Welcome to my insider’s guide on the best things to do in Alicante. My name is Ruben: I’m a tourism specialist who lives in the buzzing city of Alicante, located in the beautiful Valencia region of southeastern Spain.
Through my blog and social media I share tips, trips and recommendations with a community of avid travelers. My passion for traveling began when I was little, when my parents took me to discover places close to home but that were outside of the city. Later, I went on my first solo trip outside of Spain with an institution. That is when I realized that travel was my thing!
Little by little, over the years, I have made it my mission to get to know the Alicante province in greater detail. Slowly but surely, I have experienced more places on the coast and inland – all of which continue to surprise me.
Alicante is a city open to the sea. It offers endless attractions for all types of visitors and there is always something new to do for those of us who live here. The Alicante province covers many amazing destinations. We have towns that are classified as some of the most precious in all of Spain. The province leaves a lasting impression on everyone from tourists to locals.
One of the most special places for me is the foothills of the Santa Barbara Castle. This area acts as one of the green lungs of the city, with history to immerse in and fantastic views to soak up. El Parque La Ereta here offers breathtaking vistas of the sea, the city as a whole, and of the emblematic and picturesque neighborhood El Barrio de Santa Cruz (the Old Town).
But by no means is this the only incredible part of Alicante, and the wider province, to check out. Below, I will be outlining the absolute best things to see and do in Alicante – from marveling at the 360 degree views afforded at Santa Barbara Castle to spending a day in the gorgeous islet of Tabarca.
Best Things To Do in Alicante City
1. Visit Santa Barbara Castle & Enjoy the Views
The hill known as Monte Benacantil dominates the urban part of Alicante and it’s on this rugged mountain where the fortress of Santa Barbara Castle lies. In addition to admiring the views from the top, visitors can appreciate its history and architecture – with three main areas to explore: the turret or tower, the intermediate zone where you can find the residential buildings, and the lower level which was built recently in the 18th century.
2. Acquaint Yourself with El Barrio de Santa Cruz
Getting to know El Barrio de Santa Cruz by wandering around its labyrinthine streets, and falling in love with its white houses and colorful flowers, is a must. This is regarded as the heart of Alicante’s historical center after all! The food and nightlife of El Barrio de Santa Cruz will also blow you away, so visit during the day and night for a different experience. For an even more immersive trip, you can book accommodation here.
3. Go Swimming & Sunbathing at Playa del Postiguet
Situated right in the middle of the city, Playa del Postiguet is a sprawling beach offering golden sands and clear waters. At over 600 meters in length, there is plenty of space for everyone to find their own little slice of paradise.
4. Walk by the Marina at Sunset & Admire the Skyline
The Marina Deportiva del Puerto de Alicante, or simply the Alicante Marina, is a unique place to witness golden hour with the skyline lurking in the background. Bring your camera and snap creative images! You can also come during the day to enjoy its world-class restaurants, bars and shops.
5. Take Photos at Explanada de Espana
Explanada de Espana is a true icon of Alicante, boasting mosaic pavements that mimic the waves of the Mediterranean and rows of palm trees that line either side. Head down the 600 meter walkway and take photos or videos of the patterns – they will definitely be a hit on Instagram or TikTok!
6. Order a Horchata or Two at Kiosko Peret
Located on the colorful Explanada de Espana mentioned above, Kiosko Peret is one of the most famous ice cream parlors in all of Alicante – serving all sorts of delicious treats here since 1923. Horchata is a popular menu item with locals at the small, unassuming kiosk. This non-alcoholic drink has its roots in the southwestern region of Valencia but today it’s consumed all over the Spanish-speaking world. Made from tiger nuts (considered a superfood), horchata is a refreshing choice on a hot summer day.
7. Shop Until You Drop on Avenida Maisonnave
The four-lane Avenida Maisonnave is considered the top shopping district of Alicante and for good reason. A wide variety of retail stores can be browsed through including fashion, accessories, cosmetics, footwear and electronics shops. There is also a range of cute little tapas bars on the highstreet, where you can gorge on food and drinks in between purchases.
8. Try Tapas in the Central Market & Castanos Area
Speaking of tapas, the best places to try the typical ones from Alicante are in the Central Market and Castanos area. A few local favorite dishes are calamari, albondigas (meatballs in tomato sauce), and fish and cheese croquettes. In reality though, there are countless variations of tapas to wrap your lips around in Alicante – just order what sounds good and enjoy!
9. Book a Tour to See the Civil War Bombshelters
The Spanish Civil War lasted from July 17, 1936 to April 1, 1939 and some of that brutal legacy is still visible today through the remains of anti-aircraft shelters. Booking a tour is a great way to learn about the bombshelters that were erected and the difficult social context that surrounded their use.
10. Plaza de los Luceros to Playa de San Juan Tram
This tram ride is one of the longest and most scenic ones in the city. Going from Plaza de los Luceros where the monumental fountain is located, it transports you along the coast until you reach the pristine white sands of Playa de San Juan. Visitors can enjoy a beach day if the weather permits.
What To Do in Alicante Province
- Travel to the Salinas de Torrevieja: One of the most unique landscapes in Europe due to the pink color of the lake waters. The trip south from Alicante is only 45 minutes, so you could easily hire a car for the day.
- Head up a Benidorm Skyscraper: Benidorm is extremely touristy but the views from the skyscrapers that surround the coast are nothing short of spectacular! This city is a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike.
- Check Out Altea for the Day: Altea is a Costa Blanca gem due to the beauty of the town and its vistas of the Mediterranean Sea. The quaint architecture makes it the perfect place to go exploring without a plan.
- Pay a Visit to Guadalest for a Few Hours: Another destination within an hour’s drive from Alicante, Guadelast is best described as a village perched on top of a mountain. The village looks absolutely stunning all year round!
- Venture Out to Tabarca Islet: The smallest permanently inhabited islet in Spain, Tabarca is a hidden treasure just waiting to be explored. Spend a day here on a boat tour and take a dip in the inviting, crystal-clear waters.
The Festive Locals of Alicante
We people from Alicante are open and friendly, and always want to party! In our spare time, we like to be in the streets relaxing on terraces and getting together with friends. The locals of Alicante are very social. Unlike other parts of Spain, our fiestas last until the wee hours of the morning and the streets are constantly packed with people. One local custom that you can try is after finishing a night out partying, eat churros before coming home.
Cool Accommodation in Alicante
Currently, glamping accommodation is becoming popular since its original and combines the best of camping with the glamor of a good hotel. For example, Alicante is located close to the sea and surrounded by nature – ideal for glamping. Places I suggest are Nomading Camp and Dreamsea Mediterranean Camp, both take your Alicante trip to the next level.
Some Tips for Visiting Alicante
Travelers should spend at least a week in Alicante to get to know the city and its surroundings. If there is one thing that characterized the province, it’s that the distances are relatively short. By having your own car you can travel both inland and along the coast, thus enjoying a complete vacation.
Another piece of advice I always give is that since Alicante has a tropical climate, visitors shouldn’t pay attention to the forecast as the weather is quite different from the rest of the country. There can be a 20 minute storm followed by gorgeous sun, with temperatures exceeding 30°C. Lastly, have a travel plan but remember that anything can happen: this is Alicante!