The Mediterranean port of Alicante is one of the best known of the Spanish resorts. Its position in the much loved Costa Blanca gives it its reputation as a popular holiday destination, and with its fantastic beaches, stunning marina and glorious weather it’s hardly surprising that this is one resort that really has stood the test of time.
Don’t be fooled by the popularity of Alicante as a tourist resort though, there is far more to this city than first meets the eye, the second largest in Valencia, even without the holiday vibe, Alicante has a vibrant atmosphere that celebrates the arts, culture and having a great time! Take the opportunity to head into the depths of the city away from the hotels and the beaches and what you’ll find will amaze and delight, as you discover the other side of this fantastic city.
There is no escaping the fact that Alicante has lots of modern builds, some considerably more attractive than others, although most do boast great amenities and all are generally of a high standard; some do stand out, particularly the Melia Alicante with its great location close to the harbour, and stylish airy rooms, all with outdoor areas and sea views. More traditional is La Milagrosa in the Old Town still close to the beaches, it has a charm that is often lacking in the newer hotels, and its location is ideal for access to bars and restaurants as well as giving stunning views of the historic castle.
Expect to see lots of rice and fish on the menu, with the region famed for its delicious paella; tapas are a great way to eat, with plenty of small dishes giving you opportunity to sample lots of the fantastic cuisine. Eating on a budget is not a problem in Alicante as not only are tapas great value, but most restaurants serving set daily menus for just a few euro’s, these specials often change daily and generally reflect the best of the seasonal produce.
If you want to try traditional Valencian food with a modern twist then Monastrell is the place to dine, the best of the regions produce is given first class treatment in this highly acclaimed restaurant, but be sure to book as it fills up quickly. For tapas it has to be Katagorri, close to San Juan beach, a great place to enjoy the outdoor seating whilst eating a leisurely meal of many courses!
Apart from the obvious attraction of the golden beaches and warm blue waters, with all the water activities that you associate with a well developed resort, Alicante has plenty to keep you occupied on those days away from the water; if you want to experience the cosmopolitan side of the resort visit the marina, with its plentiful restaurants and bars, relax on one of the outside terraces and enjoy the sight of the luxury vessels that line the waters around you.
To get your fill of culture, be sure to visit Gravina Palace in the old town for its fantastic collection of fine arts, or admire the Baroque architecture of the Town Hall, which almost outshines St Nicholas Cathedral with its interesting mix of both Baroque and Renaissance styling. However the real star is the Castle of Santa Barbara which sits atop the mountain in central Alicante, the 12th century building having seen its share of battles through the ages – a modern touch are the elevators which take you to the top in some comfort, making it accessible to all.
The Mediterranean climate of Alicante gives it the mild winters and the long hot summers that make it so popular amongst those seeking their fix of summer sun, rainfall is low, with an average of only 37 days a years, however those travelling during September and October should be aware that rainfall can happen suddenly and be very intense, leading to the possibility of flash flooding.
During the summer solstice (the end of June), Alicante is well known for the Bonfires of Saint John which leads into a week long celebration filled with bonfires, fireworks and merriment, the whole city gets into the festival mood, and although not officially part of the peak season, this is an amazing time to visit.