Alicante: Off the Beaten Path in Spain

Alicante's Castillo de Santa Bárbara

The Mediterranean Sea from Alicante’s Castillo de Santa Bárbara.

As many (most?) of you know, I studied abroad in Alicante, Spain in 2011.

I’m doing some travel writing for Lucerna Media, and my first assignment was a budget travelogue about my favorite Costa Blanca city. (Which was ideal, since I was definitely on a budget when I lived there.)

Alicante isn’t the most well-known city in Spain, but it has much more to offer than you might think — that is, if you know where to look.

Check out my travelogue to discover my favorite sights, restaurants, and bars in Alicante.


The Concise Spain Survival Guide

Guide to living in Spain, Spain Survival Guide
Spain Lesson 1:

Even though you purchased them, you cannot take glass water bottles with you.  Everyone will get mad.

That’s right, folks. Not only do you have to pay €2-3 for your bottle of water, but you have to give the bottle back. This is precisely why I always order wine.

Spain Lesson 2:

Cheap restaurants like 100 Montaditos, Lizarrán, and La Sureña are the poor man’s (or woman’s) friend. Want to drink a huge mug of tinto de verano for €1.50? (Or €1 on Wednesdays/Sundays?) 100 Montaditos is your place. Want to get 5 bottles of beer for €3? Go to La Sureña.

You can even get Chipotle-style burritos at Tierra Burrito Bar (pictured below; metros Alonso Martínez and Guzmán el Bueno) for a reasonable €6.

I like to eat, so I really like this about Madrid.

Spain Lesson 3:

All fruit you wish to purchase must be weighed by the Official Fruit-Weigher. They don’t always have scales at the cash registers, so the fruit-buying process looks like this:

  • Step 1: Put on the plastic gloves that are provided for you. (You’ll know to do this because there are 30 million “POR FAVOR, USAD LAS GUANTES” signs everywhere.)
  • Step 2: Pick out the fruit/vegetables you want and put them in separate bags.
  • Step 3: Bring all fruit/vegetables to the Official Fruit-Weigher. He’ll weigh them and put a barcode sticker on each bag.
  • Step 4: Walk away with your produce.
  • Step 5: Congratulate yourself because you know how to do yet another Spain thing.

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¡Hola España!

I made it! We had a surprisingly comfortable Iberia flight over from Chicago (read: free wine) and a long, productive day yesterday. Apartment-hunting is forcing me to get back into the swing of Spanish — phone conversations included — and I’ve successfully navigated the metro a few times. The weather was gorgeous today, too, so overall it feels wonderful to be back in Spain.

More details and photos to come! Hasta luego!