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Alicante is a Mediterranean port city, halfway along the Costa Blanca in southeast Spain. With an average of 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, it’s a popular holiday destination for those seeking a spot of relaxation. It's also famous for the medieval fortress that looms over the city and a quaint old town with Baroque churches, wrought-iron balconies and palm-lined plazas. Foodies can find fresh shellfish at the Mercado Central or try arroz a la banda, a traditional local rice dish made with fish.
Hostels in Alicante make the most of the Spanish climate, with rooftop terraces ideal for soaking up those sunny rays. Stay moments from the city's beach, in a neighbouring coastal village or in an Alicante hostel in the heart of the old town. There are Alicante hostels with swimming pools, shady gardens or on-site bars where you can sip refreshing sangria. Some have female-only dorms with a private en-suite and air con, while others have shared kitchens that are perfect for getting to know other travellers.
Alicante’s historic district, El Barrio, is located around the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) and San Nicolás Cathedral. Recently renovated following a major government initiative, the neighbourhood is filled with brightly painted houses, winding streets and decorative flowerpots. In front of the old town, you’ll find the sandy Playa del Postiguet beach, with sun loungers and laid-back chiringuito beach bars. You can also head to the modern marina for a drink on a full-sized replica 18th century ship, or dance to salsa music at one of the clubs on the dock.
Among Alicante's key sights is the Castle of Santa Bárbara, a golden medieval fortress perched on top of Mount Benacantil. At a height of 166m, the views across the bay might distract you from the ancient remains, dating back to 14th century. Alicante’s waterfront promenade, La Explanada de España, runs parallel to the port along a stretch of swirling mosaic marble tiles lined with trees. You can also hop on a boat trip to Tabarca Island, with secluded beaches, quiet coves and diverse marine wildlife.
Alicante has a good public transport system, with regular trams and buses running across the city. Alicante-Elche Airport is 12km from the city, and you can get a bus directly to the centre or on to destinations including Elche, Benidorm and Torrevieja. Alicante’s bus station connects with Murcia, Valencia and Madrid, while trains go to Elche and Orihuela as well as destinations across the country.