For the best property, and to find the jewel in the crown of the Costa Azahar you have to head south, to the town of Benicassim, just outside the city of Castellon.
Along with Marbella (Costa del Sol), Javea (Costa Blanca), and San Sebastian (North Coast) Benicassim has long been one of the most exclusive resorts in Spain, even if most Britons have ever heard of it.
“Benicassim has been a popular holiday resort for the Spanish elite since the 19th Century,” explains Lionell Westell, who represents estate agents Jackson-Stops & Staff in the region. “It was known as the Biarritz of the Mediterranean, and wealthy families from Madrid, Valencia, and Castellon built imposing villas along the beach. Period villas on the beach front now cost several million Euros, if they come on the market, which they don’t very often.”
Befitting its posh reputation, Prince Charles has been on several short, low-key holidays to Benicassim, staying at the beachfront villa of the Colonques family, who run Porcelanosa, the region’s most prestigious ceramics company. The house, in Las Playetas, an exclusive residential enclave on the waterfront just outside Benicassim, looks onto a pretty little secluded beach, with excellent sea views.
London-based James Brumwell, 38, European MD of property developers Howard Holdings has been coming to Benicassim on holiday all his life.
“My father bought a villa in Las Playetas 20 years ago, just a few minutes walk from the beach,” explains Brumwell. “It costs peanuts at the time, but now villas in the area start at 1m Euros, though Julio Iglesias sold his villa there for much more than that. It’s a fantastic area, very Spanish, great for families, and Benicassim is a gem.”