If you are into sailing or yachting of any kind, Alicante, Spain may be for you! This busy seaside town of about 340,000 sits in middle of the Mediterranean coastline between Valencia to the north and Cartagena to the south. The weather is warm – in January the temperature hovers in the 50’s F and in the hottest month of August it’s in the high 70’s. Occasionally it gets up into the 80’s. The crystal clear water of the Mediterranean can also hit 75 in the summer. There are miles of sandy beaches and one of the finest marina’s in the area.
Alicante faces the port and the water with Mount Benacantil behind. The Santa Barbara Castle sits right on the top and provides excellent views of the entire area. The castle was built in the 9th century by the Muslims who controlled the Iberian Peninsula until 1248. It was taken on the feast day of Saint Barbara by the Castilian army, and therefore renamed Saint Barbara. Its been bombed by the French, held by the English, served as a prison, and finally came under control of Spain. Do not even consider climbing up there unless you are used to hiking! Catch a bus or take a taxi.
We thought the best part of Alicante was the Esplanada, a palm-treed marble path leading from the port into the town. Every Spanish town we’ve seen has a town square, courtyard or avenue where people gather in the evening to walk after the heat of the day. The Esplanada is a perfect example, but here, you can walk out on the quay and see the coming and going of all the boats. It is a festive place and always interesting.
There is a lot of property to rent in several lovely neighborhoods in Alicante. Two-bedroom flats run about $500 US a month and up. If you are interested in buying, you can get a two bedroom flat (condo) for under $30,000 US, depending on the neighborhood. If you decide to rent or buy in Spain, use an agent and an attorney. The contracts will be in Spanish.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to at least speak a little Spanish. This is their country and they don’t want to speak English. Take your translation guidebook and learn to say “I only speak a little Spanish from this book, I’m sorry.” If they speak English at all they may take pity on you and switch.
Alicante has a local airport with service to Barcelona and other cities in Spain. There is also a modern streetcar system and a Eurail train with service all over Europe.
If you are dreaming about living in a nice warm Mediterranean town with a beautiful marina and easy access to the rest of Europe, you might want to retire in Alicante, Spain. It’s just heavenly!