Alicante City is renowned for endless beaches of golden sand and lofty peaks, balmy weather that draws visitors all year round, and its many points worth checking out. It is the entry point for tourists wishing to explore the Costa Blanca. This guide has all the information you’ll need for enjoying satisfying last minute holidays to Alicante.
This is a self-sufficient city with the charms of a world-class holiday destination and the amenities of a big city. Benidorm, San Juan, Calpe, Javea, and Moraira are just some great holiday spots within easy reach from Alicante. The city retains its old charms even as it has developed into a major tourist hub in the Valencia Community.
Alicante Airport is among the busiest in Spain. It handles the tourist traffic that arrives in Costa Blanca. Carriers such as RyanAir and EasyJet connect it to the major cities of Western Europe.
Alicante has an amazing nightlife that starts in the downtown area around 10:30 and then moves to the waterfront around 3am. Here’s a detailed article on nightlife in Alicante.
Alicante offers you a good deal of options in shopping. You can window shop and stroll along the shops located at the city centre. Many street markets here sell everything from produce from the sea to touristy stuff and mementos. Fruit sellers and florists sell items that you may not find in other parts of Spain. For more on shopping in Alicante, go here.
If you book your holiday in advance or opt for a late deal, flights to Alicante are not too expensive, and surely you will find affordable airfare that will have you enjoying great weather and delicious Spanish food in no time.
So what are the best places in Alicante City? They all are! Every place in Alicante is unique, each with its own quality that makes it special.
Absolute “must do” in Alicante –
• Eating out in Alicante
• Lovely Hotels and resorts (cheap and expensive)
• Great beaches
Alicante is host to a all year-round range of cultural activities. The main venue in town for concerts, theatre, dance, opera and other cultural festivals is the Teatro Principal.
A neo classical building just turned 160 years old. Alicantinos had the idea, in the middle of the XIX century, to create a great coliseum that will bring happiness to the city.
The project to build the theatre was initiated by the architect Emilio Jover with the donation of the land offered by the city hall.
Its construction began in 1846 and was inaugurated on the 25th of September of 1847. Initially was named Teatro Nuevo but 10 years later it was renamed Teatro Principal.
Important Tourist Information
Alicante Emergency Numbers
• Emergency: 112
• Fire Brigade: 085
• Guardia Civil: 062
• Police: 092 or 091
Maestre Alonso 109
Tel: 96 593 83 00
Alicante Health Centre
Centro de Salud juan XXIII
Baritono Paco Létona
Tel: 96 518 47 62
Tel: 96 525 25 11
• Trafic Info: 900 123 505
• Weather forecast: 906 365 303
• Trenet: 963 801 819
• RENFE Alicante: 965 920 202
• Alicante Airport: 966 919 400
Tourism Information Alicante Office
Rambla Méndez Núnez, 23 03002 Alicante
Tel: 965 20 00 00
Alicante Red Cross
Avenida Doctor Gadea, 1
Tel 965 254 141
Last Minute Holidays to Alicante – Things to Do
Beaches in Alicante
El Postiguet Beach
Playa del Postiguet is one of the classic Alicante beaches because of its size, its fine and almost white sand, and especially for its location – in the middle of the city. The beach is 667 metres long and 40 metres wide, and is bordered by a promenade with many palm trees. This beach is cleaned daily and it usually has visitors all year round due to Alicante’s excellent climate. However, the summer months are the busiest.
If you ask locals about Postiguet beach, they probably will tell you that it is not the best when compared to other Alicante beaches such as San Juan or El Campello beaches but it is obviously more comfortable for people who is staying in Alicante city and have no time or desire to leave the city to enjoy the sun and Mediterranean Sea.
The great thing about the location is you can stay nearby, laze on the beach by day and explore the city at night. There is a wide range of hotel options in Alicante. There are also plenty of rental properties available. Here is a big guide to accommodation in Alicante.
