Are you visiting Alicante soon and looking for things to do during your stay? Maybe you are moving to the area and looking for the top things to do in Alicante in your free time?
Whatever your situation, you’ll be pleased to know that there is plenty to do in Alicante city as well as the surrounding area.
We live around 40 minutes away and have visited many times over the last 10 years. Whether you are looking for things for families to do in Alicante, or by yourself, there is plenty to choose from.
Is Alicante worth visiting?
If you haven’t been before and are wondering whether it’s worth a trip, then quite simply the answer is yes! Alicante has everything you need from a holiday to Spain – beautiful beaches, a lovely old town to explore, plenty of affordable restaurants and bars, and a lot of history to learn about. There are parks and museums for children to enjoy, malls for shopping addicts, and tapas bars for foodies. Alicante is a safe city that isn’t as busy as some of the larger Spanish cities, and it is easy to walk between the top tourist attractions.
Where is Alicante?
Alicante is a port city on the Costa Blanca, and the capital of the Alicante province within the Valencian Community. It’s a vibrant city with narrow streets, old buildings, and lots of great things to do, from beaches to museums, shopping to sightseeing.
Interesting facts about Alicante
- Alicante has been named as the sunniest city in Europe with an average of 320 days of sunshine each year.
- Castillo de Santa Barbara is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe, originally built by the Moors in the 10th century.
- The Explanada de Espana promenade is lined by 400 palm trees and paved with 6.6 million red, black and cream marble tiles.
- Two official languages are spoken in Alicante, Spanish and Valencian.
- Over 115,000 tons of rice is produced in Alicante every year, which explains why it features in so many local dishes!
If you are planning a trip to this amazing city, here´s a list of how to spend your time in Alicante…
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Visit Santa Bárbara Castillo
Number one on your bucket list when visiting Alicante has to be a visit to the castle, one of Alicante’s top attractions. From Alicante´s old town, Barrio de la Santa Cruz, you can see the medieval Castillo de Santa Bárbara, set up on the on the top of Benacantil Mountain, 166 metres above sea level.
It’s a fantastic place to learn about the history of both Alicante and the surrounding areas, as well to see some amazing views of the Mediterranean coast. Santa Bárbara Castle is the city´s main tourist attraction and dates back to the 9th century when the city was under Muslim control.
You can get to the castle via some very steep steps at the back of the old town, or you can take the much easier option of the lift which will take you to the top of the castle. The lift can be hard to find the first time but you just need to look for the entrance to a tunnel directly opposite the beach. It’s around €2 per person to take the lift and entry to the castle is free.
Once at the top, you´ll find the best views in the whole of the city!
You can walk around various rooms in the castle with archaeological remains of the Bronze Age, Iberian and Roman on display. There’s also a restaurant and a couple of kiosks where you can get some refreshments.
Go to the beach in Alicante
Home to many amazing golden, sandy beaches, which are perfect for a day out with the family in Alicante, and of course one of the best free ways to pass your time on the Costa Blanca!
The city’s main beach, Playa del Postiguet, is just a few minutes walk from the city centre. From here you can walk for miles along the shore towards Playa de San Juan. Playa del Postiguet has a playpark on the beach and in the summer months there are inflatables in the sea, as well as pedaloes.
Alongside the beach is long palm tree lined promenade with some great beach bars, cafes and restaurants.
Walk down Calle de las Setas (or Mushroom Street!)
If you have children, this is one of the best things to do in Alicante! If you’re looking for something unusual to do in Alicante, somewhere really fun to go with children is Calle de las Setas, or ‘Mushroom Street’.
The yellow street is home to giant toadstools, some with slides and others designed as playhouses, plus hopscotch painted on the floor. There are a couple of bars in the middle, as well as plenty of cake shops and ice cream parlous along the way.
Mushroom Street is definitely one of the best places in Alicante to take a wander.
Take a tram ride to Benidorm
If you want to see more of the coast, the Tram runs from the center of city all the way up to Benidorm, and then from Benidorm it goes all the way to Denia. You can get on the tram in the city centre and it´s €6.40 for a return ticket to Benidorm, but you can get on and off wherever you wish. We´d definitely recommend stopping at Villajoyosa and Altea.
Shop till you drop in Alicante
Like most cities, Alicante has a lot of great shops, from well-known brands to unique gift shops. If you are wondering where to shop in Alicante, there two big shopping malls in the city, Plaza Mar 2 which includes Mango, Zara, H&M, a cinema and restaurants, and Gran Via commercial centre which is home to Ikea, Primark, Pull & Bear, H&M and lots of great Spanish brands. If you´re looking for gifts, head to Alicante’s old town which is full of one off shops. The walk from the port also has plenty of stalls selling souvenirs and crafts
Visit Alicante’s Grand Central Market
Alicante’s grand central market is an amazing indoor market with 100s of stalls over two floors selling local delicacies including fruit, vegetables, meats, fish, and wines. It’s the perfect place to try some samples of local foods as well as gifts to take home with you.
