The first small town in the area that is now Alicante began as far back as 7000 years ago. Most primitive human beings settled near the mountain of Benacantil, where these Iberians were in close proximity to the sea and hill enough above to maintain safety from invasion.
Around 6th century BCE, the armies of Rome and Carthage fought over control of the area of Southern Spain. The Romans gained control and built the city of Lucentum, which is located in present day Alicante. The Moors then arrived and built the Castle of Santa Barbara to protect their stake.
The Castilian King Alfonso conquered the city in 1246. The city was added to the Kingdom of Valencia 50 years later. During the reign of King Fernando, Alicante was an important port for sea trade and the local population increased.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Alicante was the target of many wars and conflicts due to its position on the coast. It was bombarded during the Spanish Succession as it was in alliance with the Bourbon family, and then suffered destruction during the War of Independence in 1804-1814.
By the 19th century, a railroad had been established and it became connected to the rest of the country. It has since acted as an important port city for commerce. The Spanish Civil War and Franco’s rule hurt Alicante like the rest of the country economically, but today Alicante is the second largest city in Valencia with over 340,000 residents, and has become a primary summer tourist destination for people from all over Europe.
Nothing beats a summer weekend in Alicante along the southern Mediterranean rim. One of Spain’s most popular tourist spots, Alicante combines warm weather with great beaches, swinging nightlife and antique cultural relics.
It is well worth the stop in Alicante to see the stunning views of the city from Santa Barbara Castle and the ageless architecture at some of the many old Christian Cathedrals, and to spend a day golfing, biking, or swimming the beautiful Mediterranean.
Don’t miss the sizzling summer and book your flight to Alicante today.
As one of the largest and most impressive medieval castles in all of Europe, the Santa Barbara Castle rest above the Benacantil Mountain overlooking the city. The Moors constructed the castle in the 10th century, yet its name comes from Castilian Spain’s conquest of the area on Saint Barbara’s feast day.
Cannons, dungeons, and old church artefacts can be seen at the castle. Athletic visitors can hike up the mountain, or the more relaxed can take a car up to the special site. Visitor during the late summer months, you might also be able to enjoy a concert in the castle courtyard.
Architect Lorenzo Chápuli constructed this monumental Baroque architectural work in the 18th century on top of the old central city house. Ornamental elements such as large columns and two towers give this site notoriety.
The interior has large rooms and a chapel for mass. The monument also has different rooms with artwork by celebrated Spanish artists such as Padilla, Cabrera, Amoros, and the local artist Gastón Castelló.
This neoclassic theatre gives a history to the arts scene in Alicante. Inaugurated in 1847, the theatre interior is divided into three distinct parts according to contemporary Italian theatre style. The three parts include the dressing rooms, the lower pit, and the stage. The capacity of the theatre is 1072, and is located near Plaza Ruperto Chapí. Guests can see a bit of Alicante history and enjoy a world-class performance from theatre productions, ballet companies, and renowned musicians.
This museum acts as a space for expositions in the Gravina Palace, a building constructed more than 200 years ago. Alicante locals have made all of the artworks shown in the museum from the early periods of the Middle Ages up until the beginning of the 20th century. The great local artwork also comes free of charge for budget travellers.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
Ride up the elevator inside the mountain to reach this 16th-century castle that stands on Mount Benacantil in the heart of the city.
Visit the archaeological site where you can see the forum, baths, and houses of the Roman city that preceded Alicante.
This art museum houses paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the 1920s, including works by some of the most important painters from the area.
This promenade is one of the most beautiful in Spain. It is lined with palm trees and tiled with 6.5 million marble tiles.
The oldest active church in Alicante is an impressive example of Gothic architecture.
More than 800 pieces of contemporary art are part of the permanent exhibits in this museum, including works by Picasso and Salvador Dali.
A favourite attraction during the Christmas season, this museum is dedicated to nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ.
The primary church of Alicante is also the seat of the bishop.
The Museo ArqueolÃ³gico Provincial has a fine collection of Iberian art and ceramics.
These tall caves are located just outside of Busot and offer both incredible formations and impressive acoustics.
The locals love this park that has walking trails, playgrounds, and a concert auditorium.
This beach is very clean and is rarely frequented by anyone but locals, making it especially empty during the middle of the week.
This restaurant does not cater to tourists, as evidenced by the lack of an English menu, but Amalia is fine dining at its best.
This quiet park is perfect for a morning jog or a picnic lunch.
This small, green oasis of flowers and stone walkways is tucked between the buildings in Alicante's commercial area.
Alicante has a dry climate, with only about 37 days each year having any significant rainfall. Temperatures during the summer tourist season are hot, averaging over 30Â°C during the hottest parts of the days. The average lows during the winter stay above 6Â°C. The city has a vibrant nightlife throughout the year, but much of the social scene tends to drift toward Playa de San Juan during the summer. The Bonfires of Saint John kicks off around the summer solstice and is the most popular festival in Alicante.
The first thing visitors to Alicante should do on a nice day is catching some rays and waves along Alicante’s Mediterranean coast. With seven great beaches just in and around the city, tourists from Spain and the world come to Alicante for its warm culture and climate.
One relaxed beach is Calas de Cabo de las Huertas. Just east of the city, this is the spot to avoid crowds and let loose as it is the municipal spot for nudists.
The beach for most locals is the Playa del Postiguet. Located at the base of the Santa Barbara Castle, this beach is known for its palm trees and soft sand. This is a popular spot to see people playing sports like volleyball, and is the easiest to access.
