WHAT TO DO IN ONE DAY IN ALICANTE
If you are planning your Alicante trip and want to find out about the best things to do in Alicante in 1 day (or longer) this post is for you.
Alicante is a beautiful city in Costa Blanca – a gorgeous coastal region of the Mediterranean Sea. Located near cities like Valencia and right off the beach, it is a great place to visit at any time of year thanks to its mild climate. I saw a cheap flight from Bremen (my hometown) to Alicante. And though I had no idea what to expect, I was sure that a getaway to Spain in the winter could not be a bad idea. And what should I say?
Alicante was prettier than expected! I visited in the winter months, and yet it was a lovely trip with warmish weather. While summer times are probably great for spending time at the beach, you can also do many activities in the winter in Alicante.
After booking, my friend decided to join me on the trip, so we spent a few days in Alicante and did a few day trips.
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Top Things to do in Alicante
If you visit the area, I recommend planning for one day in Alicante. If it is warm and you like to swim, you could plan for more time (2 days are fine or even longer, especially if you visit Spain with kids). I would then do a few day trips from Alicante (more on that later).
Santa Barbara Castle
I suggest starting your morning at Santa Barbara Castle which dates back to the 9th century.The castle stands on Mount Benacantil (166 meters above sea level) and comes with stunning views! And, hold on… it is free to visit. I still cannot believe it (other castles charge money for way less spectacular views). The castle itself is quite big, and the numerous informative signs give you a good idea about the castle’s history. The castle probably dates back to the 9th century, and like several places in southern Spain, was designed in an Arabian/Islamic style.
We thought that one hour would be enough, but actually, we ended up staying there much longer. The views and the size (plus the info) made it really interesting.
On the one hand, you have views of the ocean and Alicante´s harbor. You can also overlook the old town of the city and the inland.
Even though we visited during the off-season, it got busier later on in the day, so I suggest getting there early. We actually came here twice. We hiked up one more time in the evening to see Alicante from above in the dark.There is a restaurant that serves food and snacks. The castle opens at 10 am (at any time of the year) and is open until 8 pm (in summer, until 10 pm or midnight).
- How to get there: The best and most scenic view is to hike up. Depending on which path you choose, it will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. You could also get up by lift in front of the Postiguet beach (Av. Juan Bautista Lafora), which is about 3€ per person, or you can drive up there in a car (or a sightseeing bus tour).
- It is normally open every day with very few days it is closed to the public (check the opening hours beforehand).
- There is no entrance fee.
El Barrio / Old Town of Alicante
From the castle, you can head to the old town of Alicante. You can get a first good impression from the top of the castle and an overview of the old town.
Beautiful houses line the street, and I enjoyed the street art most of all. If you are looking for restaurants and cafes, you might find a great option here.
This place was recommended as a “top place to visit in Alicante”, but while it is cute and lovely to stroll, I recommend skipping it if you are short on time (say you have less than a full day in Alicante).
La Explanada de España / Esplanade of Spain
From the old town, you can walk along the Esplanade of Spain. The Esplanade is made up of 6,600,000 tricolor marble tiles – no wonder it is often considered the most beautiful promenade in Spain!
Many restaurants and cafes line the pretty promenade, which runs parallel to the port. The pedestrian walk is also home to many stalls where you can buy clothes or souvenirs.
Parque de Canalejas / Canalejas Park
I recommend walking the Esplanade of Spain all the way until the end. There you will find the Parque de Canalejas.This park is not only one of the most popular parks in Alicante, but with its unique trees, it is also a real attraction (at least it was to me). The centenary ficus trees are high, but their width is incredible.
From there, I suggest walking back. But this time, not along the Esplanade. Instead, head back along the port.
Stroll along the port until you reach the beach. The Esplanade of Spain is gorgeous, no question about that. But strolling along the port also has its own charm. Some big ships might destroy the views a bit but after all, heading from there towards the beach is lovely.
Alicante has a lovely beach – and the brave people even swim here in winter. In summer (or even early fall), it must be amazing at the beach.
While we enjoyed some really nice walks at the beach, we did not dare even put our foot in the water. If you are here between May and September, I can imagine how busy it gets.
In winter, one day in Alicante is enough. In summer, though, I would plan in at least two days and spend a whole day at the beach. Here are more tips for things to do in and near Alicante.
Extra Tip for the Evening
Though Alicante is also known for its nightlife, I am too old for that kind of stuff, so we spent our evenings in the hotel. However, there are many great restaurants and bars. You can also head to Santa Barbara Castle again for nice views in the dawn.
The city center gets busy, and whether you have your dinner here, in the old town, or at the Esplanade (or at the hotel like we had), there are more than enough choices.
And the best part is that compared to many other popular travel destinations, Alicante is still affordable. It may not be as cheap as some eastern European countries, but has more affordable prices than many other places like Italy, Germany, and of course, Switzerland).
Day Trips From Alicante
Here are more day trip ideas from Alicante. This post names some of the best day tours you can take (independently or via tours).
Hopefully, this quick guide will help you pick the best activities for one day, and here are a few travel tips for your visit.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR ALICANTE ITINERARY
Here are a few things to know before visiting Spain.
How to Get to Alicante
- Alicante has an airport used by a budget airline, making it a popular place to visit.
- It takes about 10-15 minutes by taxi to get to the city center from the airport. Taxi costs: between 20 and 28€ (after 10 pm, there is an extra fee).
- There is one bus going to the city center directly, which costs only around 4€. But there is no service in the late evening.
- Alicante has a train station from which you can walk to the city center.
- It takes about two hours to get to Alicante from Valencia. From places like Benidorm or Altea, it takes less than one hour (by tram).
How to Get Around Alicante
- Alicante is quite walkable. We walked many kilometers on foot – along the beach, in the city center, to the tram station, and at Santa Barbara Castle.
- There is a tram line (also great to take to other places, like Benidorm) and buses.
- There is absolutely no need for a car if you follow this Alicante itinerary.
Where to Stay in Alicante
If you stay in Alicante overnight, I recommend staying very close to the Esplanade (beach area) or the city center. Accommodation prices in Alicante are not that high, so I would pay a few extra euros to have the comfort of getting around easily.
There is one 5-star luxury hotel in Alicante, but there are a few nice 4-star hotels.
- We got a super great deal for Hotel Maya Alicante, which is near the castle and close to the beach. It is a 3-star hotel that was renovated just a while ago, so everything was neat and clean. Click here to find out more about the rates and the hotel.
- Click here to find more hotels in Alicante – for each budget.
I normally book via my favorite booking site – because of their great cancellation policy. Luckily, there was no need to cancel the hotel in Valencia, but I like that option as it causes less stress – just in case.
Best Time to Visit Alicante
Alicante is a great summer destination – the big sandy beach is perfect for some lazy days at the beach.
However, we visited in winter (late November/December) and enjoyed our trip. It was less crowded, less expensive, and still sunny (though it got windy once in a while). Btw, here is a winter packing list for your trip.
Costa Blanca is a perfect getaway in the winter. Escaping the cold season for a few days is great.
So, while I recommend visiting Alicante at any time of the year, I would probably avoid June to August (the busy summer months).
FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING ALICANTE`S BEST ATTRACTIONS
Alicante is a beautiful city. If you are a beach person, you could have some nice beach vacations here. But even if you aren’t – like me – or you visit in winter, there are fun activities to do. But of course, whenever you visit, I hope this post has inspired you, and you now know about the best things to do in Alicante in 1 day (or longer).