Located at just 63 kilometers from the city of Alicante is one of the jewels of the crown of the province - the city of Calpe. A town that is identified by the rock that is called the Peñoñ de Ifach is a modern place, but not very crowded whcih surely is an advanteage over some other costal cities.
Calpe is an invitation to your senses with 13 kilometers of beautiful coastline bathed with beaches that have blue flags, which is a perfect guarantee for a great time outdoors. A cith with a lot of options of hotels and other types of faciltites to spend a few days here, depending on your budget offers many entertainment and gastronomic possibilitites. Sea food however is something you must try to enjoy in one of the restaurants in front of the Lonja de pescadores, right at the port.Related to:
- Water Sports
- Sailing and Boating
- Family Travel
Portal de Elche
This square is in the city center. It is full of big trees that offer a nice shade.
Recently a small kiosk that is in the middle has been put in function again as a cafeteria.
It is a nice place to have a short rest if you are walking in the street.
Plaza de los Luceros
Plaza de los Luceros is a square in the confluence of 4 avenues: Alfonso X el Sabio, Avda. de la Estación, Paseo de Federico Soto and General Marvá. The fountain in the center is a nice sculpture of Daniel Bañuls. The four horses represent the four brute forces of Nature. Also the four seasons are represented.
This square is the place where every year, during the festival of Hogueras de San Juan (June 19 to 24), the “mascletá” takes place. In the first photo, the square is prepared for the firecrackers.
The Theater was built in 1845, when a group of traders of the city and a few rich families decided to construct a theater. In their opinion, there was lack for a theater worthy of the city. The Town Hall ceded the plot and the “Teatro Nuevo” (New Theater) was built in neoclassical style. It was inaugurated in 1847. A few years later it was called “Teatro de Alicante”, and finally, Teatro Principal, as it is named now.
Every year many companies of theater, ballet, opera and orchestras perform their plays in the Teatro Principal. As they don’t stay many days, it is really difficult to find tickets, unless you try the very day they are put on sale.
I’ve seen here Un ballo in maschera, Don Quijote ballet, Carmen (Bizet), El Mikado (Dagoll Dagom), The Merchant of Venice, etc.
The Santa María Basilica
This is the oldest church in the city, built in the 14th century upon the ruins of Alicante's biggest mosque. The basilica had to be rebuilt after a fire in the 15th century.
The church has a single, non-cruciform nave with side chapels between the buttresses. Its baroque facade is crowned by two asymmetrical towers, built in the 14th and 18th century respectively.
Doorway, with an image of the Virgin Mary.
Rococo Main Altar (XVIII century)
Chaples of Bautismo, Inmaculada and Comunión (Baptism, Blessed Virgin and Communion).
Baptismal font (XVI century) in the Chapterhouse
Valencian baroque organ (XVII century)
The Santa Faz Monastery
The Santa Faz monastery is about 8 km from the city center.
According to the tradition, the relic that is venerated in this monastery is the Veil of Saint Veronica, the fabric with which this pious woman from Jerusalem wiped the face of Jesus on the Way to Calvary. The Holy Face miraculously impressed upon it.
This relic was brought from the Vatican in the 15th century by Mosén Pedro Mena, a priest of the nearby village of San Juan. He had traveled to Rome where he was given the veil with the Holy Face that had saved Venice from the plague. In 1489, the veil was taken out for a rogation to ask for rain. The priest who was holding the Veil observed that a tear drop from the Holy Face. Later there were more miracles.
The monastery was built on the place of the first miracle. The baroque façade is wonderful. The Santa Faz (Holy Face) relic is kept in a special room behind the main altarpiece.
Every year, on the second Thursday after Easter Sunday, there is a pilgrimage called Peregrina de la Santa Faz. The great participation, about 300,000 people, makes it the second pilgrimage in Spain, being El Rocío the biggest one. The pilgrimage starts from the San Nicolas co-Cathedral.
