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Alicante: more than just a beach.

Alicante has long been a popular ‘costa’ destination for Brits, attracted by the sizzling sunshine, vibrant nightlife and Mediterranean vibe. But if you don’t want to spend all day on the beach, now is the time to head for the town’s high-tech Archaeological Museum, which was voted European Museum of the Year in 2004.

2011 is a Spanish-Russian ‘Dual Year’, as agreed by the two countries’ Prime Ministers, and there are a number of important art exhibition exchanges as well as opera, dance and other events. And until the 15th of October, you have the chance to see a major exhibition of 500 pieces from St Petersburg’s world-famous Hermitage in the Archaeological Museum of Alicante.

Ivory ‘venuses’, 4th century BC jewellery and the famous funeral masks of Tashtyk are just some of the treasures on display. There are also some later beautiful Byzantine icons and crosses for you to enjoy. They may not be Spanish art works but if you can’t make it to St Petersburg, it’s a unique opportunity to see this amazing collection. Visit www.marqalicante.com/ermitage/ for more details.

Easy Jet (www.easyjet.com) flies to Alicante from Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) from 13 UK airports.

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