I’ll just put it out there right away that this post about our visit to Alicante got lost at the bottom of the drafts pile for a while. Like a two years-ish while, as regular readers will notice immediately from those tiny silhouettes in Photo #2. But we’ve been to and loved Alicante twice in the past few years, and it’s worth reporting on even if the memories are a tad less sharp than they once were. (Or, oh, is that the cocktails talking? Alicante is a good place for cocktails.) I’ve done my best to research what’s changed — but I’ve done it from New Jersey.
Also! We didn’t really DO anything in Alicante. While we were living in London, we structured our rambling summer vacations (our hols, if you and your hot English mom friends will) with a triage system.
Phase 1: Somewhere chilly and active.
Phase 2: At least some attempt at cultural immersion.
Phase 3: Beach and chill. (NB: Not with Netflix.) Alicante was Phase 3.
So while my very own Photo #9 indicates the presence of a medieval castle and I’ve heard there are museums and snorkeling opportunities, know that the castle photo was taken from a pool deck, and the rest of those reports could be lies.
(Psst…it’s Santa Barbara Castle, if you’d like to know.)
Furthermore. Alicante is…how do you say?…pork-forward. We? Are not. So we didn’t exactly eat like locals. With the exception of the Michelin-starred restaurant in our hotel (which has now moved — details below), we didn’t really even do tapas in Alicante. I KNOW.
If you’re starting to get the sense that the purpose of this post is less to guide you through Alicante and more for me to have an excuse to browse through my old photos, you’re not right, but you’re not wrong. I think it’s somewhere in the middle. Because, be honest — had you heard of Alicante before? Some of you hadn’t. So this post is to whet your appetite for Alicante, let’s say. It’s a small plate. We’ll just go ahead and embrace the irony and call it tapas.
Quick facts about Alicante
Quick fact: Alicante is a port city on Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca. Don’t ask me where I learned that.
Quick fact: The white sand beaches are wide and beautiful and bordered by cliffs, as indicated in Photos #1 and #4.
Quick fact: The city is actually quite large and modern, but you may want to do as we did and stay in the Old Town, which is steps from the beach and much more charming. See Photos #2, #3, #5, #6 and #7. Also possibly Photo #8, though I’m quite sure I photographed the Quid Pro Quo Terrazza-Disco Club as part of my ongoing efforts to amortize my law degree in unconventional ways. (It certainly isn’t because we went there.)
Quick fact: Sure, yes, putting this post together is really making me want to take a third visit to Alicante ASAP. But the point is, maybe it’s doing something similar for you.
Oh, I’m your tour guide.
In case you’re feeling like I’m not the first tour guide you’d take on your visit to Alicante, let me just stop you right there and say:
- Please see photo #10 for evidence that I can plan a mean Peppa Pig-themed 6th birthday hotel room wakeup call in Alicante and
- If you need to know anything about what it’s like to do a lot of yoga on the deck between the gym and the pool at our hotel, I’ve got you more than covered. (Oh hey, Photo #11.)
Where to eat, stay, and play in Alicante, Spain
And now for what I DO know. Here’s where we ate and stayed and played on our visit to Alicante.
Monastrell: During our visits, Monastrell was on the ground floor of the Hotel Hospes Amerigo, where we stayed. I’m so glad, because given our less-than-stellar record of striking out in Alicante, we would probably have missed it otherwise. The restaurant has since moved to a different Alicante location, and I can’t vouch for that one, but it still looks good. Monastrell, the brainchild of Chef Maria Jose San Roman (who was always present when we were), has a Michelin star and lots of delicious, delicious tapas along with larger plates. We loved the cherry gazpacho, the patatas bravas and especially the unapologetic warm, thick slabs of brie with black truffles poured down the midde. (Photo #12 — the worst and yet best food photo I’ve ever posted.) The then-six year old got to have her birthday dinner there. As you do.
Sale & Pepe Pizzaria and Italian restaurant. Yes, I know, we were in Spain. But pizza and perfectly good house wine and a big-ass salad seemed easiest at times with two kids and a vegetarian husband. This pizza is quite good, though they will try very hard to get you to add ham to the plain pizza, because it’s Alicante, and what are you thinking, plain pizza?
Livanti Gelato. Delicious, friendly, accessible. You should go.
Hotel Hospes Amerigo: A five-star hotel in the center of the old town, situated in a former Dominican convent and renovated beautifully. It’s close to everything but feels very serene, which is nice in the middle of a bustling town. We stayed here on both of our visits to Alicante. It’s not cheap, but we liked it enough to plan a slightly shorter stay and just soak it all in while we were there. Small rooftop pool, big rooftop bar, decent gym, excellent breakfast in a beautiful setting, steps from the beach and restaurants.
Explanada de Espana: For lack of a better term, I’ll call this the boardwalk, but it’s an ornately tiled boardwalk lined with palm trees, bars, restaurants, shops and market stalls. (I know, it’s an esplanade, but where’s the fun in that?) It’s lovely and useful and open late and has many fewer carnival rides and fried Oreos than some of the boardwalks at the Jersey shore.
Playa del Postiguet: We spent mucho time at Playa del Postiguet, the lively but relaxing beach adjacent to the old town and the Explanada de Espana.
Like I said, there’s lots more to do in and near Alicante, but if you go and do it, you’ll have to let me know what it is.