Discover Alicante, a charming port city on Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca, where a rich history meets modern-day attractions. Our guide on “what to do in Alicante” begins with a journey back in time, tracing the steps of ancient Iberians, Romans, and Moors. The city’s historic heart beats through its well-preserved Baroque architecture and the iconic Castle of Santa Bárbara atop Mount Benacantil.
As you explore these ancient sites, you’ll gain a glimpse into Alicante’s storied past before diving into the contemporary experiences it offers. Alicante is not just a destination but a gateway to a diverse range of adventures awaiting your exploration.
What to Do in Alicante?
As one of the Mediterranean gems, Alicante dazzles with its rich history and vibrant present. This Spanish province offers sun-kissed beaches, ancient castles, and lively streets, promising a bunch of unforgettable experiences. So, come dive into Alicante’s magic and let it enchant your soul.
1. Castillo de Santa Bárbara
Standing majestically atop Mount Benacantil, this ancient castle invites you to journey through time. As you wander its historic walls and corridors, enjoy breathtaking panoramas of the azure Mediterranean Sea and the vibrant city below. This imposing fortress, with origins dating back to the 9th century, offers more than just stone walls and battlements.
As you ascend its pathways, you’re greeted with unparalleled views, where the city’s urban stretches meet the vast Mediterranean horizon. Inside, each chamber and corridor whispers tales of ancient battles, Moorish reigns, and Spanish reconquests. Beyond its military significance, the castle is a symbol of endurance and time’s passage. Explore it, and you’re not just sightseeing—you’re time-travelling.
2. Postiguet Beach
Located right at the heart of the city, Postiguet Beach is more than just a beach—it’s an embodiment of the city’s laid-back charm and coastal allure. With its soft golden sands caressed by gentle Mediterranean waves, it’s the perfect haven for both relaxation and recreation.
Spend a day here, and you’ll find yourself seamlessly transitioning from sunbathing under the Spanish sun to taking refreshing dips in its crystal-clear waters. As evening approaches, the beach transforms, with the nearby promenade buzzing with life, laughter, and music. It’s not just a beach; it’s an Alicante experience waiting to be cherished.
3. Explanada de España
The Explanada de España is one of Alicante’s must-visit spots. As you walk along this prominent promenade, you’re surrounded by rows of swaying palm trees that add a touch of tropical charm to your stroll. The colourful mosaic tiles underfoot create a vibrant pathway that mirrors the city’s lively spirit.
As you meander, you’ll discover a variety of cafes and shops to enjoy a quick bite, relish a cool beverage, or snag a few souvenirs. Whether you’re starting your day or winding down in the evening, the Explanada offers a relaxed and enjoyable experience for everyone.
4. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Alicante (MACA)
Dive into the vibrant world of contemporary art at MACA, one of Alicante’s standout cultural attractions. Located in the heart of the city, this museum boasts a diverse collection that showcases both Spanish and international artists. Its thoughtfully curated exhibitions present a dynamic blend of mediums, from paintings and sculptures to innovative installations.
MACA offers art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike a fresh perspective on the world through the eyes of modern creators. With its sleek architecture and ever-evolving displays, a visit to MACA promises an enriching and inspiring experience, making it a top destination for culture seekers in Alicante.
5. Alicante Marina
Step into Alicante Marina, where the city’s vibrant energy meets the serene beauty of the Mediterranean. Perfectly situated along the coastline, the marina is a hub of activity. Here, you can indulge in waterfront dining, with restaurants offering delectable dishes that range from local Spanish fare to international cuisines.
As you savour your meal, enjoy the gentle lapping of waves and the sight of gleaming boats moored nearby. And if you’re keen on exploring further, numerous boat tours embark from the marina, offering unique perspectives of Alicante and its surrounding seascape. It’s a maritime experience you shouldn’t miss.
6. Basilica of Santa Maria
In the heart of Alicante stands the Basilica of Santa Maria, a beacon of the city’s rich religious legacy. As the oldest active church in the city, its imposing Gothic architecture holds centuries of devotion and history within its walls. The intricate stone façades and soaring interiors speak of an era long past, yet its essence remains vibrant and alive. Whether you’re drawn by faith, architecture, or simply curiosity, a visit to the Basilica offers a serene respite from the bustling city life.
7. Mercado Central
Dive into the bustling heart of Alicante’s culinary scene at Mercado Central. This vibrant market teems with stalls offering the freshest produce, from sun-ripened fruits to crisp vegetables. But there’s more than just produce here. Navigate the aromatic aisles and discover an array of local delicacies: artisan cheeses, cured meats, and freshly baked goods.
Friendly vendors share stories and offer samples, making each purchase a delightful experience. As a hub of local flavours and traditions, Mercado Central is an essential stop for food lovers and those keen to taste Alicante’s authentic essence.
