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What You Need To Know

Alicante is a port city on Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca, and the capital of the Alicante province. Its old town, Barrio de la Santa Cruz, has narrow streets, colored houses and a lively nightlife scene. From here, an elevator or a steep climb leads to medieval Castillo de Santa Bárbara, set on a hilltop with sweeping views of the Mediterranean coast.

Area: 77.71 mi²
Population:332,067 (2014)

Currency

  • Euro is the official currency of Spain, The Euro is the official currency of Spain, and of most European Union member states, excluding the UK and the Czech Republic, among others. The Euro, symbolized by a “€,” has been in public circulation since January, 2002. The peseta, the former official currency of Spain, is no longer accepted, however, you may see that some price tags in Spain give the price both in Euro and in pesetas, to help those who still think in terms of pesetas.There are 8 different Euro coin denominations and 7 different Euro bill denominations in circulation. Coins are denominated in 2 and 1 Euro, then 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Each member state decorated their own coins, but all coins are interchangeable within the countries. Bills are denominated in 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 and they vary in color and size.
  • In Spain all banks use the same daily-established rate for currency exchange. However, as commission rates vary considerably between banks (typically between €3 and €6), the ICS recommends that students exchange their money at those banks with lower commission rates. Regardless of where one exchanges money, a valid passport (not a photocopy of it) must be presented as identification.
  • The best way to dispose of money while you are in Alicante is to own an ATM card. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere thoughout Spain. Of all credit cards, VISA and American Express card are the most widely recognized.

Weather

Alicante’s climate has an average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius (60°Fahrenheit) in winter. In summer it’s 32 degrees (89°Fahrenheit) making it an all year destination. August is the warmest month and the coldest is January with 12°C (54°F).
The average rainfall is 311 mm (12.2 in) per year. September and October are the wettest months.
What’s the best time to travel to Alicante in Spain? Here are some facts:
On average, the warmest month(s) are July, August and September, alicante has dry periods in January, March, June,July and August.
On average, the warmest month is August, the coolest month is January.
October is the wettest month, july is the driest month.

Language

The two official languages of Alicante are Spanish and Valencian (a derivative of Catalan). Although most locals only speak the national language, all road signs and official documents will appear in both Spanish and Valencian.

Health and security

  • Spain has a free healthcare system for those who pay social security. To qualify for free healthcare you need to get a social security number, which may be organized by your employer, or you can easily do yourself by visiting the local Social Security office which is situated at Calle Churruca, 26, 03003 Alicante. If you are self-employed, you will also be required to pay into the Social Security system.Once you have been issued with a social security number, you can register with a family doctor at your local Centro de Salud or Health Centre, a list of which can be found in the Yellow Pages.
    EU citizens who hold an E-111 certificate can also receive free healthcare, however once a social security number has been issued, life is much easier with a registered doctor.
    Dentists are not free in Spain, however they are not cost prohibitive either. Again a list can be found in the Yellow Pages, however word of mouth is usually the best recommendation.
  • Violent crime is still relatively low in Spain compared to countries such as the US or UK, however there is a worrying increase in organised crime, particularly along the Mediterranean coast. However the most prevalent crime that may affect residents is petty crime, often pick pocketing or bag stealing, although obviously not considered petty for the victim.General common sense is needed, as anywhere, such as not carrying all money, cards and PIN numbers together, making sure homes are secure and not leaving valuable on show in cars.Isolated houses in the country tend to be more at risk from robbery than those in more populated areas, mainly due to the lack of police presence in the area.

    Many scams involve some sort of conversation, so it used to be sufficient to claim not to speak Spanish and you would be left alone. However, with the large number of tourists in the area, the scammers have got wise and picked up the essential phrases. A common scam takes place on the beach, where a nearby sunbather will engage your trust by asking you to keep any eye on their bag while they swim. Believing this person to be trustworthy, the unwitting victim asks the same person to return the favour, and when they return from the sea, their bags have disappeared, along with the friendly neighbour.

DON’T

  • The Explanada promenade is full of people offering cheap eye catching products and services. What out because most of them are illegal sellers and they won’t hesitate to offer you any kind of products in a deplorable state
  • Tourism is a main industry for Alicante, and as such there are many places where tourists can get suckered in to payer higher prices because they just don’t know any better. Across the road from the main beach, there are many restaurants, bars and cafes, these are all higher priced because most tourists hang out down by the beach. If you walk up a couple of blocks and search the smaller streets and alleys you will find way better deals and more authentic spanish food or gifts.

DO

  • Visit the Guadalest Valley
  • Visit the Castillo de San Fernando.The Castillo de San Fernando is a counterpart of the Castle of Santa Barbara, which was built on Tossal hill, in the beginning of the 19th century, as a defence against French advances. However, the castle turned out to be of no use. Today, a tourist attraction, the ornate doorway and parts of the castle are still worth a watch.