Alluring Alicante

This item appears on page 14 of the November 2011 issue.

I was delighted to read Martha Wiley’s article “Spending the Day in Alicante” (Sept. ’11, pg. 18). Alicante is a lovely city. One of its attractions is its moderate climate — never too hot or too cold.

Ms. Wiley mentioned the very nice beach Playa del Postiguet, which is right in town just beyond the yacht harbor and the Meliá and Porta Maria hotels. Another nice beach, larger and less crowded, is Playa de San Juan, easily reached by the tram that runs from Playa de Postiguet.

ITN readers might like to know that when the elevator to Santa Barbara Castle isn’t working (it was reported to be closed for repair in the March ’07 edition of the Lonely Planet guide, and it was still closed when I visited Alicante in October ’10) and they don’t want to hike up, it’s very easy to get to the castle by bus.

The bus leaves from the stop outside the drugstore across the street from Playa de Postiguet. From that stop, the bus is headed in the wrong direction, but it makes a U-turn to get to the castle.

The walk down from the castle, through several hillside parks, is very pleasant. The longest route passes through the Pozos de Garrigós; the huge water cisterns now are used as a venue for temporary art exhibitions.

In addition to the points of interest that Ms. Wiley mentioned, Alicante, despite its population of only slightly more than 300,000, boasts an active arts-and-music scene, including symphony, opera, ballet, plays and musicals — some of them avant-garde — presented at the Teatro del Principe (Principal Theater).

For those wishing to linger in Alicante, which I would heartily recommend, Hostal les Monges Palace (C/San Agustin #4, 03002 Alicante, Spain; phone 965 21 50 46, fax 14 71 89) is in Old Town, not far in back of the Town Hall pictured in the article.

Lonely Planet describes it as an “agreeably quirky place… a treasure with its winding corridors, tiles, mosaics and antique furniture… . each room is individually and tastefully decorated.”

My single room there last fall cost only €30 (near $41), with breakfast an additional €6. (Rooms run €30-€100 low season and €36-€100, high.)

The local dialect in Alicante is Valencian, the language of the Valencia region of Spain, of which Alicante is a part.

In addition to the trip to Elche she described, other interesting excursions from Alicante include the boat trip to the island Tabarca, about nine miles away, and the tram ride along the coast to Benidorm and Dénia, from which ferries leave for Ibiza and Mallorca in the Balearic Islands.

Livingston, TX