Playa Ambolo, Story & Video – A Hidden-Gem Beach of Spain’s Costa Blanca
All along Spain’s Mediterranean Coast, are pristine beaches that are still unknown to the average visitor. Here in the Valencia Community, these beaches are especially intriguing. Tucked away as little calas (coves), they are usually harder to access and thus less crowded and remarkably beautiful. Playa Ambolo is one of those many natural treasures here along the Costa Blanca where we live in Denia. Recently, a friend invited us to go along with him, introducing us for our first time to this hidden-gem just outside of our neighboring town of Jávea (Xábia in Valencian). To make sure you can discover it for yourself and have a great visit, read further for some very helpful things to know. Then watch our video of what it’s like to swim with ‘the locals’ there.
Just want to watch the video?
You can always read our post later for really helpful tips on visiting Playa Ambolo.
Discovering Playa Ambolo
Also known as Cala Ambolo (which means cove Ambolo), Playa Ambolo gets its name from a watchtower that was built there in the 16th century. It was used to defend against pirate attacks. Just to the south of the cala, you can see a larger island, the Isla del Descubridor, which means Discoverer’s Island. Back up on the cliff top and nearby, is the Ambolo scenic viewpoint.
The first sightings of Playa Ambolo are either from above, or from a sailboat. From most of the main road along the top of the sea cliffs here, you can’t see the small curved stretch of sand and pebbles. It’s not until you are walking down the few switchbacks of a residential road, that you can get your first spectacular glimpses. The water is every enticing shade of the Mediterranean. There’s the deep dark blue of the depths further out that morph into jewel-like turquoise-green and sparkling crystal-clear blue as it gets shallower up to the shore. It is truly a picturesque Mediterranean beach.
Some days, there can be a strong current and swell, creating some moderate waves. Other days, the water can be still and smooth as glass, protected by the natural cove where it lies. The day that we went, we experienced the water to be somewhat in between those two conditions and it was still wonderful for swimming and snorkeling.
As you walk down, the street is steep, hugging the side of the tall cliffs that rapidly drop down to meet the water here. It is a residential area, with grand homes built precariously right into the land. There are pine trees and shrubs, bright Mediterranean flowers trellising, and other native vegetation that make for a lovely walk. Breath in deep and especially enjoy the fragrance of the pines and the sea blended together.
About halfway down to reaching the Playa Ambolo, the street ends into a rocky, dirt path and then stone stairway. This stairway is well made and with a wood railing, from which you really begin to enjoy magnificent views. You can see the little rock island just out to the left of the beach, which we’ll touch on more further down. The stairway then ends into a rocky shore full of large rocks and boulders. You walk across this carefully to the right, to where the sandy beach of approximately 300 meters begins. Here is the most ideal, and favorite place, for visitors to set up their spot.
Swimming with the Locals of Playa Ambolo
There are two types of locals at Playa Ambolo. The human ones of course, and the animal ones. Some of the human ones like to enjoy this beach in the nude, since it is actually a nudist beach. Don’t worry though – our video of swimming with the locals is not about them. Then, there are the many splendid fish, and even the friendly Cormorant birds. These animals are the locals who we feature in our video.
For especially snorkelers, Playa Ambolo will be a gem of an experience. There are various underwater boulders and reef, as well as the small rock island we mentioned, that are home to hundreds of fish. As you’ll see in our video, it’s a magical world to enjoy swimming in. We believe that there is even a cave within the small rock island that may be accessible by snorkeling.
While swimming from the shore, there was a mother Cormorant with her two young chics. We’re pretty sure that she was teaching them how to fish. A couple of times, they came very close to the shore and even near some of the swimmers. At times like that, you can dive down and see them swiftly diving as well. They are so quick and elegant underneath the water catching fish.
Helpful Details to Know About the Beach Itself
While part of the Playa Ambolo is sandy, it is also mostly rocks and pebbles. Entering the water from this sandy area, is also made up of pebbles, so wearing some good water shoes is highly recommended. These or good walking shoes are also recommended for the walk down to the beach.
The beach is also very sunny, with no trees. If you don’t want full sun while there, make sure to take an umbrella or something for creating shade.
As we’ve mentioned, Playa Ambolo is a nudist beach, but of course wearing swimsuits is an option too. There are no restrooms or public facilities of any kind at this beach, not even waste bins. So please make sure that what you pack in, you are prepared to also pack out and take away with you. We want to keep these beaches, and all of nature, clean and pristine.
Whether or not the beach is suitable for children, is up to their age and swimming level. Keep in mind that the water gets deep very close to shore and as we mentioned, some days the current can be very strong and the water can get rough. There is also no lifeguard at any time on this beach.
Since the beach is smaller, it can fill up in the busier season of summer, especially in August. We recommend getting there in the morning. We arrived by around 10:30 and there were less than ten people in total. Within an hour later, that number had more than doubled and by 13:30, more people were still coming. This was in early September.
Playa Ambolo is also an area known to have landslides. This means that sometimes access to the beach is closed, yet this is only a warning and many people still go. You can check the latest status on the Javea Tourism website by clicking here. No matter its status, going means going at your own risk.
Getting To and Accessing Playa Ambolo
Finding Playa Ambolo can be tricky. You definitely need a car to drive there and will turn down into residential streets to reach the area where you can park.
From Jávea, you head south on the Ctra. del Portitxol. The road is very windy as it climbs up higher. After about 10-12 minutes of having left Jávea town-center, you turn right onto a tiny residential street called Calle de Igor Stravinsky, which is also in a very tiny roundabout off to the right.
Important directional tip! There is a small street also to the right just before the turn-off and small roundabout, called Carrer Torre Ambolo. You DO NOT turn down this street, although the name can be deceiving. You can go down this street to reach and enjoy the Mirador Ambolo the scenic viewpoint, but it will not get you to the beach access.
Continuing down Calle de Igor Stravinsky, you will reach a barricade that says in Spanish, ‘only residents beyond this point’. There is a small street that turns to the left just before this and here along the street is where you can park. Some people continue on and risk parking further below, but police do come by and check and you can get a ticket for parking where only resident parking is allowed.
From here, you begin the walk down where the street changes to the name Calle Giuseppe Verdi. This street first heads to the left, then switches back to the right, before it reaches the rock stairway further down that then switches to the left for the final descent.
Now That You Know of Playa Ambolo
If you enjoy snorkeling, discovering less-frequented beaches, and the Mediterranean waters and wildlife, then you’re going to love Playa Ambolo. And if you’re living in this part of Spain, it’s also a great place to take visitors who are new to the area. We have already been living in nearby Dénia for over 2 years, and only now discovered it for our first time.
This area of the Mediterranean, which is still Jávea, is decorated with these gorgeous ‘calas’. Jávea has many coves and beaches to be enjoyed. But now you know, Playa Ambolo is a great one to start with.
Does Playa Ambolo look like a beach in Spain you would want to visit? Have you been and do you know others like it or in the area? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Watch Our Video of Playa Ambolo
A big thanks to our dear friend and fellow-Denia resident, Neil Weatherall, for taking us to Playa Ambolo. Going with you was a great time!
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Written by Amalia & Eric
Founders & Producers of Move to Traveling
We’re Amalia and Eric – a traveling couple who are living a traveling lifestyle. Do you love to travel? Perfect! Come along…