It has all the infrastructure of a popular beach and is a favoured space for leisurely evening strolls – especially in the summer. The beach can be accessed by the physically handicapped. Playa del Postiguet has been awarded the Blue Flag for its amenities and clean waters.
Equipment and services: this beach has a bus station, Red Cross, lifeguards, parking, showers, beach umbrellas and hammocks, cleaning service, waste bins, public phones, promenade, chiringuitos and restaurants. You can play Beach Volleyball here.
San Juan Beach
Located 8kms to the north of Alicante, San Juan has a long, open beach of some 7kms in length and with an average width of 85m. The beach corresponds to the two municipalities of Alicante and El Campello. It is located in a residential area that is lively in the summer months and very peaceful during the rest of the year.
Facilities available on the seafront include restaurants, bars, cafés and car parks, and services include access for the handicapped, toilets, watchtowers, a Red Cross post, tourist information and water sports on the beach.
This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union. It can be reached by car, by bus (numbers 21 or 22) or by tram, offering a nice trip from Alicante.
El Saladar-Urbanova Beach
Setting out from the South, we come across a long and well-equipped beach. Little known to foreign tourists, it is therefore the quietest of them all.
This beach, close to El Altet airport, is officially called Playa del Saladar due to the saltpans that used to exist nearby. However, it is popularly known as Playa de Urbanova, the name of the residential complex facing it.
Free from parking problems, bathers can stretch out comfortably on the sand, and enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the city and the bay of Alicante. This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union.
La Albufereta Beach
To the north, this is a nice little beach with a lot of greenery to soothe the eyes. Not many tall buildings here. Instead, you can feast your eyes on tall palms and many varieties of cacti. The beach is boxed in by two cliffs that offer great spots for angling. Steps located close to the parking area lead to the beach. This beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union.
Cabo de las Huertas Beach
This beach is situated between San Juan and Albufereta. The tranquil coves here are pretty and quite secluded. The beaches here are a mix of rocky and sandy landscape.
Some of these beaches have nudist bathing areas, and diving is possible at almost all these locations, but particularly in the rockier coves. Of particular note are Cala de los Judios and Cala Cantalares.
The coves can be reached by car; alternatively, a bus (number 22) runs all round the Cabo de las Huertas as far as San Juan Beach.
Once of great strategic importance for the whole province, the Alicante Port gives today adds glamour to the city of Alicante. The port is situated in the centre of Alicante, in front of the “paseo de Canalejas” and of the “Explanada de España”.
The balmy weather, the lovely view along with wonderful facilities of leisure and meals makes it a place you would not want to miss during your holiday. The Alicante Marina is a good place for relaxing and taking in the views. You can relax with a coffee or a drink in the stylish bars with suspended terraces over the sea, or have an authentic Spanish gastronomic experience at one of the charming seafood restaurants in the exquisite El Puerto Complex. Based at the centre of the port you will discover the Nautical Club, with its 352 moorings, a workshop and a sailing school.
Just a short and enjoyable ferry ride alongside the Alicante Marina, and you can explore the Panoramis Centre, with its excellent shopping area and modern bars and restaurants, from where you can admire the romantic view over the Santa Barbara Castle and the Marina too.
Evening is a lovely time to take a walk along the wide promenade, under the moonlight, occasionally admiring the beautiful yachts parked in the Alicante Marina. If your holiday is scheduled in July and August, make sure to attend the International Festival in Plaza del Puerto Viejo, where musicians and artists from all over the world perform.
Day or night, the Alicante Port appeals and invites with an ambiance that makes you want to visit that place just one more time…every time.
Like everywhere in Spain, Alicante Nightlife is very vibrant, especially in the summer. The parties tend to start late and last deep into the night or even until dawn. Dinner, too, is served quite late, usually at nine or ten. Near the Esplanada, a more modern Alicante features elegant pubs, fine dining, discos and dance clubs. Down in the port area, relaxing cafés double up as crowded clubs every night. All the clubs in the port are open until the sun comes up.
