Colourful buildings in Alicante
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Colourful buildings in Alicante

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Alicante travel guide

Renowned for its long sandy beaches, vibrant festivals and lively nightlife, Alicante is one of Spain’s and Europe’s main holiday hubs with good reason.

This thoroughly Spanish city has a true Mediterranean air. Its wide esplanades, like Rambla de Mendez Nuñez and Avenida Alfonso el Sabio, are perfect places to relax, while its seafront promenades are full of café terraces.

The historical centre is filled with baroque buildings, bearing testimony to Alicante’s past as a major seaport. The city also has a distinct African flavour, with women in caftans and hawkers selling carvings along the seafront.

Situated on the popular Costa Blanca, Alicante’s beaches are packed every summer, and there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained: from surfing, swimming and sailing to scuba diving, snorkelling and paragliding.

Nearby Tabarca is an island seemingly frozen in time: mostly a protected wilderness, no cars are allowed here, and human civilisation is represented only by a small walled town featuring a beautiful church.

You can also make a day trip to Canalobre Caves, where a collection of impressive stalagmites and stalactites appear to resemble a multitude of forms. Most striking of all is the Castle of Santa Barbara, perched atop Mount Benacantil. One of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain, it affords panoramic views of the city and the coast.

Alicante also boasts some of the best nightlife in the region. El Puerto and El Barrio are among some of the liveliest spots come evening, although Esplanada is more popular in summer, as are the kiosks behind Postiguet and San Juan beaches.

Then there are the festivals. The largest is Las Hogueras de San Juan, celebrated every June with spectacular fireworks. Carnival (February or March) brings colourful parades onto the streets, while the Moros y Cristianos Festival in October has costumed processions that include elephants and camels.

Alicante is both a regional gateway and a destination in its right. But whatever your reason for visiting, you’re bound find a vibrant city in full-on party mood.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.