Alicante Travel and Holiday Guide

Alicante is a popular destination on Spain’s  eastern coastline

Alicante - View over the ciity

Alicante travel and holiday guide


Alicante is located on Spain’s south eastern coastline and has been attracting tourists and holiday for the last 30 years. With about 2900 hours of sunshine per year and very little rainfall, it is the perfect hotspot for those seeking the ideal  Mediterranean holiday.

Alicante has been inhabited for around 7000 years, and has grown quickly over the last few decades, serving as a main tourist hub on the magnificent Costa Blanca.  The area  enjoys a rich Spanish and Catalan culture, now influenced by foreign residents which has created a interesting fusion of cultures.

Alicante has excellent transport links to almost everywhere that might interest you as a visitor – its international airport is the sixth busiest of the country, operating flights to and from most European countries with low-cost carriers; by rail, the city links with Madrid, Barcelona and the region’s capital of Valencia.

From the capital of Alicante the road and rail links are excellent to the nearby Costa Blanca, reaching the popular beach resorts of  Benidorm, Javea, and Denia, all of which are well worth a visit; if that wasn’t enough, ferries operate regularly to and from the Balearic Islands and even Africa. So, there is no excuse to get bored on your Alicante holidays to.



Historic and cultural sites

If you are a lover of Spanish history there are plenty of sites to visit given the city’s constant occupation by so many different cultures and peoples throughout its past. The most prominent landmark, seen from almost anywhere in the city, is the distinctive Castillo de Santa Barbara, a magnificent fortification crowning Mount Benacantil.  The L’Ereta Park is wonderful to explore with a bird’s eye view of the city and surroundings.

If you want a change from the city, why not head out to the small Islet of Tabarca, which once thrived with pirates, but now has been designated a site of marine biodiversity. complementing Alicante and the Costa Blanca. Don’t forget to hit the Barrio de Santa Cruz, on the foothills of Mount Benacantil; this is Alicante’s old part, ever so homely and colourful – you’ll love it!

The fame and sophistication of Alicante becomes apparent when you step on the Esplanada de Espana, the city’s own promenade, paved with 6.5 million wavy marble tiles, and flanked by the pristine Mediterranean Sea to one side, and rows of tropical palm trees on the other. Hit the Esplanada just as the sun sets and enjoy a relaxing stroll to awaken that appetite, before veering off into one of the many seaside classy restaurants and cosy eateries for some supreme cuisine – how great does that sound.



Interesting facts about Alicante


» The great Spanish tradition of tapas originated in Alicante when sailors where given local delicacies on a piece of bread to accompany their wine of beer.

» Alicante city is dominated by the castle of Santa Barbara. It’s quite a hike up to its hill top location but is worth it for both finding out the history of the area and the spectacular views.

» The rice fields in Alicante produce over 115,000 tonnes per year so it’s little wonder it forms the basis of the area’s cuisine.

» The name Costa Blanca, literally meaning White Coast, was dreamt up in the 1950’s by a European airline to boost trade in the early days of package holidays.

» » The city dates back to Roman times when it was called Lucentum, or City of Light.

» The largest settlement from the Bronze Age was found just outside Almeria by 2 Belgian engineers in the 1880’s.

» John Lennon made many incognito trips to Almeria and wrote several of his most famous songs here.

» When the Arabs ruled Spain Almeria was the largest and richest port in all of Andalusia.

» The city’s fortunes were revived in the 19th and 20th centuries thanks to the rich mineral deposits found in the area.

» The Moorish castle that is the Alcazaba of America is the second largest Muslim fortress within Andalusia after the Alhambra in Granada.



Places to Visit



With its brightly coloured fisherman’s cottages, wonderful sea front, Valor chocolate factory and several wineries to visit you can see why Villajoyosa is one of the most popular towns for a day trip.


El Campello

If you want to visit somewhere that the Spanish choose to take their holidays then this is the town to go to. While the British are very welcome, and there is a large number of ex pats in the area, El Campello remains essentially Spanish and hopefully will stay that way.


Playa Carabassi

This beach deserves a mention as it is not common in this area to find such a glorious expanse of golden sands without a man made promenade next to it. The only compensation made here is a wooden walkways over the impressive dunes to make access easier. The spattering of rustic beach bars complete the natural vista.


Aqualand water park

OK so it’s not in Alicante, but in Benidorm not far away is Europe’s biggest water park, Aqualand. With some high adrenaline rides that you’ll have to be brave to go on, such as the aptly named Kamikaze slides, the black hole, and the Big Bang, which claims to be the highest chute ride in Europe.

There are many on site food stalls and restaurants to grab some lunch.  Parents  can chill out at the Jacuzzis bar and sit back in while the kids queue up to go on the various slides.

See for further details


Aitana Safari Park

Aitana Safari Park is around 30 minutes drive from Alicante, but will be well worth the trip. There are two separate areas; the main park and a children’s zoo to cater for all ages. The main park has tigers, lions, elephants, giraffes and zebras to name a few animals on show, while the children’s area is a nursery for new born animals.

See Aitana Safari Park



Segway Tours of Alicante

What better way to enjoy holidays to Alicante than on an electric scooter? Segways are great fun, and make getting around quick and easy. Capable of travelling up to 12mph, you can hire a Segway for around 50 Euros per hour, and follow a guided tour of the town, around the marina and through some of the parks.

