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Alicante, Spain

Alicante / Alacant is a popular tourist city in the Valencian Community of Spain. It is the capital of Alicante Province.

Understand

The city is believed to have been founded by the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, who established the fortified settlement of Akra Leuka (Greek: Ἄκρα Λευκή, meaning 'White Mountain' or 'White Point'), where Alicante stands today. It was later conquered by the Romans who renamed it Lucentum. In medieval times, Alicante became a major Mediterranean trading station, exporting rice, wine, olive oil, oranges, and wool. The city has become a hub of tourism directed to the beaches of the Costa Blanca.
  • Tourist Info Alicante, Rambla Méndez Núñez, 41 (near Plaza de San Cristobal), ☎ +34 965 200 000, fax: +34 965 200 243, e-mail: alicante@touristinfo.net. M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00.... Read more

Alicante, Spain

Destination:
Alicante / Alacant is a popular tourist city in the Valencian Community of Spain. It is the capital of Alicante Province.

Understand

The city is believed to have been founded by the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, who established the fortified settlement of Akra Leuka (Greek: Ἄκρα Λευκή, meaning 'White Mountain' or 'White Point'), where Alicante stands today. It was later conquered by the Romans who renamed it Lucentum. In medieval times, Alicante became a major Mediterranean trading station, exporting rice, wine, olive oil, oranges, and wool. The city has become a hub of tourism directed to the beaches of the Costa Blanca.
  • Tourist Info Alicante, Rambla Méndez Núñez, 41 (near Plaza de San Cristobal), ☎ +34 965 200 000, fax: +34 965 200 243, e-mail: alicante@touristinfo.net. M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00. The primary tourist office is open year round and has free maps and brochures.
  • Tourist Info Alicante Ayuntamiento, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 1 (in the city hall), ☎ +34 965 149 219, e-mail: turismo@alicanteturismo.com. M-F 09:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00. 
  • Tourist info Alicante Platja del San Juan, Avda de Niza, s/n (Playa de San Juan / San Juan Beach), e-mail: turismo@alicanteturismo.com. Jul-Aug: daily 10:30-14:30 17:30-20:30. 
  • Tourist Info Alicante Renfe, Avda de Salamanca, s/n (in the main train station), ☎ +34 965 125 633, e-mail: turismo@alicanteturismo.com. M-F 09:30-14:00 16:30-19:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00. 
  • Tourist info Alicante Aeropuerto, Aeropuerto El Altet, ☎ +34 966 919 367. Tu 09:00-19:00, W-F 09:30-15:00. 

Climate

Alicante enjoys mild winter temperatures, hot summers and little rain, concentrated in equinoctial periods. The climate of the Alicante region according to Köppen climate classification is a Hot semi-arid climate (BSh). On average the temperature ranges between 17.0 °C (63 °F) and 6.7 °C (44 °F) in January, and between 30.8 °C (87 °F) and 21.5 °C (71 °F) in August, with an average annual temperature of 18.3 °C (65 °F). Daily variations in temperature are generally small because of the stabilizing influence of the sea, although occasional periods of westerly wind can produce temperature changes of 15 °C (27 °F) or more. Seasonal variations in temperature are also relatively small, meaning that winters are mild and summers are hot.

The average rainfall is 277 mm (10.9 in) per year. The cold drop means that September and October are the wettest months. Rarely, the rainfall can be torrential, reaching over 100 mm (4 in) in a 24-hour period, leading to severe flooding. Because of this irregularity, only 35 rainy days are observed on average per year, and the annual number of sunshine hours is 2,953.

The record maximum temperature of 41.4 °C (107 °F) was observed on 4 July 1994. The record minimum temperature of −1.6 °C (29 °F) was recorded on 2 January 1971. The worst flooding in modern history occurred on 30 September 1997 when 270.2 mm (10.6 in) of rain fell within six hours. Temperatures under 2 °C (36 °F) are very rare. Snow is unknown since 1926 Alicante enjoys the warmest winter daytime temperatures in Europe, and the climate of Alicante is very similar to the climate of Los Angeles, California.

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Alicante, Spain: Port Information


Cruise ships arrive at the cruise terminal. Free shuttle buses are available to the city center.

Get around Alicante, Spain


If you stay in the old town, most areas of interest are within walking distance.
Public transportation is provided by buses and trams. On most routes, buses run from 6:30 until 23:00. There are a number of night routes. Bus drivers give change. 
Taxi rates are regulated and most tourists find them affordable. TeleTaxi (tel. 965-101-611) and RadioTaxi (965-910-123) are the two largest taxi associations. Car Rentals can also be picked up from the Alicante Airport the car rental companies located inside the Alicante Aiport are Sixt, Avis, Centauro, Europcar, Record Go there are also several car rental companies located throughout the city.

