Chilling out in Isla Marina

Alicante – Sunday Special

Rummaging and lounging around in Alicante

Dave Bull followed the advice of Steve Hall and went exploring to give Steve something different to do on a Sunday when he arrives in Alicante; a rummage around at the antiques fair before crossing time (and a very busy road, on his own…) and discovering just one of the things that is so good about modern Alicante.. The Beach Club.

Wanting to do something on Sunday but not knowing exactly (or roughly) what I wanted to do I asked my contacts on Facebook for some ideas and immediately Lesley Heyes and Michael Allhoff came up with a couple of good ones. The stamp fair, which is more accurately an antiques fair was Lesley’s suggestion while Michael offered up the Isla Marina Beach Club for a relaxing visit (and drink) afterwards. Both appealed, so off I headed, stopping on the way like a weary traveller at the Chill Out Bar in Urbanova. Ok I’d only be driving eleven minutes but you never know what lies ahead so I work on getting (and keeping) my caffeine levels near the brim, so to speak. And anyway who’s going to begrudge me a breakfast of toast and coffee on the beach?

Stamp Fair

Refreshed and recharged I was ready to take on the rest of the journey (another eleven minutes) and head for Alicante Town Hall, the site of my first suggested visit – The Stamp Fair. I parked easily because I’m extremely smart and ride a scooter into the city but if you must go by car, parking isn’t too much of a problem. The two car parks alongside the port (after Panoramis shopping centre) are rarely if ever full, and both are only a short walk from the town hall.

From the port cross over near the fountain on the roundabout and you’ll find the town hall (ayuntamiento) in the first road back from the coast (if you find yourself at the Sex Shop, you’ve gone way too far this time…) but you really can’t miss it and even some of the local Spaniards can offer half-decent directions. The setting, for what is not just a stamp fair is, welcoming with at least two terrace cafes spreading their tables and chairs into the old courtyard. Standing proudly opposite is one of the finest town halls in the region and the whole square gives you that feeling of being somewhere not only different but historical too. Tall shuttered French windows and flower boxes line the upper floors of the surrounding buildings while below, underneath the arches, Bud Flannagan and Chesney Allen were entertaining tourists. They obviously weren’t, I just couldn’t help it when I got to that bit… Lining the walls of the arched walkway were stalls with just about anything from roman coins and musical instruments to hand crafted wares and what I can only be described as knick-knacks (that covers it). Plenty of willing buyers too along with the ‘window-shoppers’ filled the narrow gap between facing stalls but the cool location and the nearby water fountains meant the atmosphere was comfortable and unrushed. I’m guessing it’s called the Stamp Fair because that is how it started out but these days it has evolved into a good collector’s heaven.
It’s not huge, in fact it’s fairly small with possibly no more than 40 stalls but it’s worth a good hour wandering around and then of course resting up at one of the courtyard bars to partake in a little people watching.

Isla Marina

From there it was a short hop on the scooter (about a kilometre in the direction of Valencia) along the seafront to Isla Marina Beach Club, and if you’ve not been; go soon, and take your visitors to impress them. Located right on the edge of the Med’ right in the middle of the bay the views are superb across to gran Alacant and in the opposite direction up to San Juan. Dress in all white if you go as that’s the unwritten rule with beach bars, although I always end up looking like a bowler when I do it. There’s plenty of space with chill-out areas, a pool, restaurant and at least three bars that I saw, plus bean-bags offer extra seating on the lawn (yep, real stuff too) but the best is for last and that’s the white sofas that sit about six feet from the water’s edge. ‘living the life’ or just on holiday you have to get to this place at least once and sample all that is so good about an evening (or day) at a place like Isla Marina. Having told you how good it is, you’ll be thinking, ‘that’s not gonna be cheap…’ and you’d be right but if you’re going to treat anyone (including yourself) why not indulge in a few hours on white sofas, alongside the Med with waiter and waitresses all far too good looking bringing you your favourite cocktail (ok fellas) or lager…

There’s plenty of free parking down there too so if you’re driving just follow the coast road through Alicante and then when the right hand lane rises above the road (signpost Valencia) stay in the middle lane and look for the signs very soon on the right. Failing that, if you can’t find it invite me along and I’ll happily show you where it is…so long as you’re buying the drinks…? To be more serious, if I have whetted your appetite for Alicante, why not ask me about a guided historical and cultural tour of Alicante City or the area on 606 540 408 or by email (ask@allabroad.es)?

If your not keen on motorbikes and prefer a more “sensible” car both Steve and I have known Mike and Heidi at Coy’s Rent A Car for many years. Steve has rented their cars for literally hundreds of weeks for himself and staff and will ONLY recommend them to his contacts. You can book online and then pick the car up at the airport or Torrevieja. Just make sure Steve does not want you to drive him to his next destination which I hear is the Canary Islands!!

Part of the This Is Spain Network. Operated by Costa Insider SL.