Alicante is a city with over 3000 years of history, as revealed by the earliest archaeological remains found at the Cova del Fum cave in Fontcalent, which date from the third millennium BC. The earliest inhabited settlements were found on the hillside of mount Benacantil, where it is believed there used to be an Iberian settlement. The earliest evidences of the town as such date back to the 4th century BC, when Tossal de Manises first became home to the Iberian-Roman colony of Lucentum.
The Muslim Conquest
After the Roman era came the Muslim conquest, and the colony was relocated to the slopes of Mount Benacantil for defensive reasons, thus creating the Vila Vella or Old Town.
In 1247, the town was captured for the Kingdom of Castille by the Infante Alfonso, who was to become King Alfonso X The Wise. At the time, Alicante came to be known as Vila Nova, or the New Town. In 1249, King Jaume II incorporated the town to the Kingdom of Valencia and two centuries later, in1490, King Ferdinand the Catholic granted Alicante the status of city.
In the 19th century, progress arrived in the city in the shape of the Alicante-Madrid railway, the installation of street lighting and the new town planning regulations, which would take down the city walls and create new neighbourhoods.
The 20th century was the moment when the bonfire celebrations known as the “Fogueres de Sant Joan”, which have been officially declared to be of international tourist interest, were born. Then the university was opened, and in 1993 the city was selected as the headquarters of the European Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the EU’s largest independent agency.
MAIN LOCAL / CULTURAL EVENTS
· Les Fogueres de Sant Joan: One of the most important events in the city’s events schedule. This festival has been officially declared to be of International Tourist Interest and its origins lie in the tradition of burning useless objects with the arrival of the summer solstice.
Date: 20th – 24th June.
· A market selling foodstuff and arts and crafts, set up behind the town hall in the Old Quarter during the last week of June or the first week of July.
Date: Variable. The last week of June or the first week of July.
· Moors and Christians: these are the province’s most important festivals, celebrated in different areas around the city of Alicante on various dates. It is a spectacular re-enactment of the province’s recapture from Muslim rule. These lively celebrations fill Alicante with their colourful typical clothes.
Date: Variable. During the months of February, March or April.
HOW TO GET TO ALICANTE
The Airport of l’Altet is located just 9 km southwest of Alicante, within the boundaries of the town of Elx, and is run by Aena, the Spanish aviation and airspace authority. The airport can be accessed from A-7 motorway and N-332 dual carriageway, with average journey time ranging from around 15 minutes from Alicante city centre to 30 minutes during rush hour.
Transport from the Airport
Taxi: there is a taxi rank opposite the airport’s Arrivals Hall.
Approximate prices from the airport to the city centre are:
Daytime rate: 16 euros.
Night and public holidays rate: 18 euros.
For more information call (+34) 965 252 511
Airport Bus – Alicante. Line c-6
There are bus stops opposite the Arrivals and Departures halls.
Timetable: every 20 minutes from 6:30 am to 11.10 pm.
Ticket price: 2.60 euro
You can take AP 7 motorway, which runs through the province of Alicante from north-east to south-west and connects the city with Valencia and Barcelona to the north and Murcia and Andalusia to the south. You can also take A-31 motorway, which connects Alicante with Madrid.
The train station is operated by Spanish railway company RENFE and located on Avenida de Salamanca. Alicante is the departure terminal for trains belonging to the national network that connect the province with the rest of Spain.
For more information call (+34) 902 240 202 or visit www.renfe.es.
The central bus station connects Alicante with the rest of the province, and also with Spanish regional capitals, European capitals and Morocco.
For more information call (+34) 965 130 700.
Port of Alicante: Moll de Ponent, 11
Port’s telephone number: (+34) 965 130 095.
Please visit the Alicante City Council website (http://www.alicante.es/redir.php?apartado=trafico&pagina=tam.html) for complete information on city transport (train, tramway, bus station, airport and port) such as prices, bus stops or where to buy transport passes.
Alicante has a substantial network of bus routes. The buses run at frequent intervals from morning to night. At weekends, this timetable is extended into the small hours.
Prices: 1 euro. City transport passes known as Mobils are also available.
For more information:
TAM Offices (Alicante Metropolitan Transport company)
6 Calle Díaz Moreu (on the corner of La Rambla de Méndez Núñez and Avenida Jaume II)
Tel. 965 14 09 36
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 8.30 am – 2 pm / 5 pm – 7 pm
This service runs along several routes and is currently being extended. La Marina (on Plaça del Mar
square, next to El Postiguet beach) is the terminal station of one of the routes. Other main stations include Mercado Central (right in the city centre) and MARQ, named after the Archaeological Museum it is very close to. From all these stations you can get to San Juan beach, La Albufereta beach and the coastal locations of El Campello and La Vila Joiosa. Here, passengers can transfer to Creueta station to take the narrow gauge railway known as the ‘trenet’ that runs along the coast to Denia, passing through other locations such as Benidorm and Altea.
The TRAM also runs frequently from morning to night.
Timetables and special services:
· The “Tren Arqueològic” archaeological train takes passengers around the three main archaeological sites: the
MARQ archaeological museum, Lucentum and L’Illeta dels Banyets (in El Campello).
· The “Tren Ambiental” environmental train takes passengers on a route through the local countryside.
· The “Tren Cultural” cultural train allows passengers to discover the districts and towns it serves.
· The “Tren Senderista” ramblers’ train (better known as the Trenet Senderista) takes passengers to the starting
points for excursions.
· The Tramsnochador night tram is a night service to and from the nightlife areas, available in July and August.
· Terra Mítica is an unmanned tram stop very close to Terra Mítica theme park.
For more information:
2 Avenida Villajoyosa
03016 Alicante (at La Marina station at the end of El Postiguet beach)
Tel. 900 72 04 72
The TRENET Railway
The “trenet” narrow gauge railway line starts at Creueta station in La Vila Joiosa and takes passengers along the coast to
Denia, passing through Benidorm, Altea, Calp, Benissa and Teulada, among other places.