Alicante is the beating heart of the Costa Blanca region and the capital of Eastern Spain. It’s renowned for its never-ending stretches of white sandy beaches making it the perfect holiday spot for friends, families and couples to lap up the sun, sea and sangria.
If it’s the sun and sea you’ve come for, you won’t be disappointed – Alicante has some of the best beaches in the whole of Spain. But this city is more than just beach resorts.
With a rich history and magical spots to explore, it caters for so much more than just the beach-lovers and sun-worshippers. From fortress and old towns to museums and churches, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste and enough to get everyone excited
And one of my favourite things about Alicante is its ease of getting around. Public transport is modern and punctual and means getting from one place to the next is a walk-in-the-park (not in the literal sense – quite the opposite)
Just like many other towns and cities in Spain, this one oozes with a similar charm: white-washed walls and typical Mediterranean architecture and old towns. It’s the particular style that I have fallen head over heels in love with since I first started to visit Spain and its colourful culture and history.
Since you are already here reading this, I’m assuming that you’re either planning to visit Alicante, Spain, or you’re already here and wondering what to do. So here are my all-time favourite and best things to do in Alicante, Spain during a trip here.
19 Best Things To Do In Alicante, Spain
1. Santa Barbara Castle
This imposing fortress is one of Alicante’s most famous landmarks. It sits high above the city on Mount Benacantil and offers stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea.
The castle sits at 166m above sea level and dates back to the 11th century. It was originally built as a Moorish fortress but has since been used as a military prison. Today Santa Barbara Castle is open to the public as a museum.
If you’re visiting Alicante with kids, they’ll love exploring the old tunnels, turrets and ramparts. And even if you don’t have kids, it’s still a great place to dive into the city’s history.
How To Get There:
- You can reach the castle on foot by heading to Parc de I’Ereta and walking 7 minutes from the rear of the park.
- You can also take an elevator from behind Postiguest Beach if you don’t fancy the walk and it costs €2.70 for a return trip.
- Insider Tip: Annoyingly, there are often issues with the elevator, so it’s worth checking at a local tourist office whether it’s running or not before wasting a journey to the lift.
- There is also the CSB line bus which runs every 20 minutes from Plaza Doctor Gomez Ulla (7 minutes at busier times). The one bus stop is in front of the museum MARQ, and goes straight to Santa Barbara Castle. It costs €1.45 each way and can be paid with a contactless card or cash.
Entrance Cost: Entry to the castle is free for EU citizens
- 24th September – 20th March: 9:00 – 19:00 every day
- 21st March – 23rd September: 10am – 20:00 every day
2. Archaeological Museum Of Alicante (MARQ)
This is one of the best things to do in Alicante if you’re interested in learning about the city’s Roman past. The Archaeological Museum of Alicante, otherwise known as MARQ (Museo Arqueológico De Alicante), is housed in a beautiful building that was once a hospital dating back to 1499.
The museum houses over 100,000 artefacts that have been found during excavations in the area. These excavations have revealed a Roman villa, a necropolis and an aqueduct.
The museum is divided into two parts, the first of which is dedicated to the history of Alicante from prehistoric times to the 18th century. The second part of the museum is devoted to the city’s archaeology and includes artefacts from the Bronze Age, Roman times and the Moorish period.
My favourite displays here are from the medieval times when Jewish, Islamic and Christian cultures all co-existed alongside one another for a short period of time
- General admission – €3
- General admission (Sundays & Holidays) – €2
- Reduced admission (students, seniors) – €1.50
- Children under 8 – € Free
Opening Times: Tuesday to Sunday – 10:00 – 23:00 / Closed on Mondays
3. Esplanada de Espana
This is one of the most beautiful and authentic places here and definitely one of the best things to do in Alicante. The Esplanada de Espana is a long, palm-lined promenade that runs 600m along the seafront.
At one end of the promenade is the Explanada del Port, and at the other end of the Esplanada de Espana is the imposing Castillo de Santa Barbara.
The Esplanada de Espana is the perfect place to take a stroll, relax and soak up the Mediterranean atmosphere, and a fantastic spot for a bit of cheeky people-watching.
