Everybody loves Spain. We all love the long, seemingly endless summers in Spain, the lovely coastal towns gently cooled by Mediterranean winds, delightful plazas encompassed by old neighbourhoods teaming with vegetation, the palm trees, the golden sand, Flamenco music, Spanish cuisine. These are good reasons why many of us prefer Spain as a holiday destination, a place where we can feel happy and really enjoy our vacations. Once in Spain, if with your friends or your family, you do not want to miss the Costa Blanca and a visit to Alicante, a tourist destination offering all of the traits mentioned above. Alicante, the capital of the province with the same name, is a memorable seaside city that served as an inspiration for a large number of poets and writers. Alicante is one of the oldest human settlements in this part of the world and the main gateway to Benidorm, Murcia, Torrevieja, Teulada-Moraira, Javea, Calpe or Altea.
With a perfect infrastructure, today's Spain allows us to explore places that were not really easily accessible before. What other reason do you need to rent a car if not driving around areas of such outstanding beauty? Just stop from time to time and get to know places, people and traditions. You should not worry about your bearings when you have your very own GPS system, plus an Internet connection that is always available and which Autoclick provides for no extra charge. Enjoy your ride starting at the airport where you will be picked up by our staff and taken to our car hire office in Alicante to be given your vehicle.
Part of the world famous Costa Blanca, an area that spreads out 200km along the coast, between Torrevieja in the south and Denia in the north, on the western corner of the Mediterranean Sea, Alicante's main attractions here are the sun, the sea and the great beaches but there is much more. Once here, you can drive around and visit parks of an incredible beauty, hidden traditional villages, historical points of interest - true focal points of culture and civilisation -, with a fascinating architecture. Here you will also find countless restaurants and terraces offering the locally made tapas, embutidos or excellent wines. Travel resorts located on the shoreline feature magnificent beaches, a thrilling nightlife and limitless entertainment opportunities.
When driving around Alicante, on board of your favourite rented car, you would probably want to see one of the most beautiful destinations of Costa Blanca - Calblanque - with a good selection of golden sand and peaceful lagoons, often little frequented even during the busiest times of the year. Calblanque is situated near Mar Menor and is a true natural heaven, being one of the few only recently discovered Mediterranean coastal stretches. 13 km of unspoilt beaches and pine forests, together with a hilly landscape, perfect to just wander around and to admire the unbelievable scenery. Lagoons and their surrounding areas are a bird-watcher’s paradise, while the cliffs and the high hills offer a rich flora and fauna.
Costa Blanca recommendations
Another zone you would not want to miss is Castillo de Santa Bárbara, a rather big castle that it can be seen from many miles away. The imposing view will take your breath away, as will the vast, exhilarating blue of the Mediterranean Sea. The castle hilltop has been inhabited as early as the Bronze Age, whilst the village was founded by the Moors in the 9th Century A.D. According to legend, here was once the residence of a Moorish king and his daughter, Cantara; a popular and well-known dramatic story. The initial fortress has been reconstructed a few times throughout history, especially between the 16th and the 17th Century, and was transformed into a huge fortress in the 18th Century. To reach it by car you pass through a beautiful pine forest, but also a surprisingly contemporary park - Parque de la Ereta. For those not able to trek up by foot, there is a cable car that carries tourists to the top at a height of about 200 metres.
Another recommended area of Costa Blanca is the mountainous village Guadalest, just an hour drive from Alicante towards the interior, and rising above a beautiful valley, with a wonderful blue lake and another famous castle. This will be another trip you will not be able to forget, as you will be introduced to a quaint medieval world, starting with the tunnel crossing the mountain, offering access to Guadalest. And talking about nature, Peñon d’Ifach is located at about the same distance driving north, along the coast and will excite for park lovers. A sight that will surpass your expectations, Peñon d’Ifach offers an imposing cliff overlooking the Gulf of Valencia, and has become a true symbol of an entire area. For adrenaline junkies, a special route has been created in the heart of the mountain, passing through a tunnel some 300m above sea level. First part of the route is accessible for everyone, whilst a second, more difficult section is recommended only for climbers.
But Alicante is not just about driving up and down the coast - Alicante itself has its own share of touristy sites. Let's take a look at the most important ones.
Beaches are well represented, mostly Blue Flagged - Postiguet beach is the closest to downtown and one of the most visited in Spain, always busy during the summer season. With a staggering 7km in length and 85m width, only 8km away from the city, but administrated by Alicante's authorities, San Juan beach is preferred by crowds, earning a well deserved place amongst region's top attractions. In the south we have the lesser known El Saladar - Urbanova, relatively easily accessible and uncongested, also Blue Flagged. You will have no problems parking your vehicle; enjoy the panoramas whilst swimming in warm Mediterranean waters. We should also mention La Albufereta and Playa Cabo de las Huertas, and not forget Benidorm's beaches - Levante and Poniente - and also its magnificent Balcón del Mediterráneo, a trully spectacular observation point.
Another great observatory, one that should not be missed if you are driving around Alicante, is Mount Benacantil. The way up and the panoramic view up on top are both breathtaking. On a sunny day you can spot from the peak the neighbouring villages and one or two archaeological sites. On the south-western slope there is a beautiful rocky formation - La cara del moro, or "the moor's face", another symbol of the area.
Aside from Santa Barbara, Alicante offers another unique medieval sight - San Fernando castle. It was built on top of Tossal Hill, in the northern part of the city, in the 19th Century, and is famed for the superb panoramas it provides. Downtown we discover impressive architecture, such as Alicante's town hall, between Plaza del Ayuntamento and Plaza de la Santísima Faz, a Baroque building from the 17th Century on three floors, with tall towers in both ends of some 35m. An slightly newer work of art, although a bit odd and pretty dwarfed if we compare it to the aforementioned towers, is the Icarus statue in the port, looking like it is floating on the water.
There is art and culture everywhere, starting with the Museum of Contemporary Art. This museum is centred around the collection donated by the artist Eusebio Sampere, but features also works by Picasso, Dali, Kandinsky, Serrano, Chagall and Millares. The 4.000sqm of the museum were inaugurated in the present form in 2011. A much older site, but as invaluable, is the Archaeology Museum, hosting an impressing amount of exhibits - around 80.000. Here, you have the chance to find out many captivating details about the area and a comprehensive history of Alicante's development. If you are a friend of the arts, take a look at Museo de Bellas Artes Gravina (or MUBAG), located inside a monumental building and dedicated to paintings, art and culture. We will conclude our recommendations with the Hogueras Museum, featuring an odd by interesting collection of statuettes made of cardboard dressed in gypsum, being part of a new age artistic movement in the city.
You may want to spice up your vacations in Alicante with the magic atmosphere of a festival or a parade of events taking place throughout the year in this area. Alicante is famous for its colourful parties, with music and dance, filling up the streets all night long. Just to have an idea on where to go to in Alicante if you do not fancy the summer crowds, the main carnival here takes place in February and lasts for 3 full weeks. If you decide to go sun-bathing though and having a glimpse of a local celebration, be there in June to witness the fireworks staged within ceremonies of Fogueres de Sant Joan. Rent a car first and you will not depend on public transportation which can be a bit difficult at night.
Still not convinced? Just book your flight to Alicante and we will provide the free transfer from the airport and the car hire service needed so you would not miss anything while in Costa Blanca!