The coast of Alicante province is known as the Costa Blanca and is a major destination for beach holidays.
Its main city, and the location of an international airport, is Alicante, 225 mi/360 km southeast of Madrid. It is looked down upon by the imposing Castillo de Santa Barbara, from which there is a good view of the city, the Explanada de Espana (the palm-lined promenade along the harbor) and the old Barrio de Santa Cruz (the part of town that preserves some of its ancient past).
Alicante also has two fine museums: MARQ, the archaeological museum, takes an impressive, modern, multimedia approach to its subject. The Museo de Arte Siglo XX La Asegurada has a collection of works by Picasso, Miro, Tapies and other 20th-century artists.
The most attractive stretch of the coast is to the north of the city beyond the high-rise, mainly low-budget resort of Benidorm. Altea has a pretty old town. Calpe is overshadowed by a massive rock rising out of the sea, the Penyal d'Ifach.
Javea and Denia are two attractive resorts at the northern end of the Costa Blanca
South of Alicante, the fishing port of Santa Pola offers day trips out to visit Tabarca island (just 20 minutes away). Further south, the modern resort of Torrevieja stands next to glassy salt pans.
Inland, the city of Elche is noted for its date-palm forest, which is a legacy of the Moors and unique in Europe.