Enjoy the ocean views from the promenade as you watch the “tranquillo” Spanish lifestyle pass by and unfold all around you. It’s also a great spot to stroll around later in the evenings with a refreshing sea breeze and a cooler, more manageable temperature to walk off all those tapas dishes you just over-ate.
Insider Tip: If you want to experience the Explanada de Espana at its best, then come here for the ‘Fiesta de Los Hogueras de San Juan’. This is a huge festival that takes place every year in June and celebrates the summer solstice. The promenade is filled with bonfires, music and dancing. It’s an incredible atmosphere and not to be missed!
4. The Alicante Marina
The Alicante Marina is one of the most popular places to visit in Alicante and one of the best places to see during your trip to this part of Spain.
This beautiful marina is home to a number of restaurants, bars and shops, as well as the Esplanada de Espana that’s perfect for a leisurely stroll.
If you’re visiting Alicante during the summer months, then you can also enjoy a number of different events and activities that are often held at the marina, such as live music concerts and open-air cinema screenings.
The Alicante Marina is also a great place to catch one of the many boats that run daily trips to the nearby island of Tabarca. This is a beautiful island that’s well worth a visit – keep reading to find out more about Tarbaca
Insider Tip: If you’re looking for somewhere to eat with a view of the marina, then head to one of the restaurants on the upper level. These have outdoor terraces that offer stunning views of the boats and the sea beyond.
5. Postiguet Beach
Located right in front of the old town and Santa Barbara Castle, Postiguet Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Alicante given its location right in the heart of the city.
The beach is blessed with fine, golden sand with gentle waves lapping at the shores. The sea stays shallow for a long way out too, making it perfect for families with young children.
Postiguet Beach is a great place to relax, sunbathe and take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea under the heat of the summer sun. With the sea to the front of you and palm trees and mountains to the rear, it’s a picturesque little beach that’s super popular with tourists and locals alike.
If you want to stay active, there are plenty of water sports on offer here too, such as jet-skiing, windsurfing and parasailing.
It does get busy during the summer months though with its location and size, but with the city and vast range of eateries just behind you, it’s never much of an issue.
Parasols and umbrellas are available to rent for the day but you can also bring your own along with you. Postiguet beach is one of my favourite places in Alicante, where you can easily pass a day or two relaxing under the sun and working on that tan.
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6. Casco Antiguo (Old Town)
The old town is the beating heart of Alicante and one you certainly won’t mind getting lost in for a while. Here is where you’ll find the most historic buildings, museums, churches, plazas and monuments…all clinging to the side of a hill.
Strolling through the narrow, winding streets of the old town is a delight in itself as you’ll never know what’s around the next corner. The architecture is a mix of medieval, baroque and art nouveau styles with an array of colours adorning the buildings.
There’s a real sense of community here too as most locals live in this part of Alicante and know their neighbours well. It’s not uncommon to see people sat outside on their doorsteps chatting away as you walk by.
They take pride in their homes, and as such, you’ll find balconies and front doors decorated with colourful plants and pretty flowers, all contrasting against the white-washed walls of the Casco Antiguo.
The old town is also home to some of the best restaurants in Alicante, serving up traditional Spanish fare using the freshest, local ingredients.
Make sure you try some of the delicious seafood on offer too, caught fresh from the Mediterranean Sea each day.
The old town really comes to life at night when the atmospheric narrow streets are filled with locals and tourists alike, all out enjoying the many bars, restaurants and cafes that line the streets. If you’re looking for something fun to do in Alicante, then the old town most definitely needs to be on your travel itinerary.
7. Basilica de Santa Maria
The Basilica de Santa Maria is one of the most important religious buildings in Alicante and dates all the way back to the 14th century.
This Gothic-style church is located in the heart of the old town and is built on the site of an earlier Moorish mosque. The exterior of the building isn’t the most commanded of features but go inside and you’ll be greeted with incredible ceiling frescoes, stone columns and curved architecture.