See Segway Tours Alicante



Castle of Santa Barbara

Standing proud at the top of Mount Benacantil, the Castle of Santa Barbara overlooks the city offering stunning views out to sea, especially in the summer months. One of Spain’s largest medieval fortresses, the castle was built in the 10th century with Muslim origins, and was named by King Alfonso, to commemorate the day it was captured – on the feast of Saint Barbara.

Admission to the castle is free, so you can explore the dungeons in your own time, and marvel at the huge cannons on display.  In July and August, there are free concerts held in the courtyard of the castle, where you can enjoy music in a medieval backdrop, although tickets are snapped up quickly due to the limited numbers of spaces available.



Cullera - Valencia

Cullera – Valencia

Caves of Canelobre

Situated in the town of Busot, just outside Alicante, the Caves of Canelobre were formed over 150 million years ago, tucked away at over 700 meters up the side of the Cabeco D’Or Mountain. The caves act as a venue for classical music concerts, although the majority of the 60,000 yearly visitors are there to see the natural rock formations that have an eerie effect to them when illuminated.

Guided tours of the caves take around 45 minutes, and offer plenty of photo opportunities.


Tabarca Island

Tabarca Island is a small island 10 miles off the coast of Alicante, and can be accessed via ferries which run daily. The island is ideal for a trip, with a small number of hotels and restaurants on the island, a beach for sitting back and enjoying the sun for an hour, or if you’re feeling ballsy then try cove jumping, where you launch yourself off the rocks into the sea. For those not so daring, there are scuba diving and snorkelling tours around the island available.


Bonfires of Saint John

Held on June 24th, the official festival of Alicante, Las Hogueras de San Juan is a traditional celebration in which locals create wooden or paper mache statues which are paraded through the town, before they are put on a bonfire at the end of the celebrations.

The festival includes areas called barracas where there are orchestras, a dance floor, food and drinks while the parades take place, while there is a beauty pageant to crown the queen of the festival.

The closing ceremony involves a huge fireworks display over St Barbara castle, illuminating the Alicante skyline.


Valencia - Poniente - Beach

Valencia – Poniente – Beach


Visit El Postiguet beach

Conveniently located near the centre of Alicante, El Postiguet beach is a kilometre long stretch of sand that has been awarded the European Blue flag for its perfect conditions. You can hire sun loungers or hammocks to enjoy the sun surrounded by palm trees, while the usual water sports such as jet skis, banana boats and para sailing are available from the beach-front.


Explanada de Espana

Similar to La Rambla in Barcelona, Explanada de Espana is a walkway along the harbour that has everything including bars, restaurants, shops and street performers.


La Chanca

Colourful in both a visual and cultural sense, La Chanca is located in Almeria city between the old town and Alcazaba and stretches right down the hill to the port. It’s a photographers paradise with brightly painted houses and red tiles roofs against a backdrop of the hills and azure sky. This area is mainly inhabited by fishermen and gitanos, or gypsies, and some of them still live in caves as is the tradition.


Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park

The largest coastal reserve in Andalusia has made the most of its protected status to make this a fabulous place to visit for the whole family. Plant life and wildlife are found in abundance here and the chance to get up close and personal with nature in such a beautiful setting should not be missed.


Mario Water Park

Located at Roquetas del Mar close to Salinas beach on the southern Almeria coast, there are host of great rides for those who love water based fun. The beach bar has a great location next to a waterfall on a shaded island and there is also shaded picnic areas for those who want a respite from the summer sun.


Play golf in Alicante Golf

Alicante Golf



Alicante Golf holidays are also becoming increasingly popular with visiting golfers.  There are around 10 quality golf courses in the area including the Alicante golf club, Sella Golf, Bonalba Golf, La Finca and the Alenda golf club.



Alicante Festivals


Holey week festivals in Alicante

Holey week festivals in Alicante


There are plenty of festivals in Alicante and celebrations all year round which can make your fun and exciting

Some of the top festivals include


January – St Anthony’s Market: a local market held in the bullring, where locally produced food is sold. The day is named after the patron Saint, San Anton.

February – Carnival: huge processions and parades are led through the town during February, with marching bands, dance troupes, street performances & parties.

March – Semana Santa: the holy week in March, with religious events held around Easter including the Silencio Del Jueves Santo, the Veronica procession and the Santa Cruz procession.

April – Santa Faz Pilgrimage: probably the biggest event in the calendar of Alicante, with 200,000 people walking from the centre of town to the Monastery of Santa Faz. There are also markets, fairs and picnics around Alicante to celebrate this annual tradition.

May – Cruces de Mayo: the town is decorated in crosses, dressed in flowers, while there are musical performances, parties, food and drink stalls, usually all located in the Santa Cruz area.

June – Bonfires of St John: as mentioned above, home made sculptures are carried through the town and then put on a huge bonfire, while a fireworks display over the castle of St Barbara closes the event.

July – Jazz festival: during the summer months, there is a celebration of jazz music in most of the bars in town, with live bands on most days.

August – Virgen Del Remedio: honouring the patron saint, our Lady of Remedy, there is a procession, concerts and a feast day on August 3rd.

September – Virgen del Socorro: a festival held by fisherman including cooking contests, games, dancing , food and drink in honour of a patron Saint, our Lady of Succour.

Later in the year, the parties quieten down, with the national day of Spain on October 12th, and the usual new years celebrations at the end of December.

No matter what time of the year you go you can always expect decent weather, in the summer months temperatures can hit 30 °C so make sure you take sun cream with you.

..  see a complete guide to Spanish Festivals