If you’re looking for a seaside city in Spain for your next family holiday, we’d recommend adding Alicante to your list. There are so many great things to do in Alicante, with something for everyone from beaches to museums, shopping to sightseeing.
Alicante is on the Costa Blanca, on the southeastern coast of Spain. It’s just a 2-hour flight from the UK and there are plenty of cheap flights via airlines such as Ryanair, Easyjet and Flybe so a holiday to Alicante doesn’t have to cost the earth.
We’ve visited Alicante many times over the last 10 years and we now live just 40 minutes south of the city. There are lots of places to visit in the wider province including theme parks and safari parks, but there are also loads of great things to do in the city itself. I’ve listed 5 fun things to do in Alicante if you are thinking of heading to this great city on your next holiday…
Visit Santa Bárbara Castillo
If you visit Alicante you can’t leave before you have spent a few hours at the castle to learn about the history of Alicante and see some amazing views. Perched on top of the hill overlooking the city, the beach and the port, Santa Bárbara Castle is the main tourist attraction in Alicante and dates back to the 9th century when the city was under Muslim control.
Directly opposite the beach is the entrance to a tunnel leading to a lift that will take you to the top of the castle. If you walk up the road to the main entrance it will take ages and I don’t advise it if you visit in hot weather! It’s around €2 per person to take the lift but entry to the castle is free so it’s worth the small fee to avoid a long walk.
At the top, you can walk around the castle, enter various rooms and learn a lot about the history of the castle. There are so many things to see in Alicante and you can view many of them from the top of Santa Bárbara Castle. There’s also a restaurant and cafe so you can rest your legs and recover from the heat.
Have a beach day
Alicante province has miles of golden sandy beaches and if you have a car there are plenty to choose from within an hour’s drive such as Guardamar, Javea, Santa Pola and Grand Alacant. However, if you want to stay close to the city there are some great beaches there too and a beach day is one of the best free things to do in Alicante.
Playa del Postiguet is the main beach just a few minutes walk from the city centre. The beach has beautiful golden sand and you can walk for miles along the shore towards Playa de San Juan. There’s a playpark on the beach itself and in the summer they often have inflatables in the sea, making it perfect for a beach day with the kids.
There’s also a long promenade lined with palm trees and full of beach bars, cafes and restaurants. If you look out from the top of the castle you can look down on the beautiful beach for a slightly different view.
Shop, shop, shop
If you like to shop Alicante city centre has lots of stores to choose from, including well-known brands as well as narrow streets full of unique little shops and of course the Spanish department store El Corte Ingles.
There are several shopping malls in Alicante including Plaza Mar 2 which has shops like Benetton, Mango, Zara and H&M as well as a cinema and restaurants. The Gran Via commercial centre includes Ikea, Primark, Pull & Bear, H&M and many great Spanish brands.
Alicante also has many streets full of shops selling local delicacies, wine, chocolates and also the grand central market with fruit, vegetables, meats and fish. There are also lots of stalls alongside the port selling souvenirs and crafts.
Wander the streets
If you’re all shopped out or need to get away from the beach for a while, Alicante is a great place to just have a wander. There are many squares with bars and restaurants where you can sit and watch the world go by. One of the most interesting bars is Soho Parc on Plaza de Elche – it serves amazing cocktails, tapas and is very distinctive with a giant tree overhanging the square.
If you are visiting Alicante with children a great place to wander is Calle San Francisco also known as ‘Mushroom Street’. The yellow brick street is painted with leaves and hopscotch, and there are giant toadstools like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Some of the toadstools have slides and others are like little playhouses. Kids will have a great time exploring and playing down here.
Eat & drink
If you’re on the Costa Blanca you can’t leave until you’ve had your fill of tapas and paella. And maybe some Sangria to wash it all down!
Along the seafront, you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants serving fantastic seafood and paella dishes. In the squares tucked away in the back streets there are lots of bars serving tapas, you can have a table full of different dishes and sample as much of the local food as possible.
There are also many ice cream parlours dotted around which will please the kids!
Hopefully, this has given you some inspiration for things to do in Alicante. It’s a great destination for a sunny holiday and we have had many fun days out there.
If you’ve visited Alicante and have more ideas of things to do, feel free to leave your ideas in the comments. And if you’re visiting soon and want more suggestions of Alicante attractions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.