Read about the city

The Spanish city of Alicante and the Costa Blanca coastline enjoy one of Europe's mildest climates. It is wonderful to come here all year round with the many hours of sunshine, the tasty Spanish Mediterranean cuisine and the lovely sandy beaches along the entire coast north and south of Alicante.

Alicante, with its more than 300,000 inhabitants, is a metropolis with a long and interesting history. And there are a lot of sights in the cozy streets and squares of the old city. Sights are from present day Alicante and from bygone eras, and the two fortified castles on top of the city hills come on top of it all. The castles of Castillo de Santa Bárbara and Castillo San Fernando are testimonies to the importance of the city throughout history.

Fine parks, elegant promenades and the modern marina are places defining Alicante today. City life thrives here where the cultural offer is full of activities. And a walk along the grand harbor promenade, Explanada de España, is a must do when in the coastal city.

There are many things to do in the vicinity of Alicante as well; such as a visit to the inland nature and Costa Blanca's fine sandy beaches. Furthermore, it is very easy to get to the beaches with the modern light rail connecting Alicante with Benidorm.

Other attractions

Archaeological Museum, Alicante

  • Provincial Archaeological Museum (MARQ)/Museo Arqueológico Provincial: At Alicante Archaeological Museum, visitors can get acqauinted with the city and the area's past. The highly prestigious collection contains more than 80,000 items.
  • San Fernando Fortress/Castillo San Fernando: The San Fernando Fortress was built in the early 1800s to strengthen Alicante's defense against a possible invading French army led by Napoleon. The fortress never played a large military role, and now it is laid out for recreation purposes.

Plaza de los Luceros, Alicante

  • Luceros Square/Plaza de los Luceros: The beautifully landscaped Star Square, Plaza de los Luceros, is often the centerpiece when there are celebrations of large dimensions in Alicante. The impressive square got its present appearance in 1930.
  • Gravina Art Museum, MUBAG/Museo de Bellas Artes Gravina, MUBAG: The Gravina Art Museum is a museum housed in a palace built in the years 1748-1808. Today, the place houses a provincial archive as well as the Gravina Art Museum, which is one of the Alicante province's art museums.

Postiguet Beach, Alicante

  • Postiguet Beach/Playa del Postiguet: Alicante is blessed with a mild climate and a warm Mediterranean Sea, which in highly popular by locals and tourists alike in the summer season. Playa del Postiguet is a long sandy beach, located just northeast of the city's large marina and old town.

Casa Carbonell, Alicante

  • Carbonell Palace/Palacio Carbonell: Palacio Carbonell is one of beautiful and impressive mansions located along the Explanada de España. It was built in the years 1920-1925.
  • Gabriel Miró Square/Plaza de Gabriel Miró: Gabriel Miró Square is located in the Explanada de España promenade and thereby close to the sea. The Alicante artist Vicente Bañuls' 19th century fountain La Aguadora can be seen under the trees on the square.

Alicante Marina

  • Alicante Marina/Marina Alicante: The marina in Alicante is a lovely place for a stroll. Elegant surroundings, large and modern yachts and nice views of the city's profile are here as well as some shopping.
  • Bullring/Plaza de Toros: Alicante's bullring was built in 1848, and there is an interesting museum at the arena, The Bullfighting Museum/Museo Taurino. At the museum you can explore the history of the bullring.
History overview

    Read about city history

    The early settlement of the
    Alicante region has been inhabited for about 7,000 years, with tribes from Central Europe moving south to new hunting areas. The first real settlements in today's Alicante area occurred on and at the strategically well-located mountain of Benacantil. At that time, the mountain was surrounded by several sides, so from there there was a fine and strategically important overview of the land and the sea.

    Around the year 1000 BC both Greeks and Phoenicians began to trade the present coast of Spain. They established trading stations that also helped to civilize and develop the area. The new foreign settlers, for example, brought the alphabet, iron and ceramic works to the local tribes.

    After a few centuries, the Greeks and Phoenicians gained competition in the area as Rome began to interfere. The Roman Empire used its military to gain control of the Iberian Peninsula, where several important battles would take place over time. The rival army from Carthage, however, fortified themselves, and under General Hamilcar they established Akra Leuka, one of the forerunners of Alicante.

    Akra Leuka was well located and became an Iberian trading center with contacts in Carthage, Greece, Phoenician and Iberian Tartessos.