Insider Tip: If you’re visiting Alicante during the Easter period, then make sure you come here to see the ‘Passion Play’, which is held on Good Friday. This is when the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection is acted out in front of the basilica, with hundreds of locals taking part. It’s a really moving and atmospheric experience!
Entrance Cost: Free
Opening Hours: The basilica is open to the public every day from 10:00-13:00 and 18:00-19:30
8. Mercado Central
This Central Market is the largest market in Alicante and a great place to stock up on fresh, local produce.
Located in the heart of Alicante, this large market hall is filled with hundreds of stalls selling everything from fruit and vegetables to meat and seafood. There’s also an array of stalls selling Spanish cheeses, olives, bread and pastries.
The Mercado Central is spread over two floors within a beautifully alluring building dating back to the early 20th century, which you’ll find just at the end of La Rambla in Alicante.
It’s the perfect place to come for a quick bite to eat too as there are several cafes and restaurants located within the market hall, all serving up traditional Spanish dishes at very reasonable prices. Check out Cafeteria Anamar for some quick, tasty bites to eat
If you’re one to opt for a self-catering holiday option, this place will quickly become one of your new favourite places, with the freshest ingredients on offer, at the most reasonable prices in town.
Opening Hours: The market is open every day from 7:00-14:30, except for Sundays when it’s closed
9. Contemporary Art Museum (MACA)
The Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante, otherwise known as MACA, is home to an impressive collection of 20th-century contemporary Spanish art.
The museum is located in the centre of Alicante, located next door to the Basilica de Santa Maria and a short walk from the Explanada de España.
This small but perfectly formed museum is set over two floors and contains works by some of Spain’s most celebrated artists, including Miquel Barcelo, Antonio Lopez Garcia and Santiago Sierra.
Since only one-third of the artwork can be displayed at any time, they rotate the displays throughout the year meaning even a repeat visit back here would still serve up something new and exciting.
There’s also an excellent selection of temporary exhibitions on display and monthly activities to take part in, which are always worth checking out on the official website.
Entrance Cost: Free
Opening Hours: The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 – 20:00 / Sunday 10:00 – 14:00 / Closed on Mondays
10. Costa Blanca Beach Day
The Playa del Postiguet is one of the most popular beaches in Alicante as we know, due to its location in the heart of the city centre, but there is plenty more going on in terms of beaches than just this one.
Some of the best beaches close to Alicante that should definitely be on your Alicante itinerary include:
- Playa de San Juan – ‘Best beach under 10-minute drive away’ : A short drive from town and a more secluded beach with golden sand.
- El Campello – ‘Best for a more traditional beach day’ : 20-minute drive north from Alicante will get you to El Campello, away from the tourists for a more traditional beach day experience.
- Playa de la Granadella – ‘Most magical beach’ : A little further afield gets you to Playa de la Granadella, a famous sandy cove and gorgeous turquoise waters. This one is my favourite beach in the whole of Alicante but it’s just over an hour to drive here – thought I had to include my favourite beach here even though it’s a little further!
- Playa de Guardamar – ‘Great for kids’ : 45-minute drive south gets you to the fabulous town of Guardamar, with its lovely sandy beach, shallow waters and well serviced with restaurants, toilets and showers.
11. Enjoy A Round Of Golf
If you’re into your golf, then a trip to Costa Blanca and Alicante without a round of golf would be criminal.
The Costa Blanca is one of the most popular golfing destinations in Europe, with some world-renowned golf courses located right here on the coast.
Some of the best golf courses in Alicante include:
Alicante Golf Club – Located just south of Alicante city centre, this 18-hole par-72 course offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Bonalba – Minutes away from Alicante is this par-72 with a front nine that is going to challenge your short game and a back nine that favours those with a more accurate drive.
El Plantio Golf Club – A little further inland from Alicante, this course is set in a beautiful valley with views of the mountains.
Alenda Golf Club – One of the newer courses in the area, located just north of Alicante city.
La Finca Golf Resort & Spa – Located in Algorfa, this is one of the most prestigious golf courses on the Costa Blanca.
