Alicante is a wonderful place to visit

30 insider tips & sights in Alicante and the Costa Blanca

Nellie has been living on the Costa Blanca for more than 12 months and has put together the best insider tips and sights in Alicante and the surrounding area in this travel guide.

This article is a collection of personal experiences from the time Alicante became my second home. It should convey to you what I love so much about my life in Spain and why you absolutely have to pay a visit to Alicante. After 12 months in the Spanish coastal city, I feel at least as comfortable here as in my hometown Hamburg.

I have divided this Alicante travel guide into different categories, use this navigation to quickly jump to the corresponding section:

Attractions in Alicante - quick navigation

 

1) Sights & Activities

Alicante is a tourist metropolis, whose classic poles of attractions are of course also part of my selection of the top sights in Alicante and the surrounding area, as are some exclusive recommendations from a local's point of view.

a) El Barrio and Santa Cruz - A stroll through the old town

The The old town is located on the mountainside of the Castillo de Santa Bárbara and the narrow streets are illuminated by a warm light at night and at dusk. Although the numerous restaurants in "El Barrio" are well attended during the day, real life takes place here on Saturday night.

The historic district of Santa Cruz borders directly on El Barrio, but seems to come from a completely different world. I love the white, amazingly narrow houses of Santa Cruz, adorned with blue door and window shutters, colorful flower pots and paintings.

Make a few stops on your way and take a look up at the Castillo de Santa Barbara. Do you recognize the Cara del Moro (face of the Moor) in the rock? A long walk through the old town of Alicante awakens the desire to discover and even after 12 months I won't get bored!

b) The Castillo St. Barbara - best at sunset!

Santa Barbara Castle is not in vain the tourist landmark of Alicante. The ascent is relatively steep, but of short duration - after 20-30 minutes you will reach the top viewing platform, which will reward you with a fantastic view.

The best, but also the most popular time among tourists, to visit the castle is just before sunset, when the heat of the day slowly fades and the sun is setting Alicante bathes in a magical light.

If you have little time or a lot of energy, I can recommend combining a tour of the castle and a walk through Santa Cruz. You can climb over the old castle wall either through the old town up to the castle or from the Castillo through Santa Cruz back down into the city center.

c) Alicante's harbor - time for the (after-work) drink

If you leave the Castillo behind and walk towards the coast, you will soon come across Alicante's Explanada. The curved, blue and red patterned tiles of the palm-lined avenue are for me THE postcard motif in Alicante.

The port with a considerable number of luxury yachts also joins here. What could be nicer than between palm trees and street artists To relax with a fancy drink in one of the many restaurants and to imagine how you would head for the port of Alicante with your own yacht in a later life ...?

One of the best locations for such a sun-downer is this SOHO MAR bar right on the harbor, with comfortable lounge chairs and a selection of sparkling cocktails.

d) The mandatory tapas tour

Sightseeing is known to make you hungry, but even if you are not hungry, a tapas tour in Alicante is a must. Tapas are nothing more than small portions of homemade disheswhich among Spaniards are usually not consumed as a main meal, but rather as a snack between lunch and dinner.

We start our tour well & cheaply in D’Tablas, where you can tasty tapas for 90ct and beer for 60ct. If you are still hungry afterwards, you can try the best tapas bars in Alicante until your stomach is full and your (beer) thirst is quenched.

Quite often you will ask the waiter about the restaurant's tapas menu and he will answer you: I'll tell you what we have! And then he'll overwhelm you with a torrent of words in Spanish. The trick is not to despair here, just a few recommended ones "Tapas caseras" and "Para compartir" (homemade tapas for the table) to order. Nothing ventured nothing gained!

e) Soak up the sun on the city beach Postiguet

Having the beach right on your doorstep is an absolute privilege in my opinion. Even if I only need less than an hour to the North Sea in Germany, it is still something special to live in a true coastal city.

Alicante's city beach -Postiguet- is one of the most popular attractions in Alicante and therefore littered with people almost at any time of the day, but it is still a wonderful place to relax, play sports and meet friends.

In the summer there is also one postiguet at the end Beach bar set up, in which the evening is ideal with a drink and sometimes even Live music lets fade away.

f) Snorkeling & diving in Alicante

The clear waters of the Costa Blanca is home to some marine animals and numerous coral reefs. It is therefore worthwhile to take a look at the world from underwater.

Whether you just jump into the water from one of the smaller beaches (called Calas here) or take part in a guided boat tour is of course up to you. I can personally recommend the Aliolitours guided snorkel tour to Tabarca, which costs € 59 per person. In addition, the Dive Acadamy Santa Polas only 20 minutes outside Alicante offers PADI diving courses at fair prices.

g) Panorama trip with the tram

The regional infrastructure and transport options are good and inexpensive. Buses and trams connect the city center with the surrounding villages and neighboring towns - The tram ride along the coast is not only comfortable but also beautiful.

