These days, it’s very easy to book off a long weekend and head off to a city in a different part of the world – especially with flights to European metropolises being so cheap. But what really matters in a city break is variety. Even if you’re only going away for a short time, you don’t want to be stuck doing the same boring old things every day.
For this reason, book your city break in Alicante, a seaside Spanish city that has it all. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a weekend of excitement with the kids, there’s plenty to see and do – as well as the famous Spanish hospitality to enjoy. The country depends on a good atmosphere for its all-important tourist industry, so you can count on a good time. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions, but here are some of our must-sees.
Explanada de Espana
Quite possibly the place you’ll want to visit first when you touchdown, the palm-lined marble-mosaic runs adjacent to the harbour past stalls, shops and beautiful terraced buildings. To wander the Explanada de Espana is to discover the heart and soul of the city, and it can be done easily even in the blazing heat, thanks to the shade offered by the palm trees.
It’s always a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, but during fiesta time, the promenade becomes a whirl of movement and colour as people seek out the carnival atmosphere. But equally, it’s just as attractive to sit at one of the nearby bars in the evening and watch the slow trickle of people meandering along to their destinations, cocktail in hand.
The Old Quarter
Alicante’s picturesque Old Quarter is one of the most aesthetically attractive parts of the city – a definite must-visit. Featuring everything from grand domed buildings to tangled back alleys lined with pot plants, the area is known for being an absolute hive of activity. As well as its very popular street market, notable attractions include the Plaza de la Santisima Faz and the 17th century Cathedral of St Nicholas of Bari in the Plaza Abad Penalva.
After you’ve finished looking around, be sure to pop into one of the area’s many popular tapas bars, which are renowned among the locals and tourists as being the best in the city. Oh, and if you want to say it like the locals, the Old Quarter is known as El Barrio.
Santa Barbara Castle
A bit of a hike but more than worth it, Santa Barbara Castle is an old fortification atop Benacantil Hill – the highest summit of Alicante. The enormity of this sprawling complex is difficult to grasp until you get there – it’s one of the largest medieval forts in Europe and was constructed in the 10th century. Despite suffering bombardments in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, much of the fortress is still accessible, with the palace, lookout tower and dungeons still viewable by tourists. Get a good look at the cannons before enjoying those incredible panoramic views of Alicante on high – the perfect way to watch the sun descending.