When you jet off to Spain for a break with the family, friends or your partner, you’re pretty much guaranteed sunshine, sangria and stunning sunsets. Whether you’re an art lover, wine connoisseur, or a parent in search of a travel destination to suit both the kids and adults, consider booking a holiday to Alicante in 2019 / 2020. Located in the province of Alicante, this picturesque port city is distinctive in appearance, with the colourful houses and vibrant old town creating a scenic setting.
Panoramic views of the Mediterranean coast can be admired from the medieval landmark of Castillo de Santa Bárbara, which is one of many time-worn landmarks dotted around the province. As if the plazas, parks and flawless boulevards aren't enough to tempt you into booking a holiday to Alicante, the fact that the island of Tabarca sits just off the coast sure will be. Originally named ‘Lucentum’ – or ‘City of Light’ – Alicante boasts modern conveniences and a historic quarter, so you really can get the best of both worlds when you jet off to this Costa Blanca paradise.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 2h 30m
When to go
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Parks, wildlife, landmarks – Alicante has it all. The many attractions located around this Spanish holiday resort include the Castle of Santa Barbara, Malaga Cathedral and St. Mary's Church. Built between the 14th and 16th century, the Gothic-style church is a reflection of the area's past. These aren’t the only sightseeing spots worth checking out during your holiday in Alicante though. Make sure you schedule some time to visit the town hall of Alicante, Canelobre Caves and the Co-Cathedral of Saint Nicolás of Bari during your trip.
The cuisine of Alicante has been influenced by history and culture, but you can expect to find plenty of Spanish specialities on the menu. Most dishes contain rice, such as the casseroles, paella and rice stews. Since Alicante is a coastal resort, seafood is featured on the menu at most eateries, including Pesca al Peso and Taberna del Puerto Restaurant. Lamb, beef, and pork dishes are equally as popular. Not to worry if you’re a vegetarian, as there are plenty of meat-free options, like tortilla de patata, or Spanish potato omelette, and Zanahorias Aliñadas, which are marinated carrots.
Do you enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner? If so, try one of the region's most palatable wines, which have been produced in Alicante since the 16th century. Grape varieties cultivated around Alicante include Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel de Alejandria and Alicante Bouschet.
Why not make your holiday in Alicante an educational one? There’s a lot to be discovered in this part of the Costa Blanca, so consider visiting the Basilica of Santa Maria or the Archaeological Museum of Alicante with the family. The Canelobre Caves are worth exploring on a guided tour and if you’re keen for a day of fun in the sun, rent a car and drive to Terra Mítica Theme Park. Swim with dolphins, get up close to various animal species at Rio Safari Park, and take a shower in natural surroundings at the Algar Waterfalls. Aqualandia water park is also a big hit with families holidaying in Alicante.
Action & Adventure
The Alicante province attracts active individuals with its cycling routes, running trails and water sports. If you want to trek in sublime surroundings, set off on a day trip to Montgo Mountain. Alternatively, play a round of golf at one of the region's golf courses. You can even rent a quad bike and visit the awe-inspiring salt lakes at Torrevieja, where the natural mud baths will give your health an almighty boost.
Alicante is blessed with 244 kilometres of coastline, so even if you’re planning a holiday to Alicante during peak season, you’re guaranteed to find an uncrowded cove to sunbathe on. Sailors, divers and surfers make their way to this Spanish resort every year to get their water sports fix at popular beaches like San Juan de Alicante. This beach extends from a traditional fishing village to a rocky cape. Bathe on the sand or rent a kayak at San Juan, which is easily accessible from Guardamar del Segura, El Portet and Santa Pola's beaches. Benidorm is just a 40-minute drive away, so you also have the option to swim and jet ski at Poniente and Levante beach.
Groups tend to gather at the Oceanus Lounge Club for daytime cocktails, ahead of an evening at John Mulligan's. This bar is preferred for casual gatherings and it’s one of many places where you can socialise while on holiday in Alicante. Many of the clubs and bars will shut their doors at 5am, including the resort's biggest nightclub, Discoteca Oz.
For live music, head to Café Bar Destino or Sala Stereo. If you prefer to knock back a glass of sangria or two with a nice view and laid-back atmosphere, order a drink at the Grizzly Bar, Los Mejillones, or inside a typically British pub, such as The Lighthouse.
The port city of Alicante is the ideal place to practice your fishing skills. Head in the direction of Tabarca and catch your own lunch, before enjoying a romantic walk along San Juan Playa beach. Romantic restaurants can be found at every twist and turn in Alicante, with the top-rated eateries for couples being L’Atelier and Don Carlos. A stroll around the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts, a hike to the peak of Mount Benacantil, or a sunset kiss atop the ancient Santa Barbara Fortress are some other ideas for couples visiting Alicante on holiday.
Knowing as much about the culture as possible before you go on holiday to Alicante will ensure you feel at ease communicating with the locals. Did you know that tribes first settled on Alicante soil some 7,000 years ago? If you spend a day wandering around the beautifully maintained castle of Santa Bárbara, you can say you have walked in the footsteps of the land's first settlers.
Home to award-winning museums where you can learn more about the culture, Alicante culture is an intriguing reflection of the society as a whole. Communicating with the older generation might be tougher than communicating with younger locals, so do try your best to brush up on your Spanish before your Alicante holiday.
The locals are proud of their heritage and so, if a Spaniard shares a story with you, be sure to listen intently. The Roman Catholic tradition is followed by approximately 94 per cent of Spain's population. However, a lot of these people are non-practicing Catholics.