A one-way trip costs 1.45 € (1 zone) and follows the coastline with the L1 north to Benidorm. If you use public transport a lot, you can save money in Alicante with the blue tram card. A cheap option to commute between the sights in Alicante and the surrounding area!

h) Support a HERCULES game in the stadium

HER-CU-LES! Even if you are not an avowed football fan, you will find it Atmosphere at the Alicante stadium carry away. Watching a game of the third division club Hercules live is also the perfect opportunity to get a little closer to the local Spaniards - celebrating connects!

Unlike in German stadiums, it can no alcohol during the game are consumed, the fans, on the other hand, consume their pipas (roasted and salted sunflower seeds) in large quantities, which can be bought in small snack packs and which cover the whole floor after the game.

Games usually take place on Sundays during the season Entry costs € 12.

i) Siesta - do it like the Spanish!

The extensive recovery phase in the middle of the day bridges the hottest hours of the day in summer and also lets you enough time for a hearty meal with the whole family and even a nap afterwards.

I admit that the 3-hour lunch break in all shops, Hairdressers and administrative facilities and I had to turn back one time or another in front of the locked door.

After all that sightseeing, eating tapas, sunbathing and maybe a night of partying, you will quickly learn to appreciate the siesta!

2) day trips and tours

Alicante's hinterland and surroundings have many scenic and cultural attractions to offer that can be reached on a day trip.

a) Road trip-it!

With the decision to book a rental car for a few days, you are flexible and cheap to drive, because that way you stay independent of the operating times of the local transport and can also use one of the at any time small and unpopulated beach bays (here they are called calas) stop.

To the north along the coast you can reach the touristy, but very photogenic, within 1-1.5 hours by car Coastal towns of Villajoyosa, Altea and Calpe. In the south and offer themselves the Torreviejas salt lakes and the Santa Polas lighthouse as a destination.

If you don't want to rent a car, you can also book a tour with GetYourGuide.

b) The “Ruta de Vino” - wine tasting in the hinterland

My suggestion to visit some of the surrounding wineries and to taste local Alicantine wine, usually meets with enthusiasm from friends and family alike. Viticulture not only has a long agricultural tradition in the region, the wineries are also among the most popular attractions in Alicante.

Via the website of the Ruta de Vino (also as an app!) You can not only download an overview of the surrounding wineries online, but also their opening times and prices for tours and wine tastings. You can easily reach the wineries by car, but you can also take a guided tour.

c) Day trip to the island of Tabarca

Tabarca is the perfect destination for a day trip. The small island only houses around 70 inhabitants in winter, but is therefor Home to a number of top quality seafood paella restaurants.

Spring is most beautiful on the island, as the pleasantly mild temperatures and a fresh breeze invite you to take a walk around the island. In addition, the fields and paths are littered with flowers at this point.

Ferries to Tabarca depart in the morning from Alicante (approx. 1 hour drive for a round trip price of 20 €) and Santa Pola (approx. 30 minutes for a price of 10 € -15 €).

d) Hike on the Peñón de Ifach in Calpe

The hike to the Peñón de Ifach in Calpe takes between 1.5 and 3 hours, depending on your walking pace and the time you have allowed to rest and enjoy the view. The path makes you sweat a lot in the summer sun, but this one 360 degree panoramic view from the summit rewards every effort.

To get to the Peñón de Ifach, it is worth booking a rental car, as it takes a good 2.5 hours to get there by tram and the stop itself is a good walk from the start of the path.

e) Book tours in advance

At GetYourGuide you will find many other recommended day tours in and around Alicante, which you can also conveniently book in advance.

3) museums

Museums are of course not the most attractive holiday activity for everyone, but I generally find them a good opportunity to get to know the place visited and the culture of its residents better.

a) Museum of Contemporary Art

My Alicante insider tip for free activities is the Museum of Contemporary Art in the old town, because here art lovers will find an excellent collection of Spanish artists and changing exhibitions of local works of art.

On one of the rare rainy days you can easily spend 1-2 hours here, but the air-conditioned art gallery is also a refreshing change from the heat of the day in the summer months.

Entry: free
Address: Plaza Sta. María, 3, 03002 Alicante, España

Opening hours:
Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Sunday & public holidays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
closed on Monday

b) MARQ

An archeology museum sounds boring at first, of course, but the archaeological finds of the MARQ Museum from the age of the Moors are really impressive.

If you like to take a look behind the scenes, I can do that Evening tour of the museum's cellar vaults recommend, which leads through the archaeological workshop and laboratory and lasts an hour. The tour takes place every Friday at 8.30 p.m. and costs 6 euros.

Entry adult: 3€
Address: Plza. Dr. Gómez Ulla, s / n. 03013 Alicante

Opening hours:
Tuesday - Friday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday 10.00 a.m. - 8.30 p.m.
Sunday & public holidays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

c) Volvo Ocean Race Museum

The Volvo Ocean Race Maritime Museum was opened in honor of the world-famous Volvo Ocean Race, which started in Alicante in October 2014 and ended in Gothenburg in 2015.

