ALICANTE

Spain

Alicante , both the Valencian and Spanish being official names, is a city and port in Spain on the Costa Blanca, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port.

Info Alicante

introduction

Alicante , both the Valencian and Spanish being official names, is a city and port in Spain on the Costa Blanca, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 328,648, estimated as of 2015, ranking as the second-largest Valencian city. Including nearby municipalities, the Alicante conurbation had 452,462 residents. The population of the metropolitan area (including Elche and satellite towns) was 757,085 as of 2014 estimates, ranking as the eighth-largest metropolitan area of Spain.

info
POPULATION :  328,648
FOUNDED :  324 BC
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE :
RELIGION :
AREA : 201.27 km2 (77.71 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 3 m (10 ft)
COORDINATES : 38°20′43″N 0°28′59″W
SEX RATIO : Male: 49.5%
 Female: 50.5%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 96
POSTAL CODE : 03000–03016
DIALING CODE : +34 96
WEBSITE : www.alacant.es

Tourism

The city is believed to have been founded by the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, who established the fortified settlement of Akra Leuka (Greek: Ἄκρα Λευκή, meaning 'White Mountain' or 'White Point'), where Alicante stands today. It was later conquered by the Romans who renamed it Lucentum. In mediaeval times, Alicante became a major Mediterranean trading station, exporting rice, wine, olive oil, oranges and wool. More recently the city has become a hub of tourism directed to the beaches of the Costa Blanca.


Beaches

In the heart of the city there is Platja del Postiguet (Playa de Postiguet). The sandy beach is popular during the day and fairly busy during the evening when it's illuminated by sodium street lights. These give the beach and breaking waves a surreal effect.

With a bit of traveling by bus 22 or tram (L3, stop 'Costa Blanca'), you can reach the spacious 7 km long Platja del San Juan(Playa de San Juan), which is considered to be one of the finest in Spain.

The less crowded Platja del Saladar(Playa del Saladar/Urbanova, bus 27) is located south of the port, along the road from Alicante to Cartagena. Platja dels Arenals del Sol (Playa de los Arenales) is a bit further still, has sand dunes, and is even less crowded. This beach can be accessed by an hourly bus from the main bus station.


Festivals

Las Hogueras de San Juan is the most important festival in the city. The celebration takes place around the 20s of June, but you can see locals setting up about a week earlier. Throughout Alicante, enormous monuments (up to and above 3 stories tall) are constructed and burned at the end of the festival during the night of 24th to 25th, after the shooting off of the very large "Palmera" firework from the top of the Castillo de Alicant. The explosion takes the shape of palm tree leaves (hence the name, Palmera). This is the symbol that begins the burning of the Hogueras monuments, which lasts into the later hours of the night. After that, a week of night fireworks continues in the beach. During the festival you won't have to go far to find music, drinks, and dancing, that all usually lasts until the early mornings.

Other celebrations include Carnival (in February–March, just before Lent) with parades of people in disguises and open air concerts (yes, weather allows it!), Holy Week (with parades of religious brotherhoods with their images of Jesus Christ, Holy Mary and so on) and Santa Faz (second Thursday after Good Friday) where a massive pilgrimage/walk to a close village where a relic with and image of Jesus is on display. As in the rest of Spain, in the Epiphany (January the 6th) there is a parade in remembrance of the Three Wise Men that adored Child Jesus, where every child participates (it is the equivalent to Santa Claus in the Spanish culture).

In October is the Moros y Cristianos festival in various small towns around the Alicante region. The festivity keeps memory of the Reconquer of each town by Christian kings of the territory to Islamic forces. Locals dress up in colorful costumes as Medieval Moorish and Christian warriors and knights. Live camels and elephants can sometimes be seen in street processions. In some areas, temporary wooden castles are built and mock battles are waged. Loud gunpowder arquebuses are discharged into the air, and fireworks can last late into the night.


Tourist Info

Tourist Info AlicanteRambla Méndez Núñez, 41 (near Plaza de San Cristobal),  +34 965 200 000fax: +34 965 200 243, e-mail:. M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00. The primary tourist office is open year round, and has free maps and brochures.