12. Boat Trip From Alicante Port
The port of Alicante has no shortage of boat trips, with several companies ready to whisk you off in a catamaran or speed boat.
One of the most popular boat trips in Alicante is a boat trip to the Isla de Tabarca. This is a small island off the coast of Alicante that was once home to a penal colony.
Nowadays it’s a beautiful place to visit with crystal clear waters and white sand beaches and somehow feels like a completely different world to the mainland just a couple of kilometres away.
It’s a small-walled community with a long history, and you can learn all about it on a guided tour of the island.
Another popular boat trip in Alicante includes the Alicante to Benidorm tour. This trip takes you along the coast from Alicante to Benidorm, with stops at a number of gorgeous beaches and lookout points along the way.
13. Try The Local Cuisine
Alicante has quietly been creating quite the name for itself as a foodie hotspot in Spain.
The Alicante food scene has something for everyone, but there are a few local specialities that you really shouldn’t miss out on.
One of the most popular local dishes here is paella. Alicante is one of the birthplaces of this world-famous dish and there are plenty of restaurants in the city that serve up a mean plate of paella.
If you wanted to give some of the best paella in Alicante a go, then you should head to Casa Riquelme. This restaurant has been dishing up its finest paella for over 3 decades, adhering to traditional recipes and techniques.
Another great option is La Ereta, with views that are as fabulous as its paella and other gastronomic delights.
Not in the mood for Paella? La Crispeta is another super popular restaurant in Alicante with Paella off the menu. Located in the centre close to the port, instead, the menu includes delicious tapas, traditional plates and local desserts. You might want to book this one ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
14. Alicante’s Watchtowers
Alicante’s watchtowers are a must-see for anyone visiting the city. These 16th-century towers were built to protect the city from pirates and invaders, and today they stand as a reminder of Alicante’s rich history.
There are a number of different watchtowers dotted along the coast, but the most impressive is undoubtedly the Santa Barbara Castle.
Other watchtowers worth visiting include the Torre del Moro, which is located in the old town close to the Santa Barbara Castle, and the Torre de la Huerta, which offers panoramic views of Alicante city.
If you’re still hungry for a little more of Alicante’s rich history, why not download a map and try and hunt each of the 30-something towers that are still intact and remaining today. Trying to find all of the watchtowers are a super fun thing to do in Alicante if history is your cup of tea.
15. The Ocean Race Museum
The Ocean Race Museum is one of the most unique museums in Alicante. This interactive museum is dedicated to the history of sailing and explores the importance of the sea to Alicante’s economy and way of life.
The museum is located in the old town close to the port, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in learning more about Alicante’s maritime history. Its an interesting place to see in Alicante and the kids usually love getting involved with the interactive displays
When you’re done exploring the museum, be sure to check out the adjacent marina where you can see some of the boats that are used in the Ocean Race.
Entrance Cost: Free to enter or €1.50 per person for a guided tour
- Winter (16th September – 24th June): Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday – 10:00 – 14:00 / Friday and Saturday – 10:00 – 18:00 / Monday closed
- Summer (25th June – 15th September): Tuesday to Saturday – 11:00 – 21:00 / Sunday 11:00 – 15:00 / Monday closed
16. Alicante Bike Tour
Chose a regular bike or an E-bike and get ready for a guided tour on 2 wheels around this fabulous city.
A local instructor and guide will take you all around the best spots around town for an unmissable 2.5-hour tour.
On the tour you will learn about the local history and culture, and even stop to try a few local snacks if you’re feeling peckish.
Best Things To Do Close To Alicante
17. Elche Palmeral
The Elche Palmeral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located just outside of Alicante city.
This palm grove is made up of over 200,000 palm trees and is one of the largest in Europe. It’s well-deserving on this list of best places to see in Alicante, and you wouldn’t want to be in the region without paying the Elche Palmeral a visit.
The Elche Palm Grove has been around for over 2000 years and was originally created by the ancient Romans. The palm groves weren’t actually planted until later on and were planted by the first Muslims to settle here in the middle-ages.
Today, it’s a beautiful place to take a stroll, relax and take in the stunning scenery.
