Alicante and its attractions

Alicante (in Valencian and co-officially Alacant) is a city and a municipality in Spain, capital of the province of the same name, in the Valencian Community. Port city, is located on the Mediterranean coast. With 337,482 inhabitants (INE, 2020), it is the second most populated municipality in the autonomous community and the 11th in the country.

It forms a conurbation of 468,782 inhabitants with many of the towns in the Campo de Alicante region: San Vicente del Raspeig, San Juan de Alicante, Muchamiel and Campello. Statistically it is also associated with the metropolitan area of ​​Alicante-Elche, which has 757,085 inhabitants. An eminently tourist and service city, it is one of the most important tourist destinations in Spain.

It is the headquarters of organizations such as the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Casa Mediterráneo, the Ministry of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society of the Generalitat Valenciana or the Ombudsman of the Valencian Community.

It has an important Mediterranean port and its airport, located in its surroundings, is the fifth in Spain in number of passengers.

The capital and its metropolitan area are connected through the Alicante Metropolitan TRAM.

The main university institution is the University of Alicante and among its cultural infrastructures the Ciudad de la Luz film studio stands out.

Its most important festivals are the Bonfires of San Juan, which are held from June 19 to 24 and are declared of International Tourist Interest.

Museums such as the Archaeological Museum of Alicante, the Museum of Contemporary Art or The Ocean Race Museum stand out.

Alicante is one of the most popular sea resorts on Costa Blanca.

Main attractions

Basilica of Santa María (14th-16th centuries). Designed in the Gothic style, it was built over the old Great Mosque and it is the oldest temple in the city. Its main altar, in the Rococo style, and its façade, in the Baroque style, both from the 18th century stand out.

Co-Cathedral of San Nicolás de Bari (15th-17th centuries). Also built on the remains of another mosque, it is in the Herrerian Renaissance style. Its construction was carried out between 1616 and 1662, although its oldest cloister dates from the 15th century. It was elevated as a co-cathedral in 1959, although the cathedral seat is the Santa Iglesia Catedral del Salvador de Orihuela.

Monastery of the Holy Face (15th century). Located 5 km north of the town center, it is in the Baroque style. Every year, on the second Thursday after Easter, there is a massive pilgrimage that starts from San Nicolás to this monastery.

Defense Towers of the Huerta de Alicante (15th-17th centuries). Defensive bulwarks built in the Huerta de Alicante to defend themselves from the attacks of the Barbary pirates. At present little more than 20 towers are conserved. Some of them are of great beauty, such as Verónica, Reixes or Bonanza. They have been declared a Site of Cultural Interest with the category of monument, which has not prevented some from being in ruins.

House of the Assured (17th century). The oldest civil construction in the city, it was built in 1685 in a Baroque style. It is located in the same square as the Basilica of Santa María and currently houses the Museum of Contemporary Art of Alicante.

Alicante Town Hall (18th century). Reference point for measuring the altitude above sea level of any point in Spain, it is a baroque civil architecture.

Canónigas de San Agustín Convent (18th century). The construction began in 1732, its works lasted until the beginning of the 19th century. In this convent the oldest processional virgin of the city “La Marinera” is kept.

Gravina Palace (18th century). Built between 1748 and 1808 as the palace of the Count of Lumiares, it currently houses the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts, dedicated to regional painting and sculpture from the 16th to the early 20th centuries.

Maisonnave Palace-Municipal Archive (18th century). Palatial house located in the old town, on the ground floor remains of a late Roman necropolis have been found.

Palace of the Portalet (18th century). It houses an Interpretation Center of the building itself, the Collection of Romanillos-Harris Spanish Guitars, and the permanent exhibition “Monumental Alicante from Vila Nova to Vila Vella” that runs through the Old Town of Alicante, through seven historic buildings.

Alicante Principal Theater (19th century). Neoclassical style building, it was inaugurated in 1847.

Alicante bullring (19th century). It was built in 1848, being renovated in 1888, when it took on its current appearance.

Central Market of Alicante (20th century). In a regionalist style, it was built between 1911 and 1921 on the old Plaza de Balmes.

Alicante Provincial Council building (20th century). Neoclassical palace, it was opened in 1931 and inaugurated by the President of the Republic Niceto Alcalá Zamora in 1932.

