Last Updated on January 3, 2022
A port city in the Costa Blanca, Alicante has been influenced over many centuries by the different peoples and customs which have touched it. As a result, the city is littered with several cultural hotspots, which it would be foolish of any visitor to ignore, particularly those interested in the Baroque period of architectural stylings for which the city is famed.
Ayuntamiento de Alicante
The Town Hall, known as the Ayuntamiento, is the hub from which Alicante’s cultural developments are born. The Town Hall is itself open to the public, who primarily visit the 18th Century building not just due to its central location on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, but also because of its own innate beauty.
Inside, many of the furnishings date to the time of Queen Isabel of Spain, while a newer building houses a series of archaeological finds from the region in and around Alicante.
Cathedral of St. Nicholas of Bari
Perhaps the most famous of the several notable landmarks in Alicante, the Cathedral has only in fact been awarded that title since 1959, when its status was elevated by Pope John XXIII. Before then, this had been considered a church ever since it was first constructed in the mid-17th Century. With an instantly recognizable giant blue dome towering over the rooftops, the Cathedral is an example of Baroque and Renaissance-period architecture.
The Cathedral is situated not too far from the coast, with a number of restaurants and shops in the immediate area.
Castillo de Santa Barbara
No place shows Alicante’s multicultural history in more poignant light than Castillo de Santa Barbara, the fortification on Mount Benacantil in the center of Alicante. The castle was fought over by various people throughout its history, from its 8th Century Moorish foundations to the Castillans and Aragonese in the 13th Century, and the French forces of the 17th Century.
The castle is free to enter, though if you choose to take the lift up rather than stretch your legs with a walk up the mountain (some 150 metres and more) you’ll be charged a small fee.
Iglesia de Santa Maria
One of Alicante’s most iconic buildings, the Church of Santa Maria dates back to the 14th Century, making it the city’s oldest church.
It was built on the remains of a mosque, raised as a structure with architecture which is Gothic in fashion, which provides a striking backdrop for the high altar, statue of the Virgin Mary and the large marble font situated in the Chapel. The church was promoted to the rank of basilica in 2007.
La Casa de la Asegurada
This is Alicante’s primary modern art museum, exhibiting a number of 20th Century pieces within the halls of its 17th Century home in the El Barrio part of town, itself one of the city’s prime examples of Baroque architecture.
The exhibits housed within were dedicated to the museum in 1976 by Eusebio Sempere, and includes works by such artists as Chillida, Viola, Saura and Zobel.