Alicante is the capital of the Alicante province in the region of Valencia and Murcia, Spain. It is the main city of the Costa Blanca and has an airport.
It is definitely worth spending some time in Alicante (Alacant). With beaches, nightlife, a lovely renovated old town and, if you're there at the end of June, a great fiesta, Las Hogueras.
Visit Alicante, Spain
As well as the town with its wide avenues and seafront paseos full of cafés and bars there is the Castillo de Santa Barbara standing high above Alicante's beach. A shaft has been cut straight up the hill with a lift up to the Castillo.
The best part of Alicante is arguably its wonderful harbour-side promenade - the Explanada de Espagne. The pavement is a marvellous marble mosaic and it is lined with palm trees and runs the length of the harbour. Along its length are lots of cafés where you can stop and soak up the sun and atmosphere.
The Castillo de Santa Barbara, Alicante's medieval castle is at the top of Mount Benacantil and was the lookout against ships and pirates, once common in these waters. It is a medieval fortress but there are also Roman remains on the site. The views over the city and Postiguet beach are superb. The Santa Barbara castle is one of the biggest medieval fortresses in Spain.
After exploring the Castillo relax in the castle gardens, the Parque de la Ereta. The views of the city are not to be missed.
The main city itself centers around the lovely main square, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and aound it are lovely old streets and parks and squares. The lovely baroque town hall dominates the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and has elegant twin towers.
Nearby is the elegant cathedral of St Nicolas built in the 17th century in a mix of baroque and renaissance styles. It has a lovely blue-domed roof. From here the old town meanders gently uphill towards the castle at the top. Palm trees and flowers abound the streets and houses of Alicante and the atmosphere is light and vibrant.
Alicante has long been a favouite of students - both Spanish and from abroad - and they give the town a youthfull air and mean that Alicante has a good night-time scene as well as lots to offer during the day. El Barrio is the main quarter if you want to party and is crammed with bars and restaurants.
Alicante has an impressive neo-classical theatre with a range of opera, ballet and theatre productions.
Postiguet beach is the place to head for if you want to soak up some rays and a tram or bus ride away is the long, sandy San Juan beach which is considered to be one of the best in Spain.
The Las Hogueras festival takes place every year in June. The festival kicks off with the lighting of a large palm shaped firework from the Santa Barbara castle. After that a series of 'hogueras' are lit in a wonderful display. The Hogueras are large wood and papier maché structures which are worked on for months and then burnt during the fiesta.
Museums in Alicante
Alicante's Museo de Arte Siglo 2000 has works by Picasso, Miro, and Dali.
There is also a good archeological museum, MARQ. MARQ won the 'Best Museum in Europe' award in 2004.
Places to see near Alicante
On the edge of the city is the wonderful park of El Palmeral with hundreds of palm trees as well as lakes and waterfalls.
Don't miss a boat trip to the island of Tabarca. Explore the fishing village or do some snorkling in the waters full of marine fish and vegetation. Tabarca has a number of fine Baroque churches.
Photos of Alicante
Click any picture to start the gallery
Map of Alicante and places to visit
Alicante places to visit
See more places nearby in the Valencia and Murcia guide