Alicante is a port city on the Costa Blanca that was originally named ‘Lucentum’ or ‘City of Light’ and presents itself as a fantastic destination with great shopping, stunning beaches and a bustling palm tree flanked boulevard.
The city has a vibrant night life, especially during summer when the waterside bars and restaurants really come alive, however year round the city hosts many exciting festivals like ‘Bonfires of Saint John’ to entertain tourists so you can be sure that there is something exciting happening when you visit.
Dominating Mount Benacantil overlooking the marina, the 10th century Castillo de Santa Bárbara (Castle of Santa Bárbara) is a medieval fortress that can be reached easily by car, or by paying a small charge to take an elevator that is built into the cliff face opposite El Postiguet beach. The castle has a small museum, cannons and dungeons. There are excellent views over Alicante and the sea, and you can enjoy a sea breeze at a caféteria under the pine trees.
Wander through the relaxing El Palmeral Park in the south of the city between the harbor and Urbanova beach. You’ll find pleasant picnic areas, exotic plants, ponds, waterfalls and a children’s playground that offer a nice break from sightseeing.
Search out the Torres de la Huerta that are 20 towers in Alicante that were built from the 16th century as defence against Barbary pirates. Each tower is different, and today some are in ruins and others are privately owned.
The Basilica di Santa Maria was originally a mosque in the old town that was converted into a Christian church after the conquests and is the oldest active church in Alicante. The style is Gothic, with an ornate baroque façade and 17th century organ. Head there in the early morning for mass, entry is free and the church posts the schedule of masses outside.
Take a paseo (evening stroll) along Alicante’s palm tree-lined boulevard, the Explanada de España. Admire the lovely marble tiles set into the pavement as you shop for market goods before sitting at a seafront kiosk for a cool drink or a platter of mixed tapas.
Board a ferry for a day trip from Alicante to Isla de Tabarca, an island off the coast that was a refuge for Berber pirates. Snorkel in crystal clear waters, walk the island fortifications or sample fresh seafood in an island restaurant.
Drive 65 kilometers from Alicante to the spectacular Guadalest Valley where you can visit the small village of Guadalest, roam the medieval fortress, stop into the Historic Vehicles Museum or board a solar powered boat for a scenic cruise on the reservoir below the village.
Located just a half hours drive from Alicante are the Cuevas del Canelobre in the small township of Busot. These caves can only be visited as part of a guided tour, and are said to be the largest and deepest cave system in Spain. Stand beside impressive stalactites and stalagmites illuminated by lighting. The huge caverns have superb acoustics and concerts are often held here.
Barchell Castle is a 12th century castle situated 60 kilometers from Alicante in the city of Alcoy (also known as Alcoi). The town is best known for the annual Moors and Christian festival held in April with parades and fireworks, and aside from the castle there are 2 natural parks to explore and many scenic bridges.