What to see in Alicante, Spain


  • Castle of Santa Barbara. On the top of Mount Benacantil at a height of 166 metres, there is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain, built in the ninth century by Muslims. An amazing view of town and harbour. If you feel fit, the walk from Plaza de Carmen is a sight in itself, through some narrow winding streets. If not, there is an elevator in the core of Mount Benacantil itself. The castle can also be reached by a car, but parking slots are scarce. The elevator runs from the ground level near the main road of Avenue de Juan Bautista Lafora (38°20'48.17"N 0°28'36.71"W) and stops at two levels in the castle. It may not be easy to spot the entrance! The easiest route is to follow Postiguet beach to the footbridge, then cross the road and pick your way West along the pavement until you see the sign for the castle and the tunnel entrance. Entry to the castle is free. A round-way trip by the elevator from the ground floor costs € 2.40. The ticket machine is near the end of the tunnel. Insert your money, press the large green "A" button, then "Ticket", and your ticket will be printed. Maps are provided. Traveling between the two castle levels is free. From April to September, the castle is open from 10:00 to 22:00, while the elevator runs from 10:00 to 20:00. From October to March, the castle is open from 10:00 to 20:00, and the elevator from 10:00 to 19:30. Always note the "last elevator" times at the ticket machine, though. Currently (June 2009) there is some restoration work in progress on the castle, so some areas are inaccessible and you might have to dodge some light traffic.
  • Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ), Plaza del Doctor Gómez Ulla. founded in 1932, has avant-garde design and uses modern audiovisual techniques, with more than 80,000 pieces found in local archaeological sites. Shows educational movies about the history of Alicante area from the Stone Age, through Iberian and Roman eras, to the medieval times. It is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 19:00, and Sunday and holidays from 10:00 to 14:00. On Mondays it's closed. Telephone: (+34)965149000.   
  • Gravina Museum of Fine Arts (MUBAG), Calle Gravera 9, Old Town. Local fine arts museum. Some excellent artworks by Spanish artists, displayed over 3 floors. Take time to watch the video presentation 'Black and White' on historic Alicante. Free.   
  • Asegurada Museum of Modern Art (MACA), P­laza de Santa María, 3. Monday-Saturday, 10:00-20:00; Sunday and holidays, 10:00-14:00. On display there are a few works by world-famous artists of XX century: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Julio González, Juan Gris, Joan Miró; as well as art collections by two local artists Eusebio Sempere and Juana Francés. Free.   
  • Castle of San Fernando, in the north part of Alicante center, built at the beginning of the 19th century on Tossal hill.
  • Tabarca Island. Tabarca is a must see in Alicante is the Island of Tabarca. It is a time capsule, with no cars, chain stores or sky scrapers (or ATM's, so remember to bring cash!) About 25% of the island is a small walled town with a beautiful church. The rest of the island is a protected wilderness. A complete must see! As of Nov. 2013, Kontiki boat company was running tours departing the marina at 11am and 3pm
The old town of Alicante is roughly the triangular area enclosed by the Rambla de Méndez Núnez, the Explanada de Espanya, and Mount Benacantil. Largely tourist-friendly, the old, narrow streets make for an enjoyable wander provided you don't get yourself lost. Here you'll find the town hall, cathedral, an old covent, and several art museums.

What to do in Alicante, Spain


The beaches are probably the reason you wish to visit Alicante in the first place! And rightly so. In the heart of the city there is Postiguet Beach. The sandy beach is popular during the day and fairly busy during the evening when it's illuminated by sodium street lights. These give the beach and breaking waves a surreal effect. You could also enjoy a game of beach volleyball at Postiguet, go prepared. With a bit of traveling (by bus or tram), you can reach a spacious 7km long San Juan Beach, which is considered to be one of the finest in Spain. Bus no. 22 connects from the old city (the Plaza Puerta del Mar / Rambla Mendez Nunez area).
There are several companies near the port which offer boat trips, from 45-minute excursions on a catamaran to all-day trips to the island of Tabarca. Prices vary.
Las Hogueras de San Juan is the most important festival in the city. The celebration takes place in the 20ths of June. Throughout Alicante, enormous monuments are constructed and burned at the end of the festival during the night of 24th to 25th. After that, a week of night fireworks continues in the beach.
Other celebrations include Carnival (in February-March, just before Lent) with parades of people in disguises and open air concerts (yes, weather allows it!), Holy Week (with parades of religious brotherhoods with their images of Jesus Christ, Holy Mary and so on) and Santa Faz (second Thursday after Good Friday) where a massive pilgrimage/walk to a close village where a relic with and image of Jesus is venered. As in the rest of Spain, in the Epiphany (January the 6th) there is a parade in remembrance of the Three Wise Men that adored Child Jesus, where every child participates (it is the equivalent to Santa Claus in the Spanish culture).
In October is the Moros y Cristianos festival in various small towns around the Alicante region. The festivity keeps memory of the Reconquest of each town by Christian kings of the territory from Islamic forces. Locals dress up in colorful costumes as Medieval Moorish and Christian warriors and knights. Live camels and elephants can sometimes be seen in street processions. In some areas, temporary wooden castles are built and mock battles are waged. Loud gunpowder arquebuses are discharged into the air, and fireworks can last late into the night.
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What to eat and drink in Alicante, Spain