Fish Market (20th century). From the beginning of the 20th century, it is an industrial building in a historicist style, which integrates neo-Arab ornamental details. It has served as an exhibition hall since 1992.

Castle of Santa Bárbara (14th-18th centuries). Located in the highest part of Mount Benacantil, it dominates the entire Huerta de Alicante and from there you can see the island of Tabarca. An old Arab castle, it was rebuilt by the Christians and consists of three precincts from the 14th, 16th and 18th centuries.

Castle of San Fernando (19th century). It was built in 1813 to defend the city from the Napoleonic invasion. It is currently pending rehabilitation.

Tabarca Island. Declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1964. The wall with its three doors, the Church of San Pedro and San Pablo, the Governor’s House, the San José Tower and the lighthouse stand out.

In addition, in Albufereta there are the archaeological remains of the Ibero-Roman city of Lucentum, which dates back to the 4th centuries BC. to 3d DC.

Museums

The Archaeological Museum of Alicante, previously called the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Alicante and known by the acronym MARQ, is located in Plaza Doctor Gómez Ulla. It was inaugurated in its final form in 2000 in the building of the old Hospital San Juan de Dios (work of Juan Vidal Ramos, 1926-1929). It has a room on prehistory, Iberian culture, Roman culture, Middle Ages and modern and contemporary cultures. In addition, it has an area for temporary exhibitions.

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Alicante (MACA) is one of the most important samples of contemporary art that are exhibited nationwide. The internationality of the artists represented, all of whom have played a fundamental role in the aesthetic history of the 20th century, the quality of the works kept, some recognized as key works in the artistic trajectory of their authors, and the incomparable setting in which they are exhibited, they give this museum its own personality. 177 works including paintings, sculptures and graphic works by 114 artists some as essential as Joan Miró, Picasso, Julio González, Juan Gris, Kandinsky, Dalí, Chagall, Arp, Calder, Bacon, Giacometti, Tàpies, Pablo Serrano, Millares, Saura, Guerrero, Chillida, Vasarely, Agam, Soto, Rauschenberg, Oldenburg, Equipo Crónica, Canogar or Christo.

The Museum of Fine Arts Gravina (MUBAG) is located inside the Palace of the Count of Lumiares, a four-story building built between 1748 and 1808 and declared a Historic Artistic Monument of a local character. This museum is dedicated to Alicante painting and sculpture, from the 16th century to the first decades of the 20th century. Currently, its work focuses on the exhibition of the collection belonging to the most prominent Alicante artists of the 19th century and the figure of the local painter Emilio Varela Isabel.

The Ocean Race Museum, formerly the Volvo Ocean Race Museum, is a sports museum dedicated to the Ocean Race sailing regatta. Its construction began on the occasion of the second edition in which Alicante was the Starting Port of this regatta (2011-12 edition). The museum occupies 1,300 square meters of the Old Oran Maritime Station, in the Port of Alicante. It has two floors: on the ground floor is the exhibition space and the museum library; the first floor has a multipurpose space for workshops and a cafeteria-restaurant with a large terrace and views of the sea.

The Byzantine art museum of the Monastery of the Trinity is located in the town of Tángel belonging to the municipality of Muchamiel (Alicante), Spain. Its collection contains Coptic icons on papyrus: icons on various passages from the life of Jesus, on the Mother of God and the Saints; Icons of the Twelve Great Holidays; Icons of the Mother of God; Icons of Jesus and the evangelical scenes; Icons reproducing various crosses made of Georgian enamel; Byzantine jewellery and liturgical objects.

The Nueva Tabarca Museumis located on the island of Tabarca, in the municipality of Alicante. It was inaugurated in 2004 in the old Almadraba building, a warehouse used mainly for tuna fishing. The museum focuses on the study and dissemination of the relationships that coastal populations have established, over time, with their natural environment, using the island of Tabarca as a paradigm, and thus, exposing their natural, terrestrial and marine space, along with its historical ensemble.

Theater

The Principal Theater is the most important theater building in Alicante. It is located in the Ruperto Chapí square. The building project was carried out by the Alicante architect Emilio Jover Perrón in a neoclassical style, a portico with six Doric columns and a triangular pediment with a smooth tympanum. The construction works of the then-called Theater New, to differentiate it from the existing old theater on Carrer de Liorna, began in 1846 and was inaugurated on September 25, 1847. Ten years later it was renamed the Alicante Theater and, shortly after, the Principal Theater. On February 28, 1939, during the Civil War, it was partially destroyed by a bombardment, so it had to be restored between 1939 and 1941 by the architect Juan Vidal Ramos. Subsequently, from 1985 to 1992, it was renovated to enlarge the scene and its stage, partially modifying its original image.

