Visitors are drawn to Alicante’s beautiful sandy beaches and clear seas. San Juan Beach is among the best in the region. For anyone wanting to learn more about Alicante’s history a visit to Santa Barbara Castle is highly recommended. Built in 400BC this medieval fortress perched on the top of Mount Benacantil comes with fabulous views thrown in for free. There is even a lift for those who don’t fancy the hike.
Likewise, the Archaeological museum is home to many beautiful Roman, Greek and Iberian treasures. The oldest building in Alicante, built in 1685, is the Museo Colecci Art del Segle that boasts works by Picasso, Miro and Dali among others, while the vibrant Art Market in Paseo Gadeo shows off the works of local artists. While not to everyone’s taste, the Bull Fighting Museum is a window into one of Spain’s oldest traditions.
There is plenty for young travellers too, like the Terra Mitica theme park with roller-coasters and daily shows or perhaps a glass-bottom boat ride to glimpse the colourful sea life that live in the crystal clear waters of Tabarca Marine Reserve.
In the local village of Buscot, in the foothills of Cabezon de Oro Mountain visitors can discover the prehistoric caves of Canalobre. Eerie and beautiful, they are home to stalactites and other spectacular limestone formations. An evening hike to its summit will reward with an unforgettable sunset.
Alicante Marina promises sea-side cocktails and lunches of gorgeous fresh fish before night falls on EL Barrio, Alicante’s Old Town, and the nightlife takes over.
The nearest major airport is Alicante Airport, located 16 km from the centre of Alicante. It offers the largest number of international connections. There is a cheap bus running once an hour taking passengers to the city centre from the airport. Taxis and car hire are also available.
The second closest airport is Murcia San Javier Airport. Although it is almost 100 km from Alicante, it may be handy for those travelling around Spain and with buses that take just one hour to travel between the two, it is a viable alternative.
What you need to know – 150
Currency: The Euro (EUR) €
Visas: Nationals from the EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein do not require a Visa to enter Spain as a tourist for a period of up to 90 days. A valid passport or ID card is sufficient. Nationals of some countries outside the EU may require a visa to enter Spain. For more information it is advisable to check with a local embassy or the Foreign Office website.
Laws: Anyone driving in Spain must carry their driving licence with them at all times, when on the road otherwise on the spot fines are incurred if stopped by the police. Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal in Spain; unless using the completely hands-free type. The minimum age for purchasing and drinking alcohol in Spain is 16 however those under 16 may drink or purchase alcohol if accompanied by an adult.
Best times to Visit
Alicante offers almost year round sunshine, so a beach holiday can be had any time of year. However with so many festivals taking place in the region, visitors may want to time their visit to coincide with one of their favourites.
Las Hogueras de San Juan – the Bonfires of Saint John, is the most important event in Alicante's cultural calendar; in fact it is the most popular festival in Spain. Taking place on the summer solstice, wooden and paper statutes line the street, bands play, open air cafes emerge and dancing continues late into the night. On the last night, a giant firework display precludes the setting on fire of all the wooden and paper figures.
Parades go on in February and March to celebrate Holy Week. In October Moros y Cristianos festivals take place in many of the smaller towns with mock battles and street processions and fireworks lighting up the Algarve skies.
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