Alicante

[error]Viva La Espana[/error]

I’ve not been to many places in Spain and previous trips have always taken me to the Costa Del Sol, which is a great place of Spain, but only at the right times of year; Key booze city, especially Benalmadena.

This time around, I went to Alicante for the day! Yes the day! Flights with British Airways were cheap again and I reckoned that I could find enough to do in the place to justify flying out for 9 hours and having a gander around the city.

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[success]Visit…[/success]

The first place I wanted to visit was the Castle of Santa Barbara, there was a few reasons behind this. The first was the walk up, it looked immense and would be great training towards the Pride Park 10k race on Sunday 28th April 2013. The second was the view from the top and the third reason was the fact that I hadn’t really researched Alicante and the castle was “just there”

When at the top there are plenty of exhibitions and artifacts from the local area, the view of course was amazing and you could see the beautiful harbour in Alicante. The cafe at the top is also highly recommended with some lovely food including plenty of Tapas choices.

The harbour is also a great place to go, I was lucky enough to see the Mercedes CLA car launch down there and then get a free meal at the Seafood Festival, more on that in a minute.

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[info]Eat at…[/info]

Between the 18th and the 28th April, down by the harbour. Alicante hold the Seafood Galician Fair (Feria Gallega del Mariso) – Very much like one of the UK farmers markets, where local businesses get together in a big marquee and you try the delights of the local food and produce.

I was lucky enough to get a food voucher from the guys at the Mercedes launch so I didn’t have to pay, but the choices were amazing and all of it smelt amazing, if not looked a little off putting. There were choices of all types of seafood from Lobster to Squid, and in many different dishes.

The menu I had been given was all in Spanish, I tried to use Wordlens App on my iPhone to translate the menu from Spanish to English, it was ok but only good enough to work out what the actual fish was and not the dish. I went by eyes and nose, instead of technology on this occasion.

I had a seafood paella and a local beer. It tasted amazing and wanted more. The paella was moist and flavoursome, with the seafood tasting amazing. Unfortunately at this point my iPhone had died so I was unable to take a photo of the food but imagine the best paella ever and you’re just about there.

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[alert]Move Around By…[/alert]

The public transport in Alicante looks very easy to use, I literally caught the C6 bus from outside the Airport into the town centre which cost me €2.25 one way. But Alicante has a mixture of buses and trams to navigate around the place, and as of 2011 the tram system connects most places on the Costa Blanca including Benedorm.

Most city sights are easy to walk to from the harbour, to the castle to the shopping streets.

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[success]Places to Shop…[/success]

When coming down from the Castle of Santa Barbara, I more or less walked into what looked like the shopping district. I was very tempted to go to the market that I had actually read about. My first thoughts of the place were how much it looked like a train station from the outside. Inside on the entry floor, the place was filled with stalls selling meat. Anything from Chorizo to Rabbits, with many tasters available. The lower floor concentrates on seafood with less free tasting options… But still amazing to see.

I also found a El Corte Inglés which is not only part of Spain’s only chain of department store but one of my favourite shops to go around! Not only has it got the electrical sections, which I spend most of my time in. But they have a “around the world” section, similar to Selfridges. There are sections from local countries as well as America, Japan and Australia, they even sell Cheez Whizz!

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[info]Places to Stay…[/info]

As this is quite a touristy place, there are loads of hotels which are more or less within walking distant of the city centre.

Ibis and Accor have their chains just sat on the outskirts, yet with tram and bus connections. These are cheap and cheerful and great for those who just want to use their bed as a place to sleep and aren’t bothered about the hotel’s amenities.

There are many resorts in and around Alicante, especially in Benidorm. I always find Travel Republic the best way to find the hotel.

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[alert]Getting There…[/alert]

As per usual the major budget carriers all fly into Alicante from the majority of UK airports including East Midlands Airport, Leeds Bradford, Stansted and Luton. There are also new flights from Gatwick with British Airways with a codeshare from Iberia. I found these flights cheaper in the BA sale than with the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet.

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[success]Overall…[/success]

I really enjoyed Alicante, nice place to visit and the beaches were really clean. There was plenty to do and wish I had got time to visit some of the surrounding areas, in particular Benidorm.

There are plenty of cheap flights out and DoYouSpain.com has some fantastic deals on car hire when you book and pay for it upfront.