  • Tourist Info Alicante AyuntamientoPlaza del Ayuntamiento, 1 (in the city hall), +34 965 149 219, e-mail: . M-F 09:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00
  • Tourist info Alicante Platja del San JuanAvda de Niza, s/n (Playa de San Juan / San Juan Beach), e-mail: . Jul-Aug: daily 10:30-14:30 17:30-20:30
  • Tourist Info Alicante RenfeAvda de Salamanca, s/n (in the main train station),  +34 965 125 633, e-mail: . M-F 09:30-14:00 16:30-19:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00
  • Tourist info Alicante AeropuertoAeropuerto El Altet+34 966 919 367.Tu 09:00-19:00, W-F 09:30-15:00.

History

The area around Alicante has been inhabited for over 7000 years. The first tribes of hunter gatherers moved down gradually from Central Europe between 5000 and 3000 BC. Some of the earliest settlements were made on the slopes of Mount Benacantil. By 1000 BC Greek and Phoenician traders had begun to visit the eastern coast of Spain, establishing small trading ports and introducing the native Iberian tribes to the alphabet, iron and the pottery wheel. By the 3rd century BC, the rival armies of Carthage and Rome began to invade and fight for control of the Iberian Peninsula. The Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca established the fortified settlement of Akra Leuka (Greek: Ἄκρα Λευκή, meaning "White Mountain" or "White Point"), where Alicante stands today.

Although the Carthaginians conquered much of the land around Alicante, the Romans would eventually rule Hispania Tarraconensis for over 700 years. By the 5th century AD, Rome was in decline and the Roman predecessor town of Alicante, known as Lucentum (Latin), was more or less under the control of the Visigothic warlord Theudimer. However neither the Romans nor the Goths put up much resistance to the Arab conquest of Medina Laqant in the 8th century. The Moors ruled southern and eastern Spain until the 13th century Reconquista (Reconquest). Alicante was finally taken in 1246 by the Castilian king Alfonso X, but it passed soon and definitively to the Kingdom of Valenciain 1298 with King James II of Aragon. It gained the status of Royal Village (Vila Reial) with representation in the medieval Valencian Parliament (Corts Valencianes).

After several decades of being the battlefield where the Kingdom of Castile and the Crown of Aragon clashed, Alicante became a major Mediterranean trading station exporting rice, wine, olive oil, oranges and wool. But between 1609 and 1614 King Felipe III expelled thousands of Moriscos who had remained in Valencia after the Reconquista, due to their cooperation with Barbary pirates who continually attacked coastal cities and caused much harm to trade. This act cost the region dearly; with so many skilled artisans and agricultural labourers gone, the feudal nobility found itself sliding into bankruptcy. Things got worse in the early 18th century; after the War of Spanish Succession, Alicante went into a long, slow decline, surviving through the 18th and 19th centuries by making shoes and growing agricultural produce such as oranges and almonds, and thanks to its fisheries. The end of the 19th century witnessed a sharp recovery of the local economy with increasing international trade and the growth of the city harbour leading to increased exports of several products (particularly during World War I when Spain was a neutral country).

During the early 20th century, Alicante was a minor capital that enjoyed the benefit of Spain's neutrality during World War I, and that provided new opportunities for the local industry and agriculture. The Rif War in the 1920s saw numerous alicantinos drafted to fight in the long and bloody campaigns in the former Spanish protectorate (Northern Morocco) against the Rif rebels. The political unrest of the late 1920s led to the victory of Republican candidates in local council elections throughout the country, and the abdication of King Alfonso XIII. The proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic was much celebrated in the city on 14 April 1931. The Spanish Civil War broke out on 17 July 1936. Alicante was the last city loyal to the Republican government to be occupied by dictator Franco's troops on 1 April 1939, and its harbour saw the last Republican government officials fleeing the country. Vicious air bombings were targeted on Alicante during the three years of civil conflict, most notably the bombing by the Italian Aviazione Legionaria of the Mercado de Abastos on 25 May 1938 in which more than 300 civilians perished.

The late 1950s and early 1960s saw the onset of a lasting transformation of the city by the tourist industry. Large buildings and complexes rose in nearby Albufereta (e.g. El Barco) and Playa de San Juan, with the benign climate being the biggest draw to attract prospective buyers and tourists who kept the hotels reasonably busy. New construction benefited the whole economy, as the development of the tourism sector also spawned new businesses such as restaurants, bars and other tourist-oriented enterprises. Also, the old airfield at Rabassa was closed and air traffic moved to the new El Altet Airport, which made a more convenient and modern facility for charter flights bringing tourists from northern European countries.

