When moving to a new country, I have found that the most comforting thing to do first is find your favorite places. In a foreign city halfway across the world with a language you aren’t completely fluent in, discovering those few places that feel like home quickly makes a big city feel smaller. Here are a couple of my favorite places in my study abroad city, Alicante.
1. Favorite Coffee Shop - Mi Lucia
In Spain, I lived on a touristy street full of restaurants and shops. When I first arrived, few of these were open due to lack of tourists. I was lucky that the coffee shop, Mi Lucia, was open. Mi Lucia is run by a local woman who became kind of a mother figure to me while studying abroad. I went in virtually every morning for my grande café con leche and pastry, spending only 2.50 euros. Though we could only have limited conversation, every morning was made better by our daily interactions. She would tell me that I ate too much sugar, asked me about my classes, and would save my favorite pastry when high season kicked in and all the tourists began to visit.
2. Favorite Spot for Tapas & Sangria - Kiosko Miramar
Alicante has a large beach that spans multiple blocks, lined with restaurants and kiosks selling everything from towels and sunscreen to churros dipped in chocolate. The best place to eat croquettas and drink frozen sangria is Kiosko Miramar. This beachfront restaurant serves amazing tapas, my regulars being manchego cheese, chorizo, croquettas, potatoes with aioli, and a pitcher of refreshing frozen sangria. During high season, street performers began to play their instruments and show their other talents on the boardwalk right in front of Miramar. If you’re looking for an affordable meal with entertainment just steps from the beach, look no further.
3. Best Views of Alicante
Alicante’s main claims to fame are their port and the Castillo de Santa Barbara. Not only are both places magnificent on their own, but they also give visitors a beautiful view of the city. My favorite time to experience each was right at sunset, when the pink and blue sky blended right into the ocean, and the sun disappeared behind the mountains. To get to the top of the castle, there is an elevator available to guests; however, I recommend climbing up through Old Town to experience spectacular views the whole way up.
4. Best Place to Experience the Mediterranean - Catamaran Cruise
While not exactly a place, my friends and I found that the best way to see Costa Blanca and appreciate the bright blue Mediterranean Sea was by catamaran. There are many affordable catamaran trips that leave from the port of Alicante. You can take a five-hour day cruise to Tabarca Island, an all-day “boat party,” or a sunset dinner cruise. My personal favorite ride was the day cruise to Tabarca, with paella, scuba gear, and a tour of the island included.
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Caroline Skinner is the Spring 2019 CEA MOJO Blogger in Alicante, Spain, and is currently studying at University of South Carolina Columbia.