Alicante is perhaps best known as the gateway to the Costa Blanca, famed more for its airport than for the tourist trapping provided by more familiar neighbours, Benidorm and Denia. Most visitors to Alicante use the town as an arrival and departure point, not stopping long enough to see what the area has to offer. But whilst the bright lights of the aforementioned neighbours beckon for most, Alicante is beginning to garner a reputation for having more to offer than the biggest airport for charter flights in Spain.
Alicante offers a more subtle break in the Costa Blanca. The beaches and coastal attractions remains constant in the region, but the area is slightly more laid back than its' noisy neighbour. Alicante has moved upmarket in recent years with a multitude of exclusive restaurants and bars popping up around the marina and commercial port area. The boulevard meanders pleasantly past the marina and beachfront area which merges into the charming Old Quarter.
From a pleasant base in Alicante, Costa Blanca offers much to the more discerning tourist. The church at Altea is renowned and presents one of the most enduring and symbolic sights in the Costa Blanca. The regions old towns are typically a mix of traditional Christian and Moorish architecture with narrow, cobbled streets and plazas offering a pleasant atmosphere to while away the hours ( http://www.costablanca.org )
Further South lie Murcia and Valencia - a thriving modern city which has benefited from regeneration in recent years. Valencia is a cosmopolitan city which juxtaposes the traditional and modern features of Spain in miniature form.
Alicante provides the ideal base for exploration of the region. The town offers a fine tourism infrastructure itself but the best way to explore the Costa Blanca is by self drive. There are several options for those willing to travel out with Alicante to discover the Costa Blanca on their own terms. The reliable train service meanders up and down the coast, taking in Altea and Denia as well as the bright lights of Benidorm. For a more authentic experience, hire cars are readily available.
Driving in the region has much to offer with pleasant coastal roads allowing you to explore on your own terms. The roads are generally safe, but some of the more mountainous areas should be traversed with some additional caution.
When you have clocked up the miles and soaked in all that the region has to offer, Alicante provides a relaxed and pleasant base to unwind in. Unless you fancy a night on the town amid the bright lights of Benidorm, that is....