¡Hola amigas! I’m fresh off the plane from Alicante with Jet2 and can’t wait to tell you all about it.
For starters, it’s the first package holiday I’ve been on in almost a decade. Pretty much since I started travelling as an adult, I decided I’d much rather book everything myself and see a destination “properly” rather than be stuck in an all-inclusive hotel eating from the same buffet everyday.
I also didn’t really know what to expect from Alicante. Having visited Benidorm as a teenager I had decided there and then that I didn’t want to return. So would Alicante be full of the Brits Abroad gang with their perma-tans and restaurants promoting their full English breakfasts?
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I actually went away as part of a Jet2CityBreak. Which means you get flights and the centrally-located hotel booked together in a fabulous deal, without having to be tied to an all-inclusive resort. So you have so much more independence and flexibility to do what you want with your stay.
I wasn’t in a soul-less beach resort as I had feared, I was in fact in a gorgeous 5 star hotel in the middle of Alicante’s colourful Old Town. Hospes Amerigo was beautiful with really friendly staff and lovely rooms with balconies overlooking the cute streets below. It even had a heated rooftop pool with a cover so that you could enjoy it year round. Pretty perfect, right?
Package holidays have come a long way since my day, pal.
And the flights were decent too. It’s a budget airline so I didn’t expect any thrills. But honestly I much preferred it to Easyjet. You’re allowed a handbag as well as your cabin baggage so there’s not that horrible rearrange at the gate. Plus the cabin crew were just a helluva lot nicer. It makes a difference.
As does playing Madonna’s “Holiday” as you land. Lol.
But I admit the Brits Abroad gang were very much present on the flight and I had worried what Alicante itself was going to be like. However despite being 27 miles down the Costa Blanca from Benidorm, it was a world different. As tourists packed onto buses from the airport to their resorts, Alicante town was almost exclusively locals.
We immediately had to brush up on our basic Spanish skills in order to get by. Mainly with “Dos cervezas por favor” and “La cuenta por favor”. Which says it all really.
But I loved that. We were in Spain after all, it shouldn’t be taken for granted that the waiters speak English, should it?
Of course there was a McDonald’s and a Starbucks, because they’re everywhere, but ultimately I felt like we had quite an authentic Spanish experience. We ate lots of new tapas dishes instead of a full English and shopped at independent boutiques instead of tacky souvenir shops. It was awesome.
There was even a flamenco show at our hotel one night which was not the colourful, Disney-fied version I’ve previously seen at resorts. It was muted and lovely with one dancer, one guitarist and one singer. And just locals watching with a beer in the courtyard. I liked it a lot.
And wait up, can I just say – who knew it was still hot in Europe in November?! It was blue skies and sunshine all week and was a toasty 22 degrees! Alicante actually gets 330 days of sunshine a year so, y’know, I get why so many Brits head there.
Anyway, I have some posts coming on what to do and where to eat in Alicante but the overall experience was relaxing and charming with none of the tack and cliche I had expected from the Costa Blanca. We visited the beautiful Santa Barbara castle which has spectacular views of the area, and explored the pretty El Palmeral park. I think it goes to show that there’s a lot more to discover in traditionally package holiday destinations.
And that package holidays themselves have their merits. I stayed in a wonderful town in a gorgeous hotel with great return flights. Literally can’t fault it.
It helps that this was the first trip this year that I really relaxed and switched off. Something I’m going to write a full post about because I think it’s so important that travel bloggers do that once in a while.
But I had a fab time and this has definitely opened my eyes to these kinds of less-traditional package holiday options. (Currently eyeing up the Jet2Villas deals…)
Plus, did I mention I ate my weight in patatas bravas? Good trip, all round.
Now, watch this space for blog posts.
Total Blogger Transparency: I enjoyed a complimentary trip to Alicante with Jet2. But all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I wouldn’t play you like that, shorty.