be one of the best places to live to enjoy good health due to the excellent weather and climate conditions and the abundance of fresh foods.
Weather: Well what can I say about the beautiful weather? Sunshine more than 320 days a year, average temperatures of 21 degrees, blue skies and cool breezes makes life such a picnic! What a delight it is to awake each morning knowing that the sky will be blue, the temperature will be warm and a brisk walk through the fabulous foliage, colourful flowers and delicate scents of Jasmine lingering in the air will give you such happiness. Just grab your t-shirt and shorts and go!!
Necessities of life: There are always the mundane things to look after whether you live at home or abroad and that is no different in Spain. The upside of this is that all you need is available at La Zenia from Insurance Offices, Legal Services – all your requirements taken care of at Spanish Solutions from buying a house to changing your driving licence to hiring a specialist interpreter, Accountants and Tax advisors, Architects, car hire, and home design, Estate agencies (actually there are others, not just Sunworld, but we only recommend ourselves!!).
People: From my own experience people in the La Zenia area are very happy and cheerful. I put it down partly to the temperate weather and the constant blue skies which definitely improve the mood but it is also, I think, due to the adventurous nature and natural optimism of people who travel and are willing to move out of their comfort zone and live in a foreign destination. It does not take long here to become a "local” and hear greetings called as you stroll to get your morning coffee. It is this friendliness and camaraderie that makes you feel so at home here after such a short time and makes you thoroughly enjoy the experience of living in an exciting, vibrant and beautiful area of Spain, The Costa Blanca, the best place to live. I just love La Zenia and the lovely life my family and I have here! So many people talk about living in a nicer climate, dream about strolling to the local patisserie for freshly brewed coffee and bagel but how many realise that dream? Do it now, grab life by its collar and make that move – happiness guaranteed.
Have I covered everything in this article? Absolutely not, I would need to write a book to describe everything that La Zenia offers, tease you with the smells and sensations of walking along the beach on a breezy summers evening, listen to little kids giggling and laughing as they climb the frame on the beach and play chase beneath the cliffs, watch the old men and ladies gather on a dusky evening to catch up on the daily events over a game of boules. A mixture of sensation and senses brings La Zenia to life and having spent time here it remains in your soul forever.