The landscape and skyline of the Spanish city Alicante is dominated by Mount Benacantil, and the Castle of Santa Barbara that sits atop the towering peak. The city is rightly proud of the impressive icon of the Valencia region, adorning as it does the city coat of arms and the regions’ flag. A fiercely independent region, the symbols of military might and defiance has long served purposes other than as a fort, being opened to the public in the 1960s.
It may look a forbidding and imposing sight, but lifts sunk into the mountain itself ascend Benacantil and make Santa Barbara available to all. A surprisingly easy trip. Guided tours take you along the battlements and deep into the fortress, with exhibitions and galleries detailing hundreds of years of volatile history. History comes to life with the castles’ re-enactments and dramatised demonstrations – great for children and families with the thirst for knowledge!
From the sun-drenched walls to the castle, you can plan the rest of your trip to Alicante. From the towers of the fort you have an uninterrupted 360° panoramic view of the city below, and all its major attractions.
First of all, you cannot fail to notice the astonishing clear blue of the Mediterranean Sea, over which Alicante stands guard. Of course, taking a dip in the water is easy to arrange, but a little more exploration can offer a great deal more. Daily boat trips across to Tabarca Island are a must-do for anyone visiting Alicante.
Barely visible from Santa Barbara, and once the hideout for fearsome Berber pirates, the founding of a fortified town in the 17th century soon put an end to their shenanigans, and the pristine island hideaway of Tabarca was born. The walls of the town have long been known as a site of international historical importance and interest, one of the true gems of Tabarca is its beach. It may be small compared to its mainland competition, but in many ways it is far superior. Soft white sand soaked in Mediterranean sun; the surrounding waters are a designated Mediterranean Marine Reserve, known for their excellent, crystal clear quality and the rich biodiversity of the islands flora and fauna.
Don’t believe us? Take a scuba diving lesson and discover the bustling vibrancy of the native wildlife hidden below the calm blue sea. Once you have worked up your appetite, return to the surface and seek out one of the many local restaurants and cafes.
The tiny island paradise is but a boat and a plane away. Cheap flights to Alicante from airlines like Jet2.com touch down at the airport every day, and put you right at the heart of the action, making sure you don’t miss a thing.