On the White Coast Costa Blanca, the beautiful city of light Alicante awaits many visitors. The lively, urban place on the Mediterranean Sea has about 300,000 inhabitants. With its 2000-year history, Alicante is both an attraction and a starting point for tourists. It is a university town, port city and capital of the province of the same name. No doubt, Alcant as it is called in Valencian is the cultural and economic center of the Costa Blanca. The city, whose life takes place in parks, a harbor, in churches and castles as well as in markets, also fulfills countless vacation wishes. Because on a few square kilometers there are palm trees, interesting architecture and romantic castles, which promise relaxation and variety at the same time. Not to forget the wonderful promenade along the coast or the white, fine sandy beach, which offers the possibility of cooling off in the middle of the city. Nowhere on the Costa Blanca is it better to sunbathe, stroll, store and party than here.
Tip 1: Santa Barbara Castle
The Castillo de Santa Bárbara, a landmark of the city of Alicante, is worth a visit in two respects. The visit to this very popular sight as a postcard motif shows the eventful history of the region and the view of Alicante from the castle located 166 meters high on the mountain Monte Benacantil is magnificent.
The Castillo de Santa Bárbara, one of the largest castles in Europe in terms of surface area, can be reached either on foot or by car via Avenida Alfonso el Sabio on the back side of Monte Benacantil, where a free parking lot can be used. Another and original way to get to the castle is to take an elevator inside Monte Benacantil, which can be reached through a tunnel about 200 meters long from a street facing Playa del Postiguet, Avenida de Jovellanos. This elevator takes one up to the castle for a small fee.
Archaeological findings show that Mount Benacantil was used as early as the Bronze Age and in Iberian and Roman times, but the construction of the castle dates back to the Moors. In the 9th century A.D. the oldest and highest part of the Castillo de Santa Bárbara “La Torreta” was built as an Alcázar of the Moors. “Baluarte de los Ingleses”, bulwark of the English, is the name of the intermediate part of the castle, which dates from the 11th to the 13th century.
Century. The youngest part of the three-part castle complex dates back to the 18th century and is called “Revellín del Bon Repós”. The name “Castillo de Santa Bárbara” was given to the castle because it was liberated from the Moors by the troops of Alfonso X of Castile on the day of Saint Barbara, December 4, in 1248. During the War of the Spanish Succession in 1691 and the “Glorious Revolution” in 1873, the castle was under fire, but was not destroyed. Since 1963, the castle complex, which was used as a prison until 1962, has been open to the public and can be visited free of charge.
Tip 2: Explanada de España
Alicante’s Explanada de España, whose full name is Calle de l’Explanada de España, is one of the most beautiful promenades in all of Spain. Lined with palm trees, this popular promenade is made up of millions of different colored mosaic tiles, mainly in reddish tones, black and white, forming a wave pattern.
Above the former harbor pier, you can stroll along the Explanada de España for about a kilometer along the sea and the marina. Wonderful views and magnificent sunsets can be enjoyed from here. Restaurants and bars invite you to stay and take care of your physical well-being and entertainment until late at night. Thus, the Explanada de España is also a popular meeting place for tourists and locals in the evening. The Casino de Alicante is also located at the Explanada de España.
The Explanada de España was created in 1867 from 6.6 million mosaic tiles measuring four by four square centimeters according to the plans of José Guardiola Pico, the city architect, making it probably the longest mosaic in the world. Around 1955 the Explanada got its present appearance. Four rows of palm trees divide the Explanada into individual passages, the two eastern ones of which lead to a fountain built in 1960 and a sculpture “Torso of Agamemnon”. A monument erected in 1914 in honor of the politician Canalejas by Vicente Bañuls, sculptor from Alicante, stands in the west of the Explanada.
Tip 3: Basilica of Santa Maria
The oldest and most beautiful church in the city is located near the foot of the mountain and just a few streets from Postiguet beach. Like many churches in Spain, Santa Maria was built over a former mosque after Alicante was reconquered from the Moors in the 13th century. The first thing they will notice is the church’s sinister-looking twin towers.
The interesting thing is that the right tower, although it looks identical, dates back to 1300, while the left one dates back to 1800. Inside the church are the 14th century Gothic statue of Santa Maria and a medieval incunabulum, an early printed book from the 1200s.
Tip 4: Mercat Central d’Alacant
On Avenida de Alfonso you’ll find the Mercado Central – the main source of fresh produce in the city. This market seems to be mostly frequented by locals, shopkeepers and restaurant cooks, but there are some incredible things to discover.
Nearly 300 stalls on 2 levels offer everything from flowers and pastries to cheeses, meats and especially fresh fish.
Take a walk through the aisles and feel what it would be like to do your weekly grocery shopping here. Or pick up some supplies for the perfect picnic on the beach – Alicante style!
Tip 5: Parque El Palmeral
El Palmeral Palm Park is located directly on the Bay of Alicante. On 7.2 hectares, paths lead between palm trees, cacti and other plants. Small lakes and streams provide opportunities for boat rides. Waterfalls and bridges create a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.
El Palmeral is especially suitable for families, as several playgrounds provide opportunities for children of different ages to let off steam and play. Fitness equipment, which is also suitable for adults, and a BMX bike track complete the exercise offer. By the way, cycling is not allowed on the walking paths. There are several suitable places with tables for a picnic. There is also a café. In El Palmeral there is a summer house where occasional concerts, puppet shows and other events take place. From the park you can enjoy a wonderful view over the bay of Alicante.
El Palmeral Park has evolved from a palm garden that the Moors had created during their rule. The Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula lasted from the beginning of the eighth century to the end of the thirteenth. The Moors expanded the then Roman settlement of Lucentum and gave it the name Al Lucant. This later gave rise to the name Alicante. In the culture and architecture of Spain, and also in the Spanish language, a variety of Arabic influences can be seen. Palm gardens are also part of these legacies. In addition to El Palmeral in Alicante, the well-known palm grove of Elche in its present form is a plant from the time of the Moors. The irrigation system from that time still works today.