Alicante 1 day intinerary
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1 day Alicante itinerary: must see places

Alicante on Spain’s Costa Blanca is a vibrant port city, famous for its long stretches of beautiful sandy beaches. Whether you’re visiting the beautiful city of Alicante in Spain on a quick mini-break, or are planning a day trip to Alicante from elsewhere in Spain, you’ll find plenty to see and do.

We’ve lived in the Alicante province for almost 5 years now, and were coming to the area for holidays for around 10 years before, that so we’ve done plenty of walking in this city!

Often when visiting a city for the first time, and if you don’t have long there, it’s a good idea to have a look at what free walking tours are available so you can make sure you see the most important sights and attractions during your short visit.

However, if you prefer to so it alone at your own pace, this Alicante 1-day itinerary will help. Using our experience we know what’s realistic to fit into one day and how long it will take to get between various attractions and places of interest.

Below we will give you a one day itinerary for Alicante so you can make sure you see as many of the top attractions as possible. All of these are within walking distance so you don’t have to waste money on public transport. Obviously if you have small children, or can’t walk too far, then you might want to miss a few stops on this itinerary or grab a taxi rather than walk it all.

If you have more time to spend in the city check out some of our previous Alicante blog posts:

Before we get to all the things you should see on your one day in Alicante, here’s some important information to know.

If you prefer, you can skip straight to the 1 day Alicante itinerary.

Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you choose to make a purchase via one of these links.

Where is Alicante?

The city of Alicante is located in the heart of the Costa Blanca, in the Community of Valencia. Just 16km from Alicante Airport, the city centre is easy to access by bus, taxi, or renting a car.

Alicante is 45km from Benidorm, 187km from Valencia, and 81km from Murcia, so if you are staying in any of these locations then it isn’t far for a day trip to Alicante.

How to get to Alicante

Alicante has an airport, a bus station, a train station, a tram line, and good motorway links so it’s really easy to get to the city centre.

Here are some links to help you plan your transport to Alicante:

Travel planning easy

Is Alicante worth visiting?

Yes! With beautiful beaches, a charming Old Town, the medieval Castle of Santa Barbara, and a wide range of bars and restaurants, Alicante is a fantastic city to visit on a short city break as well as for a longer holiday. It’s nowhere near as busy (or as big) as cities like Madrid or Barcelona, so even if you don’t normally like the hustle and bustle of cities we’d recommend giving Alicante a try.

Even though we’ve visited many times, we’re still not bored of Alicante! There are so many things to do in Alicante, it should definitely be a stop on your visit to the Costa Blanca.

Is one day enough in Alicante?

While you can certainly find enough to keep you entertained for 2 or 3 days in Alicante, or even longer, if you only have one day you’ll still be able to see a lot of the city. No matter how many days in Alicante you’re spending, you’ll fall in love with this amazing city.

Is Alicante a walkable city?

If you’re looking for a Spanish city to explore on foot, then Alicante is a great choice. The central area is quite small for a city, so walking between the top attractions in Alicante is very doable. The Old Town’s maze of narrow streets is only a short walk to the spectacular seafront, with lots to see along the way.

Top tips before you visit Alicante

Check the weather

Before you visit it’s a good idea to check the weather for Alicante, Spain. While Alicante has been named Europe’s sunniest city with an average of 349 hours of sun per month, mornings and evenings in autumn, winter and spring can sometimes get a bit chilly so you may want to check before you leave to ensure you’re dressed appropriately. On the flip side, July and August can be extremely hot and humid so you may not be able to do as much exploring as you’d like.

Check for holidays and fiestas

Spain is famous for it’s fiestas throughout the year and often everything will stop on these days of celebrations. If you visit Alicante during a holiday or fiesta you may find that attractions are closed, restaurants are fully booked, and the city centre is extremely busy. Some of the Alicante fiestas to be aware of are Three Kings in January, Semana Santa at Easter, San Juan at the end of June, and of course Christmas and New Year. We’d definitely recommend joining in with some of the fiestas in Alicante, just don’t expect to be able to walk around the city too much!

Book a restaurant before you arrive

If you have your heart set on a particular Alicante restaurant, it’s a good idea to book a table in advance. If you’re worried about trying to do this in Spanish you can use TripAdvisor to see availability and book.

Start saving your ideas

Don’t forget that the Spanish eat very late (often around 10pm in the summer months) so you may find that you can’t book a table for an early dinner in some restaurants.

