15 Best Things To Do in Alicante - Visit Costa Blanca

View of Postiguet Beach from the Castle of Santa Barbara in Alicante

Alicante is a popular tourist destination situated in the well-known region of Costa Blanca, a popular tourist destination for beach lovers and sun worshippers from all over the European continent. 

What to do in Alicante - Places to visit and attractions

Alicante is a vibrant port city on the Spanish coast, part of the Valencian Community and the capital of Province of Alicante, with a population close to 350,000 people.

Alicante has been a popular tourist destination for many years, as the city has lots to offer for visitors: great beaches, good restaurants with fresh seafood, lots of attractions for history buffs and a lovely old town, with lots of interesting bars.

Alicante is the perfect destination even for a short city break in Costa Blanca, as you have the region's largest airport close by and it's only a short flight from the UK and most other European countries.

For beach holidays, the best time to visit Alicante is during the summer months up until October, but the town is a year round tourist destination, with mild winters which place it among the best places to visit for winter sun in Europe.

1. Santa Barbara Castle

View of Santa Barbara Castle from the main beach in Alicante

Castillo de Santa Barbara dominates the Postiguet beach in Alicante, sitting on top of Monte Becantil, at 166 m of altitude. 

Santa Barbara Castle was built around the 9th century and even nowadays it offers spectacular views over the coast of Alicante and it's especially beautiful at sunset (it's actually one of the best spots to watch the sunset in Alicante, especially if you're looking for a romantic experience).

There are 3 ways to go up to the Castle of Santa Barbara in Alicante:

  • by car - up to a certain point
  • on foot - it's a bit of a climb, so wear comfortable shoes (no flip flops or sandals)
  • a lift - from across the street from Postiguet Beach. The ticket is quite reasonable at around 3 Euros and the lift takes you up in no time, although it can be quite busy during the summer months when it's high season in Alicante.

Admission: free. Entrance to Santa Barbara Castle is free, so you only have to pay for the lift, if this is your preferred option to go up.

The parking on top of the hill is also free.

2. Explanada de España

La Explanada de Espana - the best place for an evening stroll in Alicante

La Explanada de Espana is the iconic promenade in Alicante, with tall palm trees on the sides and a mix of red, cream and black tiles, which give it an interesting and mesmerizing look.

This long and lovely promenade in Alicante is one of the most popular places for an evening walk and it's also great during the day time, when you want to escape the hot burning sun. There are lots of benches and individual chairs along the walkway, some small souvenir shops and even some sculptures, which give the walk a bit of interest, as they change from time to time.

3. Postiguet Beach

Playa del Postiguet in Alicante

Playa del Postiguet, or Postiguet beach, is the main town beach in Alicante.

It is easily reachable from many areas of the city, depending on where you are staying in Alicante, although there aren't any places to park right next to the beach, so coming here by car is not a good idea.

The beach has all the facilities you may need, from sunbeds to umbrellas and beach showers and lifeguards on site. The water is very clear, the sand is really soft and fine and you do get a spectacular view of Castle Santa Barbara right the beach or when you're in the water swimming.

During the summer months, this beach is often packed, but we love coming here in October when the water is still warm and pleasant and there are considerably fewer tourists.

4. San Juan Beach

The promenade in Playa de San Juan, Alicante

Located a bit outside Alicante town, Playa de San Juan is the most well known and popular beach in the Alicante area.

It is a really paradisiac beach, with fine sand, turquoise clear water, a beautiful promenade in front and lots of hotels, apartment buildings and restaurants nearby. 

If you're staying in Alicante and you want to come spend the day here, it is easy to do so by taking the TRAM, which will leave you right by the beach in only a few minutes (no need to bother having a rental car, as finding a parking spot can be quite stressful).

5. Tandem Paraglide Flight

For those seeking adventure and adrenaline, you can go for a tandem paragliding flight with an experienced pilot. You get amazing aerial views of the mountain landscapes and you'll get to experience the lovely landscapes of the Costa Blanca from a different perspective.

  • 20 to 30-minute tandem paraglide flight with professional pilot
  • Includes hotel pick-up and drop off

6. Casco Antiguo - Old Town - El Barrio

The Old Town of Alicante is full of historic buildings and it's nowadays a bustling area of the city, with many terraces, restaurants and bars which give it a dynamic energy and a contemporary feel, although you are walking among century-old constructions.

The main sights of the Old Town of Alicante include the buildings of the City Hall (Ayuntamiento), the Plaza of the Ayuntamiento and the Basilica Santa Maria.

