Visiting Alicante - What to See and Do
(Alicante Airport ALC, Spain)
is a Valencian beauty, with its sunshine-soaked coastline, ancient attractions and medieval wonders. The city currently stands as one of the fastest-growing destinations in Spain
, boasting an ever-increasing tourist population. Even though the tourist numbers keep increasing, Alicante continues to oblige visitors with its a range of sightseeing landmarks.
Visitors will marvel at the sight of the Santa Barbara Castle. Once the largest fortress in Spain, this Moorish-built fortification is a must see. Plenty of cultural sites provide information about the city from an artistic or historic point of view. The Gravina Fine Arts Museum and Archaeological Museum are regarded as two of Valencia's grandest cultural centres. For a cool down, head to Postiguet Beach, which is just minutes from downtown Alicante.
The excitement in Alicante doesn't stop at its man-made and natural tourist spots. There is also a festive prominence lurking throughout the streets of the city, especially in June and October. Las Hogueras de San Juan and Moros y Cristianos bring the city to life with their fascinating processions and alluring sights. Of course, every weekend, the local nightlife grabs the headlines.
Ten things you must do in Alicante
- The 166-metre / 545-foot tall Castle of Santa Barbara is a prominent feature of the city's landscape, and not just because of its superior height advantage. It is also renowned for being one of the most expansive fortresses in Spain. The castle was built by Muslim conquerors in the 9th century, and today it is the best free attraction in the city.
- Since 1932, the Archaeological Museum of Alicante has been adored by locals and tourists alike. Even though it is over 80 years old, the museum is housed in a chic and stylish building. More than 80,000 artefacts and historical displays are found within the site, not to mention several intriguing videos about ancient civilisations in the area.
- Set within the Old Town district, the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts provides a stunning bastion for art lovers. Stretched across three floors of artistic splendour, this fine arts museum includes works by numerous local artists. Not to be missed is the video of Alicante's art history, even though the film is in black and white.
- Be mesmerised by art at the Asegurada Museum of Modern Art. With the likes of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque masterpieces resting inside the building, this art gallery has to be one of the best of its kind in Spain. There are even some talented local artists with work on display in the museum, including Eusebio Sempere.
- Go swimming or sunbathing at Postiguet Beach, the busiest and best sandy strip in Alicante. Many visitors also choose to swim here at night, as the street lights surrounding the beach illuminate the water enough for a fine evening of swimming. However, during the day, visitors should get down to the beach early, especially when peak season hits.
- Visitors are always enticed by the city's premier festival, Las Hogueras de San Juan. The city comes alive during this event, which is held over several days in the latter part of June. The end of the celebrations are peaked by the burning of decorative monuments that were made during the event.
- During the month of October, Moros y Cristianos is a magnificent festival held in several smaller towns around Alicante. It certainly ranks amongst the more colourful festivals in the area, as locals dress up in costume and join processions and parades down inner-city streets.
- Visiting the stunning Castle of San Fernando has to be on anyone's itinerary when on holiday in Alicante. This historic attraction was built during the start of the 19th century and sits atop Tossal Hill like a crown on the city. The site is part of the city's northern districts, but is still remarkably easy to reach from anywhere in the city.
- Along the Explanada d'Espanya, there is a range of market stalls selling plenty of fascinating merchandise. It has become one of the busiest spots in the region for tourists over the last decade. Clothing, flags and a plethora of souvenir items are available here.
- While in the city, do as the locals do and shop at the Mercado Central de Alicante. This is the main market in the city, selling a range of produce. The freshest and cheapest vegetables and fruits are found here, not to mention a range of other items like cheeses and meats. This bustling marketplace is the perfect spot to explore local Valencian culture at its finest.