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Can’t go to Russia in 2018? Head to Alicante instead

Can’t go to Russia in 2018? Head to Alicante instead View of Alicante from Santa Barbara Castle by Jorn Eriksson

Anyone who loves to combine the two passions of football and travel might yearn to join their favourite team as they go to face the world’s best footballing nations at a World Cup tournament, but often the distances involved and hype around a big international footballing tournament make the cost too prohibitive for anyone on a normal salary. You may have already ruled out going to Russia for the 2018 World Cup.

Instead, why not head off to support your nation’s football team in an international friendly? As there’s generally less intense interest in the friendlies, it’s easier and less pricey to go to them and it’s a great way to see a new place and support your team at the same time. For example, coming up this autumn, England will be heading to Alicante to face Spain in a friendly on 13th November. The fact that there’s a lack of pressure on teams to win in a friendly can sometimes throw up some anomalous results in international football betting so you might want to get a value bet on England’s chances against Spain now.

Alicante’s a great place to visit anytime but going in November, you’ll profit from the fact that the usual tourist crowds won’t be there. And while the weather won’t be scorching as it would during the summer, you’ll still have plenty of warmth in the sunshine and some bright blue skies to enjoy while you’re there.

So, what’s there to draw you to Alicante in November apart from the England vs Spain match? While it might not be warm enough to lie on the beach all day, there’s plenty of other stuff to keep you amused and entertained on the Costa Blanca. Here are just a few examples.

• Santa Barbara Castle is definitely worth a visit for the spectacular views that you’ll get from the top. Walk up through the old quarter, or take the bus if you’re feeling lazy. Among the ruins of the medieval fortress you can look down and get a view out to sea across the marina and beaches, and you’ll get a panorama of the city itself as well as a view of the mountains inland.

• To get your hands on some of the local produce in the area, head to the Central Market, open daily from Monday to Saturday. For more shopping head to Rambla de Méndez Núñez – a very traditional area to shop in the city. It’s also a great place to stop for a coffee and watch the world go by.

• There are many different churches to see in Alicante, but one that makes it onto many visitors’ itineraries is the Santa Maria Basilica, the oldest church in the city. It was built on the ruins of the oldest mosque in Alicante.

• Rain or shine, summer or winter, one Alicante attraction that’s always great to visit is the Canelobre Caves, about 25 kms from the city centre in a town called Busot. The caves have been formed by the sea gradually eroding the limestone rock over millions of years. In more recent times, the caves were used during the Civil war as a refuge for Republican troops. The space inside is vast and has been compared to a cathedral – concerts are held here because of the amazing acoustics.

Of course, there’s plenty more to see and do in and around Alicante – but these ideas should get you started if you want to plan a long weekend around the footy and enjoy a bit of sunshine in Alicante this November.