11 Must-See Places in Alicante

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This list of the best places to see in Alicante will help you not to miss anything in this provincial capital of the Valencian Community, perfect for spending a few days of vacation with family or friends.

Located on the shores of the Mediterranean and guarded by Mount Benacantil, the city of Alicante is a popular holiday destination thanks to its pleasant climate for most of the year, extensive golden sandy beaches, a historical and cultural heritage built over centuries, a wide range of entertainment options, and fantastic cuisine based on rice, seafood, and fresh fish that will delight any traveler.

To explore the main points of interest in Alicante, a day is enough, but if you want to enjoy the beaches of the Costa Blanca, go hiking in its fantastic natural surroundings, or visit its beautiful towns and cities, you can comfortably spend a week without any risk of getting bored.

To reach Alicante, you have the high-speed AVE train that takes about two and a half hours from Madrid, and there is also an international airport located 15 kilometers from the city center. If you arrive by plane, once at the airport, you can simply take the C-6 bus, which will take you to the city center in about 20 minutes.

Based on our experience during our time in this trendy city in Spain, we have compiled this list of what we believe are the 11 must-see places in Alicante. Let’s get started!

Luceros Square

After parking your car in one of the parking lots downtown, one of the best things to do in Alicante is to start your route at Luceros Square, the most emblematic square in the city.
This open space, with an impressive monumental fountain in the center, is the starting point of the popular Fogueres de Sant Joan festivals, which take place between the 20th and 24th of June. The festivities begin with noisy mascletàs in this square and end with the nit de la cremà, where the ninots are burned.
From this square, you can take a stroll along Avenida Doctor Gadea, passing by the “Casa de las Brujas” mansion, a building that stands out for its modernist façade, until you reach Canalejas Park and the Explanada de España.

Luceros Square

 

Explanada de España, one of the must-see places in Alicante

The Explanada de España, a promenade of just over 500 meters that runs parallel to the port, is another essential place to visit in Alicante for both locals and tourists.
This short walkway, flanked by several rows of palm trees, is characterized by its floor made up of a fantastic mosaic of over 6 million square tiles in three colors (red alicante, cream marfil, and black marquina), imitating the waves of the Mediterranean.
As you stroll along the promenade, you’ll enjoy street performers, craft stalls, and historic buildings such as the beautiful Casa Carbonell, with its white facade, until you reach the bustling area of the port.

Explanada de España, one of the must-see places in Alicante

 

Alicante Port

In a bay protected from the winds that sweep the coast, you’ll find one of the oldest ports in the region and another must-visit place in Alicante for a day trip.
In this port of Carthaginian origin, small fishing boats and pleasure boats dock, while also hosting a large part of the city’s leisure offerings.
It’s worth taking a stroll along the pleasant promenade in the morning and at sunset, admiring the most spectacular yachts, and then enjoying a drink at one of its bars, such as Noray Café Bar.
Another increasingly popular activity in the port is booking a kayak tour through the crystal-clear waters of Cabo de las Huertas or a paddleboarding tour at San Juan Beach, one of the best beaches in Alicante.

Alicante Port

 

Alicante Town Hall

A route through the old town (Barrio de Santa Cruz) usually begins in the Town Hall Square, presided over by the impressive baroque building of the Town Hall, considered one of the most beautiful buildings to see in Alicante.
The Town Hall, also known as the Municipal Palace of Alicante and built in the 18th century, stands out for its monumental facade flanked by two towers and an interior with beautiful rooms such as the Mayor’s Hall, the Plenary Hall, the Chapel of the Oratory, and above all, the Blue Room, a room decorated to receive Queen Isabel.

Alicante Town Hall

 

St. Nicholas Co-Cathedral

Just a few meters from the Town Hall Square is the St. Nicholas Co-Cathedral, built on the remains of a mosque and considered the most important religious temple in Alicante.
The current building was constructed between 1616 and 1662 in the Renaissance Herrerian style, although its cloister dates back to the 15th century and was built in the Valencian Gothic style.
After admiring its austere exterior, you can explore the interior, which features a slender dome, the Baroque Communion Chapel, the cloister entrances, and the Chapel of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of the city.

Visiting hours: every day from 8:30am to 1pm and from 6pm to 8:30pm.

St. Nicholas Co-Cathedral

 

Santa Cruz Neighborhood

Another great thing to do in the city of Alicante is to take a stroll through the narrow streets of the popular Santa Cruz neighborhood, located on the slopes of Mount Benacantil and filled with low houses with white painted facades.
As you ascend through Calle Labradores, which is lined with bars and restaurants for tapas or drinks, you can explore this bohemian neighborhood. Then, you can descend to the Basilica of Santa Maria, which combines Gothic and Baroque styles, and finish off with a walk along the bustling Calle Mayor.
This area also houses some of the highly recommended restaurants in Alicante, such as Las Brasas de San Miguel, La Crispeta, and El Gosto del Gourmet, perfect for a stopover to enjoy a typical meal like rice dishes for either lunch or dinner.
Keep in mind that while any time is good to visit this neighborhood, its highlight is during the first week of May when the Cruces de Mayo (May Crosses) festivities take place. During this time, the streets are adorned with colorful flower crosses and decorations of all kinds.

