What is life in Alicante like?
When I lived on the Costa Blanca (in Moraira) I often visited Alicante for the day. But I never felt I really got to know what life in Alicante was like.
What makes this city so appealing to many expats? And if you are thinking about moving to Alicante: does this city have what you are looking for?
I interviewed Lynn, one of many expats living in Alicante, to find out more.
This interview is part of the Ask an Expat series. In this series I interview people living all over the world but outside of their home country. I try to help paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of life abroad. In the interview the expat shares tips for anyone thinking about moving abroad and information about what to see and do in the city, town or country the expat now calls home.
Expat Life in Alicante, Spain
Name: Lynn and Todd Knowles
Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas, USA
“Except for college (and a few misguided years Todd spent in west Texas), we both lived in the Dallas area all of our lives.
We did always talk about living abroad for a while. We stayed put though while our boys were young so they could be near the grandparents. We were also locked in, job-wise, committed to our teacher retirement and making too much money (ha!) to change districts, even.
So, we had a plan. By 2020 our house would be paid off, we’d both have 30+ years in our jobs and the boys would be settled. Then we could move abroad.
But then the housing market boomed, so we moved up to 2018. Then Todd came home in November 2015 and announced he was done. I asked if something happened at school (he was an assistant principal). Nope – just done. He could see himself not caring, and didn’t want to become that person. So, we expedited.
Our retirement income is not enough to allow us to stay in Dallas, but Todd had done lots of research, and Spain is affordable.
We got rid of everything except one storage unit worth of family stuff. We made a killing on the house, did our retirement paperwork and started couch surfing in June 2016.
Before this, we already had a scouting trip booked for late June, which then became a house-finding trip. We had to have an address in Spain in order to apply for a visa. Long story short, we saw only one apartment in Alicante and took it.
In October 2016 we moved to Alicante and we haven’t looked back. We actually talk to our kids more often than we did when we all lived in Texas.”
If you are from the USA and thinking about moving to Spain, also read: Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Spain as an American
Why Did You Move to Alicante?
“We chose Alicante for several reasons.
The weather is basically like the perfect weather in San Diego, meaning we don’t get extremes. It’s on the Mediterranean coast and has that typical laid back vibe.
Alicante is a college town and the regional capital which means there’s something going on all of the time. And while Alicante attracts a lot of vacationers, it’s also a real town, so it doesn’t close up in the winter.
There’s an airport, and we’re four blocks from the train station, from where we can get to Madrid in just over 2 hours.”
What Do You Like About Life in Alicante?
“The fresh, high-quality food, friendly people, international vibe, and music is what we like most about life in Alicante.”
What Do You Dislike About Life in Alicante?
“The easy pace of life in Spain comes at a price: try to get anything done!
The red tape makes me crazy, but it’s a small price to pay to live here.”
Also Read: Fun, Surprising & Shocking Facts About Spain
What Is Your Favorite Thing to Do in Alicante?
“Just hang out and enjoy the Spanish way of life.
I’m writing this interview in a coffee shop across the street from our apartment. I hear Spanish, British English, and German. And everyone is relaxed and happy!”
What Is Your Favorite Place to Hang Out in Alicante?
“There are so many nice cafes and restaurants in Alicante!
These are some of our favorites:
- Katana in the Mercado Central
- Casa Mia Italia for FABULOUS Italian food – it’s our go-to celebration restaurant
- New Delhi on the promenade for Indian food
- Xiringuito Postiguet for live music during the summer
- For coffee: Sip and Wonder Coffee House, Luceros Coffee, or Madness Specialty Coffee in the old town”
What Is the Expat / International Community like in Alicante?
“There are a lot of expats living in Alicante.
Primarily through InterNations we’ve made friends from all over: the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, South America, Scandinavia, South Africa, and Spain.
Some are retired and other expats in Alicante have found jobs here.”
Any Tips for Moving to / Living in Alicante?
“Do your homework. And check out the city before you decide moving to Alicante is what you want. Center-city living isn’t for everyone.”
Any Resources You Found Useful During the Process of Moving to And/Or Building a New Life in Alicante?
“Internations.org is a good place to start.
There is also a useful Facebook group called Expats Alicante where you will find a mix of expats living in Alicante and people still thinking about moving to Alicante.
Additionally, there are also several Facebook groups for expats in Spain where you can find a lot of helpful information and ask questions.
To get an idea of what property costs in Alicante (both to rent and to buy) check out Idealista.com, which is one of the main property portals in Spain”
Is There Something You Just Have to See or Do When You Are in Alicante?
“The Alicante castle, Castillo de Santa Bárbara, is amazing – and it has an elevator!
Alicante is located on the Costa Blanca and there are a lot of cute coastal towns to explore in the area. Altea, Javea, Moraira, and Denia, to name a few. Inland the Guadelest castle is a popular place to visit.”
Lynn writes a blog about her life in Alicante and her adventures in Spain called Operation Alicante. Do check it out if you want to know more about what living in Alicante is really like!
Alicante is a port city on Spain’s Costa Blanca. It’s the capital of the Alicante province and a popular destination for people to visit and people to move to.
Alicante is known for its nice sandy beaches, great climate and laid-back vibe.
With numerous parks, a cute historical center with narrow streets, colored houses and a lively nightlife scene, it’s a city that offers a good quality of life.
Alicante’s medieval castle, Castillo de Santa Bárbara, is the city’s most famous landmark. It is set on a hilltop boasting gorgeous views of the Mediterranean coast.
The airport just outside of Alicante offers flights from a lot of low budget airlines which makes it an easy city to fly in and out of.
If You Are Thinking About Moving to the Alicante Region, Also Read:
- Interview With an Expat About Living in Valencia
- Interview With an Expat About Living in Moraira
- What to See & Do in Moraira, Costa Blanca
- Moving to Spain as an American – Things I Wish I Knew
- Interview With an Expat About Living in Denia
Or check out an overview of all articles about Spain
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