Alicante Insider

Basilica of Santa Maria

Built on the remains of a mosque between the 14th and 16th centuries, the Basilica of Santa Maria is the oldest active church in the city of Alicante, and a fine example of Valencian Gothic architecture boasting a Baroque facade and fronted by a wonderful image of the Virgin sculpted by local artist Juan Baustita Borja. Located in the peaceful Plaza de Santa Maria where visitors can enjoy refreshments in a selection of surrounding cafes, the basilica lays claim to being the most beautiful building in Alicante, and it certainly is as impressive inside as it is out.

Basilica of Santa Maria
Source: Flickr / Bert Kaufmann

Basilica of Santa Maria

When entering the Basilica of Santa Maria visitors need to bear in mind, although it is open to the general public it is not just a de-commissioned church that is now a tourist attraction, the basilica is a working church with worshippers attending mass on a daily basis and it would be highly disrespectful to wander around talking and taking photos when people are attending mass. The basilica is close to the old town, Ereta Park and the Museum of Contemporary Arts, so my recommendation if visiting when mass is taking place is just to spend some time exploring the old town, museum or park and go back to the basilica when mass is over.

After admiring the impressive but rather simple architecture on the outside of the Basilica of Santa Maria, upon entering visitors are greeted with a very beautiful altar, pretty stained glass windows, intricate stonework and wonderful paintings, all adding to the calm and peaceful atmosphere. A unique feature of the basilica is the glass floors found in certain parts of the building which give visitors a view of some of the remains of the mosque upon which it was built. A spectacular time to visit the basilica and surrounding plaza is during the Semana Santa (Spanish Easter) celebrations when there is a great variety of impressive processions.

Alicante City Parks

Visitors to Alicante during the peak summer months often seek refuge from the midday heat or hustle and bustle of the crowds, and the picturesque Alicante City parks provide a perfect setting for a pleasant stroll or just to relax in the shade of the trees.
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