Alicante - The Sunny Central Coast of Spain
Traveling Through Alicante:
Perhaps some of the most picturesque beaches in all of Spain lie along the Costa Blanca, spanning from Valencia in the north and La Manga in the south. This beautiful stretch of beaches is centered upon Alicante, and is quite honestly our favorite part of Spain. Upon our first visit, we fell head-over-heals in love with the smooth beaches, towering mountains, fertile valleys, and charming people. In fact, Lolita, owner of HotPaella.com loved it so much that she bought a home in the village of Javea and spends about half the year there! She is not alone with her love of the Costa Blanca, fashion designers Hugo Boss and Karl Lagerfeld, as well as singers Enya and Julio Iglesias call it home.
Formed in 1833 from parts of the historical provinces of Valencia and Murcia, Alicante is a tourist mecca today, an active part of the Spanish economy, and producer of countless fine products. The fertile river valleys, humid sea air, and sheltering rugged mountains provides Alicante with ideal growing conditions. The hillsides are full of almonds trees, citrus groves, and cattle ranches but to name a few. Did you know that all of our turron products come from Alicante, as do our pimenton and olives?
For those in search of action, Benidorm boasts perhaps the most vibrant and exciting activities of all of Spain. The Manhattan-like skyline is filled with highrises so close to the beach, it is as if they are rising out of the Mediterranean themselves. The beaches are so packed and the nightlife so festive, that one can’t help but wonder if all of Europe has chosen this spot for vacationing.
In stark contrast, a mere 40 minute drive from Benidorm is the remote village of Guadalest. Last year we had the pleasure of dining at the restaurant El Rincon de Pepe where we shared a marvelous meal of ternera de bisteca (grilled thin-sliced steak) alongside sautéed mountain greens. To top the meal off they offer an unbelievable Honey liquor infused with local herbs that is truly out of this world. (Yes, we would have loved to bring some back for sale, but Raul’s grandfather only makes about 15 liters a year!) If you ever make it out to that part of Spain we highly recommend a venture up the mountain to Guadalest. The ruined castles, the museum-like palaces, and the charming shops will certainly make an impression.
The thing that we love most about Alicante (other than the turron, of course) is the stark contrast of mountain and sea, sprawling city and sleepy village, fertile valley and arid hillside. The radical difference of Benidorm, where quiet means a 25th floor apartment, to that of Guadalest, where the stone portico to enter the city is a mere 4 feet wide. The opposition of lush citrus groves on mountain terraces to that of the arid mountain peaks above where not even a blade of grass grows is truly what gives Alicante so much to offer.