Castillo de Santa Bárbara, Alicante
Even with a Palm lined seafront, beaches, an old town and a Marina it would be difficult to describe Alicante as a whole as 'charming' or 'picturesque'. The two massive castles that loom over the town, do however provide a sense of History and a setting for the place. The larger of the two is much older as it was begun by the Moors back in the 11 century. As Alfonso the wise conquered it on Saint Barbara's day, the castles name has become forever 'Santa Barbara'.
The fort area itself is on an impressive scale, and is free to enter. This is also true of concerts that are held on summer evenings. Many ascend by lift from the promenade area (you can't see it - it was cut into the rock), although the walk up from the centre of the city is well worth the effort. Recent efforts have been made to create a park on the lower slopes, although it will take a while to mature. Best of all (especially when the sun is in 'scorchio' mode) is to ascend by list and then come down via the new walkway that ends up near the market area.
Some say that if you stand in the Marina area you can see the face of a moor in the rock - maybe after a few too many Sangrias, but I couldn't.
Entry if free, although if you cant face the walk up and take the lift it will cost you 2 euro 50. The door to the lift is near the port. You may also get there when a large group is heading up - be prepared for a long wait as the lift only holds about 8 people at a time.
Also be warned that the 'grumpiest woman in spain' controls the lift and will not tolerate beachwear or a lack of shoewear in her somewhat small kingdom !
Castillo de Santa Barbara is at the top of the White rock - Benancatil. Its height is about 160 m.
The castle was constructed by Romans. Phillip II reconstructed it in the XVI-th century . It is possible to rise to the castle on a cable car. There is a small museum in the castle. There is a viewing platform at the top of the rock The magnificent view on the city and the sea opens from the platform.
The castle remained abandoned until 1963, when it was opened to the public. Lifts have been installed inside the mountain.
You can watch my 5 min 32 sec Video Alicante part 1 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
Santa Barbara Castle is a medieval fortress on top of Mount Benacantil. It dominates the city and constitutes a landmark that is seen from far away. The castle offers the nicest views of Alicante's bay.
The upper fortress was built in the 14th century. The most important buildings (Hall of Felipe II, guardhouse, Queen’s bastion) belong to the part of the fortress built in the 16th century. During the War of the Spanish Sucesion (1701-1714) the Castle was occupied sucesively by the two forces in conflict: the Grand Alliance and the Two Crowns (France and Spain). In 1706 the British Army had taken the power. The French army dug a tunel and blew up part of the castle and as a consequence, many houses on foot of the mount were destroyed. The Governor's house and other parts of the castle were built again, as well as the lower fortress, in the 18th century.
The MUSA (Museo de Alicante) is spread in different rooms over the castle: the Engineers Hall, the Former Hospital, the Long Room and the Mine Rooms or English Caves.
In front of El Postiguet beach there is a lift that drives visitors to the castle traversing the rock. The castle can also be accessed on foot or by car along the road on the north face of Mount Benacantil.
La Cara del Moro ("The Moor's Face”) is a characteristic image of Alicante. When you look at Mount Benacantil from the beach, it looks like a human face. This side of the mount has recently been under works to avoid rock detachments.
The entrance is free.
Winter (1st October - 31st March) 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Daily.
Summer (1st April - 30th September) 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Daily.
MUSA: 10 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Daily.
Lift: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Last lift to ascend: 7.20 p.m. Last lift to descend: 7.40 p.m.
On top of the Mount Benacantil, which is almost entirely surrounded by the sea, you find the Castle of Santa Barbara. The panoramic views are fantastic. The three main buildings date from the 14th, 16th and 18th century. Foundations that date back to the 11th-12th centuries have been found here. Also Iberian, Roman and Arab remains.
Perched on top of Mount Benacantil, at a height of 166 metres, stands one of Spain's largest mediaeval fortresses, providing great views of Alicante's perfect bay.
It has three different enclosures from three distinct periods:
The upper enclosure, "La Torreta", is where visitors will find the keep and the most ancient remains of the fortress, which mostly date from the 14th century. The mid-level enclosure is home to the most important buildings, which were built in the 16th century. These include:
the Salón Felipe II hall the Cuerpo de Guardia guardhouse the Patio de Armas parade ground the Baluarte de la Reina bastion. The lower enclosure dates back to the 18th century and is home to the Revellín del Bon Repós ravelin. Visitors can access the castle via a lift built within the rockface opposite El Postiguet beach. You can also reach the castle on foot or by car along the road on the north face of Mount Benacantil, which starts in Calle Vázquez de Mella street. On the sea-facing slope of Mount Benacantil is the La Ereta park, an attractive open-air space with a restaurant, cafeteria and exhibition hall. The park offers superb views of the city and its Old Quarter, which can be reached easily via the various entrances to the park.
Curiously, when viewed from El Postiguet beach, Mount Benacantil looks like a human face in profile which is known as "La Cara del Moro" or "The Moor's Face" and is one of the city's most emblematic images.
The Castillo de Santa Bárbara is an old castle in fron of the beach Postiguet in Alicante.
