With miles of beautiful beaches, nearly 30,000 university students, and a history of cave-dwelling pirates, Alicante succeeds as a youthful and modern city with plenty of tradition and old-school charm. Though it’s best known for its stunning coastline and temperate climate, international visitors also flock to the area for the waterfront dining, popular nightlife scene, and abundant exposure to Spanish art. The summer solstice bonfire festival, regular outdoor music concerts, and plethora of museums in Alicante make the city an ideal balance of culture and amusement.
Location: A historic port on the Costa Blanca
The capital of the Alicante Province, Alicante is located on Spain’s East coast in the region of Valencia. The city is well known for its historic port and impeccable Costa Blanca, or ‘white coast,’ beaches. Though the city has long-range trains that run directly to Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, both locals and tourists prefer to use the easy and highly efficient electric tram system that runs within and outside the city to neighbouring towns like Benidorm. For a fun getaway, visitors can hop on the regular ferry rides to places like Algeria or Ibiza.
Business: A city that specializes in tourism
Once regarded for its fishing and trading industry, Alicante is now better known for its ever-expanding tourism business. The city’s port is a major start and stopover destination for large cruise lines, bringing in millions of European and international visitors a year excited to sunbathe and swim in the Mediterranean. The city is also home to one of the largest film studios in Europe, Ciudad de la Luz, and headquarters the European Union’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market.
Culture: Thriving modern art scene and incredible architecture
Visitors can observe local artefacts at the MARQ Provincial Archaeological Museum, or take in both modern and classical galleries at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts. The Santa Bárbara Castle, situated on Mount Benacantil, offers exceptional views of the Mediterranean, while the Basilica of Santa Maria showcases the city’s gothic-style architecture. The twenty plus Huerta de Alicante defence towers built to guard against Barbary pirates stand as a testament to the city’s fortitude and intelligence in battle.
Activities: Bonfires and beachside relaxation
Enjoy Alicante’s outdoor concerts at El Palmeral Park, stroll along the wavy marble tiles that compose the Explanada de España promenade, or take a walking tour through the narrow streets of the Barrio de la Santa Cruz, a neighbourhood in the old quarter. You won’t want to miss the city’s seasonal activities either: in June, the city gears up for the Bonfires of St. John, a week-long festival of pyrotechnic contests, while October marks the kick-off of the Volvo Ocean yacht race at the port. If you need an escape from the city, go horseback riding at Rancho La Ofra, explore Guadalest, a charming village in the hills, or take a ferry ride to Tabarca island—a former pirate locale. If all else fails, dip in the sea at Guardamar Beach or soak in the nightlife.