Destination of the Week: Alicante
Alicante is a vibrant tourist hotspot on the Costa Blanca and an historic Mediterranean port. With mild winter temperatures, hot summers and little rain, it’s the buzzing beach culture that attracts thousands of visitors all year round.
The nightlife in Alicante is legendary, with clubs, discos, bars and restaurants open until the wee-hours every weekend. But, it’s the palm tree-lined promenade with marble floor tiles that extends from the Port of Alicante to the Gran Via that captures everyone’s hearts.
What to do
Standing guard over the city is the 16th century Castle of Santa Barbara on Mount Benacantil, a wonderful spot for sweeping ocean views and a history lesson about the city in the castle’s museum. On your way to the castle, you can wander the narrow, colourful streets of Barrio de la Santa Cruz, with white-washed, hillside houses, charming blue flowerpots and flags crisscrossing wrought-iron balconies.
For ocean lovers, Postiguet Beach is the closest to the town and the most popular for volleyball, watersports and evening action. San Juan Beach is considered one of the loveliest in Spain with 7 km of fine white sand and Albufereta Beach is protected by the headland of the Serra Grossa mountains. It’s also possible to find crystal clear swimming coves in rugged, rocky areas of the coastline.
Take a daytrip to Tabarca Island to go scuba diving and visit its pristine protected wilderness. Marvel at the Caves of Canelobre and the largest Palm Forest in Europe and end your days with a cocktail at the bustling Alicante Marina.
Where to stay
Alicante is streamlined for tourism, so you won’t have to look hard to find exactly the right type of accommodation for you. Resorts, private villas, rural country properties, self-contained apartments and backpacker hostels are available in the middle of all the action or close by so you can relax, but still enjoy the chaos from afar.
Hospes Amerigo (£££)
Located in a 16th century Dominican convent, Hospes Amerigo dazzles with views of the Cathedral and Santa Barbara Castle from the rooftop spa. In the heart of Alicante’s old town, the hotel also offers an outdoor pool with a solarium terrace, a gourmet restaurant and a lounge bar. The rooms have everything you need, with the luxurious bonus of Egyptian cotton or silk bed linen and Korres products.
Hotel Almirante (££)
With direct access to San Juan Beach, the Hotel Almirante is in a prime position for sun-worshippers. The hotel has a large outdoor pool, an onsite restaurant, an outdoor terrace and a bar. Some of the rooms feature gorgeous sea views and all have private balconies, air-conditioning, satellite TVs and free Wi Fi.
X Hostel (£)
The X Hostel is bright, cheery, friendly and in a fantastic location for Alicante’s legendary nightlife scene. The staff, who are experienced travellers, will even take you on a weekly pub-crawl to show you all the hotspots. The hostel provides a self-service kitchen, free linen, a common room, a rooftop terrace and free Wi Fi.
Where to eat
Tapas reportedly has its origins in Alicante, but other than that rice is the King of foods, with arrocerias (rice restaurants) listing hundreds of different rice dishes on their menus. Other typical dishes include cured sausages, fish stew and BBQ sardines. International restaurants, such as Turkish, Moroccan, Thai, Indian, French and Italian are well represented and, of course, you can’t go far without tumbling into a lively bar, many offering tantalising snacks.
La Darsena (£££)
Established in the 1950′s, La Darsena is a long-time favourite with locals and tourists. As an arroceria, the menu features over one hundred rice dishes, as well as seafood and an extensive wine list. Located at the Marina on the waterfront, you can enjoy delicious, traditional dishes with fabulous views over the harbour.
Fast & Bio (££)
Located in the old town, Fast & Bio is original in that it serves organic, vegetarian dishes like truffle and potato pizza, as well as organic beer and wine at the bar. You can fill up on healthy salads and enjoy chilled-out music inside the cosy restaurant or outside on the pavement.
Las Manolita’s (£)
Who ever said you can’t go straight to dessert? Visit the sweet, quirky doll’s house that is Las Manolita’s Cupcake Boutique, in the heart of the town, for scrumptious cupcakes, brownies, cheesecake and what many agree is the best coffee in town. It can get crowded, especially for breakfast, so get in early.
Image source: panoramio.com
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