Also in the area are restaurants, taverns and two cinemas. In the surrounding streets there are trendy cafes, luxury restaurants, pubs and clubs. In summer, nightlife shifts to the chiringuitos (kiosks) on the San Juan and Postiguet beaches.
You can take the TRAM to the beautiful San Juan beach, full of restaurants and bars in the summer. If you enjoy ballet and opera then you can catch one at the Teatro Principal, Alicante’s large theatre.
Fancy a big party night? Just take the trensnochador (a tram service that runs all night long to Benidorm during July and August), where you will find incredible clubs and shows to choose from.
Attractions in Alicante
So, what to do in Alicante? You will find many attractions in Alicante to keep you busy all day (and night!) long.
There’s a wide range of outdoor activities that you can choose from. Check out this in-depth article to learn more about them. There is also the huge variety of cultural activities available, the excellent food and drink, the scenic beauty of its countryside, the elegance of the city and the enthusiasm for life of its people.
Alicante offers many other possibilities to enjoy your free time on a last minute Alicante holiday. If you are interested in art there are many fantastic museums to visit like the MARQ museum. More on museums in Alicante over here.
If you prefer to spend your time in the open air in contact with nature, then take a walk along The Esplanada. To admire the beauty of the Mediterranean, head to the El Postiguet beach. Or, visit El Tossal Park that includes a football field, athletics stadium, sports pavilion, heated swimming pool and gymnastics-training centre.
You can also discover Alicante’s attractions in the countryside by horse, balloon, bicycle, canoe… the possibilities for having a good time are endless.
Many people come directly from the airport to their holiday resort within the province and don’t plan a visit to Alicante city. I highly recommend to take any of the Alicante excursions or Alicante day trips available so you won’t miss this beautiful Spanish corner.
You can come from Denia, Calpe, Benidorm to Alicante (or from other resorts along North Alicante Costa) via FGV Train – TRAM or go to the bus station on your holiday resort and catch a bus to Alicante bus station.
Weather Forecast for Alicante
Worried about rainy days? Forget about it and keep a warm thought about your future holidays: Alicante region as a part of the Costa Blanca, is recommended by The World Health Organization as one of the most equitable climates in the world, with the average rainfall to around 20 days per year.
Great weather, and all sorts of activities at your fingertips! Even in high winter, expect only a little humidity.
The weather in Alicante is usually warm and if you want, you can explore the city on foot without taking with you an unpleasant umbrella.
Wanna work on a perfect tan? Alicante region is just perfect for accomplishing this dream of yours. Even in winter, the sunshine quota is around 6 hours. In summer you can expect a long twelve hours to laze away the day. Sunny weather in Alicante beats your highest expectations.
So, it is perfect for sunbathing from May to October, but also permits a lot of other holiday activities. For example, if you are the explorer type, you can explore the region even in winter because the sunny, mainly dry days are a characteristic of the weather in Alicante. If you dont like the sun that much, but you really enjoy the sea breeze and a good warm bath in the sea, there is absolutely no problem! Alicante weather can provide that.
From July to September, there is a constant, pleasant sea breeze and the sea temperature is at its warmest, ideal for water sports enthusiasts. Pack for Costa Blanca, and at any time, Alicante guarantees you a great time! Just in case, if you scheduled your holiday any time from October to May bring a jacket for the nights.
Calendar of Events in Alicante
• New Year Concert.
• Procession of the three wise men: Parade of Floats
• “Porrate” de San Antón: Pets blessing.
Carnival: Street Parades. Masked Balls. Competitions.
Easter week: Processions. Exhibitions.
Monas de Pascua: Countryside outings to eat the typical Easter cake (mona).
Santa Faz Pilgrimage: Two Thursdays after Easter Thursday. Pilgrimage to the Santa Faz Monastery.
