Alicante is a beautiful coastal destination in the southeast of Spain. The gorgeous port city is home to popular beaches, a historic old town with narrow winding streets and a massive castle overlooking the city and ocean below. It’s a perfect destination to visit, and if you’re planning an Alicante city break, our guide will help you organize the perfect getaway.
This post is set up to help get you ready for a trip to Alicante with our “countdown format”. I’ll cover the highlights of an Alicante city break with the following information:
- 5 Things to do in Alicante
- 4 Foods or Drinks you have to try in Alicante
- 3 Places to Stay in Alicante
- 2 Perfect Instagram Spots in Alicante and
- 1 Insider Tip for your Alicante city break
In addition to all the key information you need to plan your Alicante city break, I’ve also included links to offer more information and make bookings from this one post.
Read on and find out why Alicante is one of the best holiday destinations in Spain and you need to book a trip there now!
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5 Best Things to Do in Alicante
There’s no shortage of things to do in Alicante, which makes it a phenomenal place to visit. Here are five suggestions to give you a full Alicante itinerary including time to relax and unwind in a beautiful location.
Santa Bárbara Castle
Santa Barbara Castle is a massive fortified citadel that sits atop Mount Benacantil, overlooking the city of Alicante. From the castle, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Alicante, the Mediterranean coastline and the sea. The mountain has been occupied for thousands of years. Bronze Age, Roman and Moorish artifacts have been discovered on the grounds of the impressive castle.
The structure dates back to the time of Moorish rule when the Iberian peninsula was controlled by Arab peoples. It was captured by Castilian forces on 4 December 1248, the feast day of Saint Barbara, for which the castle was renamed. Alicante and the castle were captured and recaptured for years before Spain was unified. After each attack the castle was rebuilt and it’s been open to the public since 1963.
When you visit Alicante, you have to visit the castle. I decided to hike to the top of Mount Benacantil to tour the castle on my own. You’ll also find funiculars built into the mountain which you can take for about €2 each way. Guided tours are available at the castle, but you can also book a tour from the city which is more efficient. Some have themes like sunset and tapas at the castle or use segways to climb to the castle.
Playa del Postiguet
Playa del Postiguet, the city’s most popular beach, should be on your list of things to do in Alicante. It has sections of sun chairs and umbrellas available for rent with clear waters and soft white sand. Between the marina and the beach you’ll find shops to visit for all your beach needs: snacks, drinks, towels, toys and even souvenirs.
The beach is one of the best reasons to visit Alicante, so don’t miss the chance to relax on Playa del Postiguet while you’re there.
Tabarca is a tiny inhabited islet off the coast of Alicante with a small beach. The island is one of only a few islands located on the costa blance and it’s popular for boating. Because it’s surrounded by a protected reserve the waterways around Tabarca are popular with visitors and fishing and diving are restricted. You’ll find excursions to the island being offered around the city or you can take the water taxi which is about €17 roundtrip.
Explore Alicante Via Segway
All mall cop jokes aside, I actually loved doing this segway tour. I was skeptical, and have always been skeptical of doing a segway tour – but it was awesome!
They’re really fun to run, don’t take long to learn, and in a city like Alicante they’re perfect. It’s tough to get around this sprawling and hilly city quickly. With so many beautiful streets, promenades, parks and attractions it was a tremendous way to tour Alicante with a live guide.
Stroll La Explanada de España
La Explanada de Espana could easily slide into one of our must-photograph for instagram suggestions – look how pretty the tiled mosaic walkway is! This coastal promenade is lined with palm trees, street lamps, cafes and scenic parts of the city.
It’s a great place for a morning jog, after-dinner walk or simply a way to get across the city. You’ll find a lot of hotels and cafes along La Explanada de Espana as well as vendors and entertainers. It’s one of those great pedestrian streets of Europe that you should visit when you’re in Alicante.
4 Foods and Drinks to Try in Alicante
One of the best things about travel in Spain is the chance to sample to local cuisines. Tapas, sangria and the delicious tastes of the region make any Alicante city break memorable. Here are a few dishes and culinary experiences to check out while you visit Alicante.
Paella de Marisco
Paella is a famous rice dish from the Valencia region of Spain. In the summertime, a seafood variation of the dish belongs on every visitors Alicante itinerary. It’s called paella de marisco and features the most fresh ingredients from the nearby Mediterranean Sea. The dish also stands out due to the colorful appearance which looks and tastes like a work of art.
