Alicante, Spain is a beautiful port city on the eastern coast of Spain with a population nearing 340,000 people. It is home to Spain’s most gorgeous beaches, an astounding castle which overlooks the city, and wonderful universities. Regardless of which city you choose for your study abroad program in Spain, a trip to this sunny getaway is a must. The Mediterranean climate offers opportunity for outdoor fun year round. It has a well established tourism industry but still holds the charm of an authentic Spanish city. There is a lot to see and do and this list will help travel between all of them be more smooth so you can make the most of your time and not miss anything!
1. Don’t Settle
Upon landing in any foreign and new location, you’re likely tired and hungry but muster some patience and find a place worth your newly acquired Euros. The city is filled with many adorable old passageways and charming buildings leading to the perfect museums and restaurants which is great for architecture students studying abroad. And with so many incredible locations why waste even a single meal or afternoon at a less than ideal location.
The first stop may be a touristy restaurant with harsh lighting and questionable pictures in the menu. But one of the many joys of this Spanish city is the ease with which your path and mind can change. A surprise lies around every corner. Simply walking one more block will deliver inviting restaurants with live music playing, flowing wine, and mouth watering tapas. One bite as the band plays will make that additional five minutes of effort worth it.
There are pros and cons that come with visiting a well established tourist city. Visitors will find good deals, endless options, good transportation, and a plethora of resources to help them plan and execute their trip. On the other hand, it can be a little more difficult to find the authentic strip you are looking for. So be sure to walk around another corner and explore if not satisfied. Beautiful Alicante definitely has what you’re looking for, just take the time to find it.
2. Visit the Castillo de Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Castle, originally constructed in 400 BC, sits in the center of Alicante on Mount Benacantil. It provides a view of the entire city, as well as the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Making a visit to this attraction on one of your first days will allow an all inclusive understanding of the city’s layout. Take in the different areas, landmarks to know directions, and gauge distances.
Besides the benefits of being a modern day lookout point, the castle was also used as a fort and the structure includes dungeons, drawbridges, hospital rooms, and much more. Plus, admission is free! An elevator provides free lifts to the top, but it charges a few Euros for a ride back down. To shorten the walk it can be a good idea otherwise it is about a 25-minute walk downhill on foot.
3. Use Public Transportation
The bus system in Alicante is very user-friendly and easy to figure out. Buses come every few minutes, and typically multiple bus numbers go to the same destination. For just a few Euros, the public buses can quickly take you where you need to be, so be sure to consider it before starting to walk a long distance or if visiting multiple locations in one day.
Take the layout of the places to visit into account when planning your days. Don’t take a long bus ride or walk to one end of the city then the other in one day. Try and assign a day or two to specific areas of the city and hit all the places in that area rather than spending the time going back and forth.
There are also trams available that link popular destinations within Alicante. They even drive north up the coast to nearby cities. They are affordable and provide excellent scenery along the way.
4. Go To the Beach
Alicante has several beautiful, sandy beaches that are a must see. Enjoy life and relax by laying in the sun, walking in the water, or sipping on a drink. Costa Blanca, or White Coast, refers to 120 miles of warm beach that stretches along the Alicante province and the city of Alicante provides a perfect place to enjoy some of its best sections. If driving a car, look into the areas right outside of the main city for more amazing beaches that are a little more secluded.
There is a thin parking lot that stretches the length of the beach in Alicante, and parking is very affordable! The extra bonus here is that they are free between the hours of 2-4pm (siesta time), or after 8pm until 9am. Definitely worth looking for a spot there.
5. Know The City Calendar
Alicante is a busy place. Festivals and events are happening constantly throughout the different areas. Events vary depending on whether you feel like celebrating in the more modern area that extends along the seafront or the Old Town neighborhoods. The city’s most widely celebrated festival is Hogueras de San Juan in late June. It celebrates fire and bonfires are lit and giant wooden statues set ablaze throughout the week long festivities. There are many to choose from it’s very likely that one can be easily found.