The old town of Alicante, on Spain’s Costa Blanca, has a pleasant and very Spanish atmosphere, as well as a number of interesting buildings. By car, Alicante is only a short drive from the hugely popular holiday resort of Benidorm and the beautiful Jalon Valley. This makes exploring by car the perfect option for independent travelers.
Wide, palm-lined promenades sweep along the seafront, where cafés, bars and shops await investigation. Originally named Lucentum (meaning ‘City of Light’), the main sights of Alicante are the ruins of Santa Bárbara Castle, an imposing medieval fortress accessible by cable car, and the fantastic Collección de Arte del Siglo XX (Museum of 20th Century Art).
Of course, Alicante’s beaches are a huge draw for tourists; the most popular beach is San Juan, not far from the city centre. Other beaches farther afield are best visited by hire car. Also away from the city, the harbour is ideal for strolling and is never short of cafés.
If you are there mainly for a relaxing break, the beaches of Moraira, El Portet, Calpe, Altea and Javea are not far from Alicante and offer fine sands with excellent amenities, including beach-bars and seafood restaurants. Farther inland, the orange- and lemon-grove-filled Jalon Valley offers a serene escape from the bustling city and beach scene.
One of Spain’s premier coastal resorts, Benidorm, lies 30kms northeast along the A7 motorway. A superb climate, broad bay and soft sands ensure devoted throngs of holidaymakers all year round. It is not the place to find much authentic Spanish life, but it is a friendly, cheerful resort with excellent amenities.
The main A7/E15 motorway runs down from France through Barcelona and on to Alicante, continuing southwest to the southern coast. For Madrid, the N330 heads northwest towards Albacete and on to the A31, and the E901 goes into the capital.