ALICANTE MAP

ALICANTE MAP

Sundrenched Alicante has it all: relaxing beaches, fascinating historical sites, and an unbelievable collection of bars and port-side discos. High above the rows of bronzed beach-goers, the ancient castillo, spared by Franco, guards the tangle of streets in the cobblestone casco antiguo.

TRANSPORTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION. RENFE trains (s’902 24 02 02) run from Estacion Termino on Av. Salamanca, at the end of Av. Estacion, to: Barcelona (4VM3hr. 9 per day, ‚43-67); Madrid (4hr. 9 per day, ‚36); and Valencia (IMihr. 10 per day, ‚9-32). Trains from Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat Valenciana,

Estacio Marina, Av. Villajoyosa 2 (a 965 26 27 31), on Explanada d’Espanya, serve the Costa Blanca Buses run from C. Portugal 17 (a96513 07 00), to: Barcelona (7hr. 13 per day, ‚34); Granada (6hr. 9 per day, ‚23); and Madrid (5hr. 9 per day, ‚23). The tourist office is on Rbla de Mendez Nunez 23. (a 965 20 00 00. Open June-Aug. M-F 10am-8pm; Sept.-May M-F 10am-7pm, Sa 10am-2pm and 3-7pm.) Use the Internet at Fundacion Ban-Caja, Rbla. Mendez Nunez 4, on the comer of C. San Fernando, 2nd fl. (Open M-F 10am-2pm and 5-9pm, Sa 9am-2pm.) Postal Code: 03070.

ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD. The EiHabitaciones Mexico O, C. General Primo de Rivera 10, off the end of Av. Alfonso X El Sabio, has a friendly atmosphere and small, cozy rooms, (a 965 20 93 07. Free Internet access. Singles ‚12-15; doubles ‚27; triples ‚33.) Hostal Les Monges Palace , C. San Augustin 4, behind the Ayuntamiento, up the hill from PI. Santisima Faz. is luxurious, with bath, TV, and sometimes AC. (a 965 21 50 46. Singles ‚24-35; doubles ‚27-29; triples ‚44-46.) Take bus #21 to camp at Playa Mutxavista . (a 965 65 45 26. June-Sept. ‚4 per person, ‚12 per tent; Oct.-May ‚28.) Try the family-run bar-restaurantes in the casco antiguo, between the cathedral and the castle steps. CiKebap , Av. Dr. Gadea 5, serves heaping portions of Middle Eastern cuisine. (Open daily l-4pm and 8pm-midnight.) Buy basics at Supermarket Mer-cadona, C. Alvarez Sereix 5, off Av. Federico Soto. (Open M-Sa 9am-9pm.)

SIGHTS AND ENTERTAINMENT. The ancient Carthaginian Castell de Santa Barbara, complete with drawbridges, dark passageways, and hidden tunnels, keeps silent guard over Alicante’s beach. A paved road from the old section of Alicante leads to the top, but most people take the elevator rising from a hidden entrance on Av. Jovellanos, just across the street from Playa Postiguet, near the white pedestrian overpass. (Castle open Apr.-Sept. daily 10am-7:30pm; Oct.-Mar. 9am-6:30pm. Elevator ‚2.40.) The Museu de Arte del Siglo XX La Asegurada, PI. Santa Maria 3, at the east end of C. Mayor, showcases modern art pieces, including works by Picasso and Dali. (Open mid-May to mid-Sept. T-F 10am-2pm and 5-9pm, Sa-Su 10:30am-2:30pm; mid-Sept. to mid-May T-F 10am-2pm and 4-8pm, Sa-Su 10:30am-2:30pm.) Alicante’s Playa del Postiguet attracts beach lovers, as do nearby Playa de San Juan (TAM bus #21, 22, or 31) and Playa del Mutxavista (TAM bus #21). (Buses depart every 15min. ‚0.80.) Most begin their night bar-hopping in the casco antiguo; the complex of bars that overlook the water in Alicante’s main port and the discos on Puerto Nuevo tend to fill up a little later. For an even crazier night, the Trensnochador night train (July-Aug. F-Sa every hr. 9pm-5am, Su-Th 4 per night 9pm-5am; round-trip ‚0.90-4.20) runs from Estacio Marina to discotecas and other stops along the beach, where places are packed until dawn. Try Pacha, Ku, KM, and Space (open nightly until 9am) at the Disco Benidorm stop. During the hedonistic Festival de Sant Joan (June 20-29), fogueres (satiric effigies) are erected around the city and then burned in the streets during la Crema; afterwards, firefighters soak everyone during la Banya, and the party continues until dawn.

EASTERN SPAIN

Valencia’s rich soil and famous orange groves, fed by Moorish irrigation systems, have earned it the nickname Huerta de Espana (Spain’s Orchard). Dunes, sandbars, jagged promontories, and lagoons mark the grand coastline, while lovely fountains and pools grace carefully landscaped public gardens in Valencian cities. The famed rice dish paella was bom in this region.

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