Guide to alicante, spain, alicante tourist guide and information, holidays in alicante, costa blanca
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Places in Spain - Alicante

Nearest Airport
Contacts
Entertainment
Hotels
Restaurants
Transport

 

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The province of Alicante is located on the eastern coast of Spain and is part of the Costa Blanca, wedged between Murcia in the south, and Valencia in the north.

 

Alicante City

Alicante city has a population of over 300,000 and combines both classic and modern societies, living in harmony. It offers business and pleasure, entertainment and education. The history of Alicante goes back to prehistoric times with remains being found here from the third century before Christ. Today, Alicante is a first rate tourist centre thanks to its splendid beaches, excellent climate and well known facilities. Alicante is one of the most visited cities on the Costa Blanca.

 
 
 
 

Idealspain visits to Alicante

We have investigated Alicante several times as part of our Costa Blanca tours and found Alicante to be a little overwhelming. It is a typical large city with the city life to go with it. Its beaches are of a high standard and within the city there are ample, beautiful, quiet places to rest. The shopping is first class, as is the cuisine in the many bars and restaurants. Our latest visit was in February 2011 when we spent three days in the heart of the city. We noticed that since our last visit, Alicante had changed. A great amount of money has been spent on the improvement of its image. Old roads have been repaired and scruffy areas have been tidied up. The historic part of town has a wonderful atmosphere, day and night yet a few streets away, the modern heart is a pleasure to visit. Alicante is a cosmopolitan city that never sleeps. We noticed that at 4am, the main street looked like mid-day with people of all ages still stolling. We stayed in a centre hotel on the main rambla. We were only 100m from the cathedral so it was a good base from which to explore the city. Parking in Alicante is difficult but on the Rambla, you will find Parking Cristobal, a scruffy but useful underground car park. The price is just over 9€ for 24 hours which is cheaper than most hotel parking.

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Alicante port

 

What to see in Alicante

Having such a diverse history, there's no wonder that Alicante has so many historic buildings. Old buildings blend seemlessly with modern constructions and there's something to see on every street.

 

Among the churches of Alicante is the Iglesia de Santa Maria, which is the oldest church in the city and was built between the 14th and 16th centuries. It was once the main mosque during Moorish times. Its front comprises of two solid looking towers and wonderful Baroque stonework. The church houses many important works of art.

The Cathedral de San Nicolas was built between 1616 and 1662 and stands over 45 metres tall. The Communion Chapel inside is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Spanish Baroque architecture. St Nicolas is the patron saint of the city so this Cathedral is one of the most important buildings in the city. Despite its size, the interior is very plain. The huge dome dominates the ceiling. There are small chapels along the aisles.
Alicante Cathedral

 

Whilst three sides of the cathedral are in narrow streets, the front door opens onto a small plaza.
Alicante Cathedral
   
Alicante cathedral
Alicante cathedral
Alicante cathedral
   

The Town Hall and Council Square

The Plaza de Ayuntamiento, or council square is dominated by the Town Hall with its two square towers and moulded panels. The square has fountains in the centre that appear from nowhere. The Town Hall building is an excellent example of civil Baroque architecture. Work started in 1701 and it took 9 years to build. The doorway is flanked by two wonderful barleytwist columns.

 

One of the towers has a clock face, the other a matching blank.

   
Alicante town hall
The Dali statue in the Town Hall Foyer
Alicante town hall
Ex-Mayors of Alicante
Alicante town hall
A state room in the Town Hall
   
Alicante town hall
Town Hall
   
Scattered around the city are numerous statues and columns dedicated to patrons of the city. Many of the roundabouts contain a monument of some description.

 

Museums and art in Alicante

When it comes to museums, Alicante has its fair share. The Archaeology Museum, created in 1932 has an extensive collection of artefacts and is known to be one of the best in Spain. The museum is now housed in a new building and incorporates the most modern of multimedia displays. There's also a fine arts museum, museum de Belenes and unique museum of the 'Ninots' from the Falles fiestas. Alicante has a rich history and the museums make an interesting visit.

   

The Castillo de Santa Barbara

This is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe. It occupies the entire summit and a large proportion of the slopes of the Benacantil mountain. It commands a unique look-out over the coastline, the Bay of Alicante and the surrounding farmland. Remains from the Bronze-age have been discovered on this site. The castle has three enclosures of differing dates, each with unique features. The castle can be accessed by a road leading up the western slope of the mountain, winding its way through pine trees.

