10 Best Things to Do in Alicante

What is Alicante Most Famous For?

    Alicante is known for its expansive public beaches, where you can enjoy sailing, sunbathing, and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea during warmer months. Alicante’s main port is lined with diverse restaurants, bars and pubs serving seafood, tapas, cocktails, and wines until late. The best time to visit this city is in the summer as there are plenty of cultural events, live concerts, and street performances in the town centre and seaside promenade.

    The Old Town Quarter is where you can find Gothic cathedrals, medieval castles, and structures dating back between the 15th and 18th-centuries. Many are free to enter, and you can enjoy guided tours of these venues for just a few euros. Its most iconic landmark is a mountaintop castle that offers beautiful views of Alicante. Check out this list of things to do to kick-start your holiday in Alicante.

    What are the best things to do in Alicante?

    1

    Start the day at Playa del Postiguet

    Rent a sunbed at this expansive beach

    Playa del Postiguet is an 800-metre stretch of beach at the foot of Castillo de Santa Barbara (Santa Bárbara castle). It’s connected to the Explanada de España promenade and Alicante Marina by a modern pedestrian bridge. There are plenty of beachfront bars and restaurants serving fresh seafood and Spanish cuisine throughout the day. A popular spot for sunbathing, beach volleyball, and swimming, you're also sure to find some excellent hotels situated on the first line of Playa del Postiguet. The beach itself is usually packed on weekends, so maybe visit during the week to enjoy a quiet spot and work on your tan.

    Location: El Postiguet Beach, Carrer de Jovellanos, 542, 03002 Alicante, Spain

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    2

    Explore Plaza de San Cristobal

    See rare photos and archaeological displays at Alicante Town Hall

    Alicante’s Old Town Quarter is home to historical structures dating back to between the 15th and 18th-centuries. Here, the Alicante Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) occupies an 18th-century Baroque building, where you can see paintings by local artists and permanent exhibits of archaeological finds from the region. Another must-visit is the Santa Maria Basilica, a Baroque and Rococo cathedral that was built on top of the city’s oldest mosque. Nightlife in the Old Town Quarter is mainly concentrated in its main square, Plaza de San Cristobal, as well as Labradores and San Isidro Streets.

    Location: Plaza de San Cristobal, 03002 Alicante, Spain

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    3

    Make a splash at Aquopolis Torrevieja

    Enjoy free aqua fitness classes at this water park

    Aquopolis Torrevieja has a variety of water slides and activities that are suitable for adults and children alike. For an adrenaline rush, the Kamikaze is a 50-metre-long slide with a near free-fall drop at 45°. Families with young children can head for the park’s miniature playgrounds and shallow pools. If you want to keep up with your fitness routine during your holiday, Aquopolis offers 30-minute water aerobics and dance lessons every day. Ticket prices start from €24.95 for adults and €19.95 for children, but you can enjoy reduced rates by booking online. 

    If the reason for your visit is related to this water park, there's a wide range of hotels to choose from in the vicinity of the Aquopolis, to avoid having to travel great distances. 

    Location: Aquopolis Torrevieja, Av. Delfina Viudes, 03183 Torrevieja, Alicante, Spain

    Open: June–September: Daily from 11.30am to 8pm

    Phone: +34 965 715 890

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    4

    Must-See: Castillo de Santa Bárbara

    Ride the elevator to the top of the castle

    Castillo de Santa Bárbara, set on Mount Benacantil, is one of Alicante’s most impressive mediaeval structures. The castle was named after Saint Barbara's feast day, which was when Alfonso of Castile recaptured it from the Arabs in 1248. For about €2.50, an elevator opposite Playa del Postiguet takes you to the top of Castillo de Santa Bárbara, which offers panoramic views of Alicante and Playa del Postiguet. Entrance to the castle is free of charge, while guided tours are available at 11am and 12.30pm for a few euros. During the summer, free concerts are held at the castle’s courtyard on Friday and Saturday evenings. Check out the list of hotels near the Santa Barbara Castle and compare between all that are available.

    Location: Santa Bárbara Castle, 03002 Alicante, Spain

    Open: Daily from 10am to 8pm (hours vary by season)

    Phone: +34 965 927 715

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    5

    Taste tapas and aperitifs at Explanada de España

    Catch summer concerts at La Concha theatre

    One of Alicante’s busiest nightlife districts is Explanada de España, where you can find late-night cafés, al fresco restaurants, tavernas (taverns) and chiringuitos (beach bars) just minutes away from the beach. This tree-lined promenade is located between Marina Deportiva del Puerto de Alicante and Panoramis Shopping Mall. During the summer, cultural events and concerts are held at an open-air theatre called Auditorio Municipal de la Concha.