Alicante Artists Winter Exhibition
Cruces de Mayo: Santa Cruz neighbourhood. Floral crosses, floral decoration of streets, procession, competitions. games. fireworks.
Moros y Cristianos: San Blas neighbourhood (all events related to the Moors and Christian battles). Dancing and festivities. Parades.
Hogueras de San Juan: Declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest (20th to 29th June). Plantà (large papier-mâché and wooden statues are set in place). Parades. Flower Offerings. Bulls. Cremà (the statues are set alight and burnt). Fireworks competition on Postiguet Beach.
Medieval Market: Alicante Old Quarter. During the last week of June.
Virgen del Carmen: Tabarca Island. Dancing and festivities. Procession. Fireworks.
Santa Barbara Castle nights: Dinners and concerts in the castle.
August festivities: Alborada (concert). Processions, Theatre, Fireworks, Concerts and recitals. Open-air shows.
Moros y Cristianos: Altozano neighbourhood (all events related to the Moors and Christian battles) Dancing and festivities.
Santa Barbara Castle nights: Dinners and concerts in the castle.
Virgen del Socorro: Cabo Roig neighbourhood. Procession, gastronomic competitions, games, dancing and festivities. Fireworks.
Alicante National Theatre Festival
International Festival of Contemporary Music
Exhibition of Spanish theatre by contemporary Authors.
International Puppets Festival (FESTITITERES).
Festivals in Alicante
Moros y Cristianos Festival
Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) Festival is one of the most traditional and most widely celebrated festivals in Alicante. In the City, the festival starts with a huge parade with people dressed in the period costumes of the Moors and Christians.
This festival re-enacts the battles between the Arabs and the Christians that occurred centuries ago. In Alicante, the festival is held in Alcoy between 22nd and the 24th of April.
The festival is the highlight of the year for the townsfolk of Alcoy with no less than 28 separate Moorish and Christian armies parading around in full medieval, military attire. The proceedings are taken very seriously by the Alcoyanos as they march in their companies all day accompanied by bands.
Mock battles also take place at various points throughout the festival culminating in a huge simulated battle around Alcoy’s castle. The Spanish love of fireworks is evident during the fiesta and the balconies of the whole town are decorated with the Red Cross flag of St George.
Santa Faz Pilgrimage
Santa Faz Pilgrimage is one of Alicante’s most beloved festivals, when around 200,000 people walk in pilgrimage from the centre of the city to the Monasterio de Santa Faz (Monastery of the Holy Face)
Starting out at 8 o’clock in the morning, the route to the Monastery is walked in about two and a half hours, a period that includes the traditional stop -the paraeta- for a breakfast of anise rolls with mistela wine.
The significance of the Monastery is that it contains a relic that according to Christian mythology is a veil that Veronica used for wiping blood off Jesus’ face. The relic is devoutly venerated by the country people of Alicante from the time that the first pilgrimage was made to the Monastery in 1489.
After the religious celebrations in which the pilgrims beg for mercy from the relic, the tradition is for visitors to visit the many different stands selling all kinds of objects (the most typical purchase is an earthenware bell) and then to have a picnic.
Hogueras San Juan – St John’s Bonfires
The Hogueras San Juan (St John’s Bonfires), Alicante’s principal festival, has been officially declared as of International Tourist Interest. From June 20th to June 29th, there is a daily firecracker display that shakes the buildings to the point that one might think they will crumble to the ground.
The firecracker display is mostly for the noise, but as the week goes on you will find some firecrackers with coloured smoke are being set off. Fireworks are so loud that there is a myth that if you don’t open your mouth during the display your ear drums will explode from the pressure.
Another absolutely amazing aspect of the St John´s Bonfires festival is that each neighbourhood constructs a falla, which is a papier-mâché statue to be displayed for the week in the streets.
The neighbourhoods aren’t very big so the statues are located every few blocks. These statues are as big or bigger than some buildings. The artist starts working the day after the festival is over on the statue for the next year. Each neighbourhood also makes a small statue along the same theme called a Ninot.
