Whether you are going to visit Alicante capital or if you plan to visit the province and its towns, in this article we have prepared a complete guide with the essential places to see in Alicante.
Tell me, what do you want to discover?
Plans in the province of Alicante
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What to do and what to see in Alicante city
Alicante, capital of the Costa Blanca, is a charming city with more than two thousand years of history. In this guide about Alicante city we tell you the best plans and places you can not miss if you have planned a weekend getaway or several days to “La Millor Terreta del Món”. Stay until the end to discover them all!
5 Essential Plans in Alicante
1. Climb Santa Barbara Castle
Take the opportunity to visit the Santa Cruz neighborhood and the Ereta Park.
Located at the top of the Benacantil Mount, the
Santa Barbara Castle
is one of the hallmarks of the city and one of the places you can not miss if you come to spend a few days in Alicante.
Inside the castle you will find the MUSA, Museum of the City of Alicante, as well as an impressive Renaissance cistern. I recommend you to go with time to visit both. And if you like museums, don’t miss the section we have dedicated to them in this guide.
How to climb the castle?
Although years ago it was accessible by car, this is no longer possible. Now you can use the minibus service or take a cab, although it is best to walk up. I encourage you to do it through the Barrio de Santa Cruz and Parque de la Ereta, or along the west wall (the ideal is to combine both options). In the following section, dedicated to a walking tour of Alicante, I will tell you more.
There is also an access to the castle by tunnel and elevator in the bowels of the mountain, although it has been out of service since the pandemic.
Practical information about the visits to the Castle of Santa Barbara, which are carried out by a private company, can be found on their website.
2. Walk through the city and its monuments
If you like to discover cities on foot, you are in luck: the main monuments and attractions of Alicante city can be visited on foot: The Esplanade of Spain, the Co-cathedral of San Nicolas, the Postiguet Beach, the Basilica of Santa Maria or the Central Market are some of them.
If you are a wikiloc user, I encourage you to follow this track that, with about 7 kilometers of route, includes the ascent to the Castle of Santa Barbara through the beautiful Barrio de Santa Cruz and the Ereta Park (one of my favorite walks in my hometown).
If you want to soak up its history and discover its curiosities, the best thing to do is to book this guided tour that will take you through the most emblematic places of the city. One of the best rated!
If you like pedaling and history, then this bike tour is ideal for you: you will discover the ancient Torres de la Huerta and the monastery of Santa Faz.
La Cota Cero in Alicante
Did you know that all the heights of peninsular Spain are measured in relation to Alicante? In the 19th century, the sea level was established in Alicante as the basis for all Spanish topography, being the so-called “Precision Level 1” on the first floor of the Alicante City Hall. A curiosity that you can visit for free.
San Fernando Castle
Much less known, the Castle of San Fernando, on top of the hill known as “El Tossal”. It is also worthwhile for its views and its parks and geological tour. On its western side you will find the José Rico Pérez soccer stadium and Alicante’s main sports facilities. Much less visited by tourists.
2. Boat Excursion to Tabarca Island
Located just 4 kilometers from the Cape of Santa Pola (whose lighthouse is worth visiting), the island of Nueva Tabarca is the only inhabited island in the Valencian Community. In Tabarca you can stroll through its ancient walled city, enjoy its magnificent coves and beaches (it has been declared a Marine Reserve since 1986), visit its lighthouse or the Tower of San José (former prison) and, of course, savor its rich cuisine based on rice, fish and seafood. The star dish: the Caldero Tabarquino.
To get to Tabarca you will have to take a ferry or a “cab”. You can do it from the city of Alicante itself, or from the town of Santa Pola (my recommendation), from where the trip takes just 15 minutes by speedboat.
4. Strolling through the coves of Cabo de la Huerta.
Since 2008, the city of Alicante has hosted the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, one of the most important events in the sailing world. Each edition of the Volvo Ocean Race attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world who come to Alicante to watch the sailing teams set off on a unique adventure around the world. In addition to the competition itself, the Race Village (Volvo Zone) offers numerous activities and events to bring this exciting sport closer to all fans.
Volvo Ocean Race Museum
Throughout the year you can enjoy the
Volvo Ocean Race Museum
where you can learn all the secrets of this competition that brings together the best sailors in the world. In addition, you will be able to feel like a real sailor thanks to the sailing simulators, interactive screens and the exhibition of boats from the different editions of the regatta.
5. History and Culture of Alicante
Lucentum archaeological site
Just 5 kilometers from downtown and very close to the quiet beach of La Albufereta you can visit one of the most important archaeological sites in Alicante:
the Roman city, precursor of the current city. If you wish, you can walk along the sea to the Albufereta along the Paseo de la Cantera, overlooking our beloved Mediterranean from the Mirador del Príncipe. An ideal route to practice Nordic walking, if you like this sport. To complement the visit to the site, be sure to visit the Albufereta to see the Roman fish farm, one of the natural pools you can visit in the province of Alicante.
Main Museums of Alicante city
The first of the museums that you can not miss is the
Provincial Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ)
one of the most important museums in Spain in its category. The MARQ houses an exceptional collection of more than 80,000 pieces that allow us to learn about the history of Alicante and the Costa Blanca from Prehistory to the Middle Ages. In the museum you will be able to see permanent exhibitions about Alicante as well as other temporary and very interesting ones about different cultures from all over the world.