When dictator Franco died in 1975, his successor Juan Carlos I played his part as the living symbol of the transition of Spain to a democratic constitutional monarchy. The governments of regional communities were given constitutional status as nationalities, and their governments were given more autonomy, including that of the Valencian region, the Generalitat Valenciana.

The Port of Alicante has been reinventing itself since the industrial decline the city suffered in the 1980s (with most mercantile traffic lost to Valencia's harbour). In recent years, the Port Authority has established it as one of the most important ports in Spain for cruises, with 72 calls to port made by cruise ships in 2007 bringing some 80,000 passengers and 30,000 crew to the city each year. The moves to develop the port for more tourism have been welcomed by the city and its residents, but the latest plans to develop an industrial estate in the port have caused great controversy.

Climate

Alicante enjoys mild winter temperatures, hot summers and little rain, concentrated in equinoctial periods. The climate of Alicante region according to Köppen climate classification is hot semi-arid climate (BSh). On average the temperature ranges between 17.0 °C (63 °F) and 6.5 °C (44 °F) in January, and between 30.8 °C (87 °F) and 21.5 °C (71 °F) in August, with an average annual temperature of 18.3 °C (65 °F). Daily variations in temperature are generally small because of the stabilising influence of the sea, although occasional periods of westerly wind can produce temperature changes of 15 °C (27 °F) or more. Seasonal variations in temperature are also relatively small, meaning that winters are mild and summers are hot.

The average rainfall is 311 mm (12.2 in) per year. The cold drop means that September and October are the wettest months. Rainfall can be torrential, reaching over 200 mm (8 in) in a 24-hour period, leading to severe flooding. Because of this irregularity, only 35 rainy days are observed on average per year, and the annual number of sunshine hours is 2,953.

The record maximum temperature of 41.4 °C (107 °F) was observed on 4 July 1994. The record minimum temperature of −3.8 °C (25 °F) was recorded on 26 December 1970. The worst flooding in modern history occurred on 30 September 1997 when 270.2 mm (10.6 in) of rain fell within six hours. Temperatures under 1 °C (34 °F) are very rare. 

Climate data for Alicante

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)29.2
(84.6)
29.4
(84.9)
33.0
(91.4)
33.6
(92.5)
38.0
(100.4)
38.9
(102)
41.4
(106.5)
40.4
(104.7)
38.4
(101.1)
36.2
(97.2)
31.0
(87.8)
27.0
(80.6)
41.4
(106.5)
Average high °C (°F)17.0
(62.6)
17.6
(63.7)
19.6
(67.3)
21.3
(70.3)
24.1
(75.4)
27.8
(82)
30.3
(86.5)
30.8
(87.4)
28.5
(83.3)
24.9
(76.8)
20.5
(68.9)
17.7
(63.9)
23.3
(73.9)
Daily mean °C (°F)11.7
(53.1)
12.3
(54.1)
14.2
(57.6)
16.1
(61)
19.1
(66.4)
22.9
(73.2)
25.5
(77.9)
26.0
(78.8)
23.5
(74.3)
19.7
(67.5)
15.4
(59.7)
12.6
(54.7)
18.3
(64.9)
Average low °C (°F)6.5
(43.7)
7.1
(44.8)
8.9
(48)
10.9
(51.6)
14.1
(57.4)
18.1
(64.6)
20.8
(69.4)
21.5
(70.7)
19.0
(66.2)
14.9
(58.8)
10.3
(50.5)
7.4
(45.3)
13.3
(55.9)
Record low °C (°F)−2.4
(27.7)
−1.4
(29.5)
−0.6
(30.9)
2.6
(36.7)
6.4
(43.5)
10.7
(51.3)
13.6
(56.5)
14.0
(57.2)
10.1
(50.2)
5.0
(41)
0.2
(32.4)
−3.8
(25.2)
−3.8
(25.2)
              
Source #1: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología

Economy

Until the global recession which started in 2008, Alicante was one of the fastest-growing cities in Spain. The boom depended partly on tourism directed to the beaches of the Costa Blanca and particularly on the second residence-construction boom which started in the 1960s and revived again by the late 1990s. Services and public administration also play a major role in the city's economy. The construction boom has raised many environmental concerns and both the local autonomous government and city council are under scrutiny by the European Union. The construction surge was the subject of hot debates among politicians and citizens alike. The latest of many public battles concerns the plans of the Port Authority of Alicante to construct an industrial estate on reclaimed land in front of the city's coastal strip, in breach of local, national and European regulations.

