Your first thoughts on Alicante may be ‘Oh, it’s a bit run down’ or ‘ Wow, didn’t expect so many ugly tower blocks’ which is exactly what I thought on my first visit to the city, which led me to think ‘Oh god I’ve got to live here for 10 months’. However, now I can confidently say how wrong I was and how you shouldn’t judge a place until you have experienced it’s way of life!
Stereotypically, when you think of Spain, you think sun and beaches and whitewashed villas. However, you must remember most coastal resorts on the mainland are permanent residency for Spaniards. Yes, Alicante does look run down from the outside but when you look closer and wander about the streets you see it’s beauty hidden within, the architecture and the beautiful squares hidden amongst the tall overlooking tower blocks. Not forgetting the stunning old quarter ‘El Barrio’ which is filled with bar upon bar. The famous Explanada de España in Alicante is hard to miss as well, with it’s vibrant crazy tiled floor and symmetrical palm trees that line the 500 metre stretch. I must have walked along it every other day, depending on the weather (my route to the beach). During the summer months little huts are put up selling typical souvenirs, however my favourite memory was walking back from the beach about 7.30 in the evening and smelling the roasted chestnuts and almonds, a must buy!!
One of the first things you should do when visiting the city is to go up to Santa Bárbara castle on the mountain, either for a small fee you can take the luxury of the lift or for a more scenic route you can walk all the way up, (not advisable during midday heat though). Once you get up there you get an amazing 360 degree view of the city, from the beach, down to the coast to San Juan up to the university and the bullring…EVERYTHING! The view also lets you get a feel of how vast the city actually is. This really made me appreciate exactly where I was going to be living for the next 10 months and thought ‘wow’!