Alicante City Guide
Alicante is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city located in Spain’s Costa Blanca. With a 200 km coastline boasting long sandy beaches, a lively nightlife and a rich history to boot, Alicante is one of Spain’s holiday hotspots. Over 20 million visitors pour into the city every year to soak in the Mediterranean scenery, culture and sun.
Things to Do
Alicante has everything from mountains, the Mediterranean sea to waterfalls, making it the perfect spot for adrenaline junkies and nature lovers to get their fix on vacation. Clear waters make diving, snorkelling and other water sports the number one thing to do this part of Spain. Hikers, cyclists and golfers are also catered for, whilst stunning views of the sea make this a prime location for paragliders and sky divers alike.
Those in the mood for a relaxed holiday need look no further than the coast. San Juan is a long and open beach, perfect for bathing and swimming. It’s heralded a blue flag beach complete with a lifeguard, disabled access, plus other facilities including shops and bars. It’s no wonder this 3 km stretch of golden sand is the most sought after in Alicante. Postiguet is perhaps a close second. Located at the foot of Mount Benacantil, this wide and sandy beach is great for bathing and swimming, and the palm tree-lined promenade made for a little respite from the sun.
Alicante has a dense history, from being conquered by the Moors to bombed by the French Armada. It’s a steep climb or an escalator ride (for a small fayre) to reach the Castle of Santa Barbara, situated on the summit of Mount Benacantil. The castle is of Moorish origin and dates back to the 16th century. It’s one of the biggest medieval fortresses of Spain and is home to a museum (MUSA) featuring archaeological remains and sculptures. This trip is worth the climb and sweat for the stunning view of the coast below come daytime or just before sunset.
By day the narrow streets of the Old Town is every culture vulture’s dream, yet by nightfall it transforms into a party animal’s mecca. There are numerous bars and restaurants in the area to cater for every mood, and those who prefer to party into the early hours of the morning can head over to the Marina. While Alicante is a city, it is first and foremost a beach city. A chiringuito on Postiguet and San Juan is the place to be for the ultimate beach party, when visiting during summer months of course!
Wherever you are in Spain, you can always bet on finding a Tapas Bar. And Alicante is no exception. While snacking on local delicacies and sipping on sangria is the Spanish way, Paella is the dish Alicante is best known for. There are many Arrocerias (rice eateries) that serve up this national dish, made with beans, snails, rabbit and seafood and typically eaten as a lunchtime meal. While Alicante has a delectable eating scene, they do tend to eat their evening meal quite late. So make sure you have a hearty lunch or snack on those tapas to hold you off!
Tabarca Island is just an hour away by boat and is a popular attraction with tourists in and around Alicante. Tabarca is paradise away from paradise, with bays of crystal-clear water that have been declared a Marine Reserve. If you’re not in the mood for a swim, then take a walk through the town and pay a visit to the island’s museum. People usually hop over to the island for a day, but overnight stays are on the rise.
Most attractions in Alicante are within walking distance, so although public transport is reliable, it’s not a necessity. Should you wish, the local City Bus is ready to whisk you to the different districts and to other Spanish cities. For a scenic route, hop on a tram departing from Mercado Central, which will take you all the way to San Juan beach.
When to Go
Alicante is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Between June and September you can expect to find the beaches packed full of holiday makers. The rush dies down in September when the city welcomes a little rain for the next month or two.
Alicante may be a little bit of heaven, but you can certainly make it your home away from home. Browse through our listing of local vacation accommodation to find something perfect for you.