What to do in Alicante – 8 ideas
From the main tourist attractions like Santa Barbara Castle, Island of Tabarca, and sunbathing on the beaches, to less obvious spots, Alicante will surely provide a lot of fun for you and your family. Get ready for sunny beaches with a lot of sand, interesting museums and exciting trips outside the city. Empezamos!
1) Beach time: Soak up the sun at Playa de San Juan or Playa del Postiguet
If laying on the beach is your number one reason for visiting Spain, then Alicante will not disappoint. With such a long coastline, Alicante and its surroundings have plenty of beaches to choose from that are a short car ride away. One of the most famous beaches in Alicante is San Juan Beach (Playa de San Juan). It’s located around 8 km from Alicante’s old town and you can easily get there via public transport.
Staying in the city centre and would like a closer beach? No worries, you can just grab your towel and go to Postiguet Beach (Playa del Postiguet). It’s located right in the city, near the port and in front of the towering Santa Barbara Castle, so getting there will be a piece of cake. If you’re looking for a slightly more private atmosphere and a smaller beach, you can take a quick tram ride to Albufereta Beach (Playa de Albufereta). Whichever beach you decide to go to, you’ll have plenty of sand to cover your feet and the turquoise Mediterranean Sea to dip your toes in.
2) Admire the Mediterranean coast from Castell de Santa Bárbara
The one thing that’ll certainly catch your eye once you make it to Alicante is the Santa Barbara Castle. Located on the top of Mount Benacantil, 166 metres above sea level, this medieval fortress dates back to the late 9th century and towers over the Alicante city, offering stunning views of the whole of Alicante Bay and the coast. This stop may require a bit of physical effort on your part, but the views will be well worth it. If you’re not up for a climb, you may opt for the elevator that you can access for a small fee. Whichever way you take, don’t forget to take your camera!
3) Pay a visit to Alicante museums
Any history fans here? You wouldn’t like to miss the Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ), where you can learn about the history of the Costa Blanca region and its residents. The museum is divided into thematic sections, which take you on an interesting journey through time. You can also visit the MUSA (Museum of Alicante City) which is located inside the Santa Barbara Castle and focuses specifically on the city’s history.
If, on the other hand, you’re more into art, we recommend a visit to MACA (Contemporary Art Museum of Alicante). The museum’s permanent collections include contemporary art from famous painters like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Joan Miró. Those of you who are looking for something more local, have a short stop at Aguas de Alicante Museum. Dedicated to water and its supply to Alicante, it’s not a famous destination for tourists, but may be an interesting stop if you’re looking for something different. Plus, it’s free to enter, so you have nothing to lose.
4) Try some fresh food at Mercado Central
Foodies and those of you who like to cook shouldn’t miss Alicante’s Mercado Central. This is the best place to go if you’re looking for fresh produce, especially fish. Located in the city centre, it’s filled with many stalls where you can find everything from flowers, to fruits, cheeses, meat and pastries. Yum! Even if you’re not really planning on buying or eating anything, it’s still a fun and free spot to stop by to have a more traditional and local experience.
5) Explore Alicante’s Old Town and Basilica of Santa María
Take a break from the beach and walk around Santa Cruz Quarter (Barrio de Santa Cruz) which is Alicante’s historic centre. It consists of a few picturesque streets at the foot of Santa Barbara Castle. Make sure to stop by the gothic Basilica of Santa María, the oldest active church in Alicante (dating back to the 14th century). If you’d like to take some amazing panoramic shots, go up to the Mirador de Santa Cruz. We recommend timing your visit for the sunset.
6) Stroll along Paseo de la Explanada
Alicante has its own promenade that stretches for around 500 metres parallel to the port. Paseo de la Explanada is made of millions of colourful tiles creating waves. During the day, there are numerous market stalls where you can buy some souvenirs to take back home. If you’re hungry, this is also where you’ll find many restaurants.
7) Hop on a tour to Tabarca Island
Want a change of scenery? Hop on a boat for a day trip to the island of Tabarca. This is the only inhabited island in the Region of Valencia and a popular tourist attraction. In the past, this small island was a base for pirates, followed by fishermen. Since 1986 it’s been a Marine Reserve and boasts abundant flora and fauna. It’s particularly famous among fans of snorkelling, but you can also just go there to sit on the beach and enjoy the views or walk around the 18th-century fortified town. There are many boat companies offering regular transfers between Alicante and Tabarca Island, so getting there won’t be difficult. If you do decide to take a trip there, we recommend going early in the morning as it can get very crowded. This is especially the case on the weekends when both tourists and the locals want to leave the city.
8) Take a trip to Elche or visit Parque el Palmeral
If you are in Alicante for longer, we recommend hopping on a train to Elche. Located near Alicante (around 20 minutes), it is home to the largest Palm Grove in Europe. Supposedly, there are more than 200,000 palm trees in the town! The Palmeral of Elche has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. If you don’t have time to make the trip outside of Alicante, you can opt for a visit to Parque el Palmeral in Alicante. Apart from palm trees, it has ponds and small waterfalls and provides a great space for a family outing in the city.
We hope that these quick suggestions gave you some ideas for your next trip to Alicante. If you need a ride from or to the airport, check out our convenient airport transfers from ALC.