 Alicante Castle

   
Alicante Castle
Alicante Castle
   

You can drive to the top of the castle although the access road can be hard to find. Signposts are not fantastic. There's free parking at the top of the hill.

 

Entry to the castle is free of charge and you can easily spend the best part of a day walking round. There's a restaurant near the top.

 

You can also visit the castle by means of an elevator that ascends from the Paseo Maritimo. Entrance to the castle is free but there is a charge for using the elevator. EU Senior citizens and disabled don’t have to pay. The castle is visible from just about every part of the city.

Alicante Castle
 

Alicante also has an array of palaces worth visiting, including the Gavina Palace which now houses the Provincial Gallery with fine paintings from the 19th century. The main theatre dates from 1847 and is a fine example of classical construction.

 

The main avenues in Alicante are lined with Classical and Renaissance buildings. Many of the old apartments blocks have attractive applied reliefs.

 
The bullring in Alicante (Plaza de Toros) is one of the oldest in Spain still in use. Built in 1849 it has since been restored and enlarged. The current design dates from 1888 and is rather plain. Inside the bullring there's a small museum of bullfighting and a bullfighting school. The bullring is in Plaza de Espana.

 

Bullring Alicante

 
Outside the bullring there's a wonderful bronze bullfighter and some bulls.
Bullring Alicante
   

The port and marina in Alicante

The very modern marina has a host of cafes and restaurants. The further round the marina you walk, the better the view of the city across the water. On the marina you will also find the Casino. The Casino Mediterraneo offers a great nights entertainment from 4pm until 4am (5am in summer). www.casinomediterraneo.es.

Port in Alicante
   
   
Alicante Port
Alicante Port
   
 

The harbour of Alicante

The harbour has been the strength of the city for centuries, sending products abroad and bringing in goods from all over the world. It was once the port of Madrid. Today, modern facilities combine with tradition and history to provide a thriving centre. As well as a working fishing fleet there are pleasure crafts and passenger vessels, nautical schools and sailing clubs.

Alicante Port

Alicante is a major education centre and has an impressive university, founded in 1979. At present it has over 30,000 students on a campus covering over one million square metres. The university has six higher schools, seven colleges and seven university institutes. It has branches in several provincial towns.

The Monastery de la Santa Faz is 5km from the city centre and is now used as a convent of the order of St Clare. Although being built in 1752, there are remains here dating from 1582 in the form of a defence tower.

   

Parks and gardens in Alicante

Recreation is the key word in Alicante and to this end there are numerous parks, gardens and plazas in which to soak up the sun and the atmosphere. Most have impressive water features, monuments and statues. Most parks seem to be safe places although they can attract a few vagrants. The oldest park in Alicante is Parque de Canalejas with children's play areas, monuments and lots of shady areas. One of the nicest parks is located a few kilometres from the city. The Parque de El Palmeral has a boating lake, a theatre, play areas and wonderful walkways.

   

The beaches of Alicante

When it comes to beaches, the Playa de San Juan is considered to be one of the finest in Spain. A broad beach, some 5km long that has all the facilities you would expect, from hotels, bars, restaurants and even an 18 hole golf course. There are three small coves, Palmera, Cantalares and Judios. They are difficult to access and therefore appropriate as nudist beaches. The small, sandy Almadraba beach and the well hidden Albufereta beach are ideal for water sports in safe surroundings. Further south is the Playa del Coco, next to the regional railway station. This beach connects to Playa del Postiguet, located close to the city centre.

Alicante beach
   
Beach
   
The Explanada is the pride of Alicante. It's a very long and very wide walkway, lined with shady trees. It runs along the seafront of the city. Along here you will find some fine restaurants, fast food outlets and lots of places to sit in the shade. There's a stage where concerts are held and you will always find some kind of street entertainer or artesans selling their wares. From the Explanada, walk up the Rambla, one of the main shopping streets.
Alicante Explanade
   

Getting around Alicante

Driving is calm in Alicante although quite difficult at times. Parking is very limited and the best option is often underground car parking. Cycles are popular in Alicante and there's a city cycle hire system. The best way to see Alicante however is by foot. Within the historical centre, everything is just a short walk and there are lots of places to rest. The city of Alicante appears to be very safe, even at night although care should always be taken in quiet streets. Local buses are everywhere and very frequent.

 

Most of the streets are disabled friendly and pedestrians definately rule. Start your visit on the Rambla Mendez Nunez where you will find the Tourist Office at number 23. There are 6 tourist offices in total in Alicante.