During the course of the week, the statues are voted on and prizes are awarded. Then on the very last night the statues are burned to the ground, as everyone watchs in amazement.
The Ninot (smaller fallas statue) that wins first place is kept, and put in the museum that keeps the prize winning Ninots.
The streets of Alicante are not only filled with colourful statues but also with many people out enjoying the festivities. Some of those people are dressed in traditional attire.
Alicante Day Trips
Alicante day trips are perfect to witness the beauty of this area and its impressive history. From Denia in the North and as far as San Pedro del Pinatar in the South, there are many things to do near Alicante to keep you busy for a whole day in Alicante province or to simply give you something to do in the evening.
One of the biggest attractions is definitely Benidorm, 45 km north of Alicante. Famous for the huge Irish and British communities, this city metamorphoses during summertime into one big party.
With over 30 discos, 1000 restaurants and a general party mood everywhere, Benidorm has everything it needs for a booming nightlife.
Moreover, there is the Old Part of Benidorm that attracts visitors during the day, along with its two glorious beaches. If you only have an evening to visit Benidorm, don’t miss The Benidorm Palace, which seats more than 1500, for a lively cabaret style show with singing, dancing, magic shows, illusionists and acrobatics.
Day trips from Alicante will definitely highlight Terra Mitica, 40 min Benidorm, especially if you’re with the little ones. A mythology and ancient civilisations theme park, Terra Mitica will impress the small people especially with the boneshaker Colossus.
Driving along the same road going to Terra Mitica, pay a visit to Guadalest, the most visited village in Spain, in a spectacular setting, 600 m above the sea.
Many agencies offer Alicante Day Trips to Guadalest, including a visit through the tunnel to the village, a castle tour and dungeon (lovely for the kids).
Enjoy the fantastic views across the valley from lookout points and cobbled footpaths.
Take the national road up from Alicante, and discover Calpe, a romantic combination of a charming traditional village with the holiday feeling of the sunny beach.
You’ll recognize Calpe by its massive rock called Penon de Ilfach, offering perfect views around the bays and the whole Costa Blanca.
Cuevas del Canelobre (Caves) – Busot
Other Alicante Day Trips will reveal you the prehistoric caves of Canelobre, with their cathedral-like atmosphere and the many rocks that have taken on interesting shapes. The 350 yards long stalactites and stalagmites in the Cuevas de Canelobre are a particularly fascinating sight.
The Caves are approximately 3 kilometres from the village, on the slopes of the golden hill, at a height of 700 metres.
Don’t miss the biggest palm garden at Elche, Les Fonts de Algar, a natural park with waterfalls, actually an excellent day trip from Alicante to be chosen by families with kids, along with the Mundomar Marine Exotic Animal Park, where marine animals and exotic birds can be watched in their natural environment. And there’s plenty more to discover, calling back for a new holiday in Alicante!
Old Quarter Alicante
The Old Quarter clings to the slopes of Mount Benacantil, in the shadow of the Santa Barbara Castle, a settlement, which can trace its origins back to late Roman times, and where medieval walls surround streets and lanes of more recent times. It contains within its walls a lively nightlife scene referred to as el barrio, a simple but loaded reference to what it offers. Our sightseeing walk can start in the tranquil Plaza de la Santísima Faz behind the Town Hall, from where we climb up Calle de San Agustín to the Plaza de Quijano, one of the oldest squares in Alicante. From there we can stroll along Calle de Pedro Sebastia until we arrive to Calle de San Roque.
Here we will find the ermita (hermitage) of San Roque (a co-patron of the city), dating from 1559, rebuilt in 1875, and recently restored. Inside the hermitage is a poignant Gypsy Christ, greatly venerated by the people of the ancient Santa Cruz barrio.
