Exploring the art and culture of the southern Spanish city of Alicante


The Spanish city of Alicante is the gateway to the mass tourism destinations of the Costa Blanca. Many thousands of tourists pass it by every week during the summer as they land at its airport and head straight for the high rise hotels and bars which line the golden beaches of this region of Spain.

The view from the battlements of Alicante's castle
A crossbowman watches over the city of Alicante from the battlements of its castle

Alicante itself has some interesting arts and culture including some historic churches and a vibrant old town. So I decided to take the opportunity to explore some of the sights of the city which the sun-seekers bypass.

The artist admires work in the Alicante Museum of Modern Art
Interesting work in the Museum of Modern Art in Alicante

The city has its own Museum of Modern Art where there is a diverse collection of work by local and national artists. The museum itself has a beautiful modern and marbled interior which perfectly sets off the modern works of art.

The Alicante Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art in Alicante
Compelling art at the Alicante Museum of Modern Art
Compelling modern art in the Alicante Museum of Modern Art
Decorative sculptures at the Alicante Museum of Modern Art
Interesting and decorative modern sculpture at the Alicante Museum of Modern Art

After some time appreciating modernism I was hungry. No problem – Spanish food is among the best in the world and Alicante does not disappoint with many restaurants and tapas bars. International brands and dishes mix with local delicacies.

Spanish tapas style food
Spanish tapas-style food offers great variety and discourages over-indulgence
Sweet delicacies n Alicante, Spain
Local sweet delicacies in Alicante
Alicante castle - a canon watches over the city
A canon watches over the city of Alicante from the battlements of its castle

There is a medieval castle overlooking the city’s waterfront which has witnessed in its long history moments of triumph and terrible moments, such as when Franco’s forces captured the city in the 1930s. Climbing to the top of the hill where the castle sits can certainly work off a good meal, and the castle affords magnificent views of the surrounding region. Take your pick from views of the blue Mediterranean, the mountains of the Spanish interior, or the modern sprawl of the city and its high rise apartments.

Alicante's historic Concatedral de San Nicolás de Bari is beautiful inside and outside
Alicante’s historic Concatedral de San Nicolás de Bari is beautiful inside and outside

Any Spanish town would have a historic church and Alicante has several. Traditional Christian art is on view here amidst beautiful architecture.

A portrait of the late and memorable Pope John Paul II.
I recognise this guy from somewhere! A lovely portrait of the late and memorable Pope John Paul II.
Alicante old town.
Narrow streets characterise the old town of Alicante

The old town of Alicante is well worth a wander and one can easily transition from narrow streets to the wide palm tree lined esplanades which border the harbour. In the evenings on these esplanades young Spanish show off their nation’s longstanding love of music and dance, especially when they are both combined into the same performance.

The Esplanada d'Espanya is one of Alicante's loveliest boulevards
The Esplanada d’Espanya is one of Alicante’s loveliest boulevards

Spain’s relative isolation until the late twentieth century has paid a cultural dividend in the country which still has distinctive culture: art, music and dance can be heard which could only have come from Spain. Put simply Spain has not really been globalised.

After enjoying the culture of Alicante it might just be time to head for its golden beach. Well after all, it is Spain!

The beach and tourists at Alicante, Spain
The golden beach at Alicante
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