Thanks to the close-by airport and the proximity to a large number of major beach-resort towns, Alicante has a bit of package-tour reputation. It is not a deserved reputation as Alicante is a dynamic, attractive provincial city that lives for much more than just tourism. Around Catedral de San Nicolás are the narrow streets of El Barrio, the historic quarter. Try to fit in at least one overnight stay to experience its exciting – and unmistakably Spanish – nightlife. The capital of the province of Alicante it is also a historic Mediterranean port.
To many, Alicante is just another brash Costa Blanca resorts. They are wrong. Valencia’s second-largest city, has a decidedly elegant Mediterranean atmosphere. Seafront paseos and wide streets such as the Rambla Mendez Nunz, feature cosy bars and terrace cafes; a series of museums and galleries feature everything from ancient archeology to contemporary art; the city’s cuisine scene is making a name for itself, just as its vibrant nightlife did a long time ago; and its long, sandy beaches are sunbaked year round.
Originally a Roman city, it was called Lucentum (City of Light), and was later dominated by the Arabs in the second half of the 8th century. Alicante was finally captured by Alfonso X in 1246 for the Castilian Crown. In 1308, Jaime III incorporated Alicante into the Valencian kingdom.
Alicante Carnival – Annually, around the time of Shrove Tuesday, Alicante celebrates a colourful carnival that lasts for three weeks. The highlight is on Sabado Ramblero (February 2), when the city's main thoroughfares, La Rambla and El Barrio, fill with stunning costume parades, music and dancing.
Moors and Christians Festival (Moros y Cristianos) – This celebrates the recapturing of Spain from the Arabs in the 12th century.
Cruces de Mayo (May Crosses) – Held from May 1 to 3 in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood of Alicante, the atmosphere is filled with music, dance and flowers. The cobbled streets, warm plazas and quaint balconies get a makeover as they are decorated with flowers arranged into the shape of crosses.
Saint John's Bonfires (Moros y Cristianos) – The Fogueres de Sant Joan is an important celebration in Alicante, which pays homage to Saint John and welcomes the summer season with bonfires and fireworks.
Get into the historical spirit of Cartagena during the annual Carthagineses y Romanos festival.
Alicante Airport, also known as L'Altet Airport, is 11 kilometres south of the city centre.
Alicante is served by a number of airlines including easyJet, Ryanair, Air Berlin, Norwegian, Iberia, Vueling, Monarch, Germanwings, Aer Lingus, Finnair, Thomsonfly, Cimber Sterling, Transavia.com and Jet2.com.
Bus number C-6 connects the airport with the city. It departs every 20 minutes from a bus stop at the departure level (level +2) of new terminal. The city bus takes about 20 minutes to the city centre and a one-way ride costs 2.75 EUR. The buses run from 6am until 11pm.
A taxi to the city costs 20-25 EUR.
RENFE runs a number of trains per day from Madrid and Barcelona. A ride from Madrid takes about three hours, and from Barcelona it takes up to five hours.
Since September of 2011 the bus station has been located in a newly constructed building in Puerto de Alicante (barrio de Heliodoro Madrona) Muelle de Poniente.
If you stay in the old town, most areas of interest are within walking distance.
Public transportation is provided by buses and trams. On most routes, buses run from 6.30am until 11pm. One ride costs 1.25 EUR. Bus drivers give change. A rechargeable card for 10 rides costs 7.25 EUR plus 2 EUR for the card and can be purchased at the TAM office near Mercado Central.
Castillo de Santa Barbara – open from 10am-10pm, until 8pm October to March, entrance is free. There are sweeping views over the city from this large 16th century castle.
Beaches - Immediately north of the port is the sandy beach of Playa del Postiguet. Playa de San Juan, easily reached by tram, is larger and usually less crowded.
As with the rest of the region, seafood and rice dominate, with paella being the main dish. In almost every restaurant, you will find a menu of the day or a similar special for 10 EUR.
Go around Calle Castanos (near the Theatre), Calle San Francisco and Calle Mayor (near Saint Nicholas Cathedral) to find restaurants that span the whole price range.
Tinto Alicante and Moscatel Alicante are the most known wines.
There are market stalls along the Explanada d'Espanya selling beads, clothes, and flags but if
If you want to see how the locals shop, head into town down the Rambla de Mendez Nunez then turn West on the Avenue de Alfonso El Sabio, and you'll find the city's main market, the Mercado Central de Alicante.
Nightlife is centred in Old Town, called El Barrio or El Casco Antiguo, with many bars and clubs along the narrow streets, drinks are cheap, and shots are sometimes free. Another social hub is the eastern rim of the marina, called Puerto, where things start and end later.
In Alicante be prepared for a typical night out to end at 7 or 8am.
Accommodation options in Alicante span the full range from budget to five-star luxury.
|Time zone||CET (UTC +1, summer UTC +2)|