What to do and see in Alicante? This beautiful city on the Costa Blanca allows you to combine sea, entertainment and culture: let's discover the places of interest in the city.
If you are looking for a holiday destination that combines the sea, nightlife, and culture, Alicante is the city for you. Located on a gulf overlooking the beautiful Costa Blanca, Alicante is dominated by the presence of the beautiful Castillo de Santa Barbara, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city.
Known above all for its beaches, which can be enjoyed until late October, Alicante also amazes visitors with its lively atmosphere in the city center and along the seafront. It's time to book a flight to Alicante and find out what to see (and do) in the city.
What to see in Alicante: a journey to both the sea and cultural sitesIn Alicante, you can spend pleasant days on the beach and enjoy the beauty of the city and the lively Spanish nightlife in the evening. Because even though there are not many monuments and historic buildings, Alicante welcomes visitors making them feel at home, even during the busy summer period. Wandering around the narrow streets of the old town and walking on the wide Explanada de Espana will allow to you discover a people-friendly city that, beyond the great palaces, still retains an intimate and welcoming spirit. Our tour of Alicante starts from the beautiful old town.
Sights in Alicante: discovering the Barrio Antiguo de Santa CreuYou should not be deceived by the buildings and hotels located along the city's seafront: because Alicante has preserved its traditions and its size as a small seaside town. The best place to discover this otherworldly atmosphere is undoubtedly the Barrio Antiguo de Santa Creu. Located not far from the port, in a pleasant hilly position, it is one of the most picturesque areas of the city, which seems to have remained frozen in time. You can get there by walking down from the Castillo de Santa Barbara, or climbing the hill and then wandering around the narrow streets of this old quarter: walking amongst beautiful colorful houses and vases full of flowers you can breathe in the most authentic atmosphere of the city. If you visit Alicante in the summer, we recommend that you go to discover the Barrio Antiguo in the evening or during the early hours of the morning: you will have to climb up many steps and the heat of the midday sun may make the visit rather tiring. If you wish to get something to eat and drink, the area is full of little restaurants where you can discover how good the Costa Blanca cuisine is.
Visit the Santa Barbara Castle in AlicanteAnd since we mentioned it earlier, let's talk about the Castillo de Santa Barbara which, located on Mount Benacantil, is the true symbol of Alicante. The Castle of Santa Barbara, in fact, dominates the city and allows visitors to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Gulf. Needless to say, this is the largest medieval fortress in Spain, built to control and protect the city's bay and all the surrounding areas from raids.
If you want to visit the Castle, do not be put off by its altitude and the steep climb: you can also reach it on board a convenient lift that stops at two different levels of the castle.
Places of interest in Alicante: the Church of San Nicola, the Church of Santa Maria and the Town HallThe center of Alicante, very close to the Barrio Antiguo de Santa Creu, is dotted with minor architectural masterpieces. One of these is undoubtedly the Church of San Nicola, with its splendid blue dome. It is a Renaissance-Herrerian style church that marks the time with its bells. Visit the beautiful communion chapel, masterfully built in Baroque style, and take a look at the cloister, enjoying its peacefulness.
A few steps from the Church of St. Nicholas there is also the Church of Santa Maria, which will impress visitors with its magnificent Baroque entrance. Go inside to discover the beauty of the high altar, in rococo style.
Leaving behind the holy buildings, walk on to the Plaza de l'Ajuntamento and get to know the town hall of Alicante, with its perfectly symmetrical Baroque façade due to the two 35-meter towers that stand on both sides of it.
What to do in Alicante: a walk along the Explanada de EspañaYou can't say you've been to Alicante unless you have enjoyed the beauty of the Explanada de España at least for a brief moment. This long promenade along the seafront is one of the city's focal points: the Explanada, surrounded by palm trees and featuring beautiful red, white and blue marble flooring, is the perfect place to enjoy the bars, restaurants, and stalls in the immediate vicinity. Whether you are returning from the sea or want to enjoy the cool evening air, don't forget to walk along this beautiful paseo, perhaps stopping for a leisurely beer or cocktail.