The city serves as the headquarters of the European Union's Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market and a sizeable population of European public workers live there.

The campus of the University of Alicante lies in San Vicente del Raspeig, bordering the city of Alicante to the north. More than 27,000 students attend the University.

Since 2005 Ciudad de la Luz, one of the largest film studios in Europe, has had its base in Alicante. The studio has shot Spanish and international movies such as Asterix at the Olympic Games by Frédéric Forestier and Thomas Langmann,Manolete by Menno Meyjes.

Internet, Comunication

The city provides free wifi to everyone in a number places across the city centre, including Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Plaza de los Luceros, Plaza de la Montañeta, as well as at the Santa Barbara Castle, and at the Postiguet beach.

Prices in Alicante

PRICES LIST - EUR

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.82
Tomatoes1 kg€1.09
Cheese0.5 kg€6.00
Apples1 kg€1.05
Oranges1 kg€0.90
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€0.62
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€3.50
Coca-Cola2 liters€1.49
Bread1 piece€0.87
Water1.5 l€0.44

PRICES LIST - EUR

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€20.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€35.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€6.20
Water0.33 l€1.22
Cappuccino1 cup€1.60
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€2.50
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.60
Coca-Cola0.33 l€1.60
Coctail drink1 drink€6.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€14.00
Gym1 month€42.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€12.00
Theatar2 tickets€96.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.20
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€5.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack€3.40
Tampons32 pieces€4.70
Deodorant50 ml.€2.25
Shampoo400 ml.€3.00
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.90
Toothpaste1 tube€1.80

PRICES LIST - EUR

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€87.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€31.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€70.00
Leather shoes1€88.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.16
TaxiStart€2.50
Taxi1 km€2.00
Local Transport1 ticket€1.45

Tourist (Backpacker)  

43 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

157 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche (IATA:ALC), also known asL'Altet Airport, is located 11 km (6.8 miles) south of the city centre. One terminal is in service, known as Terminal N or the new terminal. Terminals T1 and T2 that were used before the construction of the new terminal are no longer in service.

Bus C6 (tel. +34 902 106 992, email: [email protected]) connects the airport with the city, departing every 20 minutes from a bus stop at the departure level (level +2) of new terminal. Don't get confused between the departure level (level +2) and the bus level (level -2); the latter is used by charter buses. The city bus takes about 20 minutes to the city centre, where it follows a circular route. It stops near the Alicante bus station, at Plaza Puerta del Mar, near the Archaeological Museum, next to the central market, at Plaza Luceros, and on its way back to the airport near the train station. A one-way ride costs €3.85 (2016). The buses run from 6:00 until 23:00; a complete schedule is available here.

A taxi to the city will cost €20-25. Cabs can be caught at the arrival level (level 0) of the new terminal. A dozen car rental agencies including Avis, Budget, Hertz and Europcar are located at the arrival floor of the new terminal.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

  • Estación de Tren de Alicante (Alicante Train Station), Avda de Salamanca, 1,  +34 902 432 343. Renfe runs a number of trains per day from Madrid and Barcelona. A ride from Madrid by high-speed AVE trains should take between two and two and a half hours. From Valencia the trip takes just under two hours, and from Barcelona on conventional rail it takes up to five hours. Renfe regional train (cercanía) line C1 can get you from Elche to Alicante in half an hour, and from Murcia in under 1½ hours.
Facilities at the station include a tourist information office, storage lockers, a café, bookshop, and car rental office, as well as bicycle rental.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

Estació Autobusos Alacant (Estación de Autobuses de Alicante / Alicante Bus Station), Muelle de Poniente, s/n (by Avda de Loring),+34 965 130 700, e-mail: . ALSA has many lines, including to Valencia, Barcelona and Granada; a complete listing of all connections can be found here. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the bus station. Public city buses lines 6 and 24 both start and terminate at this location.

