Alicante is famous for its long, sandy beaches and beautiful seaside promenades. Some, like Benidorm, are instantly recognisable. But the region has dozens of emblems which show the diversity and amazing beauty of this popular region of Spain.It’s a dream destination for photographers and artists who have so many great buildings and natural scenery to capture. As well as the beaches, there are dramatic castles, chic marinas, mountains,natural parks, historic buildings and lakes to grab the attention.Spain-Holiday has picked 10 amazing Alicante icons, although there are many more that we could have chosen.
Looming over the Alicante skyline is theSanta Barbara Castle, which is one of the largest and most impressive of Spain’s medieval fortresses. Much of its magnificent structure is thanks to the Moors who ruled Spain until the 13th century. One of the most photographed views is of the top tower looking out over Alicante marina and the Mediterranean. During your trip you can explore the many dungeons, towers and cannons lining the thick castle walls.You can also catch your breath while enjoying those far-reaching sea views.
Castillo de Santa Barbara Opening hours: Open every day from:July to September, 10am to 12pm, September, 10am to 10pm, October to March, 10am to 8pm, April to June, 10am to 10pm
Further information on Alicante castle
One of Alicante’s most famous shots is of the regimented Benidorm skyscrapers looking out to sea. These buildings first started going up in the 1960s when tourism took off in this former sleepy fishing village. The idea was to build tall hotels and apartment blocks so that everyone had a view of the sea. Many people have remarked that Benidorm is the Spanish Manhattan with about 400 high-rise buildings.
The tallest hotel is the Gran Hotel Bali at an impressive 186 metres while the tallest residential building is InTempo, which is still being built, and stands at 200-metres tall. Benidorm cross, at the end of Levante beach, and the Balcon de Benidorm, separating the Poniente and Levante beaches, are two great places to get a panoramic view of Benidorm’s buildings.
La Granadella beach
Often voted Spain’s best beach, La Granadella is a beautiful little beach with crystal-clear turquoise waters.It’s only a little horseshoe-shaped cove flanked by rocks with calm water. The beach is small pebbles rather than golden sand (so no gritty sandwiches). It is surrounded by a pine forest to add to the tranquillity of this amazing beach.However, it does get very crowded in the summer so you are advised to get there early to grab a spot. It is great for snorkelling among the seagrass beds or enjoying lunch in the beachside restaurant.
More information on Granadella beach
Ifach at Calpe
One of the best-loved symbols of the Costa Blanca is the Penon de Ifach. This huge rock rises out from the sea at Calpe.It stands 332 metres high and one kilometre long. It’s a very unusual but beautiful natural feature by the Med. The rock is said to have been formed by a landslide from the Sierra de Olta mountain. Climbers enjoy tackling the challenging rock face while divers explore what lies beneath. There are easier paths up the Ifach, although you do need to take care. It’s certainly worth the climb as you will see plenty of wildlife, birds and flowers as well as get to enjoy fabulous sea views.
Further information on the Peñon de Ifach rock, Calpe
Taking a stroll in the sunshine is one of the delights of Spanish life. Alternatively sitting outside a café sipping a coffee or cool lager while people watching is another favourite pastime. One of the favourite places to go is the Explanada de España, alongside the port and marina. The marbled street is 500 metres long with a mosaic designed to look like waves from the Mediterranean using 6,500,000 red, blue and white tiles.Shaded by four rows of palm trees, it’s a fabulous place for a morning or evening paseo (leisurely walk). The promenade is lined with pavement cafes and bars as well as stalls selling handicrafts and souvenirs. It’s the place to go in Alicante to meet up with friends, mingle with the locals and enjoy the party atmosphere.
Further information on the Explanada de Espana promenade
Most beach resorts in the Alicante region have stylish marinas lined with impressive yachts where you can enjoy a drink or meal in an open-air café or restaurant. One of the most scenic is Denia marina where you can enjoy a walk soaking up the views of the yachts, old town with its iconic castle and the magnificent Montgo mountain providing a beautiful backdrop. It’s the perfect place for a meal or cool drink. One of the best views is from the Zensa open-air chill-out bar with pool, especially at night. The marina also hosts the annual Denia boat show in May.
More details about Denia marina, restaurants and events
Altea old town
Standing tall above Altea beaches are the bright white hilltop buildings in the old town. The dazzling blue-and-whilte tiled dome of the church is a familiar sight to visitors. Altea old town has a lovely laidback Bohemian feel. It has been a favourite spot for artists throughout the ages who are inspired by the buildings, pretty square, cobbled narrow streets and incredible views across the bay. It’s a bit of a climb to the top but well worth it for the fine views. Although the Nuestra Senora del Consuelo church looks very old, it was only built about 100 years ago.
Further information on Altea
Definitely one of the most wonderful landscapes in the Alicante region, Guadalest is a magnificent mountain village about 30 minutes – but a world apart – from the bustling beach resort of Benidorm. The white bell tower on top of the granite mountain 600 metres above sea level features on many Costa Blanca postcards and is the emblem of the town.This is a top tourist spot so can be very busy in the summer months. There’s also a tunnel carved through the rock which splits the village, views down to the turquoise lake (where you can enjoy a boat trip), far-reaching views of the mountains, valleys and out to sea, plus pretty cobbled streets to explore.
More details on Guadalest
A beautiful white building with intricate patterns which look like lace, the Casino is often said to be the jewel in Torrevieja’s crown. Many Spanish towns have casinos, which are not gambling dens, but social and community centres where groups and societies can meet. The 19th century casino in Torrevieja is an interesting mix of architectural styles including Arabic and Andalucian. It’s a beautiful building with wooden panelled ceilings with large chandeliers and tiled floors. It has a pavement café, library, games and billiards room.
Further information about Torrevieja casino
Benidorm old town
Linking Benidorm’s magnificent sandy beaches, Levante and Poniente, is the Balcon del Mediterraneo with views over the beaches and across to the grand skyscrapers for which the resort is so famous. Cafes and restaurants line the square where you can enjoy a coffee or ice-cream while enjoying the amazing vista.
The cobbled streets and pedestrianised areas around the square form Benidorm’s Old Town, where you will find tapas alley (Calle de Santo Domingo) which is a favourite spot for going from bar to bar trying different tapas dishes such as squid, ham, prawns or sausages with wine or a cool glass of lager. The old town is bustling day and night as it has great shops, a market and fabulous nightlife venues, including the well-known Rich Bitch show bar with internationally-renowned female impersonators.