Things to do in Alicante

Alicante is the city capital of the province of the same name and is the second biggest city in the Valencia region. It has a long history, some say stretching back 100,000 years although the area has only been recognisably settled for the last 7,000 years. Again, usually just a stop off for holidays to the Costa Blanca resorts of Benidorm and its smaller sisters, it has a charm of its own, especially if one leaves the coastal city and beaches and heads inland to the villages.
Posted on: June 01, 2012 by David Lewis
1. Guadalest Valley
Guadalest Valley and Castle are some of the most picturesque areas of Alicante province. Dubbed a tourist village, the tiny hamlet has lanes and pathways that wind up to the castle which perches precariously on crags from the mountainside. A visit to the highest tower shows just why the castle was built here. It has commanding views of the valley below and the little hamlet of Guadalest which has less than two hundred inhabitants and is now almost entirely dependent on tourism.

2. Guadalest Monastery
Found deep in the Guadalest Valley, the monastery is a haven of tranquillity in a haven of tranquillity. Spending time walking around the monastery and its grounds restores one’s faith in the world as the hustle and bustle of daily life disappears from the mind and nature fills the void. The best times to visit are late spring and early autumn when cool breezes make the usually hot and still valley air more bearable. Watch the monks at work in the fields tending crops or collecting the honey that is a delicacy of the area.

3. Bodega del Garroferal
The vineyard and winery of La Bodega del Garroferal is situated on the edge of the beautiful village of Murla, in the heart of the Jalon Valley in the province of Alicante, Spain. The valley’s charm is that it retains it rural nature with vineyards as well as almond groves and orchards of orange trees. The spectacular mountains are a walker’s paradise with many recognised trails and routes. The almond blossom in late January, early February each year is a particularly beautiful time, when the whole valley seems to turn shades of white and pink.

4. The Promenade
The promenade called the Explanada de España is lined along its entire length with palm trees and is made up of 6.5 million marble stones. The promenade is acknowledged as one of the most lovely in Spain. It is the meeting point in the evenings for the residents of Alicante who come here to walk and talk and people watch. There are also numerous concerts that take place along its length. At the end of the promenade is a monument by the artist Mark Hersch who still lives in the city.

5. Castle of Santa Bárbara
Perched on the dizzying heights of Mount Benacantil, the Castle of Santa Barbara gives a panoramic view of Alicante and the coast. Dating from the 9th century Arab raids on the coast, the castle has changed hands many times over the centuries, being French, British and Spanish. The castle fell into disrepair but was then renovated in the sixties and, after the installation of a lift inside the mountain to the ramparts, was reopened as a tourist attraction.

6. Paintball Arena
Located just outside of the city centre, the Paintball Arena is a must for all paintball fanatics. In a huge area, a variety of sets have been built allowing the players to variously fight amongst castles, forests, fairgrounds, the list is endless. Big enough never to get crowded, it allows the enthusiast to take part in paintball combat within their groups without crossing other teams. Overalls are supplied and there are changing rooms with showers to clean up afterwards, beware though, the paintballs sting!!

7. Alicante Port
In places reminiscent of an old port from centuries past, Alicante Port has been the scene of much heated demonstration in recent years, particularly in 2006-2007 when the villagers staged a popular uprising to prevent the old port being razed to allow the development of an industrial estate. Now, gradually, the historic and cultural area is being transformed to appeal more to the tourists.

8. Concatedral de San Nicolás de Bari
The cathedral looks quite plain and dull on the outside but inside is another matter. Built on top of a mosque to highlight the superiority of Christianity over Islam after the expulsion of the Moors, it has a beautiful chapel of Holy Communion, thought of as one of the best examples of Spanish baroque design.  It did not gain the title of cathedral until 1959 when consecrated by the then Pope, John XXIII

9. El Palmeral Park
El Palmeral Park is one of favourite parks of Alicante. It is a day out in itself and includes walking trails, children's playgrounds, lakes and brooks, picnic tables and an auditorium for concerts. A favourite haunt in the hot summer, many lazy afternoons are spent by the locals under the shade of a chestnut tree.

10. Tabarca Island
Once a haunt of pirates, the island of Tabarca is now a popular tourist destination and part of the city of Alicante. Completely flat, even the houses are low built with the tallest buildings being the church and the lighthouse. Now famous for its marine reserve, daily boat trips head out to the island. It also offers a  quiet fishing village with an old fort, several fresh seafood restaurants, a rocky beach with clear turquoise water, several sheltered coves and tidal pools ideal for bathing.



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