Alicante is an important seaport town in the south-east of Spain and about 170 kilometres away from the metropolis of Valencia. With about 340,000 inhabitants, it is the greatest city at the Costa Blanca and the second biggest one in the autonomous community of Valencia. Due to the Mediterranean climate and the geographical position at the Mediterranean Sea, the city has mild winters, warm spring and autumn months as well as hot summers.
The seaport city Alicante looks back on a long history. Its geographical position at the seaside and several hills were of importance to the first human settlers. The Greeks, Carthaginians, Iberians, Romans, Moors and the Catholic kings left marks in and around Alicante in the course of history and lead the city to splendour and wealth. The flourishing sea trade and the stocking of ships made Alicante's harbour one of the most important ones in the whole of the Mediterranean. It is still a significant location regarding tourism and economy today. Its main attraction is without doubt the Castle of Santa Bárbara on Mount Benacantil, from which you have a wonderful view of the surrounding area. You reach it on foot or by taking the lift at the end of the Paseo de Gómiz. Another popular tourist attraction is the Explanada de España. The magnificent promenade, which is almost 700 metres long, is decorated with countless palms and millions of small marble stones. These are blue, red and white and arranged in the form of waves, so that pedestrians feel as if they are floating on waves. Other sights are the Concatedral de San Nicolás de Bari, the Iglesia de Santa Maria, the beaches Postiguet and Albufereta as well as the baroque city hall. The latter accommodates the zero point for the calculation of the sea level, which is of importance to all Spanish regions.
The most important festivities in Alicante are the Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the festival Hogueras de San Juan. The latter is celebrated on the 24th of June and resembles the Falles in the region's capital Valencia. Artistic sculptures, St. John's fires and a spectacular firework are part of this extraordinary event. Many visitors and locals choose the promenade Explanada de España as a meeting place. Numerous restaurants, bars and cafés invite travellers to stay and rest and on the terraces, you can watch children play or listen to live music. Alicante's cuisine is most of all known for its many rice dishes such as the famous paella. Served with fish, mussels, chicken and vegetables on saffron rice, it is the country's national dish. Fresh fish and seafood are offered in every restaurant in the city. Other culinary specialities are the dessert turrón (nougat with almonds, honey, sugar and egg white) and the refreshing drink horchata. The latter is made of earth almonds mixed with sugar and water, which give the drink a milky colour. Horchaterías and push carts sell the extraordinary drink freshly made. Furthermore, you can get little cloth bags filled with earth almonds, which you can use to make horchata yourself.
Besides visiting the main tourist attractions such as the Castle of Santa Bárbara or the Explanada de España, travellers can do water sports like surfing, diving, sailing or swimming at the beaches Postiguert and La Albufereta. Of course, the shores are excellently suited for walks along the beach and sunbaths. Golfers also get their money's worth on holiday in Alicante. There are several golf courses around the city on which you can hit balls while you enjoy the proximity to the Mediterranean coast.
The summer months are the most popular time for travelling Alicante. Spring and Autumn are the best seasons for visitors who want to avoid crowds of tourists and enjoy the quiet of the city. In addition, hotel prices are considerably more reasonable at that time of the year.