The second museum you should visit is the
Contemporary Art Museum of Alicante (MACA)
which houses an important collection of contemporary art, from the 1950s to the present. The museum is located in the heart of the historic center of Alicante, in a building that was once a Renaissance palace. Among its permanent exhibitions we can highlight that of Eusebio Sempere, one of the most international artists from Alicante, known for his studies on geometric abstraction.
More Museums in Alicante city
Gravina Fine Arts Museum (MUBAG). This museum houses a collection of art from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, with works by artists such as Velázquez, Goya, Sorolla and Picasso.
Museum of the University of Alicante. MUA is a space dedicated to the dissemination of contemporary art, which offers a wide range of temporary exhibitions, workshops and cultural activities.
Museo de les Fogueres de Sant Joan: This museum is dedicated to the tradition of the Bonfires of San Juan, the festival par excellence of the city of Alicante. In this curious museum you will find an exhibition of ninots (papier-mâché dolls) that were pardoned to be saved from the fire that consumes the monuments on the night of June 24.
6. Visit to the Civil War Shelters
On the morning of May 25, 1938, nine planes of the Italian fascist air force dropped 90 bombs on the Central Market of Alicante, when hundreds of people were trying to stock up on food during the hard months of the war. The result was more than 300 civilians killed, the most tragic bombing of the Spanish Civil War.
In addition to the monument in honor of the victims in the market itself, today you can visit some of the 94 air-raid shelters that once existed in the city. This is a guided visit to the subway galleries of Balmis and Seneca. It costs 5 euros for adults and 3 euros for pensioners and minors. It is one hundred percent recommended. Info and reservations here.
7. Gastronomy in the Central Market of Alicante
With more than 100 years of history -including the fateful bombing of May 25, 1938, in which more than 300 people were killed- the Alicante Central Market is one of the most emblematic places in the city, where tourists and locals alike gather to enjoy a unique gastronomic experience.
The building has an impressive iron and glass structure that makes it a tourist attraction in its own right. Inside, you will find a wide variety of high quality local products, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and seafood. In addition, the market also has numerous stalls offering typical products of the region, such as nougat from Jijona, salted fish from Santa Pola and the famous wines of Alicante.
Bars and Restaurants in the Central Market
But the Central Market of Alicante is not only a place to shop, it is also a place to enjoy the local gastronomy in the bars and restaurants that are located in its interior and they offer a wide variety of tapas and typical dishes of Alicante cuisine or international cuisine. One of our favorites is Barra Central (Solete Guía Repsol 2023).
If you want to live an authentic local gastronomic experience, you cannot miss the Central Market of Alicante. Whether for shopping or to enjoy a snack, this market is a place not to be missed during your visit to the city. By the way, some people say that “el tardeo” was born here, did you know that?
8. Strolling through the coves of Cabo de la Huerta.
The Cabo de la Huerta of Alicante receives its name for being formerly occupied by a fertile and prosperous land of irrigated crops, which was made possible thanks to the construction of the dam of the Tibi Reservoirone of the oldest in Europe and the most important of its time. The area of the “Cape” was dotted at the time with a number of manor houses that, in order to protect themselves from the continuous pirate attacks, were forced to fortify themselves, giving rise to the so-called Torres de la Huertawhich can be visited on a route steeped in history.
Regarding the coastline of Cabo de la Huerta, it is one of the best preserved natural areas of the city of Alicante. A place where we find a micro-reserve of flora and beautiful coves where nudism is practiced, such as Cala Cantalares or Cala Palmera. At the end of the cape, formerly known as “Cap de l’Alcodre”, is the Faro del Cabo de la Huerta, a building that we hope will one day be used as a center for the interpretation of the values of this important natural area.
5. Contemplate the most beautiful sunset in Alicante city.
If you like hiking, the province of Alicante has incredible routes that you will like to discover. We have compiled 10 must-visit routes in this article, near charming villages such as Altea or Guadalest.
But it is also possible to practice hiking without leaving the city of Alicante. My main recommendation in this regard is the Serra Grossa, a modest mountain formation that will delight you with its views of the bay and the vestiges of the Civil War.
Another option is the already mentioned Calas del Cabo de la Huerta. And if you want to discover the rest, take a look at the article about hiking routes in Alicante city.
If you have come by train, you may also be interested in the article on nearby routes that you can access by TRAM or Cercanías.
10. Contemplate the most beautiful sunset in Alicante city.
The last (for now) plan that I propose is to enjoy watching what is probably the most beautiful sunset in Alicante city. To do so, we will go up to the 26th floor of the emblematic Gran Sol building, currently occupied by the CONVISTAS restaurant, integrated in the Alicante Gran Sol Hotel (where you can also stay).
Its strategic location, next to the Esplanade, makes it possible from this excellent viewpoint to admire the Castle of Santa Barbara with the entire old town at his feet, the Postiguet Beach, the Port of Alicante or Cabo de la Huerta. After sunset, you can stay for dinner at the restaurant and, if you are lucky, stay in a room with a view at the hotel.
If you want more ideas, don’t miss the article with the Hotels and Restaurants with the best views of Alicante city.
Do not miss...
Complete guide about Tabarca Island (Alicante): discover what to see, where to eat and what to do in the biggest island of the Valencian Community.
Discover the best hiking routes in the province of Alicante with our selection of 10 Essential Routes.