Alicante

Alicante is a city and municipality in the Valencian CommunitySpain. It is the capital of the province of Alacant and a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city was 330,525 as of 2016, the second-largest in Valencian Community.

Main sights

Amongst the most notable features of the city are the Castle of Santa Bárbara, which sits high above the city, and the port of Alicante. The latter was the subject of bitter controversy in 2006–2007 as residents battled, successfully, to keep it from being changed into an industrial estate.

The Santa Bárbara castle is situated on Mount Benacantil, overlooking the city. The tower (La Torreta) at the top, is the oldest part of the castle, while part of the lowest zone and the walls were constructed later in the 18th century.

The promenade Explanada de España, lined by palm trees, is paved with 6.5 million marble floor tiles creating a wavy form and is one of the most lovely promenades in Spain. The Promenade extends from the Port of Alicante to the Gran Vía and ends at the famous statue of Mark Hersch. For the people of Alicante, the promenade is the meeting place for the traditional Spanish paseo, or stroll along the waterfront in the evenings, and a venue for outdoor musical concerts. At the end of the promenade is a monument by the artist Bañuls of the 19th century.

Barrio de la Santa Cruz is a colourful quarter of the old city, situated on the south-west of Santa Bárbara castle. Its small houses climb up the hill leading to the walls and the castle, through narrow streets decorated with flags and tubs of flowers.

L’Ereta Park is situated on the foothills of Mount Benacantil, on the way to the castle. It runs from the Santa Bárbara castle down to the old part of Alicante and consists of several levels, routes, decks and rest stops which offer a panoramic view overlooking the city.

El Palmeral Park is one of the favorite parks of Alicante’s citizens. It includes walking trails, children’s playgrounds, ponds and brooks, picnic tables and an auditorium for concerts.

Just a few kilometers from Alicante on the Mediterranean Sea lies Tabarca island. What was once a haven for Barbary pirates is now a beautiful tourist attraction.

Other sights include:

  • Basilica of Santa María (14th–16th centuries), built in Gothic style over the former main mosque. Other features include the high altar, in Rococo style, and the portal, in Baroque style, both from the 18th century.
  • Co-cathedral of St. Nicholas of Bari (15th–18th centuries), also built over a mosque. It is the main church of Alicante and the bishop’s seat.
  • Monastery of Santa Faz (15th century), located 5 kilometres (3 miles) outside the city, in Baroque style.
  • Defence towers of the Huerta de Alicante (15th–18th centuries), built to defend against the Barbary pirates. Today some 20 towers are still extant.
  • Baroque Casa de La Asegurada (1685), the most ancient civil building in the city. (s. XVII). Today it is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Alicante.
  • Casa consistorial de Alicante (18th century), also in Baroque style.
  • Convent of the Canónigas de San Agustín (18th century).
  • Gravina Palace (1748–1808), nowadays hosting Gravina Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Castle of San Fernando.

There are a dozen museums in Alicante. On exhibition at the Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ) are local artifacts dating from 100,000 years ago till the early 20th century. The collection is divided into different rooms representing three divisions of archaeological methodology: ground, urban and underwater archaeology, with dioramas, audiovisual and interactive zones. The archaeological museum won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2004. Gravina Museum of Fine Arts presents a number of paintings and sculptures from the 16th century to the 19th century. Asegurada Museum of Contemporary Art houses a major collection of twentieth-century art, composed mainly of works donated by Eusebio Sempere.

Festivals

The most important festival, the Bonfires of Saint John (Fogueres de Sant Joan), takes place during the summer solstice. This is followed a week later by five nights of firework and pyrotechnic contests between companies on the urban beach Playa del Postiguet. Another well-known festival is Moros i Cristians in Altozano or San Blas district. Overall, the city boasts a year-round nightlife for the enjoyment of tourists, residents, and a large student population of the University of Alicante. The nightlife social scene tends to shift to nearby Playa de San Juan (St. John’s Beach) during the summer months.

Every summer in Alicante, a two-month-long programme of music, theatre and dance is staged in the Paseo del Puerto.

Contact

Alicante
email
address
Town Hall Square, 1 03002 Alicante
phone
010 / 966 900 886