Alicante History

It is thought that the area in and around present-day Alicante has been inhabited for over seven thousand years. Controlled by the Roman Empire for one thousand years, the area was the subject of many feuds and battles with Carthage.

Lucentum, as it was then known, was conquered by the Arabs in the 8th century and was eventually taken by the Castillian King, Alfonso in the 12th century.

best places to see in Alicante

It very quickly then passed to the Kingdom of Valencia in 1298 and ruled by King James of Aragon. Alicante developed into a major Mediterranean port, trading in rice, wine, fruit and wool.

Alicante then suffered years of decline until the early 20th century when it became a port of huge strategic importance during World War One. Spain’s neutrality in the Great War allowed it to trade with any country it wished, leading to a prolonged period of affluence. Alicante became the last Republican loyal city to fall to Dictator Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

Alicante Population

Alicante is the capital city of the province of Alicante and is the second largest city in the Valencian community with a population of 330,000 inhabitants. The city is one of the fastest growing in Spain and is currently a major economic port.

The wider conurbation of Alicante-Elche has a population of 770,000 with a large foreign population mostly made up of Argentinians, Ecuadorians and Columbians.

There are thought to be a large number of illegal immigrants from North Africa and eastern Europe currently living in the area. This area is also home to many retired British, French and German citizens.

Places to Visit in Alicante

Perched over the city of Alicante is the Castle of Santa Barbara on Mount Benacantil. The castle was originally built by the Arab occupiers of the 9th century and was constructed as a defensive fort. The Explanada de Espana is a very impressive promenade that is made from over six million individual marble stones.

Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante Spain

The promenade is a popular meeting place, concert venue and place to take a relaxing stroll. There is a Mark Hersch monument at the end of the promenade. The majestic San Nicholas Cathedral was built in the 1600s over the site of an ancient mosque and was only given cathedral status by Pope John Paul XXIII in 1959.

There are two fantastic parks in Alicante – El Palmeral Park and El Ereta Park. El Palmeral includes playgrounds, lakes, walking trails, picnic areas and a concert auditorium. There is also Tabarca Island, just of the Alicante coast. The island boasts a church, a lighthouse and a population of around one hundred.

The island is a very popular tourist attraction, with boats ferrying people from Alicante on a regular basis. The coves, rocky beaches, fishing locations and seafood restaurants prove very popular with holidaymakers from Alicante Santa Pola and Torrevieja.

Basilica of Santa Maria in Alicante Spain

The Basilica of Santa Maria was built in stages during the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Its gothic style and the high Rococo style altar make it a must-see attraction. The military and religious heritages of the Alicante are evident all over the city with tourist attractions such as Gravina Palace, the Castle of San Fernando and the Defence Towers of the Huerta de Alicante.

There are also many museums in Alicante, showcasing many local artefacts from the various wars, occupiers and rulers the city has known. The Archaeological Museum of Alicante houses local items dating as far back as 100,000 years ago. The museum also won the 2004 European Museum of the year.

Alicante Beaches

The city is a first rate tourist centre thanks to the splendid Alicante beaches, excellent climate and well known facilities. As one would expect of a sea-oriented city, the sea front (with its beaches, port and promenade) is the main characteristic of Alicante.

Beaches in Alicante

El Postiguet Beach

Playa del Postiguet is one of the classic Alicante beaches, envied by many other provinces, by its size, its fine and almost white sand, especially for where it is placed, in the middle of the city. The beach is 667 meters long and 40 meters wide and is bordered by a promenade with many palm trees.This beach is cleaned daily and it usually has visitors all year round due to Alicante excellent climate, however the summer months are the busiest.

If you ask people about Postiguet beach, they probably will tell you that it is not the best when compared to other Alicante beaches such as San Juan or El Campello beaches but it is obviously more comfortable for people who is staying in Alicante city and have no time or desire to leave the city to enjoy the sun and Mediterranean sea.

Playa del Postiguet in Alicante

The great thing of course about the location is you can stay very nearby, laze on the beach by day and explore the city at night. There are a wide range of hotel options in Alicante, and you can do some research on our accommodation sections or use websites such as Tripadvisor or Trivago. There are also plenty of rental properties available.

It has all the own infrastructures of a much visited beach and is a point of meeting for the free time in the summer nights. It is a beach adapted for handicapped persons. Playa del Postiguet has been awarded the Blue Flag for all its services and clean beach.

Equipment and services: this beach has bus station, red cross, lifeguards, parking, showers, beach umbrellas and hammocks, cleaning service, waste bins, public phones, promenade, chiringuitos and restaurants. You can practice here different beach sports like beach Volleyball.

San Juan Beach

Located 8kms to the north of Alicante, San Juan has a long, open beach of some 7kms in length and with an average width of 85m. The beach corresponds to the two municipalities of Alicante and El Campello. It is located in a residential area that is lively in the summer months and very peaceful during the rest of the year.

Playa de San Juan

Facilities available on the seafront include restaurants, bars, cafés and car parks, and services include access for the handicapped, toilets, watchtowers, a Red Cross post, tourist information and water sports on the beach.

This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union. It can be reached by car, by bus (numbers 21 or 22) or by tram, offering a nice trip from Alicante.

El Saladar-Urbanova Beach

Urbanova Beach, out from the South, we come across a long and well-equipped beach. Little known to foreign tourists, it is therefore the quietest of them all.

