Touring the City of the Sun, Alicante

“City of the Sun” is an apt name for Alicante, with its warm weather, exciting food, and many festivities.

Virgen del Carmen, the patron saint of sailors, is honoured every July 16 in this seaside city; fireworks are lit, boats are decorated for a procession at sea, and the icon of the Virgin Mary is paraded on her own float, decorated with flowers.

Stars are not the only things that light up the sky on Las Hogueras de San Juan, which begins with the launching of the palmera fireworks from Castillo de Santa Bárbara, and continues with the burning of 88 other hogueras. The Belleza del Fuego (Beauty of the Fire) is also crowned queen after the festival’s competition.

Check out photos of Alicante here!

Alicante museums are a must-see, starting with Europe’s Best Museum in 2004, the Archaeological Museum; see bullfight artefacts at Museo Taurino, Nativity scenes at Museo de Belenes, and water wells at Museo del Agua. Go to Explanada de España, along the harbour, for a view of the sea, a few drinks, and a look at the 6.6 million tiles which comprises it.

Music and dance on your Alicante holidays are heavily influenced by the many civilizations here in the past; nearby towns also leave a mark, with the fandango, Jota Valenciana, and Paloteo de Requena. A zarzuela is simply unforgettable; this musical drama incorporates dance, opera, and pop.

Thank the sea gods of the Mediterranean for the fresh food on your Alicante holiday; these include esmorçaret alacantí (sardines, eggs, and chilli), paella alicantina (shellfish, chicken, saffron rice, and pepper), and mojama (salty tuna roe); taste the brittle-like turrón, a sweet made of honey, sugar, egg white, and nuts, usually eaten for Christmas. For a sampling of their rice dishes, go to an arrocería; for a unique drink, try the fragrant horchata de chufas made of tiger nuts, and the sweet, local fondillón.

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