Alicante is a port city on Spain’s sunny southeastern Costa Blanca, and the capital of the glimmering Alicante province. Ranking as the eight-largest metropolitan area in Spain, Alicante offers buzzing nightlife, golden beaches and a range of unforgettable activities for you and your lucky visitors.
Alicante is one of the most well-known and frequently-visited areas of Spain. With over 1 million visitors every year and over 100,000 foreigners living in the province, Alicante is up there with Barcelona, Madrid and the Balearic Islands as one of Europe’s leading tourism hotspots. Within the Alicante region there are the bustling cities of Alicante, Benidorm and the Costa Blanca.
A History of Alicante
The province of Alicante and its surrounding area has been inhabited for over 7,000 years, making the location rich with heritage and local culture. With such a rich history there is plenty to see and do in Alicante. Alicante’s most famous historical offering is represented in the beautiful Castle of Santa Barbara. This imposing structure rests atop of Mount Benacantil, providing majestic views over the city, including its marina and pristine beaches. There are several towers dotted around the city; including the Torre Castillo, Torre Ferrer and Torre Santiago. Each tower (‘torre’) represents a chapter of Alicante’s sun-scorched history.
Alicante the City
The beach city of Alicante offers activities for all ages, backgrounds and budgets: there truly is something for everyone. Enjoy guided city walks, where you can discover many of the museums and monuments which adorn the city. Food-lovers will be enraptured by the city’s huge offering of restaurants and eateries, with large shopping malls fulfilling all your retail needs. For athletes and music lovers, sports facilities dot the city; whilst continuous festivals have made Alicante a European hub for open air music performances.
Alicante has 10 beaches, the most popular being the San Juan beach which boasts a 3km stretch of golden sands. However, if you would like a little trip away from home, you can easily visit the famous Tabarca Island. The Postiguet Beach is located in the city centre, next to the marina. If you’re planning a relaxing trip to the beach, we recommend La Almadraba beach. This is perfect to watch the sunset and is usually uncrowded, making it the ideal relaxation spot.
Sports and Museums in Alicante
Alicante offers the fantastic Contemporary Art Museum MACA and the Gravina Fine Arts Museum. Both are located in the city centre and are short walks from the City Hall. The castle on the hill (the fortress of Santa Barbara) also houses the City Museum. This tells you all about the city and its surrounding areas, and comes as part of a long list of museums which celebrate the history and heritage of the region.
There are many sports clubs situated all over Alicante that are open to new members. You can take part in many water sports including diving, snorkeling and kayaking – as well as jet ski rentals. Overall, there are two 18-hole golf courses in Alicante and another three nearby. Surfing and boat racing are also hugely popular in Alicante. The biggest football team in Alicante is Hercules CF (Hercules de Alicante Club de Futbol). Season tickets are competitively priced and offer an unforgettable day out for football fans.
Festivals and Other Attractions in Alicante
Alicante has emerged as a European hub for music-lovers and festival-goers. The Fogueres de Sant Joan Festival takes place every year in June and lasts for nine days. Other festivals include the Carnival, Las Cruces de Mayo and Porrate San Anton. Keep your camera ready for the famous street decorations during festival time – you won’t regret it.
There are many theme parks and water parks around the Alicante region. Many are in Benidorm; so if you are coming from the city of Alicante, you are never too far away from the fun. Benidorm is home to one of the biggest water-parks in world: Aqualandia (the first water-park to be built in Spain). You can also enjoy the thrills of high-speed roller coasters in Benidorm at the Terra Mitica theme park. Other parks include the water-parks of Terra Natura and Aquopolis.
Alicante offers fresh flavours for every pallet, with over 3000 restaurants to choose from. Restaurants include many traditional Spanish eateries, as well as seafood, Indian curry houses and many steakhouses. An hour’s drive from the city of Alicante and past Benidorm is one of Europe’s best restaurants: Quique Dacosta. The restaurant specialises in modern twists on contemporary foods, creating unique dishes that look too good to eat. They have also received 3 Michelin stars (there are another 4 Michelin star restaurants in the province).
Alicante is an all-year-round sunny destination for tourists. Overall, the region of Alicante experiences 311mm (12.1 inches) of rainfall per year – which is great if you are trying to get away from the rainy weather. Average winter temperatures reach 16 degrees Celsius, with it reaching into the 30s and 40s in the summer months of June, July and August. The coolest month is January, with October being the wettest month.
Getting Around Alicante
One of the best ways to get around Alicante is by car. In Alicante, you can rent cars for the cheap price of 20-30 euros, depending on which type of car you rent and the mileage you are allowed. You can also get rental cars with unlimited mileage. One of the cheapest ways to get around Alicante and its surrounding areas is by bus. There are bus connections to all major places within the region and to the airport. Train services are usually a great way to connect to the other major cities of Spain such as Madrid, Murcia and Barcelona. There is also a bus station located in central Alicante. You can also connect to other cities and towns within the region by tram: a truly unique way to see the region and other coastal areas. This is also very cheap and you can get cards to make the journey even cheaper. Bike hire companies are another way to get around Alicante. For something totally different, try a Segway tour.
Coming and Going From Alicante
Depending on where you’re coming from, there are a lot of ways to arrive in Alicante. One of the main ways is to arrive into the Alicante airport. Flights from all over Europe arrive into the new terminal that was opened in 2011. There are many budget flights from the UK. You can arrive in Alicante from Belfast (NI), Edinburgh (SCO), Cardiff (WAL) and many airports in England including Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and London. Usually, flights per person are between £50-£120. However, many can be found even cheaper than this. There are also many flights that come from other parts of Europe and Scandinavia. If you ever need to head back home for a catch up with friends and family, finding a flight will not be difficult.
When you arrive at the airport in Alicante you can also rent cars from there. There are 7 car rental companies located outside the terminal, so it is not difficult to rent one.
You are never far from many of the surrounding cities of Alicante. Getting to the city of Murcia will take you around an hour’s drive, and roughly the same via train. Valencia is also close-by, with a scenic 2-hour drive and a 1-hour-45-minute train journey. If you ever want to explore the resorts in Benidorm, a half hour to an hour drive should get you there. However, you should expect some toll fees on the way down. Barcelona and Madrid are quite far apart, so if you fancy any mini breaks, we would recommend planning an extra day or two to take account for the travelling.