The Internet is full of articles like this one. But I decided to write this post anyway in order give you a list of things to see in Alicante in 2017 based on our own very recent experience. I hope you’ll find it useful!
We stayed in Alicante for a few days to attend a WordPress conference. We traveled to Alicante by bus from Granada, where we had enjoyed two days of history and good food. As soon as we arrived in Alicante, we realised that this was a touristy destination where people come for the sun and beaches. But Alicante is much more than beaches and lazy walks along the promenade.
Castle of Santa Barbara
This is probably the most prominent landmark of the city. The castle is located on a cliff, and it is visible from many places in the city. The climb up the hill together and tour of the fortress did not take long. You will need around an hour and a half maximum. The walk up the hill will take 20 minutes, but it’s not terribly steep, so do not worry too much if your fitness level is not that good. Alternatively, you can also take a taxi up the hill.
The fortress itself is not that remarkable compared to other fortresses we’ve seen during our travels. It looks simple enough, but the main thing here is not the beauty of the fortress, which was built to be a functional defence against attacks. What’s remarkable is the antiquity of the fortress (14th century!) and the fact that it is still in a good condition. Apart from that, of course, one must mention the amazing views of the city from the heights of the castle. Here you can see Alicante from a bird’s-eye view and make wonderful pictures.
Barrio Santa Cruz
This is my favourite place in Alicante. This small barrio is very close to the city centre. The streets of the barrio are full of flowers of different colours, well-kept buildings and a really charming atmosphere. This is the kind of picturesque place that we always hope to find in any place we visit. Needless to say that this is a terrific place for photography enthusiasts; if you’re one you can easily get lost for hours here.
La Ereta Park
Walking up the streets of barrio Santa Cruz, you will find yourself in the Ereta park. The park itself is mostly a plain one, but oh my what a beautiful view of the city from this park! I recommend that you go there for sunset; the beauty is indescribable!
San Francisco Street
This street is also called the mushroom street (calle de las setas). And no wonder, because along the street you’ll find many statues of huge mushrooms! I really liked the idea, it’s a very cool and unique look. As you can image, kids especially love this street, and some of these mushrooms are also hollow on the inside so that children can go and play in them. Some of them also feature slides.
Cafe / restaurants / shopping
One of the most important parts of any trip of ours is the hunt for good restaurants and cafes. Since this is a touristic town, there are many restaurants catering for all kinds of cuisine. Many of them are stunning, but others are mediocre tourist fare. We always choose the restaurants based on reviews in Tripadvisor and Foursquare. We choose those that are rated 4.5 points out of 5 or above, and also have a good look before we go in to make sure things look good.
Below I will name a few restaurants and cafes which we liked very much and I would strongly advise you to try them!
We loved this Italian place that is owned by a really nice Scottish guy (don’t worry, the pizzaiolos and staff is Italian, so it’s authentic). Great pizza, homemade pasta and a very delicious tiramisu!
Another awesome place was a Venezuelan restaurant by the name of Bululu. The staff is very friendly and accommodating and the food is traditional Venezuelan. Keep some space for the delicious desserts!
The Thai place had authentic Thai food and superb service to boot. This restaurant seems to be always busy so book in advance if you want to try it.
Just below our apartment we found a cute little Italian piadina shop with very friendly Italian owners. Here you can chill out in the evenings with a glass of wine and a delicious piadina or Italian cheese and meat platter.
Trattoria Gourmet is on the expensive side, but worth it! They have delicious paella, tapas, and main dishes. Portions are not tiny so you won’t go hungry. The presentation of dishes is also excellent. This is another restaurant that is always full for lunch so book in advance or arrive early.
It’s a very nice coffee shop with lots of space inside and a very small library. I really enjoyed my cafe latte and banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting! It was so delicious!
In Alicante, you’ll find numerous shops, including the ubiquitous El Corte Ingles, but I would not say that this is a place where you can come specifically for shopping. If you want to spend an afternoon leisurely browsing shops this is more than do-able however. Of course, if you forgot something back home and want a quick replacement, you’re going to find it here. El Corte Ingles is found in most cities in Spain and the prices are more or less the same everywhere, so I’m sure it is possible to find good clothes or get discounts if you come to Alicante during the discount season (January and August).
Of course, the most important thing in Alicante – its beach. It would probably have been a better idea to put this item first on the list of things to enjoy in Alicante, but it’s also pretty obvious. So yes, the beach is great; it’s wide and long so you’ll definitely be able to find your own quiet spot, at least if you come outside of peak season.
If you have time and budget, renting a car and seeing the cities/villages in the area would be a great idea. Spain is such a beautiful country that any journey can bring an unexpected surprise and a wonderful experience! We love the little towns that dot the Spanish landscape.
By the way, just 44km away from Alicante (1-hour drive) you will find Guadalest Valley, also known as the ‘Eagle’s Nest’. This spectacular tourist spot is a sight to behold, and although we haven’t actually had time to visit it, it’s definitely on our todo list for the next time we’re in the area.
That’s all! I hope this post was helpful and you’ll enjoy Alicante! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below the article.