There are also a number of museums located within Elche Palm Grove, which offer visitors an insight into the history and culture of the area.
If you’re visiting Alicante during the summer months, then you can also enjoy live music concerts that are often held within the Elche Palm Grove.
18. The Santa Pola Salt Mines
The Santa Pola Salt Mines are located just outside of Alicante city and make for a great day trip surrounded by huge mountains of salt.
These salt mines have been in operation since the Roman times and are still in use today.
Visitors can take a tour of the salt mines, which includes a visit to the underground tunnels and a boat ride on the salt lake.
The Santa Pola Salt Mines are also home to a museum, which tells the story of how the salt mines have been used over the years.
If you’re visiting Alicante with kids, then they’ll love the nearby Aqua Natura water park, which is located just a short drive from the Santa Pola Salt Mines.
19. Take A Day Trip To Guadalest
Guadalest is a small village located in the mountains just under an hour’s drive from Alicante.
This charming village is home to a number of historic buildings, including a magical castle and an old prison perched up on a hill, with spectacular views over the mountain lake.
There are also a number of museums located in Guadalest, which offer visitors an insight into the history of the village.
There are plenty of outdoor activities to do during your day trip to Guadalest such as hiking, swimming in waterfalls, mountain biking and rock climbing and is a wonderful break from all the sun, sea and sand of Alicante.
Guadalest is the perfect place to escape the heat of Alicante city and enjoy some outdoor activities and fresh mountain air, so pack a day bag and get up there.
Best Things To Do In Alicante, Spain
- Santa Barbara Castle
- Archaeological Museum Of Alicante (MARQ)
- Esplanada de Espana
- The Alicante Marina
- Postiguet Beach
- Casco Antiguo (Old Town)
- Basilica de Santa Maria
- Mercado central
- Contemporary Art Museum (MACA)
- Costa Blanca Beach Day
- Enjoy A Round Of Golf
- Boat Trip From Alicante Port
- Try The Local Cuisine
- Alicante’s Watchtowers
- The Ocean Race Museum
- Alicante Bike Tour
- Elche Palmeral
- The Santa Pola Salt Mines
- Take A Day Trip To Guadalest
What is there to do in Alicante at night?
There are plenty of things to do in Alicante at night! You can enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants, go for a stroll along the seafront, or enjoy some live music or entertainment. If you’re looking for something more lively, then you can head to one of the bars or clubs located in the city centre.
What is the weather like in Alicante?
The weather in Alicante is typically Mediterranean, with warm summers and mild winters. The average temperature in summer is around 30 degrees Celsius, whilst in winter it hovers around the mid-teens. Rainfall is relatively low all year round, so you can expect plenty of sunny days during your visit.
What is the best time of year to visit Alicante?
The best time to visit Alicante is during the spring or autumn months when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds. However, if you’re looking to enjoy some beach time, then the summer months are also a great time to visit.
How do I get to Alicante?
There are plenty of ways to get to Alicante! You can fly into Alicante Airport, which is located just outside of the city centre, or you can take a bus or train from other parts of Spain. You can also drive to Alicante, but be aware that parking can be difficult to find in the city centre.
What is there to do in Alicante with kids?
There are plenty of things to do in Alicante with kids. You can visit one of the many beaches, take them on a boat trip, or let them burn off some energy at one of the city’s playgrounds. You can also take them on a day trip to Guadalest, where they’ll love exploring the castle and prison. If you’re looking for something more active, then you can head to the Aqua Natura water park.
What is the best way to get around Alicante?
The best way to get around Alicante is on foot. However, if you’re looking to explore further afield, then you can take a bus or train. You can also rent a car if you’re planning on doing some day trips from Alicante. Just be aware that parking can be difficult to find in the city centre.
What is there to do in Alicante for free?
There are plenty of things to do in Alicante for free! You can visit one of the many parks or beaches, take a walk around the old town, or explore one of the city’s museums. If you’re looking for something more active, then you can go for a hike in the mountains or a bike ride along the coast. You can also take a day trip to Guadalest, where you can explore the village and its historic buildings.