The gateway to the Costa Blanca, the historic Mediterranean port city of Alicante combines a rich cultural heritage with great beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. The capital of the province, and the Costa Blanca’s second largest city after Valencia, Alicante enjoys a pleasant climate all year round, even in the middle of winter when temperatures are usually a pleasant 18°C – perfect for those who are keen on escaping the cold weather. Although most visitors come to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, Alicante also boasts a beautiful historic city centre packed with medieval sights and unique tourist attractions.
Many use Alicante as a base for Benidorm (45km to the north-east), but those who decide to explore the city are inevitably won over by it’s medieval history, rich cultural calendar and spectacular sunshine. From the Casco Antiguo, walk to Monte Benacantil, the 166-metre-high hill that dominates the Alicante skyline. Perched on top sits one of Spain’s largest medieval forts, the Castillo de Santa Bárbara. The castle complex was built and expanded over a 200-year period from the 11th century.
Alicante’s endless miles of glorious beaches are shaded with dozens of palm trees with cool craft outdoor stands dotted along the way. Downtown, located right along Alicante’s most beautiful boulevard – the Explanada de España – you will find Playa del Postiguet, a 900-metre-long sandy beach. The boulevard exudes a Mediterranean summer vibe, especially when locals flock here to enjoy the late afternoon sun.
Alicante is a food lover’s haven for sampling delicious Spanish tapas. You will find tapas bars all over the city, but the most enjoyable ones are located in the Casco Antiguo. Try the stuffed olives, patatas bravas and spicy chorizo – of course all of these taste better with a refreshing glass of Spanish wine! We decided to learn all about the historic tradition and booked a Tapas Tour with Mireia from Mandarinablue Tours. Mireia was so knowledgable and informative and it was a fantastic way of seeing the city and discovering new flavours and dishes at the same time. As we meandered through the medieval streets of Alicante town, Mireia brought us to three tapas bars that are really popular with the locals as we sampled their delicious delights and beautiful wines. It was such a lovely way of exploring the town and enjoying some beautiful food in a very typical Spanish way.
After researching some restaurants in advance of our trip, El Portal was high on our list from the outset. We were certainly not disappointed with our weekend visit to this wonderful establishment. Featuring a unique blue colour scheme, an attractive bar, tall tapas tables and a small dining room, El Portal’s modern interior was super stylish, yet extremely welcoming. With an extensive menu of contemporary tapas and raciones, we dined a la carte and enjoyed a mouthwatering feast of Spanish speciality dishes. With cool background vibes from their resident DJ and an extensive cocktail list, it was just the perfect venue to taste the local cuisine and finish up an amzing trip in style.
Situated on La Ereta park, alongside Mount Benacantil and right beside Santa Barbara Castle, La Ereta boasts spectacular views of the Mediterranean coastline. Specialising in elaborate fine dining, there are only two options to choose from – the tasting menu or the full menu. We chose the tasting menu and enjoyed superb seafood along with some of the country’s finest jamón. With majestic views, fine wines and five star service in a modern and contemporary atmosphere, La Ereta is well worth a visit.
With Airbnb bucking the travel trend with another record year, we decided to try it out for ourselves. We found a fabulous two-bedroom apartment right in the centre of the city at Plaza de los Luceros. A modern and cosy home with all the comforts for four people, our home away from home was the perfect base from which to move around the city and explore the sights on foot. Josep, the friendly and kind owner of the apartment, was there to greet us when we arrived and much to our delight, welcomed us with a beautiful basket of wines, pastries and snacks – such a lovely touch, and one we really appreciated.
As we moved further up the coast, we discovered the charming town of Altea. Ideal for relaxed family holidays, with great beaches, cultural and leisure attractions, we decided to check it out for a couple of nights. Located just 600 metres from the beach, the four star Hotel Sun Palace Albir & Spa is one of the best hotels to relax on the Costa Blanca. Featuring an outdoor pool and spectacular views over the bay of Altea and Calpe, the exquisite spa, complete with a sauna, water loungers, jacuzzi, whirlpool and treatment cabins, is the perfect way to relax and enjoy your getaway.