Fifteen years ago, you would have been lucky to bump into other Brits enjoying a break in the port city of Alicante. The majority, especially the stag and hen groups, would fly into Alicante airport, only to bypass the city on their way to rather more lively resorts.
Since then things have changed, and lads’ and girls’ parties are more prevalent. Nonetheless, don’t expect the usual raucous partying synonymous with Benidorm (a 35 minute drive along the coast) and other destinations further afield. Alicante city has its own legendary nightlife, but likes to think it has a little more finesse.
For those lads’ parties looking for something a little less chaotic, a little more laid back, while still being able to enjoy the local beers, shots and cocktails, Alicante has some great venues for both day and night partying. With high numbers of out-of-town Spanish visitors, and a large Spanish resident clientele, the majority of restaurants don’t begin to fill until mid-evening, while the larger entertainment venues don’t begin to fill until past midnight. However, all is not lost. Most of the big clubs and discos carry on partying until five or six in the morning.
If you choose to stay in a hotel popular with British tourists you just might be able to get your full English, although the sausage, bacon, and bread will likely be Spanish – but is that what you really want to do? Go native, take a stroll down to the marina, sit on the terrace of a small local bar, and enjoy a real Spanish breakfast of churros and Spanish coffee. If you don’t fancy something sweet then try a tostada, tortilla or bocadillo. But keep the coffee – the caffeine content is guaranteed to liven up the senses after the previous night’s festivities.
In the evening you are spoilt for choice with cuisine from around the world, or the opportunity to enjoy freshly caught fish, with dishes such as paella, red mullet grilled in oil with parsley and garlic, or a saffron-laced fish stew.
One thing’s for sure, when it comes to the serious part of the evening, Alicante can hold its own with its rowdy neighbours. In summer, make your way to the Esplanada or Marina areas. Bars are everywhere – from traditional to modern, small to large, you can have a ball as the atmosphere increases and the clientele spills into the tiny cobbled streets and promenades to carry on partying. The old city centre of El Barrio is another great entertainment area with bars offering live acts or karaoke. As the late evening turns into early morning, ‘La Zona’ is the place to head for, where the fashionistas meet, and everyone parties until sunrise.
Alicante city may not have the same ‘anything goes’ reputation as its near neighbour, but for those who wish to enjoy a great memorable break with friends, this beautiful Spanish city will provide a lifetime of memories – for all the right reasons.