Looking for a city with stunning views of the Mediterranean coast? Charming, colorful houses? Medieval castles? Or nightlife that will make you want to stay up long past your bedtime? Alicante has all of these things and more!
With its mix of current trends and historical architecture, Alicante has something to suit every traveler’s personality. Here’s a look at what to do here.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Alicante, Spain?
The best time to visit Alicante is basically anytime! This port city sees mild, reasonable temperatures all real long, so there is never a time where it is too hot or too cold to stop by.
If you want to spend your time on the beach, June through September is the ideal period, but you might have to compete with the summer crowds. In the winter, you will see those crowds vanish, leaving you free to explore the city, albeit with slightly cooler temperatures, which is normal for this part of Spain.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Alicante, Spain
Alicante is part of our main guide on the best things to do in Spain, so it’s definitely a worthwhile visit, and here are three options to prove it:
Visit Plaza de San Cristobal
Plaza de San Cristobal is located in Alicante’s Old Town Quarter, and has buildings and other structures that date back to the 15th and 18th centuries. One example is the Ayuntamiento or Alicante Town Hall, which was built in the 18th century in the Baroque style. Aside from offices dedicated to official city business, it also contains archeological finds from Alicante and its surrounding areas, as well as paintings created by local artists.
Take an Aqua Aerobics Class
Alicante’s Aquopolis Torrevieja is a huge water park with over 15 attractions for both children and adults, all of which are categorized by the level of “emotion” they evoke. Adults can also spend time in the water gardens, massage areas, and jacuzzis, or take a ride on the 50-meter Kamikaze water slide with a 45-degree free-fall drop into the water below. And, if you want to stay in shape on your vacation, the Aquopolis offers 30-minute dance and water aerobics classes every day to keep you working those muscles and having fun at the same time.
Enjoy the Nightlife
Alicante is almost as famous for its nightlife as it is for its beaches and history. The best place to go when the sun goes down is Explanada de España, where you can always find something happening. There are late-night cafes and restaurants, tavernas (taverns), and even beach bars called chiringuitos, where you can sip drinks and stare out at the sea while you dance the night away. In the summer, the promenade nearby hosts cultural and musical events in its open-air theater, which draws in even more night owls.
Some of the Best Attractions in Alicante, Spain
Castillo de Santa Bárbara
One of Alicante’s most noteworthy sights is Castillo de Santa Bárbara. This medieval castle is so named because it was taken back from the Arabs by Alfonso of Castile on the feast day of Saint Barbara in 1248, and has stood tall and proud over the city ever since. Its view of Alicante and of the gorgeous sea and Playa del Postigue below make a trip here an absolute must. Entrance to the castle itself is free, but visitors can take an elevator up to the top for around €2.50.
Alicante’s Central Market, Mercado Central, has been in operation since 1911. Located in a building inspired by the Modernist style with a cupola and a huge stairway lined by large sculptures, you might think at first that you are visiting a museum. Once inside, though, you will be greeted by more than 200 shops and stalls, where vendors sell food that will make your mouth water. Fresh, local seafood, meat, and fresh produce should all be on your grocery list, as should the other assorted Spanish delicacies on display. If you want to really experience the sights, sounds, and general hubub of local shopping, the best time to stop by is on Friday or Saturday morning when the locals come to get groceries.
Museo de Hogueras
Every year, Alicante holds a festival called the Bonfires of Saint John to celebrate the start of summer. During this festival, enormous, incredibly detailed wooden statues called ninots are put on display and then burned at the end of the day. Each year, one ninot is spared, and it goes to live in the Museo de Hogueras. If you come to Alicante in mid-June, you can see the festival itself, but if you miss it, you can come to the museum anytime to see all the beautiful, quirky, and/or intriguing statues that were saved over the years.
Other Sights Worth a Visit in Alicante, Spain
Located not far from Explanada de España, you can find the Marina Deportiva del Puerto de Alicante. It gives visitors amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea, especially just as the sun is setting. It can hold over 700 boats, cruise ships, yachts, and other watercraft, and is also lined with ice cream shops, bars, pubs, casinos, museums, and seafood restaurants.
Whether you’re more inspired by drinks under the moonlight or an elevator ride up to the top of a medieval castle, Alicante has something to offer just about everyone. Just don’t forget to bring a camera and your bathing suit, the essential gear for your trip to Spain!