Have you been to Barcelona or Rome and know Madrid by heart? This year you can do it differently and fly to one of the attractive authentic destinations in Spain and Italy – Bari, Catania or Alicante. They are not only ideal for a beach holiday, but also for a sightseeing trip. Beautiful historical monuments await you in these cities, you will taste the best of southern cuisine and relax with the salty smell of the sea.
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Bari is a city in the Italian region of Apulia on the Adriatic Sea. The region is known for centuries for its mountains, cultivated land and endless coastline. And what does Bari characterize? In the past was it a typical working-class city with an industrial touch, but donˈt let that fool you. Cultural monuments and many places have been rebuilt in recent years, and the city has a new interesting cityscape.
What should you see, do and experience in Bari?
Forget the new port of Bari, stroll through the old port where life has remained unchanged for centuries. Fishermen sell freshly caught fish here. If you want to know the real Bari, you should stop right here. The old port is also an ideal starting point for a walk along the Lungomare, the well-known coast built by Mussolini. Although the port has an unsavory past, it is popular today for the bars, restaurants and cafes that grace it.
It would be a shame to visit Bari without seeing Bari Vecchio. We can also translate the name as Old Bari. It lies between the city walls on the peninsula and is the heart of the historic city center. It is characterized by narrow winding streets, cobblestone streets and small squares that invite you to explore them. Here are situated 4 churches, a cathedral and a basilica. Bari city center is one of those places that will enchant you.
If you want to take a rest in Bari style after a long day, you should visit Piazza Mercantile. In the past traders, fishermen and farmer used to sold their products here, you can also taste a coffee in a local coffee or enjoy a scoop of Italian ice in an creamice-cream parlor. Opposite the square you can find the historical building of the Palazzo del Sedile, seat of the Council of Nobility of Bari. The Colonna della Guistizia – pillar of justice in front of the building where the convicts were bound or whipped.
Catania is an ancient port city on the east coast of Sicily. It is located at the foot of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Catania has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its rich history, culture and architecture, which boasts some of the best Baroque monuments in Italy.
What should you see, do and experience in Catania?
The Piazza Duomo is a baroque pride of the city and at the same time houses several unmissable buildings. These include the 18th-century Palazzo dei Chierici, the Palazzo degli Elefanti, now the town hall, and the Duomo di Catania. In the middle of the square is the Elephant Fountain with the city’s landmark – a small elephant on which the obelisk rests.
Etna volcano is undoubtedly the city’s most characteristic feature. One attraction, for example, is Via Etna, which connects Piazza Duomo to the base of a volcanic hill. Along these you can admire elegant churches and palaces with dramatic scenery. You will also walk through Piazza Stesicoro, one of the liveliest squares in Catania. The entire area around Mount Etna is a protected national park, with many paths leading up and down the mountain. You can hike or climb around the volcano to the top, from where you can enjoy unforgettable views of Catania and the Ionian Sea.
Built in the 13th century, Ursino Castle survived an earthquake in 1693 and a few years earlier a volcano erupted, filling the moats with lava. It was the residence of the Aragonese dynasty and later became a famous prison. Today the Catania Museum is located here.
Alicante is one of the most beautiful Spanish cities and a very popular destination, whether for a longer holiday or a city break. The city attracts with 218 kilometers of coastline with beautiful beaches and 330 days of sunshine a year. However, if you thought it was worth visiting this city just to lounge on the beach, you were wrong. Alicante has an old town, a castle and an exciting nightlife.
What should you see, do and experience in Alicante?
The Old Town or El Barrio is the historic heart of Alicante. If you want to experience their authentic atmosphere, come by. Enjoy Spanish delicacies in dozens of restaurants, have a drink in the evening and don’t forget to taste the real tapas. In the old town is an impressive town hall with twin towers overlooking the square. It was built in the 18th century. Tourists can visit the Blue Room and a small chapel, and weddings are held here in the summer.
Alicante also has a rich historical past, as practically the entire city was built on the foundations of Santa Barbara Castle. It was built in the 9th century and is surprisingly well preserved. An elevator will take you to the top, or you can climb a winding path to this location. You can spend the whole day here, there is a lot to see.
Another place not to be missed in Alicante is the La Explanada de Espanada promenade. It is the city’s main and most beautiful promenade and consists of more than 6 million red, cream and black tiles. Lined with palm trees, it is an ideal place to stroll and enjoy Spain to the fullest. There are also cafes, bars and shops selling clothes and other products.
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