Everything is exhibited here: from aerial photographs, sweat drops from the competitors to scraps of sailcloth and photos of the participants. Above all, it's fun a trip with the sailing ship simulator, in which you race against the crew and the other participants.

Entrance fee: 1,50€
Address: Puerto de Alicante, Muelle 10 de Levante, s / n, 03001 Alicante, Spain
The opening times vary depending on the season and month.

4) night life

The party scene focuses on three different areas of the city, each with a different clientele.

a) Castaños

This street is next to the barrio that Trendy district for an exuberant party atmosphere and drinks. All of Alicante seems to be on one Saturday afternoon to be drawn under the spell of the numerous cocktail bars and restaurants and to chat, drink and later dance until late into the night.

The price range is a bit higher than in other parts of the city, cocktails averaging € 5-7, wine and beer € 3, the clubs, on the other hand, usually give you free entry.

b) El Barrio

'Das Viertel' leads you through narrow, warmly lit alleys that are teeming with people at night on weekends. Prices are usually a bit more moderate than in Castaños, although you have to differentiate between the tourist restaurants (usually recognized by the English-speaking waiters) and the local bars.

I can recommend the excellent bocadillos Cerveceria Sento in the barrio that Flamenco Cup Villavieja 6 and the Havana night club, in which a mix of good dance music is always played and which is therefore a classic among the locals.

c) El Puerto

A party night in Spain is only a party night if the party continues until 8 a.m. the following day. The harbor is ideal for bringing the night to a dignified end. In the summer there are also some clubs Pool parties instead, which are definitely worth the entrance fee (approx. 15 €) and are the only conceivable alternative to overcrowded dance halls on hot days!

If you want to do it really Spanish, you start Saturday with Tardeo (Pre-drink) in the Castaños, from there on to the barrio to fortify yourself with tapas or a real dinner, to quench your thirst and then not shy away from walking to the port. After a night like this, you're almost allowed to walk like a real Spaniard feel.

5) Eat & Drink

Because I am not the only one who has a particular preference for the Spanish world of pleasure, this section is all about the culinary.

a) tapas

We have already learned that tapas are nothing more than finger food - extremely tasty and very practical for those who are hungry. Now is the time to introduce you to Alicante's most traditional tapas:

  • Bocadillos: Delicacies mostly served on small, toasted baguette slices that can be eaten without further ado. The toppings range from simple jamón (Spanish ham) to complicated combinations of goat cheese, tomato jam and black pudding (delicious!).
  • Bocarones en Vinagre: The top tip for fish lovers. Bocarones are small, salty fish that are pickled in vinegar and usually served with chips or bread, making a perfect appetizer.
  • Ensalada Russia: Russian Salad. Personally, I wasn't a big fan until I got the chance to taste a really good Ensalada Russia. The mayonnaise cream contains boiled potatoes, onions and a few other indefinable - but very tasty - ingredients and is a local specialty!

b) paella

Of course, especially in Alicante, paella has to be on the bucket list for culinary experiences, because the paella originally comes from the state of Valencia and is therefore "at home" in Alicante. Whether with seafood (paella de Mariscos), meat or vegetarian, paella is a more than satisfying meal and is therefore only consumed by the Spaniards at lunchtime so that there is enough time to digest.

Paella is usually first from two people served, costs between 12-22€ per nose and should take at least 20-30 minutes if prepared according to the house recipe.

For the more adventurous among you, I also have a special tip: ask about your paella arroz negro, that is short grain rice cooked with squid ink, which gives the traditional dish not only an interesting look but also an extraordinary taste.

c) Tinto de Verano

What to do if it's too early or too hot for wine, but you don't particularly like the Spanish beer either? The saving solution is Tinto de Verano!

This summer drink is typical for Alicante, is mixed from semi-dry red wine and orange lemonade and can also be easily prepared yourself.

The recipe
100 ml semi-dry red wine (does not have to be of the best quality)
100 ml orange lemonade or Fanta
Fresh orange slices for garnishing
Ice for cooling

d) Wine and beer

Even if wine and beer are not, of course, country-specific, well-known drinks - in Spain they enjoy a special status and belong to every meal of the day for the locals (yes, sometimes even for breakfast).

Since I hate nothing more than warm beer, I like to order cañas, draft beer in small glasses (0.2l), local brands such as Mahou, San Miguel or Cruzcampo.

The local grape Monastrell is only grown in the wine region around Alicante and makes excellent red wine that is dry and strong and often has an alcohol content of 14% or more.

e) Turrón

Since I missed the Hamburger Franzbrötchen after a few days, I quickly went to Alicante to look for a worthy replacement - and found it in Turrón.

The Nougat turron is not only a local specialty, but also available in many different versions (fine & creamy to coarse & crunchy) and ingredients (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios). Simply try each variety once!