Alicante & Costa Blanca

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My trip to Alicante started with me hardly making my flight. I woke up at 5:50am and my plane was scheduled to leave Dublin’s airport at 7:00am.
In panic I rushed out of bed, brushed my teeth, somewhat brushed my hair, hailed a cab and started waiting. I was happy I packed my bag the night before, because there is nothing worse than trying to pack when you are running late. Like really late.
I was standing in the hall of my apartment in anticipation when HAILO app showed me that my taxi cancelled. No way, I am already late and the taxi cancelled?! Quckly, I started hailing for another cab and this time it went smooth. I think the universe understood that I am very determined to get to Spain. The feeling of relief finally found me when I got on the plane to Alicante. And so the journey began.

Now I didn’t know much about Alicante. I heard that it is “nice”. But “nice” is not a nice description, it is hardly a description at all. I wanted to change “nice” into another travel story, with more and better adjectives, with an honest yet of course subjective opinion.
So here it is….

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Alicante

Alicante is the main city and the main airport if you are travelling to Costa Blanca – the Southern Coast of Spain.
It has a long sandy beach promenade, museums and palm trees parks.

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Of course the main attraction of Alicante is Santa Barbara castle. Let’s talk more about it.

Santa-Barbara castle is located up the hill and offers a visitor a spectacular view on the city and the beach. Photos below are my proof –

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The castle got its name after Saint Barbara (early Christian Greek saint) and got claimed back from the Arabs on Saint-Barbara’s feast day, which is December 4th.
The place offers various viewing platforms, cosy outdoor cafes and a little museum.

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I love that the Castle is seen from anywhere in Alicante and you can use it to navigate yourself if you are lost. Just go towards the castle and you’ll find yourself very close to Alicante’s city centre.

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Another place that I would like to highlight is Mount Tossal (Piscina Municipal Monte Tossal) and it also offers a beautiful view on the city and on the Santa-Barbara’s castle itself. It is located in a more quiet neighbourhood of Alicante and you can just seat and relax, or walk around or watch the skaters a bit further away in a skate park located on the premises of the area, or for that matter skate yourself. It has different sections and different stories, lower – higher and overall feels more local and less touristy, what I personally prefer.

View to Santa-Barbara's castle
View on Santa-Barbara’s castle

The great thing about Alicante is that it is big enough so you won’t get bored yet small enough, so you can walk everywhere. I so enjoyed the walks to the beach or to the centre of the city down main street full of vendors, musicians and street artists.

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It a great to be discovering city corners and feeling like a local. I also did enjoy 2l bottles of Sangria for 1.30 euro 🙂

If you do get bored though – know that you have options. From Alicante you can go to Benidorm – another tourist attraction for it’s gorgeous beaches; Calpe – a little town with …. drum roll…. even more beauituful beaches (of course) but also a mountain that you can climb. And really if you are going to Calpe you shall climb that mountain, because the view it offers is magic.
You can also visit pink salt lakes of Torrevieja or go even further to Cartagena, which has its own mini version of a coliseum.
Let’s have a closer look at all of them.
I believe that sometimes a photograph can say much more about the place and that is why I will stop here for a moment and actually SHOW you these places:

Benidorm

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Calp

As I mentioned before Calp is famous for the view from 333 metres high mount Penyal d’Ifac that you can and shall climb. The way up is a bit slippery and in 30 C degree can get tiring but it is worth all the effort. The view is really outstanding and will take your breath away.

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On the way to the top
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Ta-Daa! The view 🙂
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Myself being awed by the beauty

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Cartagena

Cartagena is considered to be the capital of Spanish navy’s maritime department for its defensive port. But people come here for a different reason, they come here to see the Roman theatre founded in 276 BC. The theatre is now a UNESCO heritage and offers a lovely scenery especially on a sunny day (So I was told 😉 )

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Torrevieja

Torrevieja’s pink lakes is definitely a cool thing to see. Lakes actually serve a purpose which is salt production. When you drive to Torrevieja you can see huge piles of salt marking the way. Salt production turned this little village into an important functioning city of Costa Blanca.

The color you see on a photo is not photo shop, the lake is really pink. It gets its color thanks to a pigment found in bacteria that lives in the lake and feeds on salt.

Sometimes you can also find there pink flamingos but I didn’t see any. At least not this time.

Wrap-up

My first trip to Alicante and Costa Blanca has turned into a very special trip for me. I have returned to Alicante few more times after. Revisiting the city gives you the local feel, it’s almost like you are amongst your people, it is almost like you are home in a foreign land.

A french poet Jacques Prevert wrote a beuatiful poem called Alicante. I think his words will be the perfect ending to this travel story, because Alicante and the whole Southern coast are like this – simple… and yet you will not stay indifferent.

(French version: Origonal)

Une orange sur la table
Ta robe sur le tapis
Et toi dans mon lit
Doux présent de la présent
Fraîcheur de la nuit
Chaleur de ma vie

(English translation)
An orange upon the table
Your dress on the rug
And you in my bed
Sweet present of the present
Freshness of the night
Warmth of my life

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