The beaches of Alicante: the sea in the cityAlicante also (and above all) means sea. There is no shortage of beaches and the crystal-clear sea attracts many tourists who want to spend pleasant moments relaxing and enjoying views of the Costa Blanca. The most famous beach in the city (and the easiest to reach) is undoubtedly Playa de Postiguet, a strip of sand 800 meters long near the Castillo de Santa Barbara. You can easily reach it on foot from the city center: it is connected to the Explanada and the Port by a beautiful footbridge. Obviously it is a particularly crowded beach.
If you are looking for a quieter place but not too far from the city, we recommend you to visit Playa de San Juan, located in the most recent part of Alicante and easy to reach by car or bus.
But what strikes the eye and warms the heart are especially the surroundings of Alicante, where the coast offers a series of views one more beautiful than the other: on the Costa Blanca, in fact, gentle cliffs are alternated by small sandy coves and longer beaches. Walk along the Camino del Cabo, for example, until you reach Santa Pola and let yourself be amazed by the colors of the crystal-clear sea.
Lovers of the sea and breathtaking scenery, then, cannot but take advantage of the beauty of the Isla de Tobarca: you can reach it in an hour and take a leisurely walk all around it. Despite its beauty and the coveted status of the Mediterranean Reserve, in fact, Tobarca is not particularly popular: the beaches are quiet and will allow you to enjoy the sun and sea away from the chaos of the city.
Other attractions in Alicante: from street art to the mushrooms of Calle San FranciscoAlicante is a city that amazes even the most demanding tourists: the urban fabric, in fact, is dotted with small delights that make this Spanish town perfectly enjoyable. In the city, for example, you can take a veritable street art tour. The walls in the city, in fact, are now home to many works that, with taste, warmth, and color, also decorate shutters and facades Keep your eyes open, because the graffiti are scattered almost everywhere and they are one more beautiful than the other.
Another great city attraction is Calle San Francisco which, right in the city centre, delights tourists and locals strolling along it because it is decorated by colourful mushrooms that will be particularly appreciated by your children, if you are travelling with the whole family.
What to eat in Alicante: a gourmet tour of the Costa BlancaWhat are the typical local dishes in Alicante? To find out, let's go first of all to the Mercado Central, an indoor market full of local products. Of course, it's not as big as Barcelona's famous Boqueria, but it's definitely worth a visit, if for no other reason than to prepare to try the local dishes of the city.
Because in Alicante, every dish is a triumph of taste and flavor. The real star of this area is undoubtedly rice, present in many dishes and garnished with vegetables, fish, and seafood.
Start with an aperitif and accompany your glass of wine to the ubiquitous tapas which, in this area, mean the very tasty panes rellenos, or sandwiches filled with meat marinated in green sauce.
Then continue with a nice dish of Arroz Caldoso or Arroz a la alicantina, prepared with chicken, shrimp, tuna, tomato, peppers and a hint of garlic.
In general, we recommend you try everything that the menu offers: in Alicante food is fresh and the sea provides abundant fish and seafood of the highest quality.
Obviously you must end your feast with a nice piece of nougat, considered the best in the world.
Citizens of the EU, the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein) and Switzerland do not need to apply for a visa in order to visit Alicante. All that’s required is an ID card valid for cross-border travel or a passport.
When is the best time to visit Alicante? Book your flight in the summer months to enjoy the relaxing seaside life that the city offers. Rain in summer is very rare and the sun always shines in a beautiful blue sky. The ideal months to plan a holiday in Alicante are from July to September, when the sea also reaches the temperature that will allow you to enjoy long swims.
If, on the other hand, you are interested in the typical festivals of the city, we recommend that you plan your flight to Alicante in the second half of June: it is during this period, in fact, that the Hogueras de San Juan (Bonfires of St. John), the most important event in the city, is staged.