It is located on a "hilltop" (about 166 mtr) with views of the city of Alicante and the beach / harbour.
The access to the castle is free, and the opening hours is:
in summertime (abril-september) from 10:00 to 20:00
in wintertime (october-march) from 09:00 to 19:00.
To visit Castille de Santa Barbara, you have a choice: WALK 350 ft up Mount Banacantil through wooded and scrubby parkland OR walk 200 yds through a tunnel and take the ELEVATOR for 2.4 euros. From the top it is easy to see why this was such a vital fortress with 360 degree views over the land and seascape. No invaders could get near without being seen. The first reports of a Citadel here come from the 10th. Century and it seems to have kept its Moorish structure until the 15th.Century when it had major alterations to convert it into a Christian building with a Palace, Church, cisterns, storerooms, kitchen, dining hall, stables, hospital, mills, oven etc. In the 16th. Century the Castle took on more of a military role with the provision of a Governor’s House, Engineering Corps HQ, dungeons, powder room and bakery as well as a parade ground, the troop barracks and guard room. It’s a truly remarkable place particularly since with all this history around, there are now very modern sculptures dotted around the site as well as various exhibitions of contemporary art in several of the rooms of the castle. To really explore the site can take a whole morning, although for the best views it is probably better in the afternoon when any early haze has cleared. And if all that walking round in the warmth builds up a thirst there is a tree-shaded area with a cafe cum bar to refresh those parts that are in need. The walk down through that parkland can be quite pleasant. Just at the bottom, at the moment, there is a massive construction going on with the building of a new underground and tram system.
The Castle of Santa Barbara,it is located just entering the city by the north,on a small mountain called Benacantil at 166 meters above sea level.
The castle was built from the arabs,and takes its name because on that date (St. Barbara's Day) it was gained in a battle to the arabs for the prince Alfonso the Castilla,late King Alfonso X el Sabio,one of best kings that we had on medieval age.
The Castle of Santa Barbara,was opening to public on 1,963, after a very good restoration,because during many years the castle was not very well conserved,and needed that building works.
Also at the same time were opening the two elevators that are going up to the castle inside the mountain.
There are to ways to go there,one driving your own car by a small road that reach the castle by the back side,or much better taking the elevators that are just in the mountain in front of Postiguet Beach,this is the best way to go up.From the top of the castle you'll see amazing views of the city,harbor and Mediterranean Sea.
Inside the Castle you can see also a nice exposition about spanish sculputures and another nice ones,and also you can explore the inside of the rooms,corridors,dungeons,passages.
Castillo De Santa Barbara is a pretty great old fortress located in the highest point of the city. It rises up to over 160 meters above the sea level (?) and gives nice view over the city and to the sea. Some plants and other stuff gives the interiors of the fortress a nice look. There are also some concert (?) halls inside the walls of Santa Barbara.
Oh, and it's totally free from charge. :-)
See more views at the travelogue.
This impressive fortress crowns the Mount Benacantil, the craddle of the city. The first human settlements known in Alicante were located in the slopes of this mount. All the ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean sailed in these waters and some of them, Phoenicians and Greeks, even established themeselves in the vicinity. But, the Romans were the people that founded Lucentum, giving thus birth to the city of Alicante.
The mount Benacantil provided a strategic location that allowed an easy defense ot the city and its port. A free of pirates and invaders Mediterranean have turned the fortress into a public espace with contemporary sculpture exhibitions, gardens and the best view of the city and its port.
Visit the Castilla de Santa Barbara. Spectacular medievel castle sitting at the top of the of the Benacantil mountain. Offers fantastic views of Alicante and the surrounding coastline. Houses the 'Museo de las Hogueras', the Museum of Bonfires, contains effigies saved from the flames of the popular Las Hogueras festivities of Alicante.
The Castillo de Santa Barbara is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe. It occupies the entire summit and a large proportion of the slopes of the Benacantil mountain. It commands a unique look-out over the coastline, the Bay of Alicante and the surrounding farmland. Remains from the Bronze-age have been discovered on this site. The castle has three enclosures of differing dates, each with unique features. The castle can be accessed by a road leading up the western slope of the mountain, winding it's way through pine trees..... or for a small fee take the elevator from the entrance in front of the beach.
It's a cool place to hang out and enjoy the bird's-eye views of the city and the sea. Don't forget to bring your camera! There are also art expositions in some of the rooms, and sculptures scattered about. (See picture for examples) To get up to the castle, you can drive up a back road (don't remember the name) then park just outside the entrance. If you don't mind the exercise, you can always walk up the same road! I think most people take the elevator up though...which is exactly what I did! It's inside of this cave right across the street from Postiguet beach. If you're already at the beach, walk across the overpass which leads you right to the mouth of the cave. The elevator ride costs a few hundred pesetas. You'll need coins to purchase a ticket from the ticket machine inside the cave. I think the guy that operates the elevator may be able to provide you with some change if you need it...but he won't sell you at ticket!
There is also a museum and a sculpture garden in 'Castillo De Santa Barbara'
The views from up here are great! Look down at the city from the castle. You can see most of the city from this height.