Visit a museum
Alicante has lots of great museums where you can learn more about the history of the city.
Museo Arqueologico de Alicante, known as MARQ, is home to some great archaeological displays, plus themed areas and interactive displays for kids.
Museo de Hogueras is where the amazing floats and papier mache figures from the famous San Juan festivals are displayed. If you don´t manage to make it to the fiestas, this is a great place to see more of what is on offer.
Plaza de Toros (the bullring) and Museo Taurino de Alicante (the adjoining museum) is a fascinating place to learn about the Spanish tradition of bullfighting. Even if you don´t agree with bullfighting it´s really interesting to learn more about something that is such a big part of Spanish history and culture. The bullring is also very interesting from an architectural point of view.
If you are searching for free things to do in Alicante you’ll be pleased to know that museums have free entry on Sundays.
Vist Parque el Palmeral
A must on your list of things to see in Alicante is, in our opinion, the best park in Alicante! This palm tree park is located just outside of the city centre. It´s a peaceful place, with man-made lakes and waterfalls, as well as play parks for the kids, picnic areas, and of course a lot of palm trees.
The paths lead you on nice walk around the park, over bridges, and even behind the waterfall. There´s a small bar in the centre serving snack, drinks, and ice creams, with a picnic area next to it. The park has free entry, plus free parking on the road outside.
Eat & drink
Before you leave, make sure you get some tapas or paella! The old town is home to some great bars and restaurants, tucked away in the back streets. There are also some lovely seafood restaurants along the beach front.
To experience traditional Spanish tapas like a local you can join an Alicante Tapas Tour where you’ll have chance to sample different tapas and drinks.
If you´re not a fan of seafood or paella, there are lots of Italian restaurants, burger restaurants, and lots more all around the city.
Join a Free Walking Tour of Alicante
One of the best ways to explore Alicante is on foot, and what better way to see the best sightseeing in Alicante city centre than being shown around by an experienced local on a Free Walking Tour of Alicante.
You meet up with an English speaking guide at the Town Hall Square, and spend 2 and a half hours exploring the city. They will tell you what to see in Alicante, the best places to visit, as well as interesting facts about the city.
Oh, and as we mentioned already, it’s free – you just pay the amount you think is appropriate at the end of the tour.
Where to stay in Alicante
If you’re looking for accommodation in Alicante, here are a few hotel suggestions of the best places to stay in Alicante…
Alicante hotel for families
Located 800 metres from Playa de San Juan Beach, Hotel Alicante Golf is set in beautiful gardens, with an 18-hole golf course, spa and wellness centre, outdoor pool, padel courts and a children’s play area with special activities and menus. Free WiFi is offered in public areas.
Hotel Alicante Golf is close to a large shopping area, Alicante city centre is 7 km away, and Alicante Airport is a 20-minute drive from the hotel.
There is an elegant bar where guests can relax with a drink. The El Mirador Restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine with views of the golf course.
Alicante hotel for couples
One of the places to stay in Alicante with the best seaviews, the Hotel Spa Porta Maris by Melia is located 100 metres from Alicante’s historic centre and set between Postiguet Beach and Alicante Marina, offering views of the Mediterranean.
All rooms have a private terrace, flat-screen TV, and views of the marina or Alicante’s Bay. The hotel has a gym and a spa, available at an extra cost.
Hotel Spa Porta Maris by Melia is near the Mediterranean Casino, 100 metres from Paseo de Las Palmeras, 15-minute drive from the Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport airport, and nearby tram and train connections provide quick access to other local towns.
Budget Alicante hotel
Hotel Castilla is located just 200 metres from Alicante’s San Juan Beach, with an outdoor pool. Its air-conditioned rooms include flat-screen satellite TV, free Wi-Fi and private terraces.
There are various restaurants and bars in the immediate vicinity and the hotel is located is 1.5 km from ARENA Sports Club, where guests can enjoy the spa facilities at an extra cost.
The hotel is 70 metres from the tram stop to Alicante city centre, which is 8 km away.
Luxury Alicante hotel
Hotel Hospes Amerigo Alicante has beautiful views of the Cathedral and Santa Bárbara Castle, plus a free rooftop spa with sauna, pool and gym. Rooms offer free Wi-Fi and flat-screen satellite TV.
This elegant design hotel is set in a 19th-century Dominican Convent in Alicante’s old town, just 300 metres from Postiguet Beach, 50 metres of the cathedral and Alicante Town Hall.
In summer, guests can enjoy the views from the rooftop lounge bar, situated next to the open-air pool.
Tours and Activities in Alicante
Visit Get Your Guide to book tickets, tours, experiences, and activities in Alicante.
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