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Alicante - Attractions

The Barrio Santa Cruz, or 'El Barrio', is the heart of Alicante's vibrant night-life

Castillo de Santa Barbara

Long a symbol of Alicante, the Castillo de Santa Barbara, the stuff of fairy tales with its high walls and domed turrets, sits on the summit of Mount Benacantil, overlooking the city and the Mediterranean Sea. You can reach it by car or, better, on a passenger lift from Postiguet beach. The various parts of the castle date from medieval times to the sixteenth century and offer plenty of castle-type fun: drawbridges, stone passages, hidden tunnels, a real dungeon and - more surprising - a beautiful garden filled with works by Spanish master sculptors.

Isla de Tabarca

This tiny island, 17km (10 mi) off the coast of Alicante, was once a base for pirates, who would doubtless sit on the beach counting pieces of eight and playing with their peg-legs in the sand. Today, more appealingly, you'll find a medieval fort, a pleasant little beach and some fine seafood restaurants. It's a perfect day trip, with underwater treats: you can take a glass bottom boat from Alicante Port, snorkel around the marine reserves off the island, and submerge in a small yellow submarine that makes short trips from Tabarca's harbour.

Museo de la Asegurada

Built in the 17th century, this formidable building was once used as a prison and a munitions store. Today it houses an impressive collection of 20th-century art, with works by Gris, Miro, Picasso and Dali, as well as lesser-known Spanish painters such as Chillida, Mompo and Zobel.

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