Playa del Saladar Urbanova in Alicante

This beach, near to El Altet airport, is officially called Playa del Saladar due to the salt pans that used to exist nearby. However, it is popularly known as Playa de Urbanova, the name of the residential complex facing it.

Free from parking problems, bathers can stretch out comfortably on the sand, and enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the city and the bay of Alicante. This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union.

La Albufereta Beach

Albufereta Beach, Alicante cheerful beach with lots of vegetation in the shape of palms, other trees and cactus plants. Located to the north of Alicante. A few tall buildings can be seen from the beach.

It is cut off by two cliffs on either side from which you can fish. Off the parking area there are steps onto the beach. This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union.

Cabo de las Huertas Beach

Cabo de Huertas Beach in a residential, tranquil area lying between San Juan and Albufereta, the coves along this part of the coast of Alicante are outstandingly beautiful, combining as they do, rocks and sand.

Some of these beaches are nudist bathing areas, and diving is possible in almost all of them, but particularly in the rockier coves. Of particular note are Cala de los Judios and Cala Cantalares.

Cabo de Huertas Beach

The coves can be reached by car; alternatively, a bus (number 22) runs all round the Cabo de las Huertas as far as San Juan Beach.

The beaches and blue skies of the Costa Blanca are popular with families who take advantage of up to 330 days of sunshine a year. With endless entertainment options for people looking for cheap holidays in Spain, Alicante is an excellent holiday destination you should not miss.

Alicante Beaches are just a dream come true, miles of beaches along the province coupled with excellent weather, makes Alicante an ideal holiday destination.

Alicante Cuisine

Like any Spanish city, Paella is found everywhere and the abundance of locally caught, fresh seafood in Alicante makes the dish particularly popular in the area. There are several tapas bars in and around Alicante that serve selections of appertisers.

However, there are some dishes that have their roots in the region. A very popular local spin on Paella is called Rice a la Alicantina and is a combination of rice, chicken and seafood with red peppers.

Arroz a Banda is hugely popular all over Valencia and is best described as a fish based risotto. A very famous Alicante dessert is called Turron. This is nougat and is particularly popular with the locals at Christmas time.

However, many restaurants sell it all year round. Jijona is the soft form of Turron whilst the hard variety is called Alicante. A speciality found in many Alicante restaurants is the Turron a la Piedra which is stuffed full of almonds and flavoured with cinnamon and lemon.

No visit to any part of Spain would be complete without a jug of Sangria which is wine seasoned with honey, chopped fruit and wither triple sec or brandy.

Alicante Accommodation

As with all the main Spanish resorts, there is no shortage of places to stay in Alicante. There really is something for everyone, whether it’s a cheap hotel or a luxury villa. Hotels such as the Melia Hotel, Amerigo, Palmera Beach, Castilla and the Hesperia Spa Golf are amongst the best on offer in Alicante.

The locations of El Campello, San Juan and Muchavista are extremely popular with tourists as they offer a wide range of accommodation against the backdrop of the beautiful beaches of Alicante.

Alicante Weather

The average annual temperature in Alicante is around 18C but there are very large seasonal variations. The average temperature in July and August is 32C but temperatures can dip to just above zero in the winter months with the average January and February temperature currently at 6C.

The area in and around Alicante is generally very dry with the most rainfall occurring in October when an average of 48mm falls. The driest month on average is July when an average of only 5mm falls during the whole month. Humidity is relatively low with the peak occurring in October at 69%.

In the summer months there are around 11 hours of sunlight per day and around 6 hours in the winter months. Clearly, the best time to visit Alicante is June to August as the average temperature is in the 30’s, there is very little chance of significant rain and around 11 hours of sunshine can be enjoyed every day.

Transport in Alicante

Visitors to Alicante can fly straight into the city as the airport is amongst the biggest and busiest in Spain. There are regular internal flights to Barcelona and Madrid and Alicante is a popular destination from many European airports.

The railway station has regular services to all the major Spanish cities and there are regular ferry services to the Balearic Islands and Algeria.

For tourists staying within the old town, most tourist locations are within walking distance. There is a great transport infrastructure in Alicante with both buses and trams serving all of the major resorts and places of interest.

These services generally operate between the hours of 6am and 11pm although there are a number of night services available. One bus or tram ride costs around €1.20 and the bus drivers carry change.

A rechargeable travel card can be bought for €7 plus €2 for the card and can be used for 10 rides. These cards are available for purchase at the TAM office near the Mercado Station.

Taxis are in abundance in all the resort locations and tourist hot-spots. All Spanish taxis are generally very reliable, so long as they are properly licensed. Radio-Taxi and Tele-Taxi are the main operators in Alicante.

Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos

Other Places of Interest in Alicante

There are currently two football teams playing in Alicante. Hercules FC which competes in La Liga and Alicante CF which plays in Segunda Division B. Hercules CF often competes against the best teams in Spain and are based at Estadio Jose Rico Perez.

There are also a number of exciting and very popular festivals in Alicante. The Bonfires of Saint John is held during the summer solstice.

A week later, seven nights of firework contests between companies on the urban beach of Playa del Postiguet commence with various other forms of pyrotechnic wonder.

Another very popular Valencian festival is the Moros y Cristianos which commemorates many battles between the Muslims and the Christians over the villages, towns and cities of the Valencia area.

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