Gateway to the Costa Blanca and party capital of the Valencia region, Alicante is defined by its delectable white-sand beaches.
Most visitors consequently choose to base themselves within an easy stroll of the sea, and the city's best hotels jostle for space along this coastal strip.
La Taberna del Gourmet (Calle San Fernando 10) serves up some of the best tapas in the city, but you'll find a more contemporary menu at El Portal (Calle de Bilbao 2).
Local street markets Campoamor, Carolinas and Benalua y Babel take place on Thursdays and Saturdays, while the Town Hall Square hosts a Sunday morning flea market of epic proportions.
Hotel Bahia (Calle de Gravina 16) is more basic, but still has that all-important coastal location.
Most of Alicante's mainstream shops are clustered around the Rambla de Mendez Nunez and the Maisonnave area, but if you're looking for a true taste of local life then head to the Merdaco Central on the Avenida de Alfonso el Sabio.
Five-star Hospes Amerigo (Calle de Rafael Altamira 7) combines a central location and easy access to the beach with a rooftop spa that has panoramic views over Alicante Cathedral and Santa Barbara Castle.
A little further from the town centre but even closer to the sea, Melia Alicante (Plaza del Puerto 3) overlooks the harbour and attracts visiting yachties from all over Europe.