Once an old port with nothing to boast, Alicante has been reformed into a bustling coastal town, beautifully located in the Costa Blanca with mountains and beaches at its disposal. It is the second largest town in the Valencia region. With its Mediterranean climate, it is possible to visit year round, with the summers averaging at 32˚ and winters at a mild 16˚.
Alicante’s economy relies upon its export of Spanish goods, its tourism and its wine, yet still maintaining a Spanish charm. With museums, bars, restaurants and discotheques in abundance, this up and coming town has something for everyone.
With festivals like everywhere in Spain, Alicante is one town which hosts the San Juan festival towards the end of June. With processions of oversized papier-mâché heads, and ‘hogueras’ (bonfires) this is one not to be missed!
Alicante has a long and complex history, commencing with tribes of hunter gatherers from 5000 BC who settled in surrounding areas from central Europe. Greek traders assisted in developing the civilization among native Iberians which included the introduction of an alphabet. During the 6th century, Rome was fighting for command of Iberia and the fortified settlement where Alicante is situated was established at this time. The Roman rule of Iberia which lasted 700 years was followed by the Arab occupation and then the Moors right up until the 11th century.
A town heavily influenced by war, Alicante subsequently benefited from and flourished during the Golden Age however this was short lived as during the 17th century, morisco laborers were ruthlessly banished from Valencia by Felipe III. This caused many problems for the region, as their trade took a battering and the money problems unraveled. The coalition of the Valencian population and Carlos in the War of Spanish Succession proved unsuccessful when Felipe won, weakening the region leaving it without its autonomy. Relying on its agricultural production over the following two centuries, Alicante suffered but the economy started to look up in World War I when the harbor was created and key in exportation from the town. 1931 saw the introduction of a Spanish Republic and 5 years later in 1936 Alicante was one of last cities to be taken over by General Franco, victorious in the Civil War. Following a harsh period of Franco’s dictatorship like everywhere in France, Juan Carlos I contributed to Alicante and other Valencian cities being autonomous once again.
Things to do in Alicante
Museums and Monuments
Paintings? Sculptures? Castles? There is no shortage of them in Alicante. Stun yourself with the impressive views from the fortifications of Castillo de Santa Barbara. Follow the passages and allow them to direct you to sculpture filled gardens. If the Festival de San Juan is what you are in for, try the Museu de Fogueres, giving you an in depth history to the fiesta and an interesting presentation to go with it. For the fine art enthusiast, head to the MUBAG (Museo de Bellas Artes Gravinas) where you can be treated 2 for 1 by the 18th century mansion that it is located in.