MARQ, Museo Arqueológico
The Archaeological Museum occupies the former Provincial Hospital that was built in 1924. My great-grandfather owned a large stretch of land in the Pla de Bon Repos neighbourhood. He ceded to the provincial council the plot where the Hospital would be built, a plot of 12,000 square meters close to the pine copse of Santa Barbara Castle.
The Museum was created in 1932, but it was located in the ground floor of the Provincial Council (Diputación Provincial). In 2002 the collections of that museum were transferred to the new Museum.
The Museum has an interesting collection of finds from Iberian and Roman cultures, the Middle Ages and Modern Era. It usually houses temporal exhibitions.
We did not give Alicante a fair shake
To tell the truth, the only reason we were in Alicante at all was to pick up Sue's sister - but it turned out she flew to Malaga instead, after we had based our travel arrangements on the original plan. This is the view we had as we headed out of town on our first morning in the city - headed for the countryside where we really wanted to be rather than getting lost in downtown traffic. I had stopped to get some Euros from a banking machine and was amazed at how beautiful the street looked at 8 AM before the world got underway!
On some wanderings on foot (2nd photo) and while lost in the car later in the day, we actually saw a bit of the hustle and bustle of downtown Alicante. Although we did not stop to explore due to lack of time, the city actually looked quite nice and I'm sure has some great attractions if that is what interests you. We only had the one full day and spent it exploring the rugged Cabo de San Antonio headland northeast of the city (following tips).
The 3rd photo fast-forwards to the end of our trip 3-weeks later as we arrived back in town to drop our rental car off (with another 3500-km on its odometer) before flying back to Madrid. We had planned to stop in Elche on the outskirts of Alicante to have a look at the UNESCO World Heritage palm tree plantations located there - but it began to rain just as we arrived in the area! This meant we had some time to kill, so we continued a few kilometers past the Elche/Alicante airport to one of the nearby beaches. The wind was blowing hard and huge waves were rolling ashore as we sat in the car just taking in the distant view of Alicante - including a small white blob of a cruiseship anchored behind its sheltering breakwater. We had our binoculars so watched the wheeling gulls and sandpipers for a while before saying goodbye to the Mediterranean Sea.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
A small Park - name unknown
After returning to Alicante from our day's explorations up the coast, we once again headed off in search of an evening meal but, as usual, had no luck except at our 'Nightlife' spot! However, we did wander completely out of the built-up area as we crossed Av de la Costa Blanca into a hilly and desert-like area.
It had an area displaying indigenous plants as well as numerous walking trails criss-crossing the steep but barren hills with some of them leading all the way down to the coast. We could see a few people out exploring here and there but overall, it was quite deserted. I did not write down the name of the park, but these photos were taken from one of its peaks, looking down Av de la Costa Blanca at 5:50 PM as the sun set behind Alicante.
The next morning we were up and away for the 6-hour drive south to Torremolinos in our second rental car as Stage 2 of our trip began.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
The Lighthouse at Cabo de Sant Antonio
Because of all the lighthouses I grew up with in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, I always like to have a look at any new ones I come across. This one, built in 1861, was no exception and its cylindrical masonry tower and attached lighthouse keeper's house seemed to be in good shape. Perched as it is on a high cliff, the 56 ft (17 m) tower has a light that is 574 ft above sea level, making it visible to shipping as far as 26 miles (42 km) offshore. This makes it more visible to shipping than the light located a few miles further south on Cap de la Nau, even though that cape extends further out into the Mediterranean.
