A work in Progress. I will add to this over a period of time
Alicante is a vibrant and spirited city in the Costa Blanca region of Spain. One of Spain’s oldest cities, it was known as the “city of light” by the Romans, this ancient city enjoys the famous Mediterranean climate all year round.
Frequently reported as one of the healthiest and happiest places to live in the world, this lively city offers its people wonderful beaches, superb culture and amazing food.
All year round Alicante boasts amazing festivals, fiestas and cultural events in all of its neighbourhoods (or Barrios).
Heres a bit more information about the different areas of Alicante City.
One of the oldest barrios of Alicante, Benalua is just a 15 minute walk from the centre of Alicante. This, very traditional area, consists mostly of intersecting streets with cafes and bars on every corner. Benalua is an area with a lot of Spanish personality.
An indoor food market as well as as a fully and vibrant weekly outdoor market go towards making this a self sufficient area. The central courts of Alicante are also located here.
Property prices are slightly cheaper here than in the centre of Alicante. This fact, along with the close proximity of the city make Benalua a contender for anyone looking to live in Alicante without having to pay the premium prices demanded in the centre. Be wary that parking a car can be difficult if you don’t have a garage.
The Mercado area of central Alicante is one of the most lively areas of this small vibrant city. Named after the modestly sized, superb central market that is located here, the area of Mercado is home to some fantastic restaurants, bars and nightlife.
It is also where you will find the Plaza de Toros de Alicante.
Avendida Alfonso X ElSabio, which borders the area central side, contains a mix of businesses , shops and restaurants and forms the bottom part of a rectangular area that makes up the Mercado Area. Postiguet beach is about a 15 wander down la Rambla and the beautiful beaches of San Juan Playa are about 15 to 20 minutes away on the Tram.
Not to be confused with a similar named beach in Torrevieja, La Florida in Alicante city is a self-contained, wonderful neighbourhood in the slight upper and west side of Alicante. It’s far enough from the centre that you won’t accidentally find that you’ve wandered there. All life is here. In order to explore this area and soak up the atmosphere, which I recommend you do, you would need to deliberately set out to arrive here.
When we think of Alicante, we tend to think only of the central area, much the same as we do about any city, but the real beauty and interest that makes up a city is in the small neighbourhoods and districts around the outside of the central area. This, mostly Spanish, quarter has a unique feel about it that says; “this is us…take or leave it…we don’t actually care what you think”. Make no mistake, this area is not posh, or elegant but it is real everyday Spanish life and I, for one, think that is a wonderful and rich thing to be.
Calle Vicente Chávarri sits at the bottom of the barrio and is the perfect place to walk or sit and watch the locals going about their everyday life. This small, tree lined street has every kind of shop or service that you could possibly need without ever venturing outside of the neighbourhood. Grocery stores, shoe shops, clothes shops, hardware stores, hairdressers, opticians, cafes and not a famous brand name in sight. That is one of things that makes places like this authentic, you get the feeling that nothing much has changed here in the past 50 years.
Things to do in La Florida:
- Take a seat outside Cafe Mi Terreza (Calle Vicente Chávarri) and enjoy a morning coffee and tostada whilst people watching.
- Just explore the streets and imagine yourself living in this great neighbourhood.
- Wander to the Plaza de la Viña for some green space and a cerveza
- If you’re visiting in the evening go to Jazz Bar El Ensayo on the Plaza de la Viña… not much Jazz, but some very good food and ambience.
- Head to the modern shopping centre Puerta de Alicante on the west side of the district for a movie and retail experience. http://www.puertadealicante.com
Ensanche Diputacion, from Avenida Oscar Espla (named after an Alicante born composer), including the whole port area through to Avenida Federico Soto (a former mayor) is an important area of the city as this is where business is done. As well as being the main business district of Alicante it is also the place to be for shopping. Here, you will find El Corte Ingles, a very famous department store chain in Spain, as well as most of the usual high quality brands that you would expect to find in a city centre such as Sephora, Desigual, Mango etc and, of course, the Spanish clothing company Zara.
Ensanche Diputacion is a great place to stay (or live) as it’s so close to the action that takes place in the city Yet far enough away so that you can still get to sleep at night. Buildings here are taller than in any other part of the city and it does have a city vibe about the place, albeit a smallish city. There is an abundance of restaurants and bars in the area to suit whatever mood you’re in. If you are looking for an elegant sophisticated meal, try Piripi on Ave. Oscar Espla. Try its ever popular bar downstairs for cocktails and high quality tapas or for a more formal dining experience, book a table upstairs. https://grupogastronou.com/en/piripi/
Further down towards the sea you have the Michelin stared El Monastrell run by one of Spain’s most famous chefs, María José San Román. The food here is modern and innovative. The restaurant is light and airy with beautiful views of the marina. https://monastrell.com
On the other hand, wander to Rincon de Nakiss on Calle churruca https://www.facebook.com/ElRinconDeNakiss for delicious local food at a fraction of the price. Menu del Día at less than 10 euros, including two courses, bread and wine. The food here does the talking so don’t be fooled by appearances.
Plaza Seneca is a nice square to sit for a morning coffee and contemplate life. This square used to be the main bus station in Alicante until a new one was built, further down the road. When the old Bus station was knocked down, a large air raid shelter, dating from the civil war was uncovered. This remarkable find is a reminder of how hard Alicante was hit during the Spanish Civil war. It’s possible to book a tour of the underground area through the council website https://www.alicanteturismo.com/en/city-walk-e-alicantes-air-raid-shelters-route/
Casco Historico (Santa Cruz)
Also sometimes referred to as “el Barrio”. This part of town is the most famous and oldest part of Alicante. The history of Alicante started with early settlements on the slopes of Mount Benacantil and slowly the rest of the city spread outwards from there. Santa Cruz has many narrow and winding streets connected by little walkways and lots of steps. The houses are pretty and are decorated with lots of flowers. You will want to stop off at one of the many bars to take a glass of wine or a coffee as you meander the little squares soaking up the atmosphere which is definitely enhanced by the lack of cars in the area.