Given the fact that Alicante is situated in the heart of Spain's Costa Blanca region - a coastal part of the country where the average annual temperature is just over 17 degrees C - and contains glittering sandy stretches, it is perhaps unsurprising to note that it's a popular location for a beach break. What may surprise you, however, is that the city also has a fantastic array of museums.
Indeed, if you are hoping that your next holiday will afford you the opportunity to combine culture and working on your tan then I certainly advise that you start searching for information on flights to Alicante sooner rather than later. Just as there are a wide range of routes from the UK to the Spanish city (including services that depart from Manchester and Gatwick), you will discover a great selection of galleries and museums that cover a range of subjects once you land.
Among the institutions that you can visit is the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art (commonly abbreviated as MACA) which - having opened in 2011- is among Spain's newest museums.
As you will have probably guessed, this museum is dedicated to modern art with its permanent collection of 177 objects, including everything from paintings and lithographs to sculptures and drawings. There is a real focus on showcasing the best of Spanish art here, with Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Julio Gonzalez among the painters and sculptors whose work is displayed here.
I also advise that you check out the MACA's Joan French collection. This Spanish artist was born in Alicante in 1923, with a trip to the museum giving you the chance to see her paintings and serigraphs, as well as the art materials that she used. Perhaps best of all, admission to the museum is free so it's the ideal place to visit if you want to take a budget-friendly holiday.
Alicante's location on Spain's eastern coast has resulted in it being inhabited by a number of civilisations over the years - among them the Arabs, Romans, Greeks and Phoenicians - which is something that has resulted in the city having a vast heritage.
You can learn more about the rich local history by visiting the Alicante Provincial Archaeological Museum (MARQ). Situated at the Dr Gomez Ulla Plaza, this cultural institution is housed in the former premises of the San Juan de Dios hospital
MARQ's vast permanent collection consists of Bronze Age weapons and Neolithic-era pottery, among other items, so you can be sure of finding at least one fascinating artefact. I particularly like the sound of the Prehistory Gallery, which displays around 1,000 objects that provide a glimpse into the lives of local farmers, metalworkers and hunter-gatherers, while a number of temporary exhibits give an in-depth insight into a particular facet of local archaeology.
Once you have finished taking in the exhibits, head to the library, where you will discover a wide variety of European archaeological publications, magazines and books, while a number of workshops are offered for children. Admission to the museum costs €3 (£2.50) for adults and €1.50 for concessions, though a number of package deals and discounts are available.
These are just some of Alicante's top museums and galleries, but whichever attractions you visit on your cultural holiday you're sure to have an amazing time!