Winter is probably a bad time to visit Alicante if you want to splash in its welcoming waters. However, I found that I could probably never, at any other time of the year, enjoy the beauty of its bay without the scene being interrupted by people and noise like I did this winter.
Alicante, was a beautiful drive from Madrid, dotted with windmills and dramatic skies adding to my already high state of mind- you know the kinds when you are smiling while you drive for no reason…. Yes, that one!
We were very lucky to have a close friend, Ian Mason and his lovely wife Empar, who hosted us at their beautiful apartment at the edge of the bay. The apartment looked out onto the sunrise at the bay on one side and the sunset over the hill on the other. What more could one ask for!
On one edge of the bay stands a huge rock formation called the Penon de Ifach which is a limestone hill emerging from the sea. The hike up the hill is tedious but well worth the view… I am told! It would be a good idea to venture out around the hill for walks and maybe you’ll discover this little tit bit (pun intended) of Calpe that’s well hidden – a nudists beach – perfect for skinny dipping in the crystal clear waters!
Calpe is a mix of touristy beaches and hang outs by the sea as well as classy and quaint eateries along cobbled streets in its old town. If you do venture out to old town, don’t drive… put on your walking shoes… because there really is no other way to take in the flavour of the orange tree dotted, stone-cobbled, narrow streets…. and make sure you take your appetite with you! Old town boasts of some of the best Valencian diners that side of town. Patio de la Fuente is said to have lip smacking Valencian cuisine which unfortunately was closed for Christmas.
While walking down old town, don’t be surprised if you stop and stare at the buildings- No, they are not architectural wonders- but more so wonders of art! Several buildings in old town Calpe are canvas to some awe-inspiring wall murals that bring the whole place to life- this besides the already lively community of Calpe!
The Valencians take their eating very seriously, so if you are in the bay area, head towards the Marina and find a good place to dig into some authentic Valencian sea food. We found ourselves by the yacht club at a lovely restaurant that overlooked the hibernating yachts! The place that you should however go to is Restaurante Puerto Blanco and boasts to be one of the best at the Marina. Make sure to try the Paella, Catalan fried sardines, Valencian style mussels and top it up with lots of red wine or Gin!
And if none of this can get you going from the beach side…. then… “come and open up your folding chair next to me….”