Lively Alicante for Activity Excursions

Alicante is one of Spain’s fastest growing cities, and certainly among the most cosmopolitan. Already a cultural centre for the popular Costa Blanca, it has recently reinvented itself as a cruise port.

Suddenly there is so much more to do apart from strolling along the elegant, palm-lined Explanada de Espania or touring the museums, especially for the activity-minded cruise-goers with youngsters of any age in tow. When we were looking for a property on Playa Flamenca, we had our three grandkids in tow for most of the summer, so we had to find activities to keep them amused between house hunting. Here are some of the best:

Playa de Postiguet and Playa de San Juan for Seaside Fun

Not all activities require an excursion booked through the ship. Just bundle onto the free shuttle bus to the port entrance and make for the clean white sands of Postiguet beach where there is plenty of free fun on the imaginative ‘playground’ style installations, as well as the usual splashing and sandcastles. Teenagers might like to practise their Spanish and take a bus further along to trendy Playa de San Juan. The social scene here is set by the large numbers of students from Alicante university, film studios and art centres.

More ambitious activities are best served by excursions booked through the ship, especially if travelling some way from town or the use of special equipment is involved. Many of the big cruise lines visiting Alicante, especially P&O, provide a wide choice of these. Some may also be available from local agencies near the port, depending on the season.

Isla de Tabarca or Aqua Natura for Serious Water Fans

For the island of Tabarca, try a Catamaran Swim and Sail excursion from the ship, with opportunities for snorkelling, including equipment. Lunch included and good for beginners.

More experienced scuba fans can find local trips with more specialist equipment for hire.

Aqua Natura, near Benidorm, is a brilliant new water park with something for everyone.

It has 5 sections, including a children’s pool, 3 ‘Greek islands’ with beach bars for sun lounging and dipping, a wave pool,1000 metres of water chutes including the unique zero gravity ‘La Cresta’, a spa, and a ‘swimming with sharks’ experience – in complete safety, but still pretty scary.

Mountain Bike Glides or Terra Natura Park for Nature Lovers

Pedal gently around to admire the classical Mediterranean scenery form the top of a 1,500ft/500m. peak. Then simply coast down 20 miles/32km through pine forests and olive groves to sea level in the company of an experience guide, stopping only for tapas and a glass of wine at the lovely mountain village of Orcheta.

Terra Natura is another ‘new generation park’ near Benidorm, with a no-bars feel to the habitat-specific wildlife enclosures.

It offers a ‘zooimmersion experience’ where the animals, all 1,500 of them from 200 different species, are grouped into their native zones of Pangea, America, Asia and Europe.

Terra Mitica for Themed Thrill Rides

Also, near Benidorm, Terra Mitica is famed for the scream factor of its high-tech rides, themed in 5 sections, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iberia and Greek Islands. For ‘kids’ of all ages.

Tabarca Island, Aqua Natura, Bike Gliding, Terra Natura and Terra Mitica

These are best regarded as whole day excursions. With only one day in port it could be a tough choice, unless the family is happy to let the older ones do their own thing in the company of experienced guides.

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