But of course, we recommend taking at least one long walk around its narrow cobbled stoned streets, to discover the place at your own pace. 

We also strongly advise getting an ice-cream from Livanti Gelato Di Sicilia, which one of the best ice creams we've had in Spain. 

7. Basilica of Santa María

Basilica de Santa Maria is the oldest church in Alicante, built in a Gothic style over the remains of the town's largest mosque. It has an impressive interior and it is located in the Old Town, close to the City Hall.

The church of Santa Maria was elevated to the rank of Basilica in 2007 at the request of the Ayuntamiento de Alicante.

  • Price: Free.

8. Ayuntamiento (Town Hall)

The building of the Ayuntamiento de Alicante is one of the main sights of the Old Town and it is located very close to the Basilica de Santa Maria and the Explanada de Espana.

This is a Baroque building, which is open to the public and you can pop in for a quick visit if you want to see a sculpture by Salvador Dali. The visit only takes 15-20 minutes and it's worth it if you're in the area.

9. Alicante Marina

View of the marina in Alicante

The Marina is located close to the Postiguet Beach and also next to the Explanada de Espana, so there's no shortage of lovely places for a walk in Alicante.

The Marina offers some lovely views, so you can sit in the shade on a bench and admire the lovely boats or you can have a drink at the nearby bar, which is a bit more expensive than most other bars in town, but it does have a unique position and a lovely view, so they charge more due to the location. But since you're on holiday anyway, you can splurge on a nice cocktail to keep you hydrated on a lazy afternoon, while taking in the gorgeous views. 

10. Wine Tasting Tour

Spend an afternoon at a local winery and vineyard just 45 minutes from the busy Alicante, and taste the wines produced on site.

The tour departs from Alicante and takes you to a village in the Vinalopó region. Here you'll learn about the winemaking process, explore the bodega and then, taste some of the region's best wines and feast on local produce, such as olive oil and cured meats.

  • Includes Transfer, Guide, Entrance fees & Guided visit through the winery
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

11. Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ)

Visiting an Archeology Museum might not be the first thing that pops to mind when planning a trip to Alicante.

But the Archaeological Museum is really worth the time and money, even if it "robs" you from a few hours spent on the beach and it may even prove to be a good place to visit during an overcast morning or a rainy day in Alicante (which rarely happens).

At the MARQ you can see some permanent exhibits as the Prehistoric Hall and the Roman Culture Exhibit, as well as some temporary exhibits. These will take you through several eras of the history of the Alicante region and the museum also offers the possibility of knowing the archaeological method for investigating and conservating different artifacts.

  • Ticket: €3, free for children under 8 years old
  • On Sundays, the ticket is half price - €1.5

12. Plaza de Gabriel Miró

Plaza de Gabriel Miró - a serene place in Alicante

Gabriel Miró was a famous writer from Alicante and this beautifully shaded square takes its name after him.

Plaza de Gabriel Miro is right next to Alicante Old Town, only 5 or 6 minutes walking distance from the Town Hall.

It features a beautiful fountain and it's the perfect place to take a break from all the walking. Sit down on a bench, enjoy the calm and the peaceful atmosphere, only a few minutes away from the chaos and agitation of the city center.

13. Calle de Las Setas - Mushrooms street

Mushroom street - a great place for kids in Alicante

Calle San Francisco is also known as “The Mushroom Street” and it has become famous among visitors to Alicante. It is really a must see place in Alicante, especially if you are traveling with children, as they will love the decorations and the fairytale vibe.

These decorative mushrooms were installed by the City Hall in 2013 in an effort to bring foot traffic to this street, where businesses were suffering due to the lack of clients, who never got to this part of the city center.

14. Bonfires of Saint John - the largest event in Alicante

Hogueras de San Juan is the major event happening in the town of Alicante and it lasts for several days, while the city is filled by huge cardboard monuments, which will be them set on fire at midnight on June 24th.

Read more about the Bonfires of Saint John in Alicante (Hogueras de Alicante)

After the San Juan celebrations, the town of Alicante remains in a festive mood while the Fireworks competition takes place, where participants from several countries come to impress their crowds with their creative and colorful fireworks shows. 

15. Alicante carnival

Although not as well known as other carnivals in Spain, the carnival in Alicante lasts for about 10 days each year and is organized usually around February or March (depending on Easter each year).

The most important day of the carnival is the Saturday Ramblero, celebrated on the weekend before Shrove Tuesday.

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