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