Things to do and see
The dominant presence within contemporary Alicante is the Monte Benacantil. This 166 meter high hill towers far above the city. The Monte Benacantil is home to the Castle of Santa Barbara (Castillo de Santa Bárbara) that dates back to the ninth century AD. On the hill, however, remains were found of people who inhabited the hill long before there was a castle. For example, objects from the Bronze Age were found and it is certain that both the former Iberians and the Romans lived and worked here. The castle was built by the Muslims who ruled here during the Moorish period.
That you can see the hill with the castle so well from many places in the city is partly because the amount of serious high-rise is not so bad in Alicante. If you look at the skyline of Alicante, you will only see two skyscrapers: Estudiotel Alicante is the tallest building in the city at 117 meters. The centrally located Hotel Tryp Gran Sol is with a height of 'only' 97 meters twenty meters shorter. Besides it is mainly buildings of 3, 4, 5 or 6 storeys high that you find in Alicante. That's why you can easily see the mostly blue domes on the church towers above them when you stand in a slightly higher spot in the city.
In the city of Alicante you will find the Barrio de Santa Cruz district, also known as El Barrio. This neighborhood is an extension of the center in the direction of Monte Benacantil. Whoever walks through Barrio de Santa Cruz suddenly forgets that he/she is walking in a fairly large city. The old working-class neighborhood gives you a glimpse into the daily life of the local people. Don't try to walk a predetermined route but let your senses guide you through the many streets and stairs.Threfore, Alicante has much more authenticity than many other coastal towns on the Costa Blanca.
Discover the historic center with its rich artistic heritage. In the cathedral you can see the authentic holy chalice; the silk exchange, a jewel of bourgeois gothic; the water tribunal declared a world heritage site by UNESCO; the Mercado Central, one of the largest markets with fresh products in Europe; the spectacular frescoes of the Sint Nicolaaskerk and much more.
If you do not want to miss anything, you can take a tour of the center of Valencia with a guide. Or drive a panoramic route through the city with the Valencia Bus Turístico.
During your trip to Valencia, take the opportunity to visit the city beaches Las Arenas or La Malvarrosa, explore La Marina de Valencia and eat authentic paella by the sea. Discover the secrets of science in Museum Príncipe Felipe, the seabed in Oceanogràfic or watch one of the films in 'Hemisfèric.
If you have spare time, you can go for a walk in the Jardines del Turia with its 8.5 kilometers of gardens in the riverbed.
In the morning take a trip to Albufera de Valencia, a true ecological paradise just 10 kilometers from the city. You can take a trip in one of the typical fishing boats and eat Valencian paella at the place where it originally came from.
In the afternoon have a look in the African savannah via Bioparc Valencia.
A walk through the center of Elche takes you through the Arabian history of the city and many Baroque architecture. The current basilica of the city, for example, was built on the site of a large mosque. View this Basilica of Santa María, visit the pleasant square La Glorieta Plaza and walk through the beautiful parks of the city.
A unique palm tree garden
One of the most special places in Elche is the Palmeral de Elche. With over 200,000 palm trees, this is one of the largest palm tree gardens in the world. In addition to palm trees, you will also find other Mediterranean trees here, such as the orange tree and the fig tree. Palmeral de Elche was built by the founders of the city (the Moors) and therefore very old. Since 2000, the palm tree garden has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Elche is a very good city for shopping. Especially lovers of a nice pair of shoes can enjoy themselves here. Elche is in addition to the city of palm trees also a real shoe city. Around 50 percent of all Spanish shoes are produced in Elche! Also visit the Salvador Artesano shoe outlet, this outlet is the largest in Europe and sells many famous shoe brands. In addition to the shops in the city center you will find the large shopping center L'Aljub on the edge of Elche.
Idea for when you go to Elche with your kids. The Rio Safari Elche! In the park you can spot many birds, but also many wild animals, such as zebras, lions, monkeys, tigers, giraffes and snakes! Rio Safari is not a normal zoo. You can walk around the park, but you can also take a train through the park (including in the entrance ticket) where you can really view the animals up close. The park is open 365 days a year. You can also swim with sea lions in this park! You can indicate this when ordering the tickets, if you want to do this.