    Roman Lucentum
    Carthage expanded its territory from Akra Leuka, but Rome's strength proved superior, and the Romans took control of the area after the victories of the Second Punic War. The Romans called their city Lucentum, which means the luminous city. The name came from the bright sky and the many hours of sunshine that were here.

    As a Roman city, Lucentum gained a distinct Roman feel with bathing facilities, temples, forums, sewerage and so on. The highlight of the Roman period was the centuries around the birth of Christ; Subsequently, part of the lucrative trade gradually shifted to the present Elche, which was better located than Lucentum.

    In the 400s, the dissolution of the Roman Empire began, and it was felt in the Iberian Peninsula, where the West Gothic warlord Teodmiro gained increasing power; among others in Alicante.

    The next people to rule the region were the Arabs who overcame all existing leaders in both Alicante and much of present-day Spain. It was in the year 711 that Alicante came under the rule of the Arab Moors, and it was a period that lasted more than 500 years.

    Ants' Ants The
    Ants brought new things to Lucentum, which they renamed Alicante. Both names refer to being the city of light in Latin and Arabic respectively. Those things were, among other things, oranges, rice and the palms, which today are almost a symbol of the warm coastal areas of Spain.

    Throughout Alicante's Moorish period, building was once again different from past cultures. Thus, many buildings were erected with inspiration in the new Moorish style, as was the case across large parts of the Iberian Peninsula.

    Reconquista
    The Spanish conquest of the Iberian Peninsula began in the 11th century, but it was not until the middle and late 1200s that Alicante transitioned from Arab rule to first became part of the Spanish kingdom under Alfonso X in 1246 and then The Kingdom of Valencia under Jaume II of Aragon from 1298. With the implementation of the Spanish reconquista, the Moors' power in Europe was over.

    With the new era, a big boom started in Alicante. The city's trade in large parts of the Mediterranean increased dramatically, and products such as rice, wine, olive oil and wool were major commodities. The 15th century was a golden age for Alicante, who lived economically well by trade and agricultural production.

    Then the recession began. At the beginning of the 17th century, King Felipe III expelled thousands of remaining Moors, and since they were especially employed and skilled in agriculture and handgun, Alicante's production and economy went into gear.

    The hardships of
    the 18th-18th centuries The Spanish War of War erupted in 1701 between mainly France on the one hand and England, the Netherlands and Austria on the other. The cause of the war was the struggle for the Spanish succession following the death of Karl II without heirs. Both France and Austria had a candidate for the Spanish throne, and the outcome of the war had consequences for Alicante.

    After the Spanish Succession War, in which Alicante had supported the losing party, the region's political status as partially autonomous changed and Alicante became subject to Spain. In the following centuries, Alicante was financially and politically affected in a negative direction, and there was stagnation in the city.

    Throughout the 1700s-1800s, Alicante experienced a recession, and development passed the city, whose economy was primarily based on fisheries, agriculture and some production.

    Neutrality and flourishing
    Alicante's long period of stagnation ended with the end of the 19th century. Here, the city saw an improvement in the economy, not least due to the expansion of the port area. Alicante became an export port in those years, and shipping flourished in the early 1900s. Spanish neutrality during the First World War led to further growth in exports.

    Throughout time, there had been little attempt at rebellion, but it had never been greater until during this period there was so much tension in the city and in Spain in general that King Alfonso XIII had to abdicate. On April 14, 1931, the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed a replacement for the kingdom.

    The Republican government did not rule Spain for many years until civil war broke out in the country. It started July 17, 1936, and faced the Republic, the victorious victor Francisco Franco. Alicante became the city that fought for the Republic for the longest time, and Franco's forces could only occupy on April 1, 1939.

    Tourism to Today
    After some harsh winters in the 1940s that had put Alicante's agricultural production back on, the city's economy radically changed over the following decades.

    After the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, Francisco Franco came to power, and under his leadership, the country focused on a large-scale expansion of tourism as a new source of income. Areas like the Costa Blanca at Alicante were natural to expand due to the region's beaches, climate and the many buses and planes that brought increasing numbers of tourists from Northern Europe.

    Alicante and the coastal area developed rapidly, and new resorts such as Benidorm shot up with huge construction activity. Alicante's new affluence allowed for the restoration of historic buildings and a generally increased cultural offering that has benefited both locals and the many tourists.