Transportation - Get In

By tram

  • Estación del TRAM (Tram Station), Plaza de los Luceros, s/n (main station),  +34 900 720 472. Tram Alicante (el Trenet) operates a light rail train connecting all major settlements along the coast between Alicante and Dénia, with the exception of Xábia. Benidorm is a changeover point for destinations further north. For travelers with smartphones, there is a helpful official app (iPhone and Android) with a route planner and timetables. A single journey costs €1.35-7.15, depending on distance.
The tram service along the coast is enjoyable and reasonably priced. When going from Alicante to Benidorm, sit on the right side of the tram to get a sea view. The ticket price between Alicante and Benidorm is €3.75 (2013). In case you don't want to practise Spanish (why? You're in Spain!), get a ticket from automatic vending machines, which are equipped with an English-language interface. If you plan to return the same working day, get a round-trip ticket right away with small discount. As always, keep the ticket until the end of journey. On some stations (including all stations in Alicante) you will need the ticket to exit from the system.

Transportation - Get In

By boat

  • Port de Alacant (Puerto Alicante).Services the many cruise ships which stop here as well as ferries to Algeria.
    • Compañía RomeuC/ Jorge Juan, 6,  +34 965 141 509fax: +34 965 208 290, e-mail:. The local agent for Algerie Ferrie, which operates bi-weekly ferries to/from Oran and Algiers.


Transportation - Get Around

If you stay in the old town, most areas of interest are within walking distance.

Transportation - Get Around

By tram and bus

Public transportation is provided by trams and buses. Visitors intending to use both systems may want to consider purchasing a rechargeable Bono Móbilis Multiviaje card, which costs €8.70 for 10 rides plus €2 for the plastic card (2016); discounted youth and senior Móbilis cards are also available.

The card can be purchased at the main TAM Office (C/ Díaz Moreu 6, tel. +34 965 140 936, M-F 09:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-13:00), at the central bus station (M-F 08:30-14:00, 17:00-19:00), and at a number of shops throughout the city.

Subus Alicante operates an expansive network of bus routes, with bus stops at key locations including the train station, airport, shopping centres, and major sights. On most routes, buses run from 06:30-22:30, with extended hours on weekends. There are also a number of night routes. A single ride costs €1.45 (2016), payable in cash directly to the driver on entry; drivers can give change for bills €20 or less. Maps and schedules for all routes can be downloaded here. For travelers with a smartphone, Alicante Bus is a helpful app (iOS and Android) with a route planner and schedules.

Transportation - Get Around

By Taxi

Taxi rates are regulated and most tourists find them affordable. A number of taxi stands (sitios) are located in various places, including by the bus station, the train station, and the Explanada de España.

  • Euro Taxi AlicantePortal de Elche, s/n,  +34 965 240 707, +34 699 780 601(mobile), e-mail: . Available 24 hours, charges set rates for certain destinations.
  • RadioTeleTaxiC/ Alcalde Lorenzo Carbonell, 35+34 965 101 611, +34 965 252 511, +34 671 101 611 (Whatsapp)fax: +34 965 101 837, e-mail:. Taxis can be reserved by phone, Whatsapp, or online.
  • RadioTaxi,  +34 965 910 123.
  • Taxi Area+34 965 910 591.

 

Hotels

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Beaches

In the heart of the city there is Platja del Postiguet (Playa de Postiguet). The sandy beach is popular during the day and fairly busy during the evening when it's illuminated by sodium street lights. These give the beach and breaking waves a surreal effect.

With a bit of traveling by bus 22 or tram (L3, stop 'Costa Blanca'), you can reach the spacious 7 km long Platja del San Juan (Playa de San Juan), which is considered to be one of the finest in Spain.

The less crowded Platja del Saladar (Playa del Saladar/Urbanova, bus 27) is located south of the port, along the road from Alicante to Cartagena. Platja dels Arenals del Sol (Playa de los Arenales) is a bit further still, has sand dunes, and is even less crowded. This beach can be accessed by an hourly bus from the main bus station.

Shopping

There are market stalls along the Explanada d'Espanya selling beads, clothes, flags etc.

If you want to see how the locals shop, head into town down the Rambla de Méndez Núnez then turn West on the Avenue de Alfonso El Sabio, and you'll find the city's main market, the Mercado Central de Alicante (38°20'52.5"N 0°29'9.6"W). It is open until about 14:30 or so most days, the two levels sell all the fresh meat, seafood, cheeses, fruit and vegetables anyone could need. If you exit the market through the back, you'll find the flower sellers in a small outdoor square.

