Visit The Beautiful Alicante: 16 Fantastic Things to Do in Alicante, Spain

Steve Cummings

Alicante Spain

Located on the breathtaking coastline of Costa Blanca, Alicante is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and a great place to take a short city break or a longer holiday. 

It doesn’t matter how much time you have. Whether you are looking for a nice and quiet visit or want to make the most of the hustle-bustle of the nightlife, Alicante offers it all. 

A popular destination for tourists of all ages, you may already know about Alicante’s beaches and attractive climate, but in this guide, we hope to highlight some places you probably did not know. No matter the budget you have to play around with, our guide features 16 fantastic things to see and do in Alicante.

1. Santa Barbara Castle

Santa Barbara Castle
credit: depositphotos

One of the most popular things to do in Alicante that you won’t want to miss out on is a visit to Santa Barbara Castle (Castell de la Santa Barbara, as it’s known in Spanish), which sits on top of a hill located at the city’s edge known as Mxadount Benacantil.

It is visible from just about any point in the city, and people with different fitness levels can walk the manmade, paved path that leads to the top of the hill and the castle. 

Built in the 9th century, this is one of Europe's largest fortresses of medieval times. Notably, it has three enclosures built in three different periods is home to artifacts that date as far back as the Bronze Age, and includes pieces from the Roman and Iberian empires.

2. Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ) 

Speaking of artifacts, if you are interested in history, you will not want to miss a trip to the Archaeological Museum of Alicante. The museum is found inside the old San Juan de Dios hospital building and displays a collection of artifacts and art in three different sections.

The museum has prehistorical artifacts such as human remains like bones and skulls dated thousands of years old. You can learn more about Rome's role in medieval times in the Iberian Peninsula and everything from right up to modern times.

As we love everything on the frugal side here, the best thing about this museum is that it is one of the free things to do in Alicante.

3. Central Market

Central Market Alicante
Credit: Depositphotos

Mercat Central d’Alacant, known by the locals, is in the middle of the city and can be walked to from the old part of town or the boardwalk area and is one of the best things to do in Alicante city. If you have ever been to a market in Spain, you will know what to expect in Alicante’s central market. 

There are many raw and cured meats available on the market’s main floor, where you enter it, for fresh products like seasonal and local fruits and vegetables downstairs. 

There is also a flower market that can be accessed via the back exit and a small restaurant that serves tapas, a must in Spain, beer, and coffee.

As well as an opportunity to see what an authentic Spanish market is like, it’s a great place to find ingredients if you plan on preparing some of your own food. The section downstairs contains huge amounts of fruit, the best cheeses, and jamon to create charcuterie boards and sandwiches. 

4. MACA Contemporary Art Museum of Alicante

Considering Alicante is a lot smaller than cities like Malaga or Valencia, the MACA Contemporary Art Museum of Alicante is impressive for contemporary art lovers. 

It boasts an impressive collection of contemporary and 20th-century art from homegrown artists and international names, too. 

You will find sketches, sculptures, paintings, and even audio-visual work on display. However, it depends on the exhibitions that are open when you visit. 

Similarly to other museums in the city, it is also free to enter.  

5. Beautiful Beaches

Beaches in Alicante
Credit: Depositphotos

It would be ridiculous to write a blog about the best things to see and do in Alicante and not mention the beaches. Spanish beaches are famous worldwide, and Alicante on the Costa Blanca has several truly stunning stretches of sand along the coast. While the main beach for Alicante is known as Playa del Postiguet, you can also take a short tram journey to Platja del Carrer de la Mar, Playa de Muchvista, Playa de San Juan, and Playa de las Huertas are four of the best. 

Whether you are looking to relax or want to take part in some water-based activities, there are beaches to suit a wide range of interests. 

6. Boat Trip Along Alicante’s Coast

Alicante’s coastline is amazing, and there are many ways to check it out. It may seem like something too extravagant to take a boat trip, especially if you have a tight budget, but there are a lot of affordable options for tours. 

Many tour operators provide drinks and tapas on board, or you can hop off at different spots for a swim in the Mediterranean. Some have snorkeling gear onboard if you are interested in dipping underwater. This is one of the cool things to do in Alicante.

7. Alicante Town Hall

Alicante Town Hall
Credit: Depositphotos

A Baroque building with a stunningly ornate interior and an extensive collection of works of art showcasing the city's culture and history, Alicante Town Hall is one of the best things to see in Alicante.

That’s not all, but every 15 minutes precisely, you will hear chiming bells from its twin towers. This helps to give the city a beautiful, almost romantic ambiance. 

8. Tabarca

Credit: Depositphotos

An untouched natural beauty spot, the island of Tabarca is found a little out from the coast of Alicante. 

