Alicante is a captivating city that is nestled in between robust mountainside and the mesmerising Mediterranean. But unlike the fairy tale you’re probably imagining right about now, Alicante’s nightlife is pumping waaay past midnight, so leave the pumpkin carriage at home!
Like much of southern Spain, Alicante is all about pleasure. So feast on a mouth-watering seafood paella and enjoy the finest Spanish wine while overlooking the Costa Blancacoastline. Then roll the dice and stay up till dawn in the bars and casino in Puerto, and nurse your potential hangover with a sun bake and swim on the seductive sandy shore of the 7km-long San Juan Beach. Alicante is truly a place you can let your hedonistic spirit run wild.
Alicante's Top 10
10. Archaeological Museum of Alicante More than 80,000 local artefacts are housed inside a beautiful avant-garde building.
5. Explanda d’Espanya Meander through the fantastic market stalls for Alicante’s finest handmade beads and clothes.
9. Gravina Museum of Fine Arts A stunning display of Spanish artworks, if you’re really in need of a culture kick!
4. El Barrio Located in Alicante’s Old Town, this is the ultimate place for partygoers! The drinks are cheap, and if you’re lucky you may even get a shot or two on the house!
8. Postiguet Beach Popular by day, and even more so by night! Unusual sodium streetlights makes the breaking waves look surreal.
3. Rambla de Méndez Núnez Alicante’s biggest fresh produce marketplace! Shop where the locals do for the finest meats, seafood, cheeses, fruits and vegies!
7. Castle of San Fernando Built in the early 19th century. Come to wander through some of Spain’s history.
2. Asegurada Museum of Modern Art See some of the finest artwork, including from Picasso, for free!
6. Don Quixote School Quest your way through a beginner’s Spanish language course. You will soon be speaking like the ‘Ingenious Gentlemen’ himself.
1. Castle of Santa Barbara One of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain! Take in the view while secretly pretending to be a 12th century Spanish soldier.
- Puerto Viejo Square – Located near the marina, this square is host to major festivals during the summer months.
- Santa Barbara Castle – This 9th-century Moorish castle overlooks the city.
- Basilica of Santa Maria – This historic church was built on the remains of an age-old mosque.
- San Nicolas Cathedral – A historic cathedral that is in close proximity to a range of Alicante attractions.
- Alicante Town Hall – An eye-catching landmark with a detailed baroque-style façade that dates back to the mid-18th century.
Alicante Art & Culture
- Alicante Main Theatre – This major entertainment venue in Alicante has a wide-ranging calendar of events.
- Archaeological Museum of Alicante – Housed in the former Hospital de San Juan de Dios, this museum features a variety of local artefacts.
- Gravina Museum of Fine Arts – An impressive fine arts museum offering a selection of paintings, textiles, sculptures, furniture and antiques.
- Carnaval – In mid-February, Alicante is buzzing with major carnival festivities and vibrant processions of decorated floats.
- Fiesta Nacional de Espana – Held annually on October 12, this festival sees celebrations taking place around the city of Salamanca.
- Gran Via Shopping Centre – An outstanding shopping centre that is home to over 100 shops.
- Plaza Mar 2 – The ideal spot for shopping in Alicante with an abundance of fashion boutiques.
- El Corte Inglés – This is one in a well-known chain of Spanish department stores.
- Panoramis Complex - A popular shopping mall overlooking Alicante's main harbour.
- Mercado Central – Located in a historic building, this market features sellers of fresh produce.
Gay & Lesbian Alicante
- El Forat – Alicante’s oldest and arguably most popular gay bar with interesting decorations.
- Arte y Jaleo – A cosy bar where the gay community comes to hang out.
- Divina – A busy dance club blasting fabulous Europop music.
- Canibal Pub – See striptease shows at this wild club.
- Missing Club – This energetic nightclub has a friendly atmosphere.
- Marina – Alicante’s marina area is lively and vibrant and a great starting point for boat trips around the harbour.
- San Juan Beach – A sandy beach perfect for sunbathing and swimming.
- Canalejas Park – Jog or have a picnic in Alicante's most historic park.
- El Palmeral Park – Located on the south side of Alicante, this impressive plantation of trees and exotic plants has a playground for young children.