Restaurants


Eating Culture

As with the rest of Spain, breakfast is usually light, usually some sort of bread (e.g. toast) or piece of bakery. Traditionally, a hearty meal in the early afternoon is followed by a siestaas the heat builds. Many restaurants are then closed between 16:00-21:00. A light meal is taken once the sun goes down, often in the local taperia if you are a visitor. A lot of restaurants don't open before 21:00 for dinner, so bear this in mind when planning your dinner schedule.

As elsewhere in the region, seafood and rice dominates, with paella in the frontline. In almost every restaurant, you will find a "menu of the day" or a similar special for €10, a three- or four-course meal with or without a drink. This is an excellent way to economise if you want to splash out later.

In tourist areas, you'll have no problem finding UK fare served at earlier times, if you find yourself intimidated by the local cuisine.

Go around Calle Castaños (near the Theatre), Calle San Francisco and Calle Mayor (near Saint Nicholas Cathedral) for hubs of restaurants of the whole price range.


Mid-range

  • Mesón de LabradoresC/ de los Labradores, 19 (Casco Antiguo / Old Town), +34 965 204 846. Daily 13:00-17:00 19:00-00:30. Founded in 1693, this taberna serves excellent regional dishes. The house specialty is the Chupi-Chupi, with a special secret sauce. €15 per person.
  • El Nou CisneC/ Bazán, 47 (near the Teatro Principal), +34 965 212 527. Serves tapas and raciones. Set menu €11.90.
  • Nou ManolinC/ Villegas, 3 (near the theatre),  +52 965 200 368, e-mail: . Daily 13:00-16:15 20:15-00:15.A very popular restaurant which focuses on regional specialties. On the ground floor is a great tapas bar, while formal dining is located on the upper floors. Also has a great wine cellar. Mains €18-27.
  • PiripiAvda Oscar Esplá, 30,  +34 96 522 7940, e-mail:. Daily 13:00-16:00 20:00-24:00. A popular restaurant best known for its tapas and rice dishes. Mains €12-25.
  • Restaurante El MiradorRambla Méndez Núnez, 3 (in the Hotel TRYP Gran Sol),  +34 965 146 618. Daily 13:00-16:00 20:00-23:00.The hotel is one of the city's tallest buildings; the restaurant is situated on the 26th floor and offers excellent views of the sea and the city. Set menu €30.
  • La Taberna del GourmetC/ San Fernando, 10+34 965 204 233, e-mail: . Daily 11:00-00:30. A well-known tapas bar and delicatessen, with fine wines. Tapas €7-19, tapas tasting menu €27.50, standard tasting menu €55.

Splurge

  • DársenaMuella de Levante, 6 (port area),  +52 965 207 598, e-mail: . Tu-Sa 13:00-16:00 20:00-23:00. A long-established and respected restaurant, known especially for paella and other rice dishes, and for seafood. This place is very busy and reservations are recommended. Mains €16+, tasting menu €60.
  • MonastrellAvda Julio Guillen Tato, 1 (port area),  +34 965 126 640, e-mail: . Tu-Sa 13:00-16:00 19:30-23:00, Su 13:00-16:00. Michelin-starred chef María José San Román focuses on contemporary and avant-garde cuisine, relying on local products. The minimalist dining area is decorated with wood, aluminum, and granite. Reservations can be made online. Tasting menu €79.
  • One OneC/ de Valdés, 9+34 96 520 6399. Tu-Sa 12:00-17:00 21:00-24:00; closed mid-Aug through mid-Sept. A cozy restaurant that offers innovative and original cuisine. Has a good wine cellar. Mains €25.
  • Restaurante La EretaParque de La Ereta, s/n (on the slope of Mt Benacantil),  +34 965 143 250. Winter: Tu lunch, Th dinner, Sa lunch/dinner; summer: M-W dinner, Th-Sa lunch/dinner, holiday eves.Creative cuisine offered in two tasting menus, with great views of the sea and city. Tapas tasting menu €45, standard tasting menu €65.

Sights & Landmarks

The old town of Alicante is roughly the triangular area enclosed by the Rambla de Méndez Núnez, the Explanada de Espanya, and Mount Benacantil. Largely tourist-friendly, the old, narrow streets make for an enjoyable wander provided you don't get yourself lost. Here you'll find the town hall, cathedral, an old covent, and several art museums.