Santa Cruz Neighborhood

 

Central Market of Alicante

The Central Market, housed in a two-story building with modernist elements and constructed in 1911, is another must-visit place in Alicante, popular among locals.
The interior is filled with stalls offering fresh and high-quality products such as fish, seafood, cured meats, fruits, and vegetables, sourced from the Mediterranean and nearby orchards. To delve deeper into the market, a highly recommended tour is a workshop where you’ll learn how to prepare a delicious Alicante-style paella, starting with shopping for ingredients in this vibrant market.
The area around Plaza del Mercado, near Castaños Street, is popular for the so-called “tardeo,” which involves having a beer at one of the terraces and then enjoying dinner at establishments like Damasol or El Chico Calla, before continuing the night at nearby bars and pubs.

Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday, from 7:00 am to 2:30 pm.

Central Market of Alicante

 

Museums to Visit in Alicante

Among the top museums to visit in Alicante, these four stand out:

  • Archaeological Provincial Museum (MARQ): It is one of the best museums in Spain where you can take a journey through the history of the city from the Paleolithic era to contemporary modern culture.
  • Fogueres Museum: It showcases an exhibition on the history of Alicante’s most popular festival and displays several ninots indultats, cardboard figures that are saved from the fire.
  • Las Cigarreras: This cultural center stands out for being housed in the original tobacco factory building.
  • Gravina Fine Arts Museum (MUBAG): Located within the Count of Lumiares’ palace, it is dedicated to Alicante’s painting and sculpture.

 

Santa Barbara Castle

Watching the sunset from Santa Barbara Castle, located at the summit of Mount Benacantil, 167 meters above sea level, is another of the best things to do in Alicante.
This medieval fortress has its origins in the late 9th century during the Muslim occupation but was later reconquered by Alfonso of Castile on the feast day of Santa Barbara, hence its name. Once inside the castle, you will see three areas from different time periods, including remnants from the Arab era, the constructions ordered by King Philip II in 1580, and the 18th-century section, which is the least interesting. You will also enjoy incredible views of the city and Alicante Bay.
As a curious fact, this castle, along with the mountain, is nicknamed “the face of the Moor” because when viewed from Postiguet Beach, its silhouette resembles a face.
To reach the castle, you can use an elevator carved into the rock facing Postiguet Beach or you can walk or drive.

Visiting hours: Every day from 10 am to 8 pm from October to March; closes at 10 pm for the remaining months.

Santa Barbara Castle

 

Postiguet Beach, one of the things to do in Alicante

Taking a refreshing dip in Postiguet Beach, located at the foot of Santa Barbara Castle and next to the Harbor, is one of the best experiences in Alicante.
This 600-meter beach with fine golden sand and calm waters is filled with people every summer, offering all the amenities such as kiosks and beach bars, as well as opportunities for water activities.
Keep in mind that if you travel at the end of June, from this beach you will have the best views of the fireworks from the annual international competition, which takes place after the Fogueres de Sant Joan, the city’s major festival.
Other quieter beaches to visit in Alicante, although a bit further from the city center, include San Juan Beach, Cantalar Cove, and Albufereta Beach.

Postiguet Beach

 

Tabarca Island

To conclude this list of places to see in Alicante, there’s nothing better than taking a boat to reach Tabarca Island, the only inhabited island in the Valencian Community.
With a maximum length of 1,800 meters and a maximum width of 450 meters, this small island goes from 55 inhabitants in winter to over 4,000 daily tourists in summer who enjoy relaxing swims and snorkeling in its crystal-clear waters, as well as indulging in its famous rice dish called “caldero” in one of its recommended restaurants like Gloria.
Before taking a dip, we recommend exploring the island on foot, passing through the fortified village, the Tower of San José, and the Lighthouse, which are some of its must-see attractions.
To reach the island, you can take one of the boats that depart daily from the Port of Alicante, and the journey takes less than an hour.
Another good option is to book this catamaran cruise that also departs from the port.

Tabarca Island

 

Excursions from Alicante

If you have more time, you can take one or several day trips to explore some of the wonders of the province of Alicante, such as Guadalest, the Algar Waterfalls, Altea, Elche, and Villajoyosa.
If you have a full day, we recommend visiting the Algar Waterfalls in the morning, a collection of lagoons, waterfalls, ponds, and natural pools where you can take a refreshing swim, and in the afternoon, stroll through the charming corners of Guadalest.
Another great option is to visit the picturesque coastal town of Altea, located a 45-minute drive away, considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. After enjoying its photogenic white houses with flower-filled balconies, you can head to Villajoyosa, a traditional fishing village known for its colorful painted houses.
Less than half an hour from Alicante, you’ll find the cities of Elche and Santa Pola, two more gems of the Valencian Community that you can explore on your own, completing this list of places to see in Elche, or by booking this excursion. And if you’re in the mood for some nightlife, you can also add Benidorm to your list of places to see, a popular tourist city located about 45 minutes from Alicante.

Altea

 

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