Fun-filled days for the kids, sparkling nightlife for grown-ups, even a wealth of fascinating museums for Granny and Grandpa - Alicante is a dream destination for a family holiday.
The city of Alicante basks in almost 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, so it's no surprise that it's a popular holiday choice for visitors from all around Europe and beyond. Although Alicante airport is among the top 50 busiest in Europe, its brand-new terminal building is a model of modern efficiency, so you'll be on your way to the city in your hire car before you know it.
Wherever I lay my head...
As you'd expect from a destination so popular with travellers, Alicante offers a huge range of accommodation, from exclusive boutique hotels to family-friendly apartments. Couples looking for a romantic break will lose their hearts to the El Rodat hotel and spa, which offers gourmet food and sensuous beauty treatments in a stunning setting. If you've got small children, the Villa Marisol is a great choice. The suite has an additional sleeping area - perfect for the little ones or for obliging grandparents who are joining the holiday in their capacity as babysitters! If you're looking for a relaxing holiday and a few rounds of golf, the El Plantio Golf Resort Hotel is a perfect choice - it's near all the action of Alicante itself, but has a wide range of amenities on site as well.
Out and about
You've enjoyed a good night's rest, possibly had a quick splash in the sea and finished breakfast, so the day stretches ahead of you, packed with possibilities. The beauty of Alicante itself is that there's much to discover in and around the city, so jump in the car and start exploring. Most first-time visitors to the city head straight for the beautiful promenade, the Explanada de España, which is lined with palm trees and paved with more than six million marble tiles. Strut your stuff, enjoy a cold drink in a cafe and get your bearings before heading for the Barrio de la Santa Cruz, the city's Old Town, which is a tangle of delightful narrow streets inching up the hill towards the walls of the Santa Barbara Castle. It's worth the climb - this medieval fortress commands dazzling views out over the bay. If that's not enough of a blast from the past, pay a visit to the MARQ Archaeological Museum, one of the most highly regarded in Spain, which reveals the area's intriguing history through ancient art and artefacts.
Chances are you've worked up quite an appetite after all that sightseeing. Try to resist the temptation to sit down at the first restaurant you see, though - take your lead from the locals and wander through the town, studying each restaurant's menu del dia, which is usually displayed on a blackboard outside. It's the best way to decide what you fancy eating, and to find the best value. El Buen Comer is a good place to start - it's one of Alicante's most popular restaurants and serves traditional Spanish tapas as well as more substantial plates. Trendy teenage kids will love Botanero, a buzzing Mexican-themed restaurant where Mum and Dad can enjoy a well earned margarita. If you're after a quiet night in a romantic setting, try Darsena - couples have been enjoying fresh seafood, bottles of champagne and lingering eye-meets there for more than 50 years!