Download a map of Alicante

In the Alicante itinerary below we’ve included a map with markers for all the locations and attractions we mention. However, you may also want to download a map of Alicante city centre so you can access it on your phone as you walk around the city.

Ready to book your trip to Alicante?

If you’re ready to start booking your Alicante holiday, these links may help…
– Find great value flights at Expedia
– Prebook your airport transfer at HolidayTaxis
– Book car rental at Rentalcars.com
– Check hotel reviews at TripAdvisor
– Book your tours and excursions at GetYourGuide
– Get your Travel Insurance at Civitatis

How to spend one day in Alicante

If you only have 24 hours in Alicante don’t worry, you can still pack in the top Alicante tourist attractions and make your day trip worthwhile. With this 1 day itinerary you can make sure you know what to see in Alicante and don’t miss anything.

Read on for what to do in Alicante for a day…

Trip map created with Wanderlog, the best trip planner app on iOS and Android

9am – Have breakfast along the Explanada De España

For those arriving early, you’ll probably want to begin your day in Alicante by stopping for breakfast. If you’ve arrived by car or jumped off the bus at the central bus station you’ll no doubt find yourself very close to the Explanada De España next to Alicante port.

This lively promenade paved with mosaic tiles and lined with palm trees is a great place to watch the world go by and soak up the atmosphere while eating breakfast outside at one of the many cafés, bars and restaurants.

Explanada De España Alicante

A popular, and very budget friendly, breakfast is tostada (toasted baguette) con tomate (with tomato), queso (cheese), jamon (ham) or marmalada (jam).

10am – Visit Santa Barbara Castle

From the Explanada De España it’s just a short walk (approximately 3 minutes) to the entrance of the Castillo de Santa Bárbara, Alicante’s iconic landmark, located opposite Playa del Postiguet and set high up on Mount Benacantil overlooking the city. Santa Barbara Castle should be at the top of any Alicante sightseeing list, no matter how many days you are spending in the city. It’s great fun for all ages, and kids will love spending a couple of hours here.

view towards santa barbara castle

There are a couple of ways to get to the castle, but the easiest and quickest is to go through this main entrance opposite the beach and take the lift up to the top. We’d recommend this option when you’re doing Alicante in one day and a bit short on time. Entrance to the castle is free, but the lift costs €2.70 per person, except pensioners and under 5’s who go free.

One of the best things to do in Alicante, Santa Barbara castle dates back to the 9th century and was built by the Moors as a fortress to protect the city. It has been modified and expanded on by various rulers over the centuries, and the castle as you see it today is mostly from the 16th century.

Santa Barbara Castle view

Once you exit the lift into the castle grounds you can explore the ramparts and towers, visit the museum with its many ancient artefacts, and enjoy some amazing panoramic views across Alicante, the Mediterranean Sea and the Serra Grossa mountains. A trip to the Santa Barbara castle will take around 2 hours but you can spend longer as there is also a cafe and restaurant for refreshments.

Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 6pm.

12pm Head to Alicante Old Town

Leaving Santa Barbara Castle from the other exit you will head down the steps into Casco Antigo Santa Cruz also known as El Barrio, Alicante Old Town. This charming neighbourhood is a maze of narrow streets, traditional Spanish architecture, colourful buildings, and pretty squares, the perfect place for a wander when you visit Alicante for the first time. This is predominantly a residential area but is also very tourist friendly.

barrio santa cruz alicante

Look out for the colourful houses and those decorated with lots of blue plant pots – perfect for a quick photo opportunity!

The area of El Barrio is one of the top places to see in Alicante as it is home to some of the city’s most important historical attractions including museums and churches, as well as plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops to explore.

12:30pm – Shop at the Mercado Central

Your first stop in the Old Town is one of the best places to visit in Alicante for foodies.

This large indoor market covers almost 11,000 square metres in a beautiful Art Nouveau building occupied by nearly 300 stalls offering a huge range of local produce, from fruit and vegetables, to meats and cheeses.

budget friendly travel around Spain - Mercaso Central, Alicante

You can take a wander through the aisles, sample some local delicacies, and buy some souvenirs to take back home. Make sure to sample some of the cheeses and Iberico ham while you’re there!

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 7am to 2:30pm, Saturdays 7am to 3pm.

1:30pm – Time for lunch!

You’ll probably be hungry after all that walking and a great place to stop is in the centre of the city. Whatever you fancy to eat you’ll be spoilt for choice, from the usual fast food restaurants to traditional Spanish food.