The lighthouse and keeper's house are both fenced off with 'no entry' signs, which along with the vegetation make it difficult to get good photos of the site. While we were there a Guarda Civil vehicle drove up and parked beside it for a short while before heading off down the road again. The Jávea side has a great view out over the town located in a curving bay as well as a very nice car-park on the edge of the cliff where we had a picnic lunch while we enjoyed the views (see my 'Restaurant' tip).Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Cabo de Sant Antonio
I'm not sure how we did it but, after driving through downtown Jávea for a quick look, we gradually worked our way uphill as we left town and happened to spot a brown 'attractions' sign pointing to Cabo de Sant Antonio. We went in that direction and soon found ourselves really climbing up and along a winding road - it was looking good. Not long afterward, there we were at the cape with its ~500 ft cliffs dropping straight down to the Sea below.
This small area of 270 acres (110 hectares) was made a natural reserve in 1993 to protect the local ecosystem between sea level and the tops of these cliffs. As we walked toward the cliff over the extremely rough and jagged rocks making up the cape, we came across numerous information signs describing the types of vegetation we were seeing. The cape was named after the patron saint of a hermitage that was located here in the 1300s, with its ruins still visible (although we never found them).
A heavy rope has been run along the cliff edge to prevent people from getting too close, but it was down on the ground in many places so there is nothing to stop visitors from walking right off the edge. We got as close as we dared but had to be careful because of the strong wind gusts coming down off the nearby 750 m (2470 ft) Montgó mountain trying to give us a push from behind. It reminded me a bit of Cabo de Roca in Portugal where we experienced something similar, including seeing a memorial plaque to a young German man who lost his life that way.Related to:
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Moraira Beach and the Mediterranean Sea!
We were anxious to reach a quiet spot along the Mediterranean coast, so headed east toward the distant headland of Cabo de San Antonio about 90 km away (thanks to a tip by VT-member "LoriPori"). We wanted to stay as close to the coast as possible so stuck to the N-332 National highway instead of the A7/E15 divided highway. I only had a large Michelin map of the entire country which showed the San Antonio area as being almost deserted with a few roads linking its major towns. Consequently, I was quite surprised at how built up the area was once we turned off at Calpe onto the even smaller highways. Houses covered all the hillsides and the area is actually quite heavily settled but still very pretty with the rugged coastal hills giving good views out to the Sea.
Eventually we came to the town of Moraira and its little beach - so beautifully done up that we simply had to stop. It was very enjoyable to get out and walk down to the Mediterranean for the first time on this trip - the last time I had been on its shore was at Tunis, Tunisia in 1974 while returning from my job in Zambia! We got out to enjoy the sunshine and sound of the waves as our vacation officially got underway! A very relaxing spot with only a couple of other people around as we wandered down to the shore and at least got our hands wet in the Mediterranean Sea. We were smiling as we left to continue our drive to Cabo de San Antonio.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
A walk on the front and down the back streets
We did not have time to do the "big tourist" visits like for example the castle of my namesake saint, so spent what time we had in a leisurely manner just strolling around the sea front and the hidden streets behind having coffee, and later lunch before taking our relatives to the airport with time to spare.
We were impressed by the laid back atmosphere and classical beauty of the 17th and 18th century buildings and I would love to go back for a longer visit - at low season.
The San Nicolás Co-Cathedral
This former mosque was transformed into a Christian church by King Alfonso X, The Wise. It is in the Renaissance style of renowned Spanish architect Juan de Herrera and stands in the city centre.
Its floor plan is in the shape of a Latin cross, with an interior that boasts notable features such as the 15th century cloister with two baroque doors, the altar and the blue cupula 45 metres high. Below the cupola is the Capilla de la Comunión communion chapel, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Spanish baroque.
The interior has recently been restored to mark the celebration of the La Luz de las Imágenes exhibition (The Light of Images) in Alicante, which aims to recuperate and promote the Region of Valencia's artistic heritage.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Opened in 1847, this is a theatre par excellence. Its main facade is in the neo-classical style, while its interior, designed in accordance with the Italian typology of the period, is divided into three clearly differentiated areas: the vestibule, the horseshoe-shaped auditorium and the stage.
It currently has the capacity for an audience of 1072.Related to:
- Theater Travel
- Museum Visits
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