Alicante City has a population of 335,000 and is the capital of the province of Alicante. It is an historic city and has been ruled by the Carthagians, Romans, Visigoths and the Moors before eventually being reconquered by the Castillan King Alfonso X. The Moors gave the city name Alicant, literally meaning City of Lights in Arabic. It has seen much conflict in its time, but since the death of Franco in 1975, Alicante has developed into a modern, cosmopolitan city.
El Altet airport was purpose built to bring in the new influx of Northern European tourists and all the business associated with tourism have flourished, including the local construction industry. The Port area has suffered mixed fortunes, once being home to a major fleet of boats. With the development on the Valencia Harbour, Alicante lost much of its merchant trade and went into decline. However it has now re-established itself as one of the major stop off points for Mediterranean cruises and is undergoing a resurgence that has breathed new life into the Port area. As well as air and sea links, Alicante also has excellent railway facilities with RENFE trains linking Alicante to Madrid and Barcelona. There’s even a tram system that runs to Benidorm and as far as Denia.
As you would expect this historic city has a lot to see, both old and new. The Santa Barbara Castle over looks the port high above on Mount Benacantil. You can visit the Island of Tabarca just off the coast of Alicante which has been designated a nature reserve. Here you can relax on it’s beautiful beach, enjoy the water sports or enjoy a meal of locally caught seafood. Excursions run daily from the Port.
There are lots of museums in Alicante and some great architecture to be seen. There’s the gothic Basilica of Santa Maria, Cathedral of St Nicholas built over a mosque and the baroque Monastery of Santa Faz to name a few. Pick up a guidebook for details of the many buildings and places you can visit whilst here.
The promenade area is renowned with it’s palm tree lined Paseo de Explanada and the many street cafes and bars where you can watch the world go by. Here you will see the six and half million tiny tiles that were laid in 1957 in the city’s colours of red, cream and black. The Palmeral Park is another good stop off point where children can play and adults relax.
The people of Alicante love to party and with its mix of tourists, locals and 30,000 students of the university, it has a vibrant nightlife. Add this to the many yearly events and festivals, you will find that there is always something going on in this exciting city.