Enjoy a long weekend in Alicante

Enjoy a long weekend in Alicante

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

With the gloomy days upon us, take advantage of upcoming holiday weekends and head to one of Spain’s unassuming and spectacular cities—Alicante. Situated on the southeastern shores between Valencia and Murcia, Alicante is in the heart of Costa Blanca. Named for its stunning white sandy beaches, the vibrant turquoise of the Mediterranean meets the sand and is a picture you won’t soon forget.

A little history

Alicante has existed in some form or another for more than 7,000 years. Iberian tribes, Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, Goths and Moors have all had a hand in shaping the city. Because of its strategic location along the coast, it became an important trading port. Battles for the land were hard-fought over centuries. During the mid-20th century, Alicante’s farms and produce suffered damaging frosts and the region went into decline. When the government changed hands in the late 1970s, the city refurbished and reopened its ports, leading to a new era of tourism in the region.

What to do

Castillo de Santa Barbara. Perched on the top of Benacantil Mountain overlooking the city and out onto the sea, this towering fortress dates back to the 9th century. Built by the Moors, the castle was conquered in 1248 and used in military offensives through the late 1800s. Left in ruins, Castillo de Santa Barbara reopened in 1963. The citadel boasts stunning views of Costa Blanca and Alicante Bay. The hike to the top of the mountain is rather steep and challenging. However, there is an elevator to hasten your ascent to the top.

Parc El Palmerar. Just south of the city center is a massive green space. Parc El Palmerar is filled with lush gardens, palm tree-lined walkways, waterfalls, bike trails, zip lines and playgrounds for the little ones to exert any pent-up energy. You can easily spend half a day wandering around the vast park.

The beaches. There is no shortage of stretches of warm sand in Alicante. On the northern edge of the city is Playa San Juan. Easily accessed by public transportation, this popular spot is more than 2,900 meters long and offers plenty of water activities, umbrellas and lots of bars and restaurants nearby. Closer to the city is Playa de la Albufereta. Though not as lengthy as Playa San Juan, the water is calm and perfect for leisurely laps. Beneath Castillo de Santa Barbara is Playa del Postiguet. Flanked by a wide promenade, it’s easy to grab a bite to eat while enjoying the sun and surf.

Good eats

Tribeca Music Bar. While not quite your traditional Spanish or Valencian fare, Tribeca Music Bar offers its twist on pub grub. Gigantic hamburgers, German-style sausages and fresh salads make up the menu. Add in local craft brews and house wines, and you’ve got a fun and delicious spot to try.

La Tasca Del Barrio. For an authentic meal, head to the northern part of the city center to La Tasca Del Barrio. Offering up tasty tapas and savory paellas, they add local ingredients to their cuisine. Artichokes with ham and foie gras, garlic shrimp and seafood-infused rice dishes make this cafe worth a stop.

Mercat Central d’Alacant. Even if you’re not staying in self-catering lodging, this central market is an excellent spot for fantastic eats. Rows of vendors are filled with fresh produce, meats, bread, artisanal cheese and so much more. Why not grab some cured meats, your favorite Spanish cheeses, a bottle of a local beverage and head to the beach and watch the sunset? It’s a perfect end to a perfect vacation.

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