- Ereta Park – Landscaped by award-winning architects, this park has facilities for outdoor activities.
- Visit the Ciudad Deportiva football ground to see the Alicante Club de Fútbol team in action.
- Cheer for the Hércules Club de Fútbol football team at the Jose Rico Perez ground.
- Check out the local tennis talent at the Padel Centre at the Montepiedra Sports Centre.
- Watch the Torrevieja Cricket Club play at their home ground.
- Enjoy a game of rugby courtesy of the Torrevieja Rugby Club.
The three-week-long Alicante Carnival is filled with stunning costumes, dancing and street celebrations.
If a religious pilgrimage is more your cup (or holy grail) of tea, attend the Pilgrimage of the Holy Visage in April.
On Cruces de Mayo on 1 May, Alicante’s streets are transformed by flowers (not to mention music and dance).
June’s Las Hogueras de San Juan sees papier maché masterpieces created, then burnt to the ground under a glorious fireworks display.
Bask in the sunshine of the Summer Festival each July/August. You’ll be relaxing by the marina, with music filling your ears before you can say ‘magnífico’!
When To Go
If you’re keen to hit the beach, or enjoy a wine by the marina, June and August is when you’ll soak up the most rays.
Spring in Alicante is delightful – milder and less crowded.
Winter in Alicante is obviously colder but, at an average of 16°C (61°F), considerably milder than in most of Europe.
Alicante has excellent public transport, including inexpensive buses and trams.
If you’re staying around Old Town and checking out the nightlife, most areas of merriment are well within walking (or stumbling) distance.
If laid-back sightseeing is on your itinerary, many travellers prefer to hire a car and travel at their own leisure.
As part of the Valencian Community, with the provinces of Castellón and Valencia, Alicante is one of the most attractive areas in a country replete with them. The coastal province on the Mediterranean is so popular, with enviable geography and weather, that a full 20% of the population hails from outside of Spain.
A good portion of the expat populace lives in the resort town of Benidorm on the Costa Blanca. The package holiday paradise and surrounding coastal towns offer idyllic beach getaways. Meanwhile, Alicante's capital city of the same name provides visitors with one of the best preserved old towns in Spain and a vibrant cultural scene.
<>Castillo de Santa Bárbara
The central focal point in the city of Alicante, the Castillo de Santa Bárbara was built in the 9th century but contains hillside relics that date back to the Bronze Age and Roman Empire.
Catedral de San Nicolás de Bari
One of the most impressive landmarks in Alicante, the Cathedral of St. Nicholas offers superlative 17th century architecture within close range of a vibrant nightlife district.
Iglesia de Santa Maria
Among the most historic cathedrals in Alicante, the dramatic Gothic-style 14th century Church of Santa Maria sits on a former mosque and contains several vital relics.
The resort city of Benidorm is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. The Costa Blanca town on the Mediterranean Sea is a big draw for two reasons: beaches and nightlife.
Archaeological Museum of Alicante
Built in 2002 and the European Museum of the Year just two years later, the Archaeological Museum of Alicante has eight multimedia and interactive exhibit halls that trace the history of the city and province.
Alicante City Hall
The Baroque façade and opulent interior of Alicante's city hall makes for a great attraction. Host of many events throughout the year, a tour of the mid-18th century landmark is worth an hour or two of your time.
Bonfires of Saint John
Although celebrated across Spain every June over the course of six days, the Bonfires of Saint John is particularly popular in Alicante. The most revered festival in the city features parades, all-night revelry, bonfires and a number of important culinary traditions.
The traditional celebrations that lead up to the period of Lent make the province of Alicante a wonderful place to be in February. Parades, special feasts, music and dance highlight the line-up of events.
Alicante Jazz Festival
The superb celebration of jazz music comes to the city of Alicante every July and August, with performances in a number of bars and concert halls.
The province of Alicante's appeal as a tourist destination is no surprise, given a Mediterranean climate that offers mild winters and hot summers. The weather is especially idyllic on the Costa Blanca.
- Winter (December to February) 6-18°C
- Spring (March to May) 8-23.5°C
- Summer (June to September) 17-31°C
- Fall (October to November) 10-24.5°C
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