Alicante may not be thought of in the same major light as Madrid or Barcelona, but it has enough spectacular attractions and sightseeing activities to rival them both. From castles and caves to golf courses and beaches, the Costa Blanca city is the ideal place for a weekend break.
Don’t believe us? Simply see for yourself. Here are 10 of the “must-do” places you should visit while in Alicante for the weekend.
1 – Santa Barbara Castle
We start with a stunner: the castle of Santa Barbara. This 10th-century fortress played a pivotal role in the history of Alicante, especially during Spain’s Golden Age back in the 1500s. Nowadays, it truly is a tourist’s dream. Located atop Mount Benacantil, the castle offers incredible views across Alicante and its surrounding area. If you only do one thing during your visit, make sure it’s this.
2 – Archaeological Museum
Talking of Alicante’s origins, if you are interested in how and when the city was created, make sure you visit the MARQ Provincial Archaeological Museum. You will view Alicante’s prehistoric routes before learning about the city’s Roman influences. You will then be introduced to perhaps the most thrilling era in the city’s history: its mediaeval times. This is when, for a brief time, Jewish, Islamic and Christian cultures all existed side-by-side.
3 – Museum of Contemporary Art
If you are an art enthusiast, you simply have to check out Alicante’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Located in the city’s oldest civil building – the Casa de la Asegurada – the museum houses an excellent collection of modern art. It also features a dedicated 20th-century collection, including the works of those fairly well-known artists Picasso, Miró and Dalí.
4 – Tabarca Island
If you are into ex-pirate lairs and snorkelling, you will absolutely love Tabarca Island. This two-kilometre long island is a protected marine reserve and is a haven for marine life and birds. From loggerhead turtles to lobsters, Tabarca is the ideal place to be if you are into wildlife.
The island also offers beaches, churches, a lighthouse and numerous restaurants to choose from. It even has its own signature dish so make sure you try “caldero” during your visit.
5 – Postiguet Beach
What kind of weekend break would be complete without a relaxed day on the beach? Alicante’s “Playa del Postiguet” is a beautiful sandy beach located right next to the Old Town. If you are visiting during summer, the beach can, unsurprisingly, become pretty hectic. However, it is still definitely worth a visit – even if it’s only for a quick paddle or an ice cream.
6 – Cabo de la Cuerta Coves
If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Alicante’s beaches, the Cabo de la Cuerta coves are a great place to get away from the crowds. These rocky inlets form part of Alicante’s stunning coastline, but aren’t like a typical beach. They form a series of flat rocks where you can spread out your towel and access the sea quite easily. If you are looking for a pleasant romantic weekend, they are the perfect vantage point to watch the sunset.
7 – Basilica of Santa María
Located only a few streets away from Postiguet beach is the oldest and most attractive church in the city. Like many of Alicante’s churches, the Santa María was built over a former mosque and features two identical-looking towers. Interestingly though, the towers are not identical – one was built in the 1300s while the other was added over 500 years later in the 1800s. Why not go and see if you can tell the difference?
8 – Mercado Central
Another must-do during your visit, Mercado Central is a magnificent turn-of-the-20th century indoor market. Offering a wide selection of stalls, it sells everything from fruit and veg to fresh seafood and last-minute souvenirs. It also has numerous cafés and bars, and is a particularly popular place to try various tapa dishes.
9 – Explanada de Espana
Feel the atmosphere and ambience of the city by walking through Alicante’s Explanada de España. This beautiful marble-laid promenade connects the Old Town to the city’s seafront, and has a row of palm trees looming above as you stroll through the city. An ideal way to spend the evening… the soothing sea breeze will leave you feeling nice and refreshed after a long day in the sun.
10 – El Barrio Santa Cruz
El Barrio, or the Old Town as it is otherwise known, is the historical heart of Alicante. It is an absolute must-visit for those looking for some “Old World” charm and, since pretty much everything we’ve mentioned connects off it, it is pretty hard to miss.
It is also popular with tourists, especially after the sun goes down. With a wide selection of tapas restaurants and cocktail bars to choose from, El Barrio is the best place in town for a relaxed and slightly inebriated evening. Top tip: make sure to try a G&T while you’re there. They’re simply incredible.
For any more helpful hints on where to visit during your time in Alicante, check out our tailored area guide for the city. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our team, and we will be happy to help.