There are plenty of tours that run to the island. There, you will find the picturesque and quaint town with whitewashed houses and a beautiful historic old church. What’s more, the waters between the coast and the island are pretty spectacular in their own right and have been declared a Mediterranean Marine Reserve due to their abundance of fauna and flora and amazing natural beauty. 

You will also find a shop, restaurant, and beach on the island. However, like many places, the prices can be rather expensive, especially during peak holiday periods, so if you want to be frugal, it's a good idea to take some food and drink, especially if your budget is tight. 

9. Take a Trip on the Alicante Tram

For another interesting experience that won’t break the bank too much, you should take a trip on Alicante’s own tram. Although it takes you through great stops like San Juan and Altea, the journey alone is worth it as you can see amazing views of the Costa Blanca. 

Its tracks lead along its coastal path and, depending on the weather, up through hills as you pass many villages and towns. 

While Altea is further along the track and outside of Alicante, it is worth exploring because of its beauty – architecture with an Islamic influence has been built onto a slope and has many winding streets you can get lost in. This is one of the best things to do around Alicante.

10. El Barrio

El Barrio
Credit: Depositphotos

Otherwise known as the old town, El Barrio is Alicante’s historical heart and a truly eye-catching place where you will want to spend the day wandering around. 

There are lots of pretty Spanish apartments stacked on one another decorated with flowers and many winding cobbled-covered streets. If you want to experience cocktails and tapas, when evening comes, El Barrio is where you need to go. 

11. La Explananda de Espana

The main promenade of Alicante is spectacular and lined with 6.6 million black, cream, and red tiles. This was designed by the architect Jose Guardiola Pico who oversaw the construction in 1867 to provide a suitable setting for the grand Spanish custom of evening stroll. 

Its pattern is designed to mirror the rolling waves of the Mediterranean and provides a truly idyllic scene complemented by the walkway’s palm trees. 

One of the more romantic things to do in Alicante is to take an evening stroll; you can browse market stalls with handmade items such as rugs, purses, bags, and jewelry and call for a few drinks at the many bars that line the road. 

12. Parque El Palmeral

Parque El Palmeral is one of the best family things to do in Alicante, especially if you are a fan of nature. It is brimming with palm trees, waterfalls, and other botanical wildlife. Located not far from the city center, this is a perfect place if you are looking to escape from the busy comings and goings of Alicante so you can relax in the most beautiful park in the city. 

Although there are places to eat and drink here, the prices can be expensive, so it may be worth taking a sandwich or two and something to drink. 

13. Gravina Museum of Fine Arts

The biggest and best museum in Alicante, the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts, has one of the best fine arts collections. It is found within the famous Palacio del Conde de Lumiares. It was built in the 18th century and is recognized as a historical monument. 

Most art exhibited in the museum originates from the 19th and 20th centuries and is predominately paintings. During the average year, though, many exhibitions run at the museum by famous homegrown and international artists from the same period. 

From a frugal traveling point of view, this is a great choice as the museum is free to enter. 

14. Casa Carbonell

A noted landmark in the aforementioned La Explananda, Casa Carbonell, was constructed in 1920 by a wealthy local entrepreneur. Any visitors would think this was a royal palace or an important municipal building. However, when it was built, it was designed as a home.

It is also a very photogenic destination with a waterfront location, classical features, and architecture. Now, you will find restaurants and shops on its ground floor, offices on the second floor, and the top two floors are home to luxury apartments. It's one of the must-see things in Alicante.

15. Santa Iglesia Concatedral de San Nicolas de Bar

Built in the early half of the 17th century, the designer Agustin Bernardino oversaw the work on the cathedral, who was a student of the highly respected and prolific architect Juan de Herrera, sits atop a much older religious site once home to a mosque. 

There are sections of the building, such as the cloister that have a gothic-architecture style and were built in the 15th century. One section of the building that is particularly worth visiting is the Chapel of the Holy Communion, a stunning Spanish Baroque architecture example.

16. Lonja de Pescado Museum

In a city full of museums and stunning architectural pieces, one of the best places to see in Alicante is the Lonja del Pascado, which features a variety of exhibitions throughout the year. 

In the past, it has featured a Titanic reconstruction with photographs by Alex Amoros, reproduction items from the cruise ship, and an extensive Vincent Van Gogh collection.

Final Thoughts

Alicante is a busy tourist destination. There is no way of escaping that fact, as the coast always draws in those looking to worship the sun and benefit from the laidback lifestyle there. If you are not interested in crowds, you could visit the city at off-peak times when there are not so many tourists. However, whatever time of the year you decide to go to Costa Blanca, we hope our guide provides you with various options. 

If you think we missed a great landmark, sight, or place to eat or drink, please let us know in the comments section.

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