Winter sun – two words to conjure a blissful escape to a land where dreich has no meaning. As the worst of the Scottish climate descends in earnest in November with little chance of a respite before April, wouldn’t you rather be on the Med?
Alicante, gateway to the resorts of the Costa Blanca (and one of Spain’s most distinctive cities), might just be the answer.
Today’s Big Deal offers the chance of an escape to this old Moorish city, full of atmospheric streets, great bars, nightlife and temperatures guaranteed to put Glasgow’s in the damp shade.
The Big Deal, exclusive to 5pm customers, will fly you to Alicante, a jewel of the Costa Blanca with colourful streets clustered beneath its medieval fortress.
The offer includes return flights with Ryanair from Glasgow Prestwick, with luggage allowance and three nights room only accommodation (based on two sharing), in the 3* Hotel La City Mercado.
You will be flying from Glasgow Prestwick on a choice of the following dates (book early to make sure you get your preference):
7th, 14th December
11th, 18th, 25th January
You will be departing from Glasgow Prestwick at 06:20 and arriving in Alicante 10:15.
On your return journey, you will be departing from Alicante at 10:50 and arriving in Glasgow Prestwick at 13:05.
Flight times are subject to change.
The 3* Hotel La City Mercado is in an excellent location just a 10-minute walk from the beach. It is also close to the Central Market, Old Town area and port. There is a tram stop outside the hotel which will take you to other city attractions.
This new and modern hotel includes a bar, free Wifi and a 24-hour front desk. Each of the air-conditioned ensuite rooms has a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, heating, a minibar and a safe.
The beaches of the Costa Blanca are the main draw for millions of package tourists, but even in winter the region has plenty to offer. The Terra Mitica Theme Park offers a variety of exhilarating rides and adventures in a coastal setting a short train ride from Alicante.
The city itself merits exploration. The dramatic medieval Castillo de Santa Barbara is an obvious focus. Most of the fortress dates from the 16th century and can be reached via a lift from the seaward side. The castle gardens are an attractive expanse of olive groves, walking trails and superb coastal vistas.
The cultural hub is the Museum of Contemporary Art, an elegant modern gallery housed in the historic Asegurada building. The impressive collection includes works by Dali and Picasso.
A considerable part of the city’s charm lies in the attractive warren of streets of the Barrio Santa Cruz around the cathedral, with late-opening bars, live music and atmospheric clubs.
Hotel La City Mercado has plenty of positive feedback on TripAdvisor. Recent contributions include the following, edited for length:
‘Good stay, excellent service. I spent two night at La City Mercado and I definitely recommend it. The quality price ratio is extremely good, the service was excellent… the room was clean and the bathroom was good…’
‘We picked this hotel for a 2 day stop in Alicante. It was clean, comfortable and quiet… reception staff were friendly and although we never used the breakfast area it looked pretty good. Ideal for short visit and only a 10-15 min walk to the busier tourist areas.’
‘My husband and I stayed for a 3 night break. The hotel is ideally located in the centre of Alicante. Our room was on the small side, but not unusually so for a city hotel, and it was very clean and modern. Walk-in shower was great, the lift was ideal for people with mobility issues etc. The staff were very friendly and kind. I would recommend without hesitation.’
Great getaway gift
The Costa Blanca holiday is a familiar option for Scots travellers, but this Big Deal on a winter break to Alicante offers the chance to see a less frenetic side of Spain’s Mediterranean coast. There, you can appreciate the laidback charms of a fascinating city.
With plenty of sunshine and Alicante temperatures in the comfortable teens, it’s also the perfect chance to escape Scotland’s winter chill for a pre-festive getaway or for a welcome break in the new year.
Or maybe you could surprise your special someone with an Alicante adventure as a Christmas gift?