Perched on top of Mount Benacantil, the crowning glory of Santa Bárbera Castle provides a dramatic backdrop for the vibrant Alicante City. Also the capital of the province of Alicante, the city's port is one of the country's most important ports for visiting cruise ships and the marina area offers a lively and cosmopolitan nightlife where the rich and famous dock their yachts and enjoy spending their money in the Casino Mediterráneo. Just outside the city, Alicante International Airport is one of the largest in Spain, and together with Murcia-San Javier Airport services all the towns and cities of the Costa Blanca.
Beaches & Attractions
Alicante City has a lovely sandy main beach, Playa de San Juan that stretches for over six kilometres and offers good facilities, beach sports and wheelchair access. One of Alicante's focal points, the intricately designed Explanada de Espana that runs from the port to the Gran Via is a true work of art created using a total of 6.5 million colourful ceramic tiles to form the shape of waves and is lined with shady palm trees. There are a couple of smaller residential beaches and an area of rocky coves and small bays known as Cabo de las Huertas that are favoured for nude bathing and snorkelling.
In and around the city are a number of parks and plazas surrounded by chic boutiques, tapas bars and restaurants. The delightful El Palmeral Park provides welcoming shade among its streams, ponds and walking trails and there are picnic areas as well as kids playgrounds. The walk up to Santa Bárbera Castle passes through L'Ereta Park which ascends in a series of tiers with several routes to choose and rest stops along the way. Other places of interest include the Monestary of Santa Faz, Basilica of Santa Maria, Gravina Palace and several museums.
Activities & Nightlife
A superb selection of land, sea and air activities can be enjoyed in Alicante City with a local airport situated in the nearby town of Muchamiel providing a range of air sports such as ultra light flying. From the port area visitors can take a boat trip to the Island of Tabarca where the seafood restaurants are legendary and the clear waters of the Protected Marine Park provide excellent snorkelling. The port and marina areas also offer an exciting choice of water sports.
During the peak summer months Playa de San Juan is a lively nighttime venue and for a more upmarket scene the area between Explanada de Espana and Alfonso El Sabio offers fine dining, chic bars and elegant modern nightclubs. Traditional tapas and local Valencian restaurants line the streets of the popular El Barrio district located in the old part of the city centre.