Alicante or Alacant is a city and port in Spain on the Costa Blanca, and ranked as the 8th largest metropolitan area in Spain in terms of population. It is a popular holiday destination in Spain, thanks to its nice clean beaches, historic city and commercial district.
Getting and Moving around in Alicante
(Please click the link to have an overview about transportation services in the city, including some basic information)
We were lucky to have visited and stayed in this cosmopolitan city for a week. We camped with our RV D’Traveller first in an isolated place just 300 meters from Playa del Postiguet (which was not a good idea because the RV was broken in), then transferred to the parking area at the beach itself during which we paid the parking daily for not more than 3 euros per day. After a week, we went to San Juan de Alicante and camped the whole time along the boulevard of Plaza San Juan. It was perfect!
During the times that we were in the city, we were able to explore every corner of it. We had a grand time, even celebrated New Year here. Here is a list of five things that we think you should definitely do when you happen to be in Alicante. We recommend you to first make a visit to the Tourist Information Office for some useful information and maps.
I. VISIT THE CASCO ANTIGUO
Alicante has also an old center, the Casco Antiguo. Take time to really walk around and explore this old part of the city. Get lost and let yourself be surprised with what you are going to discover. Among others, you’ll probably pass at these historic buildings :
Concatedral de San Nicolas
The Church-cathedral of San Nicolas is located at Plaza Abad Penalva. From outside it is not so big, but once inside, we were surprised by its grandeur! I has a nice dome and beautiful altar, and a very old remarkable orgel.
The Alicante Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) is an 18th century baroque building with a tower on both sides of the façade and a big clock! Don’t hesitate to enter the building , it is allowed, and it is free! An sculpture of Salvador Dali beside the staircase welcomes you. Climb up to the second floor where you can see a nice hall. The floor is covered with carpet with beautiful patterns. On the right wing is a big hall, that looks like dance hall with a big chandelier in the middle; and on its right sides are meeting room and prayer room.
Basilica Santa Maria
It is considered the oldest temple in the city, located at Plaza de Sta. Maria. Be sure to check first the opening times of this religious building. Picture taking inside is not allowed.
II. Climbing the Castillo de Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara castle , located at Mount Benacantil, dominates the Alicante skyline. It has been the symbol of the city, and was recognized as a historical artistic monument in 1961. At 166 meters above the city, it can be both reached by foot, following certain routes, or by use of an elevator which is found in front of Playa del Postiguet. The ride costs 2,70 and it will bring you to the upper part of the castle…no sweat.
But if you want to have a more memorable experience, we recommend that you go to the castle by foot. It is more difficult and takes longer, but then you get to enjoy the views around you, plus it won’t cost you a cent. You can get a description of the five different possible access to the castle by foot, all passing by Parque La Ereta, from the tourist office. We began ours near the basilica.The way to the top is good, the paths are a little wide and concrete, with fences. And it passes thru a big park, the La Ereta. Once on top, you’ll be rewarded with marvellous views of the city, the harbour and the blue and tranquil Mar Mediteraneo. The MUSA, the city museum, is situated here, to be visited free of charge.
Views of the castle and its surroundings
III. VISIT MUSEUMS FOR FREE
Yes, you read it good! There are various of museums in the city which you can visit free of charge! How’s that? Among them are :
Museu de Belenes (Nativity Museum)
It is The Nativity Museum, and just like what the name suggests, it is all about the scenes of the nativity. It is a small building, but full of interesting figures of nativity made from different parts of Spain and other countries, from small to big versions. There are also dioramas of different scenes from the Bible which portray the life of Jesus mounted on the walls. It is an interesting museum.
Museo de Hogueras
Better known as Museo de Fogueres, this museum retraces the evolution of the main festivity in Alicante; it showcases the past and present of the Sant Joan bonfires. The festivity happens every June. Inside are big statues made of papermache and other flammable materials, and were really magnificently created.
Museu de Aguas (Water Museum)
This museum explains the evolution, distribution and consumption of water in Alicante. There are various illustrations, films and pictures in the museum. Unfortunately, we could not understand a thing because the language used is Spanish.
Museo dela Volvo Ocena Race (Volvo Ocean Race Museum)
This museum is located at the end of Alicante harbour and it retraces the history of the regatta, Volvo Ocean Race. At the entrance square of the museum, you can see the two sailing boats, The Pirates of the Caribbean and Brasil 1 which have already won the race. Visitors are allowed to visit the Brasil I, with a guide. The museum, as copied in their brochure, “offers a multi-media and interactive experience with games, videos and installations and simulators, a view of all the participants of the race, and gives an insight on the marine world. A must to see!
- Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante (MACA)
The Alicante Museum of Modern Arts (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante) is located at Plaza Santa Maria, besides the Basilica de Santa Maria. It has an apart collection of sculptures and paintings which we didn’t find so interesting.
Museo dela Ciudad de Alicante (MUSA)
Located in the fortress of Santa Barbara, this museum offers a journey to the city’s history. It has permanent exhibitions all throughout the year. It has five rooms, Engineering room and Former Hospital, among others.
IV. SHOP TO YOUR HEART DESIRE
If there is one place where you can pour your heart out with shopping, then it is in Alicante, the shopping paradise in Costa Blanca. Whatever you are looking for, from small souvenir to carnaval item to designer clothes, Alicante has them all. There is a wide choice of shops scattered around the city, from small boutique to big department stores. Commercial centers such as El Corte Ingles and Centro Commercial Plaza Mar are just among the shopping centers where you can treat yourself to. And if your legs ache from walking, have a beak at some of the city’s local cafe’s.
V. ENJOY THE BEACHES
One of the many reasons why people flock to Alicante are its beaches. Here are some of it which you will enjoy. We did!
Playa del Postiguet
This is a sandy beach right at the heart of the city, situated at the left side of the harbour. There are coconut trees planted on the beach area. There is a nice promenade and good restaurants in the promenade. It is quite a busy beach, especially during weekends. While you’re in the area, why not take a stroll also to beach promenade which stretches up to the Marina. Also, take a walk at Esplanada d’España.
Playa San Juan
Situated just 7 kilometers from the city of Alicante, this beach is considered one of the finest beaches in Spain. This more than 5 kilometer long and 85 meters wide sandy beach offers excellent facilities such as public gym, volleyball courts, restaurants and chiriguitos, toilets, children’s playground and lots of parking areas. If you want to have a little privacy, stroll up to the lighthouse, where along the way, you’ll spot some isolated beach areas. Athletes, especially volleyball players train here at night, and there are normally competition on weekends. It is here that we got acquainted with a different type of sport, the Footvolley (a combination of football and volleyball).
Adjoining the Playa San Juan and a smaller version of the mentioned beach, Playa Muchavista is part of a small fishing village of El Campello. It has also long sandy beach, and the promenade is adorned with charming concrete benches.
Playa del Carrer La Mar
This 1.85 kilometer long beach is situated in El Campello, just 12 kilometers from Alicante. It is near the Club Nautico and fishing port. There is a nice boardwalk, various shops and restaurants along the promenade. It is more of a “local’s beach”. Every afternoon, a group of not so young men come together here to play joules de boules.
There you go. We hope this will help you in planning your next trip to the city of Alicante. Have a nice time!