Turron is a sweet regional confection which is common around southern Europe. It’s a nougat candy made from sugar, honey, egg white and almond or other nuts. You find the treat given out during Christmastime, but it’s sold all year and you should try it whenever you’re in Alicante.
This famous tapas dish, gambas rosa, features denia shrimp, a locally caught and tasty treat. These are often called “rip off shrimp” – and not because they’re pricey. The most common way to eat them is to rip off the head and devour the flavorful meat inside.
These shrimp have a distinctive flavor because they’re iodine-rich and seasoned with salt. You’ll find them served with lemon and perfect to enjoy with a beer and some good company.
I was (happily) surprised by just how many ice cream shops there were in the city of Alicante. It’s one of my favorite things about exploring Europe, and being on holiday it made sense that I should try some of the great helado options in Alicante.
Calle Mayor is home to many of the best heladerias in Alicante and most of them have outdoor seating. Some also serve wine and cocktails, so you can really make an event out of getting some ice cream in Alicante.
Heladería Borgonesse is a delicious option for trying helado in Alicante. They’re one of the best places for people-watching and lingering for more than just your ice cream.
Browse availability and rates of these great foodie experiences on GetYourGuide.
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3 Places to Stay in Alicante
The city of Alicante is easy to get around on foot or by public transportation. There’s no bad area to stay, but if you’re closer to the water you’ll probably find more to do nearby. There are plenty of hotels clustered around Explanada de España, the marina and the beachfront.
You’ll also find hotels peppered around the city centre where you’ll find more nightlife and an authentic-feeling area to call home during your Alicante city break.
Here are three recommended hotel options that give you a great home base from which to explore the city.
2 Most Instagrammable Spots in Alicante
We all know that the best part of travel is updating our social media feeds and driving our friends and followers insanely jealous. During an Alicante city break, you have no limit for iconic instagram photos.
Many have been touched upon in other sections – obviously the views from Castle Santa Bárbara belongs all over your feed – but there’s some hidden gems in Alicante to snap. Here are two places to visit for the unique photography opportunities.
Calle San Francisco
This is one of the coolest, quirkiest and fun streets I’ve ever walked down. I wish my nephews were traveling with me because you can’t help but drift into a childlike feeling on the street. Calle San Francisco stands out because of the mushroom sculptures that pop up along the brightly painted street.
It’s hard to walk down Calle San Francisco without smiling in amazement. This campy street seems like it’s out of a dream and makes a great backdrop for all types of instagram photos.
Barrio de Santa Cruz
You can’t miss the chance to walk around the Barrio Santa Cruz, the old town of Alicante. Built into the hillside in the shadow of the castle, the narrow and winding streets are simply gorgeous. They frequently feature murals as well as flower boxes and potted plants that add to the character of the streets.
The bright colors of the flower boxes, facades and street art give you endless inspiration for your instagram feed. The area features sets of stairs to climb the hillside. These steep walkways offer even more interesting shots and dramatic angles to stage photos and capture the beauty of the old city.
1 Insider Tip for Your Alicante City Break
There’s a lot cool things to do in Alicante, but I found a couple of hidden gems (or at least overlooked) that you should check out.
Head to the Marina
I ignored the Marina or Alicante for most of my time in the city. I don’t own a yacht or particularly care about seeing other peoples yachts – so I just walked past it to and from the beach. Then, on my last day in Alicante, my segway tour guide took us to the marina and I realized I should have visited sooner.
The marina is sprinkled with sculptures and modern art pieces that make it a beautiful place for a walk. There’s also an outdoor terrace called SOHO Mar, which overlooks the marina and is a greta place to have a drink.
There’s also a casino and a number of restaurants to check out. If you want a high end meal, Monastrell is a Michelin Star restaurant with a great reputation, although I did not have time to eat there during my trip.
One final marina attraction is the Volvo Ocean Race Museum which details the longest and toughest regatta in the world. It’s the only museum anywhere that covers the event and it would have been on my Alicante itinerary if I had one more day.
So don’t avoid the marina – there’s a lot to do in the area and I foolishly put off checking it out until my last day.
Now You're Ready for an Alicante City Break
There’s a run down of what you can look forward to during an Alicante city break. It’s a truly remarkable city to visit. Alicante is full of culture, history, cuisine and unlimited reasons to make it your next holiday in Spain.
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