    Location: Explanada de España, Alicante, Spain

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    6

    Try all i pebre

    Dine along Alicante's sea-facing promenade for beautiful sunset views

    As a coastal city in Spain, almost every dish in Alicante involves seafood, olive oil, and rice. All i pebre may be a Valencian cuisine, but it’s also commonly eaten in Alicante. This stew-like dish consists of diced eels cooked in garlic, chilli, sweet paprika, olive oil and parsley. Depending on the restaurant, additional ingredients include potatoes and picada, a rich sauce made with crushed almonds, toasted bread, olive oil, parsley, and garlic. Restaurants along the Explanada de España promenade are great spots to enjoy all i pebre with a beer or wine for about €15.

    Location: Passeig Esplanada d'Espanya, Alacant, Alicante, Spain

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    photo by Kent Wang (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Must-See: Cathedral San Nicolás

    Check out reliquary busts of patron saints

    Cathedral San Nicolás is a 17th-century church that’s known for its Spanish Herrerian architecture, marble stairways, and sandstone façade. Located in the Old Town Quarter, it’s built in honour of patron saint San Nicolas, whose sculpture can be found at the lavishly decorated altarpiece. Its Baroque communion chapel contains reliquary busts of Saint Felicitas Alicante, Saint Roch, and Saint Francis Xavier. Cathedral San Nicolás is open to the public and serves the local Roman Catholic community with its Sunday morning mass.

    Location: Co-cathedral of St Nicholas of Bari, Plaza Abad Penalva, 2, 03002 Alicante, Spain

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 7.30am to 1pm and from 5.30pm to 8pm, Saturday–Sunday from 8.30am to 1.30pm and from 5.30pm to 8.30pm

    Phone: +34 965 212 662

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    photo by El fosilmaníaco (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    Shop at Alicante Central Market

    Shop for Spanish wines, cheese, and ham at this city market

    Mercado Central is Alicante’s central marketplace, where you can find over 200 stalls and shops selling a variety of fresh produce, seafood, meat, and Spanish delicacies. Founded in 1911, the Modernist-inspired building has a semi-spherical cupola and a massive stairway that’s flanked by 2 sculptures. The best times to visit this marketplace are on Fridays and Saturday mornings as you get to experience the lively atmosphere of locals going about their grocery shopping here.

    Location: Av. Alfonso X El Sabio, 10, 03004 Alicante, Spain

    Open: Monday–Friday from 7am to 2.30pm, Saturday from 7am to 3pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +34 965 140 841

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    9

    Check out quirky characters at Museo de Hogueras

    Watch film snippets of the popular festival

    Museo de Hogueras (Bonfires of Saint John Museum) gives you an insight into one of Alicante’s most popular summer events, called the Bonfires of Saint John. The festival celebrates the start of summer in Alicante and is famous for the gigantic ninots (wooden statues) which are burned at the end of the day. Every year, only 1 statue is chosen to be spared from the burning, which is then displayed in the museum. Visit Alicante in mid-June to experience this lively fiesta. Throughout the day, the old town hosts many traditional markets, street parades, and beauty pageants, while fireworks competitions are held on El Postiguet Beach.

    Location: Rambla de Méndez Núñez, 29 Alicante, Spain

    Open: September–June: Tuesday–Friday from 10am to 2pm and from 5pm to 8pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10am to 2pm (closed on Mondays). July–August: Tuesday–Friday from 10am to 2pm and from 6pm to 9pm, Saturday from 10am to 2pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +34 965 146 828

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    10

    End the day at the marina

    Go for an evening stroll among the yacht berths

    Marina Deportiva del Puerto de Alicante offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. This modern seaport can accommodate over 700 boats, yachts and cruise ships. Its commercial area features many seafood restaurants, ice cream parlours, bars, and pubs, as well as Casino Alicante and the Volvo Ocean Race Museum. A 10-minute walk away from Marina Deportiva del Puerto de Alicante is the vibrant Explanada de España, where you can enjoy more of Alicante’s lively nightlife offerings. Hotels in the vicinity of the Alicante
    Harbour
    have a very good guest rating.

    Location: Muelle 8 Zona de Levante, s/n, 03001 Alicante, Spain

    Open: Daily from 9am to 9pm

    Phone: +34 965 213 600

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    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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