A holiday should provide time and space where you can recover and recuperate from the demands of a hectic and demanding life, work and schedule. Alicante is one of the most picturesque seaside towns in all of Spain and provides both respite and escape for visitors and a way of remembering all the reasons life is good, meaningful and enjoyable. Fantastic restaurants feature the finest and freshest seafood, quaint shops line even quainter streets and the beaches are every bit as beautiful as they are relaxing. Here are seven ways to lose track of the stress of your everyday life in the wonder of Alicante.
The San Juan Beach
A historic Mediterranean port, the city of Alicante runs along Spain’s popular and regal Costa Blanca. The area is renowned for its luscious beaches, and nowhere are the reasons more clear than along Alicante’s San Juan Beach. Soft sand, clear water and cosmopolitan sunbathers all create an atmosphere of easy luxury. The beach is perfect for reading, swimming or walking, and the boutiques and cafes along the beach’s 6 kilometres provide some of the best shopping and eating in all of Alicante.
The Santa Barbara Castle
A medieval fortress built in the 14th century, the Santa Barbara Castle sits high atop the Benacantil Hill. A remarkably well-preserved piece of architecture and history, the castle has turrets, drawbridges, hidden passageways, a real dungeon and beautiful gardens. It also provides one of the best views of Alicante Bay.
The Archaeological Museum
Alicante’s history stretches back 7,000 years and includes the Greek and Roman Empires, invasions by the Moors, attacks by French and English armies and much more. The Archaeological Museum of Alicante provides a fascinating look into the area’s lengthy and storied past. See Roman, Greek and Iberian artefacts, a large coin collection covering a wide span of the city’s history and cultural occupants as well as detailed descriptions about archaeological methodologies. A relaxing holiday to Alicante will be greatly enhanced by a visit to this museum.
Eleven nautical miles away from Alicante, the waters around Tabarca Island are an official Mediterranean marine preserve due to the diverse fauna and flora that surround it. Boat rides from Alicante’s port last about an hour, and a day spent on this inhabited island will provide ample opportunity to see where Berber pirates hid among its coves and beaches. The island has a museum and a hotel and some excellent restaurants where you can eat caldero — a stewed fish dish the island is known for.
San Nicolas Cathedral
Built between the years 1613 and 1662, the San Nicolas Cathedral was constructed over the top of a mosque after the Moors were expelled from Alicante. With an interior blue dome rising 45 metres into the air, the cathedral features examples of Spanish baroque, Doric and Ionic architectural styles.
Rice dishes like paella are a staple of Alicante’s excellent cuisine, and they can feature seafood, chicken, pork, rabbit, vegetables, shellfish and more. The fish and seafood is always wonderfully fresh, and if you see Red Prawns from Denia on the menu, be sure to order them. Stews and soups are also a regular offering, and these are filling, rich and provide a great combination of Spanish and Mediterranean flavours and ingredients. Other foods the region is known for include:
- Salted meats
- Artichokes from la Vega Baja el Segura
- Citrus fruits of any kind
- Cherries from La Marina Alta
- Fresh dates from Elche
- Pomegranates from Albatera
Alicante Town Hall
Most town halls aren’t worth a visit, but Alicante’s in a definite exception. An impressive baroque style building, it was built in the 18th century, and it features large columns and two tall and imposing towers. Inside Alicante Town Hall, you will find impressive works of art, a small chapel where mass is occasionally celebrated and some exhibits of archaeological remains. The hall can be visited most mornings.
Alicante is a true seaside escape. Stunning beaches, impressive history, excellent food and memorable architecture all combine to provide the weary traveller with rest, entertainment, education and enjoyment. Whether you have a week or a month, a visit to Alicante will provide rejuvenation.