 

You can get to Alicante using the popular railway service - details and prices here

 


 

Culture and fiestas of Alicante

Alicante is a cultural centre and has a varied selection of events and fiestas. At the end of June a traditional arts and crafts market is staged in Plaza de la Santisima Faz and nearby streets. The event has a medieval theme. During July and August the new esplanade in front of the port comes alive for the summer festival with constant theatrical performances and concerts. The fist ten days of December sees the International Puppet Festival that attracts people from all over the world - one of the finest events of its kind in the world.

 

The Moors and Christians fiestas in Spain can vary drom small, town affairs through to huge city celebrations. You can see a sample fiesta here, with video.

 

Casino in Alicante
The casino in Alicante

 


Activities in the Alicante area

The coast of Alicante offers a wide range of sports and activities. Kayak Alicante offer kayak excursions and hire all along the Alicante coast. www.coastmaountainkayak.com. Aeroglobo offer balloon rides from their base near Catral. www.aeroglobo.com. You can explore the mountain roads with Mototours (www.mototours.com). They have tours on Vespa scooters and BMW motorbikes. When it comes to theme parks, Safari Aitana in Penaguila is a great day out. The safari is open every day from 11am. www.safariaitana.com.

 

Boat trip from Alicante to Tabarca - Cruceros Kon Tiki - Tel 965 216 396 - www.cruceroskontiki.com


 

 

Contacts
National Police Alicante Emergencies 091
Local Police Alicante 965 107 200 - Emergencies 092
Guardia Civil Alicante 900 101 062 - Emergencies 062
Fire Brigade Alicante 965 982 222 - Emergencies 080
General emergencies Alicante 112
General hospital Alicante 965 938 300
County Council Alicante 965 121 300
British Consulate in Alicante 965 216 022
German Consulate in Alicante 965 217 060

Tourist information Alicante

 
Rambla Mendez Nunez, 23 965 200 000
Expalnada de Espana, 1 965 147 038
Campus san Vicente del Raspeig 965 903 400
C/Portugal, 17 965 929 802
(RENFE), Av. Salamanca s/n 965 125 633
Playa de San Juan, A. Niza s/n Summer only
   
Town Hall Alicante 965 149 290
Post Office Alicante 965 219 984
Red Cross Alicante 965 252 525
Customs Alicante 965 207 646
Port of Alicante 965 130 095
Coast Guard Alicante

900 202 202

Costa Blanca Samaritans  
Hospital General de Alicante C/Pintor Baeza 965 938 300
Hospital San Juan Ctra Alicante-Valencia 965 938 700
 
Transport
Bus station Alicante 965 130 700
RENFE Train station Alicante 968 502 214
Alicante Airport information 966 919 100
Traffic Information Alicante 965 125 466
TAM Buses Alicante 965 140 936
Taxi in Alicante 965 910 123 or 965 101 611 (www.teletaxialicante.com)
Alicante tram network (Trenet) 900 720 472
See train stops here  
Low cost car hire in this part of Spain - Instant quotes, online booking and guaranteed reservations. Access to all the top car hire companies in Spain
 
Entertainment
SA Discoal (Nightclub) Alicante 965 210 646
Wilson's nightclub Alicante 965 121 655
   

Museo Arqueologico de Alicante

Pl. Doctor Gomez Ulla s/n

Tel: 965 149 000

www.marqalicante.com

 

Where to go after Alicante

 

The Island of Tabarca

Located 11 miles south of Alicante is a guitar-shaped island with a total area of 30 hectares. The Island of Tabarca has a curious history and has a firm place in ancient Greek history. It was once a refuge for Berber pirates and in 1760, King Carlos III ordered a fortress to be built here. It is possible to take a boat ride from Alicante to the island.

 

From Alicante, take a side step to Benidorm with its miles of golden beaches or head south to the wonderful port of Santa Pola. To the north, above Benidorm you find Calpe and Altea.

 

An excursion inland can be made to Busot to see the Cuevas del Canelobre. The caves are 24km from Alicante and house the highest vaults in the whole of Spain. The interior reminds you of a cathedral interior with its coloured lights illuminating the rock and mineral formations. Busot also offers the visitor many hiking routes with unique views and a range of restaurants with local cuisine.

 

More caves can be found at Vall d'Ebo, some 30km from Denia. The Cova del Rull is open from 10.30am until 5pm (8.30pm April-September).
Tel 965 571 413.

Just over 50km away you will find a handful of towns that boast some of the most impressive castles in Spain. These include Novelda, Sax and Villena.

 
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