Whether it’s for Barcelona’s unfinished Sagrada Familia, Madrid’s grand boulevards, Seville’s postcard-ready Plaza de España, or even Tenerife’s rugged natural beauty, there are many reasons why millions of Americans are flocking to Spain every year.

Believe it or not, despite its immense popularity – it is the second-most visited country in Europe after France – much of the country’s Southern coast remains largely undiscovered by Stateside visitors, who will often restrict themselves to two or three touristy spots only.

That leaves beautiful Alicante, a resort town bordering the Mediterranean, where a pint of beer is $4, and beachfront hotels can cost as cheap as $54 to book, out of the picture; now, if you’re a Brit or German, you’re probably rolling your eyes hard now.

We get it, Alicante has been one of Northern Europe’s go-to sunny escapes for decades now, and it hardly has that novelty factor, but when it comes to across-the-pond visitors, it might not even break into their top 10 most sought-after Spanish destinations.

As it turns out, Americans might have been missing out on what’s perhaps one of the most incredible, ‘good value’ beach destinations in the Hispanic heartland, and these are 5 of the main reasons why:

It’s A Year-Round Beach Destination

Beach Bil Bil In Benalmaneda, Spain

If you’re craving a sunbathing session and some basking in the sun this season, Spanish beaches are the place to be: the country is a lot warmer than most European destinations, due to its proximity to the African continent, and the off-season climate tends to be quite temperate.

Alicante is no exception: the city is your typical seaside getaway, with high-rises and rows upon rows of perfectly arranged palm trees lining an elongated municipal beach, where you’ll find locals lounging on the golden sands and swimmers taking on the bright-blue Med waters as early as April.

After all, springtime in Alicante is the equivalent to summer in most of Europe: currently, it’s a pleasant 74°F out during the day, while nighttime temperatures only drop to around 66°F, and it’s only bound to get progressively hotter as we approach the scalding summer months.

It’s Incredibly Youthful

A tourist on Cala Comte beach, spain

Alicante is also a rather youthful city, unlike other mid-size coastal cities in Spain in the same ranks, which have aging populations or have been taken over by Northern European (mostly Brits) expats – Marbella, Benidorm, we’re looking at you.

It is first and foremost a university city, so its demographic is constantly being ‘renewed’, contributing to an incredibly diverse social scene, as Alicante hosts young students from all over Spain, as well as other parts of the world.

Nightlife is mostly centered around ‘El Barrio’, a bohemian district a short walk from the landmark cathedral, packed with casual tapas restaurants and well-frequented bars, and the overall atmosphere is quite welcoming.

It’s Also Very Historical

santa barbara castle in alicante spain

Alicante is not only a coastal resort dominated by modern buildings and your usual beach clubs: it is deeply historical, having served as an important maritime port in the Middle Ages, and earlier even, hosting one of the most powerful caliphates during Spain’s eight-centuries-long Muslim occupation.

The architecture seen in the Old Town is incredibly eclectic, combining Islamic elements, the classic uphill Mediterranean maze of whitewashed low houses, and it’s even topped by an ancient castle, perched on a hill overlooking the city’s beach.

Going on a leisurely walk around the Old Town, locally known as Barrio Santa Cruz, is a must if you’re keen on sampling the culture, as it concentrates nearly all of Alicante’s points of interest, and there’s no doubt you’ll end up falling in love with the local heritage as much as we did.

It’s A Budget Beach Destination

A Person Taking Out Euro Notes From A Wallet, Europe Travel Concept

You don’t need to break the bank to have a fulfilling Mediterranean vacation, and Alicante is proof of that: never mind Sitges’ overpriced guesthouses or Ibiza’s cripplingly-expensive restaurants; you can get by in Alicante on $913 for the week (or the equivalent in euro).

This includes food (the price of a meal and a soft drink in a local restaurant is an affordable $10) and accommodation (from beds in dormitories for only $21, to single rooms in two-star hotels starting from $54 to beach resorts averaging $187 per night, options are plentiful and fit every budget).

According to Budget Your Trip, Alicante is considered a ‘moderately priced’ destination, compared to other regions of Spain, and it ranks in their top 50 European cities for travel costs, being similar to fellow Spanish cultural hub Cordoba, and Portugal’s trendy Porto in affordability terms.

It Hosts $20 Flights From Other European Hubs

Traveling couple in airport with yellow luggage

At last, Alicante is surging in popularity as a low-cost hub for intra-Europe flights. No, it does not host nonstop Transatlantic flights from America, but once you land in Europe, it’s incredibly easy to fly onward to Alicante from pretty much anywhere.

With easyJet ramping up operations to Alicante Airport, linking the hub to 22 destinations, and Ryanair’s, Jet2’s and Wizz Air’s growing presence, it’s bound to become even more accessible: from cities like London and Birmingham, flights to Alicante are a negligible $26.

That’s cheaper than a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant in Alicante itself, and if you’re already in Spain, airfares as cheap as ten bucks are widely available through local budget carrier Vueling from a number of Spanish cities.

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