If you fancy some paella then Alicante is the perfect place. One of our favourite plazas for lunch is the Plaza Santísima Faz, full of tapas and traditional Spanish restaurants. Remember – paella is a lunch meal not a dinner meal for Spaniards, so take advantage of the lunch time menus that include this traditional Alicante rice dish.

You’ll also want to allow a while for lunch as the Spanish don’t like to rush!

3pm – Visit the Concatedral de San Nicolás

After your trip to the Central Market, you can carry on walking for around 4 minutes through El Barrio to the Concatedral de San Nicolás. This Roman Catholic cathedral in the middle of the old town dates back to 1616, and was built as a dedication to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. Over the following years it was renovated and expanded, however the majority of the cathedral is from the 19th century when the Baroque facade was added to the building.

Concatedral de San Nicolás Alicante

While the outside design is quite minimal when it comes to decoration, it’s well worth taking the time to venture inside the cathedral to see the beautiful intricate stone carvings, stained glass windows, and stunning Valencian Gothic cloister. A visit to the cathedral will take around 20 – 30 minutes.

Opening hours: Daily from 8:30am – 1pm and 6pm – 8:30pm

3:30pm – Visit the Santa Maria Basilica

Your next stop on your Alicante itinerary is just a 6 minute walk to the Santa Maria Basilica, the oldest church in Alicante. This basilica is one of the most important religious buildings in the city, built on the remains of a mosque in the 14th century and a must see in Alicante. The facade is in the Baroque style with two asymmetrical towers built in the 14th and 18th centuries respectively. The church is a great example of Valencian Gothic architecture, with its grand stone arches and intricate carvings.

santa maria basilica alicante

If you want to go inside the basilica to admire its high ceilings, stained-glass windows and ornate decor, entry is €6 or free for children under 12. The beautiful high altar is a must see, as are the chapels of the Immaculate Conception and Communion. A visit to the Basilica will take around 45 minutes.

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am – 7pm, Sundays 2pm to 7pm.

4:30pm – Stop at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento

Just a 3 minute walk from the Santa Maria Basilica takes you to the Ayuntamiento de Alicante, or the Town Hall. This beautiful 18th century building features a clock tower and a façade adorned with intricate sculptures. At many times during the year you’ll find the building decorated for the city’s various festivals.

ayuntamiento de alicante

The main entrance (those green doors in the above photo) is located on the Plaza de Ayuntamiento, a lovely Spanish square surrounded by bars and cafes. You can either just admire the building from the outside or you can visit the many rooms inside the town hall building for free, including the Blue Room, the Royal Chambers of Elizabeth II (dating to 1858), the chapel and the Plenary Room.

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 2pm.

5:30pm Walk down Mushroom Street

If you’re wondering what to do in Alicante with kids, they will love this next stop. Around 500m from the town hall is the whimsical Calle de las Setas or Mushroom Street. This narrow street looks like it has been taken straight out of Alice in Wonderland, with mushroom sculptures the whole way down the yellow paved street, along with children’s slides and small mushroom houses.

calle de las setas

Lining this street are lots of great cafes, bars, cake shops and ice cream parlours so if you need a refreshment stop this is the perfect place. Our favourite cake shop on this street is called Salt in cake and their cinnamon rolls are amazing!

6:30pm Head to Playa Del Postiguet

It’s now time to head to the last stop on this walking tour of Alicante, the beautiful sandy beach Playa del Postiguet. With Santa Barbara Castle high up on the hill behind the beach, you’ll have been looking down onto Postiguet beach at the start of the day.

Playa Del Postiguet

The promenade is lined with palm trees and home to lots of bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as a wide sandy beach with crystal clear water perfect for a paddle and for kids to play. There are a couple of playparks on the sand, so great for the kids to let off steam!

7:30pm Drinks by the sea

After a day of walking we imagine you’ll want a sit down by now! Don’t forget it’ll probably be a bit early still for dinner by Spanish standards, so why not grab a table at one of the bars along the beach or at the port for a drink.

8:30pm Dinner

Finally it’s dinner time, and there are plenty of places along the promenade at Playa Del Postiguet or the Explanada De España. Seafood is always a great choice in Alicante as it’s fresh and local, but you’ll also find Italian, burgers, and tapas restaurants amongst others.

And that’s your one day in Alicante complete! We hope you find this 1 day Alicante itinerary useful. Have a great visit to Alicante and enjoy seeing the sights and exploring the city.

There are plenty more places near Alicante to visit if you want to explore more of the surrounding area.

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