This summer the Alicante street scene has been enlivened with the chic appearance of the Calessino, a rickshaw taxi service that uses specially adapted retro-style Vespa three wheelers to relive classic Mediterranean Dolce Vita in this iconic seaside city.

Combining style with fun, the Calessino offer a great way to see the city in a manner that is comfortable but also interactive. Shaded and cool yet open-air, the ride allows you to feel and experience the city you’re driving through, catching the aroma of the market and coffee shops as you gently whiz past.

It’s a case of Delhi rickshaw meets Roman Vespa on the streets and squares of Alicante, and yes, there is certainly a touch of Italian charm and 1960s nostalgia about this cute apparition, but then the connection between Vespa and Spain is a long one. Born near Florence in 1946, the Vespa soon conquered Spain at a time when there was a need for cheap and easy transport. A factory opened in Madrid in 1952, and by the latter sixties was producing domestic variations that would remain in production until 1990.

Since Vespa and its mother company Piaggio’s revival in the early 2000s, modern versions have reappeared and won over a new generation of scooter lovers. However, the Calessinos operated by Tortuga (Turtle) Tours totally recapture the halcyon tourist days of the 1960s. The tour company hit on this inspired idea and converted several commercial Piaggio Calessino vans for the purpose, producing a mini-fleet of super charming taxis that have put a smile on the face of everyone they pass.

Fitting beautifully into the Mediterranean setting of beachside promenades and historic city plazas, the Calessino make downtown Alicante even prettier, and have been a hit with tourists and even locals. They take you on tours around the city, passing by cathedrals, monuments, quaint areas full of atmosphere, in fact wherever you like. Visitors may have a specific route in mind or leave it up to the driver to give them a feel for Alicante and its charms.

Visit the castle that overlooks Alicante and its broad bay, take a city tour through the historic heart or along the beachfront, or opt for a cool, refreshing ride in the evening, when the ambient lights and lively atmosphere make the city even more appealing. The driver is also your guide, and if you want can give visitors background to the things you’re seeing, ranging from more typical historical information to real-life anecdotes from people who live here.

The tours are available in Spanish, English and French, with day tours costing 30 euros per ride and 40 euros in the evening. No wonder it has been so successful – we can’t think of a more fun and romantic way of seeing a city and capturing some that enlivening dolce vita spirit.

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