Spain Guide


Alicante Spain

Alicante city is at the heart of the Spanish region of Alicante on the Costa Blanca. This thriving cosmopolitan city has three thousand years of history behind it but has entered the 21st century as a leading centre of commerce, culture and tourism.

The Roman city of Lucentum was the predecessor of modern day Alicante which developed after the Moorish invasion, protected from sea attacks by the presence of the castle.

The city has seen its share of wars and conflicts during the centuries but developed as a flourishing sea trading centre which it remains today.

It was really in the 19th century that the city's expansion took off. In 1821 the medieval walls were pulled down and the city spread to the east and the north. In 1851 Alicante was the first coastal city to be linked to Madrid by train, becoming the national capital's main seaport. Today Alicante is the second largest city in the Valencian community with a population of more than a quarter of a million.

Tourism is now one of its biggest sources of income with over 3 million tourists visitng each year, and for the visitor who wants to combine city, beach and Nightlife, there's no better place to be.

  • With its seven kilometres of golden sand, its beautiful seafront promenades, excellent shops and restaurants and wealth of sports and entertainment Alicante is a major magnet for Spanish and foreign holidaymakers alike. Just 20 kilometres north of the El Altet international airport, Alicante provides easy access for the charter holiday market (flying time from London is two and a half hours).

Modern day Alicante is perhaps most famous for its seafront promenade, the Paseo de la Explanada with its four rows of magnificent palms, its Parisian style street cafes and its intricate marble inlays of red, cream and black tiles, representing the colours of Alicante. More than six and a half million of the tiny tiles were laid in 1957 guaranteeing the esplanade's future reputation as one of the most impressive in the whole of Spain. Spanish author Juan Gil Albert wrote of the city: "To be in Alicante is to be on the Explanada."


The Spanish love nothing better than a "paseo" a stroll along the promenade with no particular aim or destination in mind. It's simply a chance to see and be seen. And there's no better place to people watch than the Explanada!

The city centre offers an excellent range of top quality shops including the famous El Corte Ingles department store. There are local handicrafts, such as ceramics from Agost, bags and wicker baskets from Gata de Gorgos, rugs from Crevillente, the latest designer clothes, leather goods and exquisite gift shops. It also happens to be a great place to buy a designer wedding dress (should you meet the man of your dreams while on holiday here!)

If you happen to be in Alicante in June, be sure to get involved in the St John's Bonfires Festival. The festival is later followed by 7 consecutive nights of firework displays down at Playa del Postiguet beach which forms a contest between companies in Alicante.

There are museums, monuments, year round cultural activities and regular fiestas. Don't come to Alicante for peace and tranquility come here to live life to the full.