Eat

Eating Culture
As with the rest of Spain, breakfast is usually light, usually some sort of bread (e.g. toast) or piece of bakery. Traditionally, a hearty meal in the early afternoon is followed by a siesta as the heat builds. Many restaurants are then closed between 4-9pm. A light meal is taken once the sun goes down, often in the local taperia if you are a visitor. A lot of restaurants don't open before 9pm for dinner, so bear this in mind when planning your dinner schedule.
As elsewhere in the region, seafood and rice dominates, with paella in the frontline. In almost every restaurant, you will find a "menu of the day" or a similar special for €10, a three- or four-course meal with or without a drink. This is an excellent way to economise if you want to splash out later.
In tourist areas, you'll have no problem finding UK fare served at earlier times, if you find yourself intimidated by the local cuisine.
Go around Calle Castaños (near the Theatre), Calle San Francisco and Calle Mayor (near Saint Nicholas Cathedral) for hubs of restaurants of the whole price range.
Budget
Bar El Empecinado (Cheap snacks, aperitif and beer, breakfast, lunch, dinner, cafe, beverages), C/ Díaz Moreu 41, 03004 Alicante (Near Central Market and Tram), 966 35 88 15. always open. *Tabulé (Vegetarian), Avenida Benito Pérez Galdos 52 (5min walk from the train station), 965133445. Lunch 13:30-16:00, Dinner 21:00-23:30. Cosy start-up restaurant with healthy food at good value. 7€ Lunch menu, from 14€ for four-course dinner.    7€ Lunch menu, from 14€ for four-course dinner.   
Splurge
Visit places such as Nou Manolin (calle Villegas near the Theatre), Darsena (in the port area) for exhuberant dishes both at the restaurant table or in the bar.

Drink

Alicante has its own regulatory wine council. Tinto Alicante and Moscatel Alicante are the most known varieties.

Nightlife is concentrated in Old Town, called El Barrio or El Casco Antiguo, with dozens of bars and clubs along the narrow streets. Another focal point is the eastern rim of the marina, called Puerto, in and around the casino, where things start and end later.

The "Barrio" is the center of nightlife in Alicante, with bars like Dos Gringos, Mulligans, Carpe Diem, and Swing; there is never a dull night in this small Spanish city. Drinks are cheap, and shots are sometimes free. Pregame of "Botellon" on the castel or on the beach, then head over to the Barrio at around midnight. Then head over to swing or the puerto at 4am. A typical night should end at around 7 or 8am. (Note: "El botellon," literally, "the large bottle," is a custom among young people in Spain, in which they buy 2-litre bottles of soft drinks and mix into them hard liquor, and then stand or sit around drinking in parking lots and other public places. This is to avoid the high cost of drinks in some bars and clubs.)

 

Shopping in Alicante, Spain


There are market stalls along the Explanada d'Espanya selling beads, clothes, flags etc. If you want to see how the locals shop, head into town down the Rambla de Méndez Núnez then turn West on the Avenue de Alfonso El Sabio, and you'll find the city's main market, the Mercado Central de Alicante (38°20'52.5"N 0°29'9.6"W). It is open until about 14:30 or so most days, the two levels sell all the fresh meat, seafood, cheeses, fruit and vegetables anyone could need. If you exit the market through the back, you'll find the flower sellers in a small outdoor square.

Safety in Alicante, Spain


Alicante is generally a safe city, but visitors should take precautions in the port area, which should be avoided at night and dawn.

 

Language spoken in Alicante, Spain


Spanish and Valencian are co-official languages. English is widely understood in tourist places.

LOCAL TIME

9:20 am
June 19, 2019
Europe/Madrid

CURRENT WEATHER

25.63 °C / 78.134 °F
few clouds
Thu

22.95 °C/73 °F
sky is clear
Fri

21.25 °C/70 °F
scattered clouds
Sat

23.06 °C/74 °F
sky is clear
Sun

23.26 °C/74 °F
few clouds

LOCAL CURRENCY

EUR

1 USD = 0 EUR
1 GBP = 0 EUR
1 AUD = 0 EUR
1 CAD = 0 EUR

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