This island is located directly south of the city and can be reached by several boat transports, perfect for a day trip. The boat takes approximately one hour, and once visitors have landed they can enjoy some of the most transparent beaches and coves in the area.
The marine port also has a variety of fine eateries where guest can try the typical island plate called Caldero. Recent developments on the island now offer lodging for guests wishing to escape city life.
The C.C. Panoramis is a large shopping centre facing the Alicante Bay. All of the top of the line shopping, dining, movie theatres, and arcades for the kids can be found in and around the mall. The best aspect of the shopping centre is its second floor, which offers a great view of the bay, port and Santa Barbara Castle in the background.
A large walkway constructed at the end of the 19th century after the destruction of the walls surrounding the city, this passage way consists of 6,600,000 tiles of three colours, one being the local red Alicante marble. Large palm trees and cosy cafes also line the walkway, which looks out toward the city’s harbour and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Alicante Hills Hotel offers a modern environment at an affordable price. The hotel has free Wi-Fi, and all of the apartments have a terrace, and flat screen TVs. The complex itself has an outdoor pool, sun terrace, a garden and a children’s playground. A golf course for holiday travellers and Ciudad de la Luz audiovisual complex are close by.
For a five star hotel with a great location, guest should try the Hotel Sidi San Juan. Located along the San Juan beach, this hotel immerses itself in beauty with a large palm tree garden, and the sea just steps outside the hotel doors. The airport and city centre are within a taxi ride. The rooms’ balconies boast views of the Mediterranean. Active guests will enjoy tennis and paddle courts and two swimming pools.
Guests looking for a place with a central historic location should investigate the Explanada Hotel Alicante. The hotel opened in December of 2009, yet guests wouldn’t know it by its appearance. The building has more than 100 years of history and has been restored to include functional equipment and fancy, modern furnishings. The hotel name comes from the walkway close by. The harbour, casino, town centre, and La Plaza de los Luceros are also minutes away.
To spend your trip in luxury, check out the Denia Marriott La Sella Golf Resort & Spa. Spend time in the spa, on the golf course, or in nearby Montgo Natural Park. Take flamenco lessons, participate in a wine tasting, or dine at a choice of on-site restaurants.
For more information visit a selection of Alicante hotels online.
While Alicante may have desired a better infrastructure of public transportation in the past, the city has recently dramatically improved its transportation infrastructure, with the recent construction of the city tram. In addition to the tram, guests to Alicante can choose between a variety of public transport such as train, buses, and taxis.
The Alicante Airport El Altet is only 11 kilometres from the city centre. To get back and forth, there are various transportation options like taxis or buses. A bus ticket to the centre costs around 2 Euros and a taxi is 15 to 25 Euros depending on the company and location.
No matter where visitors need to go, taking a bus is always a good option because they go just about everywhere in Alicante. The Alicante bus company is called TAM, and has more than 25 routes throughout the city. The buses also have night schedules allowing for cheap travel at all hours. Cards can be purchases and charged with money for travel.
The city has two train stations, but the RENFE is the central hub. From RENFE, visitors can catch a train to almost any other city throughout Spain.
The tram is the most used public transport in the city. Due to the increase in population and tourism, the tram has made visiting important monuments, the beach, and the historic centre of the city easy and cheap. The principal tram station is Marina at Postiguet beach.
Check out our car hire in Alicante offers.
Arabic influence can be seen throughout Alicante, yet for those looking for Mediterranean flavours, Restaurante Al Zaraq (Partida de Benimarraig 79; Benissa) is the place to be. Apart from the food, the restaurant location is absolutely stunning above the city and the Mediterranean. The food is equally as spectacular with a mix of traditional aromatic herbs, fresh fruits, and classic olive oil. One local favourite plate is the Lamb Shawerma with date sauce and herbs. Desserts include Halawiat accompanied by tea.
Another classic when it comes to Mediterranean food is the Restaurante La Sirena (Avda. Madrid 14; Petrer). The food consists of classic Spanish rice with grilled seafood and fish. Visitors can see the newest fresh seafood and fish in the displays as they enter the restaurant. One great appetizer is the small fish salad, followed by dorada with spinach and tomato. For dessert, guest should think about the small coffee ice cream with hot chocolate. A wine cellar of Alicante wines gives the dinner an authentic exclamation.
For a more rustic yet delicious place to eat, many locals choose Restaurante La Finca (Partida de Perleta 1-7, Elche). This restaurant is off the tourist track in the middle of the countryside of Elche in Alicante province. The food is very well prepared and comes in excellent portions. The menu changes according to the market deals, but visitors are sure to leave satisfied after hot and cold appetizers, main dishes of fish, or steak and a sweet final dessert. The common menu doesn’t exceed 55 Euros.
There are no required vaccinations to go to Alicante. Tap water is potable.
Alicante has a very good infrastructure or care facilities. Before travel, get a European Health Card from a local Social Security centre.
For medical emergencies, dial 112.
For Red Cross emergency, dial (91) 522 22 22.
Fire department can be reached at 085.
Petty crime such as street robberies is on the rise, so it is recommended not to walk alone at night or in poorly lit areas. Do not leave personal belongings in parked vehicles, and do not walk around with large quantities of cash.
It is recommended to make photocopies of all travel documents in the case that the originals are stolen or lost. Keep the originals in a safe place such as a hotel safe. Have a mobile phone handy with the emergency phone numbers in the case that an assault occurs. Tourists should remain calm and not resist.
No specific dangers exist on public transport, and they have good rail and boat connections.
Natural risks in the Southern region should be taken into account, mainly the potential risk of an earthquake. Travellers are advised to keep contact details with the embassy or consulate in case of emergency.
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