Heading towards the sea through streets, hiking trails and vegetable gardens (Alicante and l'Alacantí)

Located on the coast, Alicante represents the ideal cosmopolitan city: open, welcoming and friendly. This is due to the influence of the Mediterranean Sea on coastal towns, which helps to create a melting pot of cultures and civilisations which make Alicante what it is today.

The sun in Alicante shines practically all year round, highlighting the virtues and differences between each of its five beaches (El Saladar-Urbanova, El Postiguet, La Albufereta, La Almadraba and San Juan), which are located along 15 kilometres of coast. Thus, Urbanova has dunes; El Postiguet is looked over by Santa Barbara Castle; La Albufereta includes the Roman archaeological site of Lucentum, where you can feel the origin of civilisation; La Almadraba offers rocks and crystal clear water; while San Juan is a magnificently long beach.

These beaches transmit a much needed peacefulness in order to enable you to understand the architectural heritage that is hidden in this city, for which you need to have good eyes to ensure you don't miss it. There are a number of routes that enable you to do this. The route through the old town will take you to the town hall, the convent of La Sangre, the co-cathedral of Saint Nicholas, the Calle Labradores, the neighbourhood of Santa Cruz, the chapel of Santa Cruz and San Roque, Alicante's Water Museum, the Basilica of Sant María, the Contemporary Art Museum (MACA) and the Museum of Fine Art (MUBAG). On the other hand, the route of the old city walls visits the promenade, La Rambla, the Plaza Gabriel Miró, the Theatre, the Central Market, the Plaza de los Luceros, the Alicante Council and the Museum of the Hogueras Festival.

These routes are just two examples of what you can do in Alicante, where you will always spot something new: a plaque, a phrase, a signature, small details... Because, Alicante is constantly changing and growing, which can also be seen in its nightlife, where the old town and port area, including the Eastern Pier and the premises of the Volvo Ocean Race, are the main attractions for those looking to have a good time.

The water architecture of diversion dams and mills, which are still possible to visit (the diversion dam of Fontentes and the small reservoir of El Pantanet, in Mutxamel; the diversion dam of Sant Joan and the diversion dam of El Campello), enabled the water of this river to be channelled to the different estates in the Huerta of Alicante until it flows into the coast of El Campello, a town famous for its beautiful seafront and the archaeological site of Illeta de Els Banyets.

Here you can visit two of the watchtowers which Felipe II ordered to be built during the 16th century to protect the population from the Berbers. The first is known as La Illeta, which is in impeccable condition and is located on the Illeta dels Banyets. And, further north, in La Lloma de Reixes and surviving the passing of time as best it can, is the Tower of the Barranc d'Aigües.

The visit to the Island of Tabarca is a must for those planning to visit the Costa Blanca. This small archipelago, which also includes the small islands of La Cantera, La Galera and La Nao, is a marine reserve and its old town is considered a Historic-Artistic Site of Cultural Interest. Surprisingly, it is the only island in the Valencian region that is still inhabited.

With this nature offer, the island satisfies all types of tourists. Visitors can get lost in the endless coves which surround the coast of this archipelago, which are 1,800 metres long and 400 metres high. You can do some snorkelling and admire the high quality and biodiversity of its flora and fauna. After snorkelling we suggest you find a quiet place to enjoy the excellent food offered by the restaurants, where seafood, such as jig-caught squid, is the most popular item on the menu. You may also want to try the traditional caldero (rice cooked in a cauldron) with all the trimmings.

Although this is usually a one-day trip, the trend is changing. The hotels, hostels and rented houses have grown both in number and quality. Watching the sunset on the Island of Tabarca is a privilege reserved for those who decide to stay for at least one night.

The tourist attractions of the region of l'Alacantí also include the smell of craftwork and clay found in the village of Agost, which has been dedicated to the noble profession of craftsmanship since the 18th century. In Xixona, you can visit the Museum of Turron, which provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the best kept secrets of this candy of Arab origin (made of honey, almonds, sugar and eggs), as well as some unexpected hidden landscapes found amongst its fields of almond trees, such as El Pou del Surdo, at the top of the Carrasqueta mountain, and El Salto, a 20-metre waterfall of the river Torremanzanas which stands out from the dry landscape like an oasis.

This river, an affluent of the river Monnegre, passes through a village of the same name, which takes its name from the Casa Alta, a restored Almohade tower.

Archaeological sites, snow wells, such as El Pou del Rentonar at 1,160 metres above sea level, an old tuberculosis sanctuary and a number of country houses turn this municipality into a magnificent rural refuge.

You mustn't forget to visit Aigües, which has a magnificent pine tree forest and an old town full with a village feel to it, or Busot, at the foot of the limestone mountain of Cabeço d'Or (1,210 m.), which hides a geological gem: the Canelobre Caves, a wonder of nature in an authentic underground cathedral with a 100-metre high inner vault.

Finally, the municipality of San Vicente del Raspeig, which has grown significantly in recent years, has a charming old town, excellent cultural facilities and an intense student feel due to its closeness to one of the most modern university campuses in Spain. The University of Alicante was designed by a number of outstanding architects, including Álvaro Siza, Javier García-Solera, Dolores Alonso, Alfredo Payá and Antonio Fernández Alba, and is an example of an urban landscape painting, which is a must for lovers of land Art and landscape.