City Guide: Alicante

16Mar10

The name Alicante might not be a synonymous with tourism as Benidorm but the eighth largest city in Spain is certainly a popular destination. Alicante has a thriving tourism industry as you would expect from a Spanish city with a Mediterranean port. The city is located in province of the same name on Spain’s south eastern coast about 250 miles south of Madrid. The temperature in Alicante remains high during the summer and the mountains to the north of the city shelter it from cooler, northern winds. There is normally little rainfall during the summer making the beaches very popular with the Spanish and tourists from overseas. About 80,000 cruise passengers a year stop off in Alicante whist cruising the med.

Mount Benacantil is probably the most instantly recognizable feature of Alicante. It towers over the city (despite only being a hill rather than a mountain as its name might suggest) and is visible in many photos of the area. The south western slope of the mount is know as ‘la cara del moro‘ (the moor’s face) for obvious reasons. The Santa Bárbara castle can be found on mount Benacantil and is worth a visit for its panoramic views over the city below.

The Explanada de España is a promenade consisting of 6.5 million marble stones arranged like a mosaic. It is lined with palm trees and is one of Alicante’s most popular destinations: “The Explanada is one of Alicante’s most characteristic features. With towering palm trees, charming terrace cafés and incomparable views of the harbor and the Mediterranean sea beyond, it’s no wonder people are so drawn to it!”

Alicante has all the transport infrastructure you would expect including a tram system and railway. As with most of Spain car hire in Alicante is easily available and particularly handy if you are traveling outside of the city limits. There is a variety of accommodation available from small hotels to larger luxury hotels. Demand and prices rise in the summer months although there are still deals to be had. As with most of Europe traveling off season can be a much cheaper alternative if you don’t mind missing out on the sun. It is worth noting however that there are lots of events catering for tourists during the summer moths such as the Bonfires of St. John which are well worth seeing.

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