Festivals

The Bonfires of Saint John are a traditional and popular festival celebrated around the world during Midsummer, which takes place on the evening of 23 June, St. John’s Eve. It is customary in many cities and towns in Spain; the largest one takes place in Alicante, where it is the most important festival in the city.

Shopping

In the urban center of Alicante the traditional shopping area is located between the triangle that make up the Rambla de Méndez Núñez, Avenida de Alfonso X El Sabio and Avenida de Maisonnave, being able to find both small traditional shops and large chains of national and international franchises. In the city you can also find five shopping centers: Puerta de Alicante, Gran Vía, Plaza Mar, Vistahermosa and Panoramis. Within the municipality, but located in the area of Playa de San Juan we can also find the Alicante Golf shopping center.

Restaurants

There are 13 Michelin list restaurants in Alicante:

  • Baeza & Rufete, Avenida de Ansaldo 31, 35 – 65 EUR • Modern Cuisine (One star)
  • Monastrell, Avenida del Almirante Julio Guillén Tato 1, 75 – 115 EUR • Modern Cuisine (One star)
  • Pópuli Bistró, Vial Flora de España 36, 35 – 55 EUR • Mediterranean Cuisine
  • Maestral, Andalucía 18, 35 – 50 EUR • Traditional Cuisine
  • Govana, Plaza Doctor Gómez Ulla 4, 34 – 50 EUR • Traditional Cuisine
  • La Ereta, Parque de la Ereta, 49 – 69 EUR • Creative
  • Open, Manuel Antón 12, 35 – 50 EUR • Modern Cuisine
  • Celeste y Don Carlos, General Primo de Rivera 12, 30 – 200 EUR • Modern Cuisine
  • La Taberna del Gourmet, San Fernando 10, Regional Cuisine
  • Nou Manolín, Villegas 3, 35 – 55 EUR • Regional Cuisine
  • El Portal, Bilbao 2, 30 – 70 EUR • Modern Cuisine
  • Terre, Explanada de España 11, Traditional Cuisine
  • Piripi, Oscar Esplá 30, 40 – 60 EUR • Regional Cuisine

Beaches

Alicante has a large number of beaches which constitutes a major tourist attraction. Year after year these beaches are awarded the Blue Flag recognition by the European Union, giving them the international prestige they deserve; the best beaches of the Mediterranean coast are: San Juan beach, Cabo de la Huerta creeks, Almadraba beach, La Albufereta beach, Postiguet beach, Saladares-Urbanova beach, Tabarca island, and since June 2016, you can enjoy Aguamarga beach, an adapted beach for dogs.

Transport

Alicante–Elche Miguel Hernández Airport, commonly known as Alicante–Elche Airport or simply Alicante Airport and originally named El Altet, is —as of 2020— the fifth-busiest airport in Spain based on passenger numbers, and the main airport serving the Valencian Community and the Region of Murcia. The airport is located in the municipality of Elche, about 10 kilometres east of this city and about 9 km southwest of Alicante.

Its influence area spans other cities in the Valencia province—the city of Valencia is located about 160 km north of the airport—and in the Region of Murcia. The airport is located about 70 km north of Murcia.

Alicante railway station is used by Cercanías Murcia/Alicante commuter rail services linking Alicante with suburbs and Murcia. Long-range RENFE trains run frequently to Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. In 2013, the Madrid–Levante high-speed rail network was extended to Alicante station, allowing AVE high-speed rail services to link to Madrid via Villena AV, Albacete-Los Llanos and Cuenca-Fernando Zóbel.

Alicante Tram connects the city with outlying settlements along Costa Blanca. As of 2020, electric tram-trains run up to Benidorm, and diesel trains go further to Dénia.

By car:

From Valencia 1 hr 58 min (170 km) via A-7

From Madrid 4 hr 5 min (426 km) via AP-36 and A-31

Main information

Area: 201 sq. km

GPS coordinates: 38°20′43″N 0°28′59″W

Language: Spanish, Catalan

Population: 337 500

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1, in summer +2

How to call: (+34) 96

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