The Archaeological and Historical Museum
The beautiful Museo Arqueológico y de Historia de Elche (MAHE) is a must for those who want to learn more about the city and its surroundings. The museum consists of two architecturally very different parts. The first and modern part of the museum is located below the square and contains museum pieces from antiquity. In the second part of the MAHE, which is located in a restored historic palace, you will find the modern history of Elche. The pieces are supported by many audio and visual images that create a lot of interactivity with the visitors.
In May 2017 it is hundred years ago that the
foundation stone was laid from the Santa María Magdalena in Novelda. The architect had copied Gaudi's art in Barcelona and that is clearly visible in the architectural style and the materials used. The result was one of the most remarkable churches in the province of Alicante. The Santa María Magdalena is located on the La Mola hill.
De Costa Blanca
Most people who visit the Costa Blanca do so enjoy the pleasant climate, the beaches and the wonderful life on the coast. However, the Costa Blanca has more to offer. The Costa Blanca offers a number of fun, beautiful and interesting sights that will make your stay in Spain worthwhile.
Chocolate lovers should visit Villajoyosa. This town was originally a fishing village. However, the chocolate industry has also been an important source of income and employment for many years, Villajoyosa. As a tourist you can visit the factories of Valor or Perez. Part of both factories has been set up as a chocolate museum.
The town of Calp (Calpe) is built around the Penyal d'Ifac 332 meter high rock. Penyal d'Ifac is a nature park where you can go through an approximately one and a half hour walk. You then discover the typical flora and fauna that originated here over the years. Make sure you have sturdy (walking) shoes and you have enough water with you. You cannot buy anything during the walk.
Explanada de España
Almost every place on the coast has a pedestrian promenade. These are in most cases located along the beach or even directly on the water. The most beautiful promenade is not directly on the water. Explanada de España is located in the center of Alicante. This approximately six hundred meter long promenade is one of the highlights of the city.
On the footpaths (three of them) separated by rows of palm trees, the social life of Alicante takes place partly. You notice that especially in the evenings. Seniors come here to chat or play a game. Tourists come here to shop at the many market stalls and to admire the whole spectacle. Central to the Explanada de España is the auditorium of Alicante. Shows are regularly held here.
The beach bars of Xàbia
Most tourists in Xàbia (Jávea) visit the Arenal beach during the day. This large sandy beach is the main attraction of Xàbia. If you do not want to go for a swim but especially want to enjoy the beautiful sea view then you should go to the Segon Muntanyar beach. This is between the original village of Xàbia and the Arenal beach. The beach consists of sandstone, rocks and pebbles. Here are scattered from each other a number of beach bars where you can enjoy a snack, a drink and a view of the Mediterranean Sea that is not spoiled by traffic.
The colorful houses of Villajoyosa
Before the arrival of tourists, agriculture and fishing were always the main sources of income on the Costa Blanca. Not for nothing that most seaside resorts of today used to be mainly fishing villages. Similarly Villajoyosa, located under the smoke of Benidorm. To show the fishermen from Villajoyosa from the sea where their houses were, people painted the houses in all kinds of beautiful pastel colors. At the end of the last century, the houses had a major makeover. They have the appearance of the past, maybe even more beautiful. The pastel-colored houses of Villajoyosa are worth a visit.
Plaça del Castell
The Poniente and Levante districts are separated on the coast by a cape. On top of this promontory lies Plaça del Castell: a large square that consists of various parts. From Plaça del Castell you have a fantastic view over both parts of Benidorm. Not for nothing that the square is one of the most visited places in Benidorm.
Cuevas de Canelobre
The Caves of Canelobre are close to the village of Busot. With a guide you can take a walk through the highest caves in Spain. The main cave has a height of no less than seventy meters and offers great acoustics. This cave is called The Cathedral. The walk takes you past stalagmites and stalactites. The amount of people allowed in is variable. This is partly determined by the amount of CO2 and the humidity. It may therefore that you have to wait a while before you can enter.
The village of Guadelest is inland. The old village is a fusion of sights. This is the reason that thousands of visitors travel to Guadelest every day. The location of the village center is what makes it so unique. The village is hidden behind and on a mountain. There is only one entrance to this part of the village: a tunnel leads you inside. This made the village ideal to defend against enemies. The villagers saw enemies coming from afar because of the turrets they built like some sort of a crow's nest. In Guadelest you will find Guadelest Castle (which you should visit), a beautiful village square with a beautiful town hall and several museums.