Forget about the economic slowdown. In a place like Alicante, travelling on the cheap is still possible—with a surplus of affordable tapas, free attractions and unbelievable bargains!
- Meson de Labradores Tapas Bar. Spain has long been associated with tapas, and in Alicante — the birthplace of tapas—the choice of tapas bars is delectably overwhelming. The popular budget restaurant Meson de Labradores Tapas is among the few that still practices the good ol’ appetising custom: dishing out free montaditos (little sandwiches with tapas as toppings) to travellers to accompany their wine or beer. Pick among the regional and classic tapas with the following: arroz (rice), mejillones (mussels), lleteroles (lamb), and esgarrat (barbecued and seasoned red peppers with codfish).
- Lizzaran, La Rambla. For those who’d like to enjoy their tapas with a twist—and at an affordable price, too—Lizzaran, La Rambla is the best choice. Here, the price you pay is determined by the number of toothpicks you have after the meal. Grab some drinks from the counter, help yourself to some fish, meat, egg, and more fastened to a slice of bread with a toothpick, gobble up as many as you can, and present your toothpicks to the waiter. A sandwich generally costs 50 cents each, so the total number of your toothpicks will be charged accordingly. This will be added to the cost of your drinks, and voila! A hearty meal at a very reasonable price.
- Denia. This coastal town and holiday resort provides a little bit of everything a traveller looks for. Nature sightseeing adventures are in store at the Montgo Mountain and National Park, which was once a reference point for calculating the Paris meridian. The sexy Mediterranean beaches in the north are relaxation havens, offering activities such as fishing and diving. And institutions such as the Toy Museum and the Ethnological Museum reveal Denia’s historic past. Here’s the best part: all these attractions are free!
- Archaeological Museum of Alicante. History enjoys a revolutionary spin in this high-tech museum that bagged the 2004 European Museum of the Year Award. Explore caves, visit sunken Roman ships, and take a journey back to prehistoric times with the museum’s innovative technology—all for free!
- Vincent’s Kitchen. If there’s one thing Alicante’s famous for, it’s the frenzied Spanish nightlife. And this traditional British pub in Benidorm will keep party animals up till dawn with its cheap drinks, live music, karaoke, and British favourites: fish and chips and bangers and mash.
- Mercadillo de Campoamor. Bring along some cash and get into haggling mode in this market, which offers quality products at affordable prices. Shoes, belts, clothing, artworks, and even fresh, countryside produce are available here, from Thursdays to Saturdays. Don’t forget to try some turron, a nut candy that’s been produced for hundreds of years.