Study in Alicante, Spain

Study in Alicante, Spain

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At the dock in Alicante

Alicante, sometimes known locally as “Alacant,” is a city and important port in Spain situated on the beautiful Costa Blanca.  Alicante is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of Alcanti, in the south of the autonomous community of Valencia. For centuries, Alicante has also served as a crucial Mediterranean port. 

In 2014, the city proper of Alicante had a population of nearly 350,000, making it the second-largest city in the Valencia region.  When you include nearby municipalities, the Alicante conurbation is home to more than 450,000 residents, and its larger metropolitan area, which includes the cities of Elche and nearby satellite towns, has a population of just over 750,000, ranking it as the eighth-largest metro area in all of Spain.

Of all Spain's mainland provincial capitals, Alicante is the most influenced by tourism, thanks to the nearby airport and resorts. Nevertheless, the city is both dynamic and interesting, boasting a beautiful castle, historic old quarter and long waterfront. The eating scene is exciting in Alicante and its nightlife can only be described as legendary, whether you're chugging pints with the stag parties at 7pm or twirling on the dance floor with the locals seven hours later. On a weekend night, it's impossibly busy and entertaining.

Things to Do and See in Alicante, Spain

Alicante has an enormous collection of attractions that are guaranteed to please people of all ages, including the intriguing island of Tabarca located just off the coast.

Alicante is famous for its wonderful palm tree-flanked boulevard and shopping streets. The original name of the city, “Lucentum,” translates as “City of Light.”  This attractive town along the Costa Blanca has stunning beaches, huge plazas, wonderful parks and lots of adventure as well as great weather throughout the year

Castillo de Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara Castle)

The Castle of Santa Barbara, located in the center of Alicante, is one of the largest medieval fortresses of Spain. This important city landmark stands on the top of Mount Benacantil, from where it offers fabulous views of the city. When the castle is viewed from the El Postiguet Beach, visitors can espy its odd projected part, shaped in the form of a human face known as the “Moor's Head.”.
The Museum of the City of Alicante (MUSA), housed inside the Castle of Santa Barbara, introduces visitors to various Spanish quests through different historical periods. On display are archaeological materials, sculptures and busts of famous Spanish people.

Castillo de San Fernando (St. Ferdinand Castle)

Built on Tossal Hill, the Castillo de San Fernando is a counterpart of the Castle of Santa Barbara. It was constructed in the beginning of the 19th century as a defense against French advances. However, the castle turned out to be of no use. Today, it serves as a tourist attraction, but is nowhere near as popular as the town’s other castle.

La Playa de San Juan (San Juan Beach)

The premier sandy stretch of Alicante, San Juan Beach, is located approximately 4.5 miles from the center of the city. The long and open beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union. It is the perfect spot for sunbathing and swimming with a good selection of shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and water sports on the beach.

Iglesia de Santa Maria (St Mary's Church)

St Mary's Church was built in the Gothic style between the 14th and 16th centuries and is one of the major attractions of the city of Alicante. It was constructed over the ruins of a former Moorish mosque and boasts a richly decorated Baroque facade, which includes an image of the Virgin Mary by sculptor Juan Bautista Borja. Also worth appreciating at the church are the 18th century Rococo main altar and the Bautismo, Comunión, and Inmaculada chapels.

Ayuntamiento (Town hall)

Situated just behind La Explanada Park in the downtown area of the city, Alicante’s town hall is a wonderful example of Baroque-style civic architecture. Locally known as Ayuntamiento, it features a majestic pair of towers, a plenary room and chapel. Before viewing the dramatic statue of Dali in front of the town hall, one can see a small metal disc, an instrument that is used to measure the height above sea level in all other parts of Spain.

Alicante is a beautiful city in Spain and a historic Mediterranean port.  The city serves as the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alicante, in the south of the Valencian community.  As of 2011, the city proper of Alicante had an estimated population of just over 334,000, making it the second-largest Valencian city.  When taking into account the nearby municipalities, the Alicante conurbation has a population of nearly 462,300, while the population of the metropolitan area—an area which includes the city of Elche and a number of satellite towns—is just over 771,000, making it the eight-largest metropolitan area in Spain.
Like many cities in Spain, Alicante enjoys a Mediterranean climate, featuring moderate winter temperatures and warm to hot temperatures in the summer months.  On average the temperature ranges from 16.8 degrees C (62 degrees F) and 6.2 degrees C (43 degrees F) in the winter and between 30.6 degrees C (87 degrees F) and 20.4 degrees C (69 degrees F) in the summer.
There are a number of things to do and see when visiting or living in Alicante, but perhaps two of the most notable features are the Castle of Santa Barbara, which sits high above the city, and the port of Alicante, the subject of a bitter 2006-2007 controversy, as residents battled to prevent the site from becoming an industrial center.  The Explanada de Espana is another must-see feature of Alicante.  This promenade, lined by massive palm trees extending overhead, is paved with 6.5 million marble floor tiles.  For the people of Alicante the promenade has traditionally served as a meeting place for the traditional Spanish paseo, or stroll along the waterfront in the evenings, and as a popular venue for outdoor musical concerts.  A monument designed by the artist Mark Hersch, who still lives and works in the city of Alicante, stands at the end of the promenade.
The most important festival in Alicante, the Fogueres de Sant Joan (Bonfires of Saint John), takes place during the summer solstice.  It is followed a week later by seven splendid nights of fireworks and pyrotechnic contests between companies located on the urban beach Playa del Postiguet.  The Moros i Cristians, which takes place in Altozano or San Blas district, is another important event in Alicante.
Higher Education in Alicante
The Universidad de Alicante, or University of Alicante, is one of Spain’s newest universities.  Located three miles outside of town on the Carretera Sant Vicent del Raspeig, the university offers undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.  Some of these include art history, communications, European studies, film studies, history, social sciences, international business, international relations, literature, politics, Spanish culture, women’s studies and Spanish language. 
For those looking to study the Spanish language abroad, the Language and Culture study abroad program at the University of Alicante is one of the finest in Spain.  The full-immersion course is designed for students at the beginner and intermediate level of Spanish language study, helping them further their mastery of the Spanish language while learning the customs, traditions and nuances of the Spanish culture.
Alicante is also home to numerous technical and vocational institutions, where students can receive training and gain real-world knowledge in career fields important to Alicante’s thriving and diverse economy.