Historic sites

  • Castell de la Santa Bàrbara(Castillo de Santa Bárbara / Castle of Santa Barbara). Oct-Mar daily 10:00-20:00, Apr-Jun daily 10:00-22:00, Jul Aug daily 10:00-24:00, Sep daily 10:00-22:00. On top of Mount Benacantil at a height of 166 metres, there is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain, built in the ninth century by Muslims. An amazing view of town and harbour. If you feel fit, the walk from Plaza de Carmen is a sight in itself, through some narrow winding streets. The castle can also be reached by car, but parking slots are scarce. Free
    • Museu de la Ciutat d'Alacant (MUSA / Museo de la Ciudad / Museum of the City of Alicante), Calle Vázquez de Mella s/n (Castell de Santa Bárbara),  +34 965 152 969, e-mail: . Daily 10:00-14:30, 16:00-20:00. Showcases archaeological finds from the city and the region. Free
    • Lift (near the main rd of Avda de Juan Bautista Lafora). Oct-Mar daily 10:00-20:00, last lift up 19:20; Apr-Jun daily 10:00-20:00, last lift up 19:20; Jul Aug daily 10:00-23:30, last lift up 19:20; Sep daily 10:00-20:00, last lift up 19:20. There is a lift in the core of Mount Benacantil itself, which runs from the ground level and stops at two levels in the castle. It may not be easy to spot the entrance! The easiest route is to follow Postiguet beach to the footbridge, then cross the road and pick your way West along the pavement until you see the sign for the castle and the tunnel entrance. The ticket machine for the lift is near the end of the tunnel. Insert your money, press the large green "A" button, then "Ticket", and your ticket will be printed. Maps are provided. Travelling between the two castle levels is free. €2.70 (round-trip), free (seniors); free access Jul Aug daily 19:45-23:30.
  • Basílica de Santa Maria (Basilica of Santa María). Begun during the 14th century on top of the remains of an old Moorish mosque, construction was completed in the 16th century, and incorporates Gothic and Baroque stylistic elements in its structure. The main entrance to the church is especially notable for its elaborate Baroque decorative elements; inside the Gothic choir and Rococo altar are noteworthy, along with the Baroque organ from 1653. The exterior still bears traces of bombardment by French forces in the 18th century. Free
  • Lucentum Archaeological Site (El Tossal de Manises), C/ de Zeus, s/n (Albufereta),  +34 965 149 000. Winter: Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Su 10:00-14:00; Summer: M-Sa 09:00-12:00 19:00-22:00, Su 09:00-12:00. This site, which covers over 7 acres, is the location of the original Roman city which later became Alicante. Although excavation is currently still ongoing, it is open to visitors. Notable features are remains of the defensive walls, Roman baths, and forum, as well as part of the old Muslim cemetery. Free
  • Castell de Sant Ferran (Castillo de San Fernando / Castle of San Fernando) (on Tossal hill, N of Alicante centre). Dawn to dusk. Built at the beginning of the 19th century, the fortress is now the centrepiece of a city park. Free.

