Alicante is a large city, port, university city and tourist centre on the south-eastern coast of Spain. It serves as the unofficial capital of the Costa Blanca coast and stands between the popular resorts of Benidorm and Torrevieja. If hiring a car in Alicante and touring the area, you'll find a mostly modern, high-rise city spread out behind a spacious harbour that offers ferries to the Balearics and North Africa. The city's busy international airport is six miles south west and serves most of the Costa Blanca holiday trade. Drivers find that several main routes bisect the city from east to west, including the most scenic – the N332 along the waterfront.
Rent a car in Alicante and you'll soon find it is an interesting mix of seaside resort, with a beautiful sandy beach and long waterfront, and an old Spanish provincial capital, with its own busy life away from tourism. Most visitors pass through on the way to one of the Costa Blanca resorts but there's plenty to see in Alicante itself. Start at the sea. The port is the heart of Alicante, and is always full with yachts, ferries and fishing boats. Head a short way north to find gorgeous beaches, like Playa de Postiguet and Playa de San Juan. The attractive main promenade, the Esplanada, is paved with marble and lined with trees. Inland, things start to get even more interesting. The 16th-century Castillo de Santa Bárbara sits on a rocky summit near the seafront and houses a museum about the city. There are great views from the ramparts. Nearby, you'll find the acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Art, with an impressive collection of Dali and Picasso work. Elsewhere, you'll find plenty of old landmark buildings, like the City Hall and St Mary's Basilica. Look out for the lively nightlife too – at first it seems Alicante's restaurants and bars never shut.
Opening hours: Mo-Su 0700-2400
Address: Alicante Airport
Opening hours: Mo-Fr 0900-2100, Sa-Su 1000-1830
Address: Avenida de la Estacion, 20