Are you sick of winter? Cold weather and grey skies? Are you looking to escape winter and head out to some place sunny? I didn’t want to travel too far and didn’t have time to escape winter for a couple of months. So I choose Alicante for a short weekend get-a-way to soak up some sun. I travelled to Alicante, Spain on a budget for a short weekend and I’ll show you 6 ways how you can escape winter too!
Escape Winter in Alicante
The city of Alicante (Alicant) is located on the Costa Blanca. On the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and 165 km (102 miles) south of Valencia. The city has a large airport which serves as the main hub to beach towns as Benidorm and Denia where the average age in winter rises above 70 years and during summer month drops below 18 years.
Read more: Andalucia Road Trip
Before I set off for my weekend winter escape to Alicante, I researched the place a bit. Turned out, there was not much to research. All I could find, where endless sunny beaches, a colorful promenade and an ancient castle.
Turns out, that’s all you need to convince me: ancient castle. Cool! Let’s go. We didn’t plan on anything, just to relax and walk around town a bit, see the castle and indulge in some good food. Although my trip was very very short, it did feel as if I escaped winter for a short period and this is how I did it.
Looking for more Spain related posts? Check Probe around Spain
# 1. Visit the Mercado Central
During our evening walk around town, we bumped into the central market hall. We returned the next day to check things out. The hall was packed with every butcher and fish monger in town. The lively atmosphere was easily detected when we walked around on Saturday and people were getting their weekly groceries. We sat on a bench outside to have our breakfast and soaked up the sun and the atmosphere.
There is nothing that screams “You’re escaping from home” more than a screaming market seller.
# 2. Visit the Santa Barbara Castle
After the market and our delicious breakfast, we continued onwards to the Santa Barbara castle. This castle sits high up a cliff overlooking Alicante and it’s the main attraction in the area. We wanted to climb the hill as we wanted to maximize our time outside and walk in the sun.
We went to Santa Cruz Gate (Ermita Santa Cruz) and walked up hill along some gorgeous and colorful houses. The Barrio de la Santa Cruz is the old part of town. No apartment blocks here, but little blue doors and lots of plants and flowers in the window sill. It felt like we landed in another era.
After we checked out the gate, we continued through the Ereta Park and already saw some amazing views over town. The views were stunning and a good excuse to catch my breath. The path went upwards with an incline of more than 20% so I was panting along the way.
We climbed along the West Wall and saw the castle getting closer and closer. Not too long after, we walked through the citadels gate and stood inside the castle walls. I was surprised how big the property was. We could walk all around it and see the hills in the distance, along the coastline to the east, down on Alicante city and to the harbor in the west.
The fortress is from the late 9th century and you can visit the museum on site. As we wanted to take in as much sunlight as we could, we decided to enjoy our time outside. Have you visited the museum at the Santa Barbara Castle? Let me know what you thought about it.
#3. Visit the Beach
With an average temperature of 13 degrees Celsius (55 Fahrenheit) it is not perfect for taking your bikini out and go for a swim in the sea. That is what you’d normally do, when you go to the Costa Blanca in Spain. But not in February.
Although the wind was picking up rather enthusiastically, we still wanted to head down to the beach. We just had to see the perfect white and golden sand and the sea. Going to the beach is the ultimate escape from winter!
The wind was welcoming us with a more than strong breeze and the sun was shining fiercely. The waves were crushing down on the shore and some seagulls were floating in the wind. What an amazing feeling to be here! Standing on a golden beach in February and escaping the winter in Alicante for just a short moment!
#4. Stoll around the Promenade Explanada de España
We headed back into town and walked to the harbor and along the promenade. When you google images of Alicante, you’ll see this famous sight of the city. The wavy pattern of red, white and dark marble bricks aligned by waving palm trees.
This is the meeting place for all locals and we tried to blend right in. We strolled a bit around. Looked at some shops and enjoyed the sun on our face. We settled for some good coffee and just took thinks easy. It almost felt like we had already retired and we could do with our time as we pleased. Although we only had a short weekend, it felt like we had all the time in the world and a true escape from winter.
The promenade is open all day (duh!) and it is free to visit. Looking for more free things to do in Alicante? Check the link.
#5. Shop till you drop
Alicante is actually quite a vibrant city. I was amazed at the pace of the city and the normal everyday life going on. It didn’t feel like a big jet-set environment or a Walhalla for pensioners or a tourist trap. We did found some interesting shops around town and couldn’t help to gawk at the delicacies at the “El Corte Ingles” food court. We fantasized about buying €92 bottles of champagne and a bag of 200 gram coffee for €42. What would it taste like? Would it really taste 35 times better than our average bottle of wine? We didn’t buy anything, but if you’d like to know what we did spent, please check the costs of travel to Alicante.
#6. Enjoy the Food in Alicante
When you go to Spain, you’ll be in for a treat. I insisted on walking to the castle, because I knew I wanted to enjoy the foods without any guilt.
The first night, we headed out for a Taberna Iberica, where they served Spanish cuisine. We settled on the menu which served us a variety of tapas and a dish of paella. The local specialty: paella with chicken and rabbit. The soft and silky rice buts were a pleasure on the tongue!
The second night, we strolled around town, looking for a place to enjoy some tapas. We just wanted to sit, relax, have some wine and enjoy some little snacks. We found ourselves in the most vibrant area of town and settled in a busy tapas bar. We had some delicious mouthwatering pieces of cut meats only Spain can serve you. What a nice way to escape winter!
Read more: Food Tour in Malaga
Eat more: Tapas and Wine Tour in Seville
Are you sick of winter? Do you lack some warmth and sunshine? Why not escape winter and go to Alicante like I did. With my 6 ways to enjoy the city and escape winter in Alicante, you’ll maximize your time and enjoy yourself!
Let me know if you’ve been to Alicante or consider going there to escape winter. What did you think of Alicante or any winter escape?