Gran Alacant is a big urbanisation and a suburb of Santa Pola. The area is just 15 kilometres south of Alicante and 6km from Santa Pola. It has several commercial areas, a market every Thursday morning and a Tourist Train, which is a great way to discover Gran Alacant as it runs through the area connecting everything. There is a stunning cliff top walk or cycle route to the lighthouse and another one at the base of the cliffs through the pines. The fine sandy beach stretches north to Arenales del Sol and south to the start of the scenic drive to Santa Pola, along which there are a number of 'chill out' beach bars in the summer.
Local Market in Gran Alacant – El Chato
Gran Alacant’s Market is named after one of the most symbolic street traders of Santa Pola “El Chato”. The market is approximately 12,000 m2 providing a total of 140 stall positions. Within the services building there is a reception room, ladies and gents toilet, cafeteria with outside terrace where there is a small children’s play area. Very popular with residents and visitors to Gran Alacant where fresh fruit and vegetabls, plans, clothes and home furnishing can be boughts. The market is located on Avda Escandinavia every Thursday from 9am to 2 pm (approx.).
Alicante is a city which has it all; a vibrant historic section with the Castle of Santa Barbara as it’s crowning glory, a traditional bull ring, long fine sandy beaches, an impressive marina from where you can take the boat to the Island of Tabarca or across the marina to the Panorama Centre, a great selection of boutiques, department stores and specialist shops, and many fiestas including the famous Hogueras or Bonfires around the end of June.
Santa Barbara Castle is well worth a visit. If you are feeling energetic, you can walk the 166m to the top through the old quarter, take the tourist bus or catch the lift from the street. However, the best way is to drive and park for free! You can explore the well preserved castle ruins at your own pace, taking in the stunning views and the tranquillity of its setting. On a clear day you’ll look out over the marina and beaches to the sea, down onto the cathedral and the old town, you’ll see the bullring and the football stadium for Hercules Alicante as well as the mountains in the distance.
This is just a flavour of things to do in Alicante, for more information visit the Alicante.com website.
Santa Pola is a busy town which is best known for its fishing industry, salt lakes that produce salt for use on the roads and more recently, as a great destination for kite surfers.
It has some 13 kilometres of coastline and a modern marina from which you can take a boat trip to the nearby Island of Tabarca which was made a national Marine Reserve in 1986. The town boasts a helpful tourist office, a fortress castle, a palm park, an aquarium and an interesting range of cultural and historic museums. There is a daily fish market during the week and a busy street market on a Monday and Saturday morning. There is a marked walking route alongside the rural beaches at the souther end of Santa Pola, and a 7 kilometre promenade which connects all of the beaches in the central area. To the north of Santa Pola the scenic drive to Gran Alacant begins. The road, which is an extremely popular cycling route, hugs the rocky shore line, passing the CIMAR marine research facility and during the summer a number of chill out bars, finishing at the little hermitage.
Elche’s economy is not based on tourism or construction but on footwear. Elche has over 1000 shoe factories which is important not only for Spain but also for the rest of Europe. Part of the municipality is on the coast but mainly the city is fifteen kilometres away from the Mediterranean Sea.
Elche Palm Trees Agriculture still plays an important role in Elche producing dates, olives, cereals and pomegranates. The rubber trade employs close to 20% of Elche’s inhabitants.
Elche is famous for its palm trees. The Elche Palm Grove is an orchard with over 200,000 palm trees and has been proclaimed a heritage site by UNESCO in 2000.
Huerto del Cura (Priest’s Garden)
The Huerto del Cura or Priest’s Garden is a hidden gem especially attractive on a hot summers day as the hundreds of palm trees there provide some welcome shade from the scorching sun. Surrounded by busy city streets, this is a strangely tranquil place, the stone walls encircling it, blocking out much of the city noise.
Inside you will find hundreds of species of palm trees of varying sizes, culminating in the huge eight armed Imperial Palm, the pride of the garden, which is some 170 years old and is supported by metal straps which prevent it from collapsing under its huge eight tons of weight.
Rio Safari Park
Wherever you are staying on the Costa Blanca a great idea for a day out or excursion is to travel to the Rio Safari Park. This family friendly animal park has many attractions including a ‘train’ ride and some entertaining animal shows including an elephant show, a parrot show and a sea lion show.