Parks in Alicante City
Green areas literally pop up all over the city of Alicante! With a choice of gardens, parks, plazas or promenades, you need never be at a loss for cool, shady areas to sit and people watch. But it doesn't stop there, Alicante ensures that its parks, and there's quite a few to choose from, offer activities all year round, so why not check out the 'Summer in the Parks' programme which includes fabulous open air performances for both children and adults. Whilst in the off season you can take your selection from activities such as boules(petanque), croquet, skating or mini golf, to name but a few!
Located in the city, and the oldest of the parks, Canalejas was created in 1886 by the architect Gonzolez Altus. Its two entrances are dramatically guarded by stone sculptures of dogs and lions. Venture into the park however and you will find fantastic giant Rubber Plants of enormous proportions that are over 100 years old, pretty fountains that invite you to sit a-while or test your geographical knowledge against a map of Spain carved out of stone.
On the outskirts of the city is the wonderful El Palmeral Park, containing waterfalls, lakes and hundreds of palm trees, no wonder its often used as a film location! Covering 72,000m2, this area is definitely a must see at any time of the day. Take a delightful early morning stroll along its footpaths lined with colourful flowerbeds, ponds and fountains. Or around mid-day take advantage of the picnic areas before splashing about in the boating lake or tackling the BMX cycle track! In the evenings you can wander down to the summerhouse where regular family entertainment, including marionettes and a children's theatre, is held all summer.
Mount Tossal Theme Park
Consisting of terraces nestling on the slopes of Mount Tossal from where it takes its name, this Park commands an impressive lookout over the city and its coastline. With separate areas named after parts of the Valencia region this is definitely a park for play, offering fun and frolics for the young at heart and children alike. Pedal around the biking track, tackle the rock-climbing wall or catch your breath by enjoying a leisurely game of chess on the giant board. You'll never be short of something to do here!
Parque del Morant
Situated on the fringe of the city is this large expanse of parkland. Of modern design, and with an interesting layout of sculptural plants and minimalist water features, its wide, flat shady walkways are perfect for strolling along, or, if the fancy takes you, rollerblading! Its main claim to fame though, is the large open-air auditorium, which is used for summer performances.
Known as the city's green lung, locals say it provides so much oxygen to the city, it clings to the hill of the same name. The park is carpeted with pine and eucalyptus trees and as you wander through them you'll come across a number of lookout points that provide that perfect photo opportunity of the city below.
Parque de la Ereta
Only recently designed by specialist French architects with a brief to create a recreation area which is modern but still harmonious with nature, the park takes you on a wonderful walk from Santa Barbara Castle to the old town. Planted with native plants and shrubs of subdued colours, its terraced slopes have stone paths to guide you along the cliff edge from where there are stunning views over the coast. But don't rush, take time to stop for refreshments at the café created on an old threshing ground, or sit just under the pergola in the refreshing sea breeze and take in the beautiful natural surroundings. La Ereta park is a wonderful example of man and nature working perfectly together!
Plazas in Alicante City
In every Spanish town, village or city you will find at least one Plaza, a square area of particular significance and Alicante is no exception. There are countless squares scattered around the city, from modern and grand, to ancient and small, each has its own personality and usually contains an interesting sculpture or monument. It is a joy to wander the city and turn a corner to discover a hidden plaza offering an oasis of calm. Here is a flavour of what you can find.
The Plaza del Ayuntamiento is possibly the grandest Square. It contains the impressive Town Hall that has the 'cota zero' (zero sea level) a large brass stud set into the foot of the main staircase inside the building. This is the reference point which is used to measure the height above sea level of all Spanish towns. Around the square are beautiful vaulted buildings that offer a cool walkway.
Located at the rear of the Town Hall, through a small back door, is the Plaza de la Santisima Faz, where, at the end of June, a traditional medieval market of arts and crafts is held. In the little garden that makes up the centre of the square you will find a small fountain which has a curious reproduction of the ancient coat of arms of the city, the present ones having been officalised in 1941. Whilst just a short walk away is one of the oldest squares in Alicante the Plaza de Quijano, surrounded by houses with multi-coloured facades…..it provides a perfect photo opportunity!
Another rather splendid square is the Plaza de Los Luceros, designed in 1915, it is a wonderful circular plaza containing a dramatic fountain surrounding a tall monument.
When you stand in front of it you can see why it is known amongst the locals as 'Los Caballos' (the Horses) rather than its original name of 'Levante'.
It has four magnificant white horses, covered in an abundance of fruit, and the whole sculpture, created in 1930, represents the importance that both horses and water held to man in ancient times.
The Plaza Nueva or New Square is a lovely place to sit and rest in the shade of the palm trees. Within this pretty little plaza as well as a bar or two there is also a small aquarium which gives you the opportunity to view local marine species in a natural habitat.
Finally, the Plaza de Santa Maria is a beautiful historic square that contains two of Alicante's oldest buildings, the wonderful Gothic church of Santa Maria, with its spectacular golden alter and the modern art gallery Museu Colecci Art del Segle XX. The gallery was created from an old granary built in 1685, and contains works by Picasso, Miro and Dali.
These Plazas are just a taste of what you can find. Continue exploring the many streets and alleys of the city and you are bound to find more hidden gems. And in the summer, the City has a complete programme of activities across the Plaza's that include theatre shows, live music and cultural activities. So there is no excuse, be adventurous, get out and about and discover!
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Photo from Jorge Tutor
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