The Calles de Toledo, San Luis and Diputado Auset reveal the hidden, singular Alicante: of gleaming houses, with colourful façades covered in flowers and decorated with grillework and mosaics that reveal the veneration felt by the inhabitants for the Santa Faz; of ancient fountains, and of steep, narrow lanes, almost silent and reminiscent of Arab times, all inevitably leading to the 18th century hermitage of Santa Cruz.
When visiting “el barrio”, you will find some of the best Alicante Old Quarter Pubs, bars and restaurants. There is a fantastic market held at the end of June every year in this area, behind the Town Hall, after the Saint John’s Bonfires celebration.
Alicante Hot Air Ballooning
Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a hot air balloon ride in Alicante. It is a wonderful experience to take in a bird’s eye view of the landscape. The balloons take off from Elche, which is a 15-minute drive from Alicante. The flight lasts for around an hour and at the end of it you can enjoy an authentic local breakfast, included in the deal.
The flight is preceded by all the necessary checks of wind pressure and directions. You can even participate in inflating the balloon. Strike friendships with fellow fliers while the balloon is readied. Check out how beautiful the El Fondo Beauty Spot in the district of Baix Vinalopo looks. From up to one kilometre in the air, you will get a bird’s eye view of Elche and Elx y Crevillente.
Once you’re down, you should make it a point to check out the Elche market; the town is known for its confectionery, leather goods, and clothing.
When visiting Elche, you can see their exclusive festivals of Palm Sunday and the Mystery of Elche. UNESCO declared the Festival of Elche the Masterpiece to the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Santa Barbara Castle
The Santa Barbara Castle is one of the largest in the Mediterranean region. It looms over the summit of Mount Benacantil, which is a rocky cliff rising out of the ocean and is 166m in height.
The castle is a great vantage point for checking out panoramic views of the town and the ocean. The hill and the castle have periodically thrown up artefacts that go as far back as the Bronze Age. Roman era archaeological finds in the area tell us about its interesting past. The oldest part of the Santa Barbara castle dating back to the 11th century is found at the highest reaches of the cliff. Of these, you should check out the Baluarte de los Ingleses (Rampart of the English), the Sala Noble (Hall of Nobles) and the Governor’s House.
The part of the castle that dates back to the 16th century has many points worth visiting. These include the Room of Philip II, the Cuerpo de Guardia, the Baluarte de la Reina, and the Patio de Armas, and the vestiges of the hermitage of St. Barbara.
The most recent portions of the castle were constructed in 18th century and house the Revellín de Bon Repós and a monument to Félix Berenguer de Marquina, who was a loyal solider of Spain and served in New Mexico. Entry to the Santa Barbara Castle is free and you can approach the castle from two entry points. There are two walking routes and you can drive, too. If you wish to save time and breath, then take the lift.
During the summers, the Town Hall arranges for musical programmes that are held every weekend night. The courtyard of the Santa Barbara Castle serves as the venue. The concerts are free and begin at 8:00pm.
Tabarca Island is the lone inhabited island in Valencia. It lies 11 nautical miles from Alicante and off the Cabo de Santa Pola. Tabarca Island has an area of 30 hectares. The 18th century fortress built by King Carlos III is worth visiting.
Levante Beach is the main beach on the island and is nearly 250 metres long. The village on the island enjoys the status of a Historic-Artistic Monument and a Cultural Asset. The waters surrounding the island are a part of a marine nature reserve. The fauna is rich and the biodiversity very beautiful. Snorkel and scuba dive here and take a look at the variety of animals and plants under the clear Mediterranean waters. During Easter and peak summer tourist season, the lifeguard services and beach patrol are active in the area.
Tabarca Island is a 45-minute boat ride from Alicante; boats leave from the Marina opposite the Explanada de Espana. The beach on the island has restaurants offering excellent seafood and is equipped with amenities such as access for the physically disabled, foot showers, and a tourist information centre.
Boat service: Kontiki
Telephone: +34 965 21 63 96
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