Lying on the Eastern coast of Spain, Alicante has it all: parties, discos, festivals, castles - and if that isn't enough - hot sun, white sand beaches and a turquoise sea. Of course, something so good can't stay hidden for ever, and Alicante and the towns along the Costa Blanca (White Coast) are now among Europe's most heavily visited regions. If you want a secluded beach, or to be anywhere outdoors without being part of a crowd, don't come during the summer high season. But if you're looking for sunshine, all-night disco parties and hundreds of thousands of potential new friends, you've come to the right place. It's best to start exploring Alicante on the beachfront, along the city's main pedestrian walkway, the Expanada de Espana. Spread out in front of the main part of the city, this elegant boulevard, stretching around the harbour, is shaded with palm trees and lined with shops and cafes. In the midst of this Mediterranean Xanadu there is, sadly, one note of warning: be especially wary here of pickpockets and bag snatchers. Northwest of the Explanada, towards the center of the city, you'll see the imposing Catedral de San Nicolas, and around it, the narrow streets of the El Barro, or old quarter, which has most of the cheaper accommodation and the best nightlife. To the southwest, near the Calle de Italia, you'll find the main tourist office, post office, and the city's central bus and train stations. Alicante is a hive of activity throughout the year, not just in the summer months. It's a city where the sand seems to go on forever…and so does the entertainment. It's a city steeped in history, rich in culture, awash with every kind of shop and restaurant imaginable and literally bursting with beach life. Stroll along the palm-fringed Paseo de la Explanada - the impressive seafront promenade lined with street cafes and inlaid with red, cream and black marble. Stop at the music pavilion and enjoy a free al fresco concert by the sea. Concerts are held in the afternoons, on feast days and on Sunday mornings during the summer months.