After spending various years in Spain, I carry a little piece of its culture with me wherever I go whether in South Florida, Cuba, or on the other side of the world in Kauai. However, I did miss one hot Spanish destination during my stay, Alicante. That is why, I asked a fellow travel writer and lover of all things Spanish, Ayeisha to research and write this post on Adventure Travel to Alicante Spain. I guess I’ll need to make another voyage to Spain and its Costa Blanca. Please enjoy Ayeisha’s post or better said disfruta and ole!
An Alicante Adventure for the Nature-lover at Heart
The Costa Blanca (White Coast) along the southeastern coast of Spain has been referred to as “Europe’s playground.” In the resort town of Alicante, the beaches are of course the main allure, making this destination a clothing-optional paradise for some visitors while others will find it a little crowded and bustling for their tastes. While it seems that every square inch of white sand has been discovered already, there are still plenty of inland destinations that will inspire anyone with an adventurous spirit. Thankfully, nature is the best tour guide—all you need to do is follow the flora and fauna into the mountains.
Alicante is a year-round destination with plenty of affordable flights to entice sun-seekers. With all eyes on the coastal beaches, it’s not surprising that many travelers continue to ignore Spain’s rockier terrain. Hiking enthusiast and nature lovers will be thrilled to discover that Spain is Europe’s second most mountainous country after Switzerland. Compared to the beaches, hikers can walk a week without encountering a single soul on the trail.
The Mountains of Alicante are classic limestone formations surrounded by sloping hills of bright red poppies and rare orchids sprouting between rocky outcroppings. If you go in February you will be blown away by the eruption of Almond tree blossoms that blanket the mountain in white.
Stay in Quatretondeta a small village in the heart of the Mountains of Alicante settled among olive trees and just a 60 minute drive from Alicante. Here you will find plenty of guided tours geared towards hikers, biking enthusiast, birders, and botany lovers, some up to a week long, costing upwards of €690 with food and board included. If you’re on a tight budget there’s no need to worry. Just opt for the independent walking tours and stay in the village for as little as €27 a night during off-season.
Of the 120 walks that are mapped out, all are graded. Depending on your ability, you can choose between a level 1, a one-to-two hour amble to local heritage sites, to a level 3, a seven-hour hike with some rock scrambling involved. Proper hiking shoes are a must. Limestone is sharp, and perhaps best suited for the herds of dun-colored Barbary sheep that you’ll see huddled on the slopes.
Quatretondeta is also an ideal starting point to the Sierra Serrella, where you will discover nature’s very own limestone sculptures the “Els Frares” (the Friars). These giant round-tipped shards embedded into the mountainside took thousands of years of wind-and-water erosion to form. They are truly spectacular! Many of ‘the Friars’ have a single wind-swept tree emerging from the top, and a few are completely tunneled out so that you can walk right through them.
If the weather happens to be on the misty side don’t worry, this will only add to the rather holy experience of being amidst these grand statues. On a clear day you can see the Mediterranean and as far as the island of Ibiza. You may even get lucky and spot the rare Griffin vulture circling above. From this vantage one thing is certain—you won’t regret forgetting your beach towel.
**Guest post written by Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, travel writer for Monarch Airlines and lover of all things Spanish