Museums & Galleries

  • Museu Arqueològic Provincial d'Alacant (MARQ / Museo Arqueológico de Alicante / Archaeological Museum of Alicante), Plaza Dr Gómez Ulla, s/n+34 965 149 000, e-mail: .Tu-F 10:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-20:30, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00.founded in 1932, has avant-garde design and uses modern audiovisual techniques, with more than 80,000 pieces found in local archaeological sites. Shows educational movies about the history of Alicante area from the Stone Age, through Iberian and Roman eras, to the medieval times.€3 (adults), €1.50 (concessions), free (disabled/teachers/journalists/children under 8)
  • Museu de Belles Arts Gravina (MUBAG / Palau Gravina), C/ Gravina 13-15 (Old Town),  +34 965 14 67 80, e-mail: . 1 Sep - 30 Jun: Tu-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00; 1 Jul - 31 Aug: Tu-Sa 11:00-21:00, Su and holidays 11:00-15:00.This local fine arts museum, housed in an 18th-century palace, has some excellent artworks by Spanish artists, displayed over 3 floors. Take time to watch the video presentation Black and White about historic Alicante.Free
  • Museu d'Art Contemporani d'Alacant (Museo de La Asegurada / MACA), Plaza de Santa María, 3,  +34 965 213 156, e-mail:. Tu-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00. On display there are a few works by world-famous artists of the 20th century: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Julio González, Juan Gris, Joan Miró; as well as art collections by two local artists Eusebio Sempere and Juana Francés. Free
  • Museu de la Universitat d’Alacant (Museo de la Universidad de Alicante / MUA), Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig, s/n (Campus de la Universidad de Alicante),  +34 965 909 387fax: +34 965 903 464, e-mail: . M-F 09:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00.Opened in 1999, this ultra-modern museum is devoted to contemporary art and hosts special exhibits as well as concerts and other events.Free.
  • Museu d’Aigües d’Alacant (Museo de Aguas de Alicante / Alicante Water Museum), Plaza Arquitecto Miguel López, s/n (Plaza del Puente, Casco Antiguo),  +34 965 143 787, e-mail:. Sep-May: Tu-F 10:00-14:00 17:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00; Jun-Aug: Tu-F 10:00-14:00 18:00-21:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00. The museum is located adjacent to the Pozos de Garrigós (Garrigós Wells), a collection of wells dating from the Moorish period to the 16th century, and in use until 1898. Exhibits in the three-floor modern museum illustrate the history of water resources and distribution in the city and the area. Free.

Things to do

There are several companies near the port which offer boat trips, from 45-minute excursions on a catamaran to all-day trips to the island of Tabarca. Prices vary.

Festivals and events

Las Hogueras de San Juan is the most important festival in the city. The celebration takes place around the 20s of June, but you can see locals setting up about a week earlier. Throughout Alicante, enormous monuments (up to and above 3 stories tall) are constructed and burned at the end of the festival during the night of 24th to 25th, after the shooting off of the very large "Palmera" firework from the top of the Castillo de Alicant. The explosion takes the shape of palm tree leaves (hence the name, Palmera). This is the symbol that begins the burning of the Hogueras monuments, which lasts into the later hours of the night. After that, a week of night fireworks continues in the beach. During the festival you won't have to go far to find music, drinks, and dancing, that all usually lasts until the early mornings.

Other celebrations include Carnival (in February–March, just before Lent) with parades of people in disguises and open air concerts (yes, weather allows it!), Holy Week (with parades of religious brotherhoods with their images of Jesus Christ, Holy Mary and so on) and Santa Faz (second Thursday after Good Friday) where a massive pilgrimage/walk to a close village where a relic with and image of Jesus is on display. As in the rest of Spain, in the Epiphany (January the 6th) there is a parade in remembrance of the Three Wise Men that adored Child Jesus, where every child participates (it is the equivalent to Santa Claus in the Spanish culture).

In October is the Moros y Cristianos festival in various small towns around the Alicante region. The festivity keeps memory of the Reconquer of each town by Christian kings of the territory to Islamic forces. Locals dress up in colorful costumes as Medieval Moorish and Christian warriors and knights. Live camels and elephants can sometimes be seen in street processions. In some areas, temporary wooden castles are built and mock battles are waged. Loud gunpowder arquebuses are discharged into the air, and fireworks can last late into the night.

Nightlife

Alicante has its own regulatory wine council [www]. Tinto Alicante and Moscatel Alicante are the most known varieties.

Nightlife is concentrated in Old Town, called El Barrio or El Casco Antiguo, with dozens of bars and clubs along the narrow streets. Another focal point is the eastern rim of the marina, called Puerto, in and around the casino, where things start and end later.

The "Barrio" is the center of nightlife in Alicante, with bars like Dos Gringos, Mulligans, Carpe Diem, and Swing; there is never a dull night in this small Spanish city. Drinks are cheap, and shots are sometimes free. Pregame of "Botellon" on the castel or on the beach, then head over to the Barrio at around midnight. Then head over to swing or the puerto at 4am. A typical night should end at around 7 or 8am. (Note: "El botellon," literally, "the large bottle," is a custom among young people in Spain, in which they buy 2-litre bottles of soft drinks and mix into them hard liquor, and then stand or sit around drinking in parking lots and other public places. This is to avoid the high cost of drinks in some bars and clubs. There are many organizarions which organise and advertise the party scene of the Barrio, such as BarrioLife.

Safety in Alicante

Stay Safe

Very High / 9.2

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Mid. / 5.7

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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