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The port city Alicante lies up to the coast of the Mediterranean, more precisely Spain's Costa Blanca, the white beach. The city has everything that a perfect destination for the family should have: a warm and mild climate, plenty of sunbathed beaches, leisure activities for all ages, the natural beauty of the Mediterranean, a visible history and a varied culture.
Benidorm and other cozy holiday destinations are a short distance a way and a drive to the big city of Valencia takes only 90 minutes.
Before you head for the sunny beaches of Spain, you might consider stopping by in the north Atlantic for the geysers, glaciers and black beaches of Iceland. When you book flights to Alicante with Icelandair you have the opportunity to add a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.
Things to do in Alicante
Everyone who comes to Alicante for a refreshing holiday in the sun can find something to their liking in the area: a game of volleyball at the beach or a swim in the ocean, a golf course with a view to the Mediterranean, a good book under a sunshade. And then there's the amusement parks, among them the water slide park Aqualandia and the historical theme park Terra Mítica.
In a city with a long and rich history, there's also plenty for the eye. Take in the atmosphere and historical beauty of the old town on an evening stroll, perhaps stopping by at the main town square, Plaza de San Cristobal, where the architecture of the baroque era greets you in all its splendor.
You won't miss the city's most magestic construction, the fortress Castillo de Santa Bárbara which overlooks the city from its seat on top of the Benancantil mountain. The oldest parts of this historic edifice go back to the ninth century and the view it provides over the town and out to the deep blue ocean is no less impressive than it was back then.
The basic ingredient of Alicante's traditional cuisine is unsurprisingly, given that this is a port city, fresh seafood. Rice is no less esteemed in this culture and it is not used as filling in the dish, there is a tradition of taking great care in the preparation of rice and many classic rice dishes exist. Arroz a banda is not the same as arroz con costra!
From the city's main street, Explanada de España, you'll find a wealth of places to eat on a night out. In fact, all across the old town there are bars and restaurant, traditional and modern, which are well worth your visit. And a night dining out in the old town is well combined with a stroll through its beautiful streets and byways.
Alicante also has its own variety of sweets. The local favorite is called Turrón de Jijona, and is composed of nougat mixed with almonds and honey. Locals associate this traditional candy with the Christmas season.
Culture on land and sea
Alicante is especially lively in the summer time, when various cultural events take place and the street performers are in full swing. The Noche de San Juan, or St John's Mass, is a standout event, taking place on June 24th each year, during which bonfires are lit across the city, supposedly to drive away evil spirits.
You can also take the opportunity to visit some of the city's museums and take in the cultural and artistic history of the region. Among the highlights are the MARQ Museo Arquelógico de Alicante and the Museu de Belles Arts Gravina.
And then there's no reason why you shouldn't venture off Alicante, and off the mainland, for a day and visit the beautiful island of Tabarca, which offers its own kind of comfortable beach life and beautiful natural environment. The island was declared a reserve for marine life in 1986. It's therefore a perfect place for a bit of snorkeling, to witness the beauty and color of the underwater world.