    The city's port has also undergone a major transformation in recent decades. The formerly busy industrial port saw a decline in the 1980s, and trade was largely transferred to nearby Valencia. Since then, Alicante has focused on an exclusive marina and the prolific cruise ships, which every year bring many tourists to the city from the water's edge.

    Today, more than 300,000 people live in Alicante, an increase from about 50,000 in 1900 and 20,000 at the turn of the year to 1800.
    Skjul indhold her

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Alicante, Spain

Top attractions

St Nicholas Co-cathedral, Alicante

  • St Nicholas Co-cathedral/Concatedral de San Nicolás: Alicante's Cathedral was built on the remains of a Moorish mosque. The style is Herrero Renaissance and the church was designed by Agustín Bernardino. The construction lasted from 1613 to 1662. Above the floor of the church, which is like a Latin cross, rests the beautiful dome.
  • St Mary's Basilica/Basílica de Santa María: At the remnants of a former mosque, the Gothic Basilica de Santa María was built in the 1300s, and it stands as Alicante's oldest church building. The interior is very interesting, and here you can experience the gilded Rococo altar from the 18th century and some beautiful chapels.

Explanada Espana, Alicante

  • Spain Esplanade/Explanada de España: Alicante's famous and beautiful esplanade is laid out on a reclaimed area by the water and along the city's large marina. With its shady palm trees, floral decorations and elegant marble paving, it is a very nice place for a stroll.

Mercado Central, Alicante

  • Central Market/Mercado Central: Mercado Central is Alicante's central market for the sale of fish, fruit, vegetables and flowers. The market was built in the years 1911-1912 in a style inspired by modernism and church architecture.
  • City Hall/Ayuntamiento: Alicante's City Hall is a very fine example of the city's civil baroque buildings. The impressive façade is flanked by the two distinctive town hall towers. The so-called Cota Cero is at the foot of the main staircase. It is the reference point for all altitude measurements throughout Spain.

Santa Barbara Castle, Alicante

  • Santa Bárbara Castle/Castillo de Santa Bárbara: At the top of the Monte Benacantil ridge, you can visit the castle Castillo de Santa Bárbara, originally founded in the 8th century. The location is stunningly beautiful towards the sea and from the hilltop there is a wonderful view to Alicante.
Trips in the area

Lucentum, Alicante

  • Lucentum: The Roman city of Lucentum is the forerunner of the present Alicante. Lucentum was founded in the 3rd century BC. There are mainly Roman ruins to see, but also traces of former settlements. A tour to the ruins gives you a good impression of Lucentum's various buildings and functions.
  • Petrer Castle/Castillo de Petrer: Castillo de Petrer is a former Moorish castle that is built above the rest of the city of Petrer. The castle was built in the late 1100s, and it is very interesting to visit with the preserved walls.
  • Sax Castle/Castillo de Sax: This castle was built by the Moors as a mighty fortification on a mountain top. The original building was established in the 9th century, but today's castle dates back mainly to the following centuries.

Elche, Spain

  • Elche: The city of Elche is famous as the city of palm trees and gardens. There is a large palm forest, Palmeral de Elche, which offers more than 200,000 palm trees; it is the largest in Europe. In Elche's old town there are many things to see. Highlights include the impressive Baroque church, the Basílica de Santa María, which was built in the 1600s.
  • Santa Pola: The beautiful and historic city of Santa Pola was a Roman settlement named Portus Ilicitanus, suggesting that the place was the port city of the present Elche. There are a number of attractions in the city, and the location on the Mediterranean Sea allows a visit to be combined with a trip to the beach.

Tabarca Island, Spain

  • Tabarca Island/Isla de Tabarca: The island of Tabarca is located off the coast of Costa Blanca. It is a small island that is a beautiful, peaceful and easily accessible place. The island's small town is located to the west, and nature prevails on the greater eastern part.
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Shopping
  • Boulevard Plaza, Avenida de la Estación
  • Carrefour, Calle de José García Sellés 2, Avenida Alcalde Lorenzo Carbonell, www.carrefour.es
  • El Corte Inglés, Avenida Maisonnave 53, Avenida Federico Soto 1, www.elcorteingles.es
  • Panoramis, Muelle Poniente 6, www.panoramis.com
  • Parque Vistahermosa, Antonio Ramos Carratalá, www.parquevistahermosa.com
  • Shopping streets:  Rambla de Méndez Núñez, Avenida Maisonnave, El Barrio
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