8. Island of Tabarca
Just a short boat trip away from Alicante lies the enchanting Island of Tabarca, a haven for those seeking a blend of aquatic adventures and tantalising tastes. Dive into the clear waters surrounding the island and discover a vibrant underwater world, perfect for snorkelling enthusiasts.
The island’s rich marine life promises a spectacle of colours and wonders beneath the waves. After your marine exploration, head to the local eateries where fresh seafood, caught daily, awaits your palate. With its natural beauty and gastronomic delights, Tabarca offers a memorable day trip that perfectly complements any Alicante itinerary.
9. Alicante Golf
Seeking a break from the city buzz? Alicante Golf provides a tranquil oasis for enthusiasts and novices alike. Set amidst lush landscapes, this meticulously designed course offers players a unique blend of challenge and charm. Every hole tells a story, with water hazards and strategic bunkers adding to the excitement.
10. Santa Cruz Neighbourhood
Venture into the heart of Alicante by wandering through the charming lanes of the Santa Cruz Neighbourhood. Embark on a journey to Alicante’s core with its cobblestone pathways and vibrant houses; this historic area exudes an unmistakable charm. Every corner reveals a slice of daily Spanish life, from lively chats among neighbours to the aroma of home-cooked meals wafting through windows. Ascend its gentle slopes and stumble upon hidden plazas and panoramic city views. In Santa Cruz, you don’t just observe Alicante’s local vibe – you live it.
11. Canelobre Caves
Delve deep into the earth’s embrace at the Canelobre Caves, a geological wonder just a short drive from Alicante. These caves are ancient limestone formations dating back to the Jurassic era, around 145 million years ago. Venture into its chambers and be mesmerised by an array of stalactites and stalagmites, meticulously sculpted over millennia by nature’s patient hands.
The play of light and shadow within the cave accentuates its ethereal beauty, creating a magical atmosphere. The cool, echoing chambers offer not just a visual treat but a sensory experience that evokes awe and wonder. A visit to Canelobre Caves is a journey into the heart of nature’s artistry, waiting to captivate your imagination.
12. Alicante’s Festivals
Immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Alicante by timing your visit with its renowned festivals. Among these is Las Hogueras de San Juan, a fiery celebration marking the summer solstice. The city comes alive with spectacular bonfires, intricate effigies, and joyous processions. Music, dance, and traditional fare create an ambience of jubilation.
13. Mount Benacantil
Towering over Alicante, Mount Benacantil offers adventurers and sightseers an unrivalled perspective of the city and its sprawling coastline. Whether you choose to hike its trails or take a leisurely drive to the top, the journey promises scenic beauty at every turn. Once atop, the panoramic vista is nothing short of breathtaking: the azure Mediterranean Sea stretching infinitely, framed by the city’s mosaic of rooftops and landmarks.
14. Casa Carbonell
Standing proudly along Alicante’s seafront is Casa Carbonell, a testament to early 20th-century elegance. Its intricate façades and grand balconies capture the city’s architectural evolution and artistic prowess. As the sun casts a golden hue on its detailed stonework, the building becomes a visual feast for both history buffs and design enthusiasts. A stroll by Casa Carbonell is more than just sightseeing—it’s a journey into Alicante’s rich architectural grandeur and timeless grace.
15. Alicante’s Culinary Gems
Dive into Alicante’s gastronomic treasures, where heritage and flavours intertwine. Established in 1971, “Nou Manolín” is an emblem of culinary excellence. Among the most awarded, this Alicante restaurant is renowned for its commitment to the finest seasonal produce. Not far off, “La Taberna del Gourmet” seamlessly melds Spanish tradition with a modern flair.
“Monastrell,” with its Michelin star, showcases the best of the Mediterranean, and “Piripi” by the marina delivers authentic Valencian paella. Restaurant La Ereta: This modernist restaurant offers fine dining with a variety of set menus accompanied by a commanding view across the city.
16. Alicante’s Premier Stays
When it comes to luxury and comfort, Alicante does not disappoint. “Hospes Amérigo,” set in a former convent, merges historic charm with modern amenities, ranking high on the list of every traveller. “Hotel Sercotel Suites del Mar” boasts sea views that leave guests spellbound, making it one of the most favoured Alicante hotels.
Not to be outdone, “Melia Alicante” offers a blend of beachfront luxury and city convenience, making it a top pick for many. From their pristine rooms to world-class services, these establishments redefine what it means to stay in Alicante, providing experiences that linger long after the journey ends.
As the sun sets on the horizon, Alicante’s allure remains undimmed, with memories of its charm echoing in every traveller’s heart. From its historic landmarks to coastal wonders, the city never ceases to enchant. If you ever find yourself pondering “what to do in Alicante,” remember that every corner holds a story, every street a new discovery. Farewell until Alicante beckons you once more.