We recently featured the beautiful Spanish city of Alicante in our 17 places we loved in 2017 article and for good reason. Alicante holds a special place in my heart because my parents have had a summer home here for 20 years. It’s a second home, a familiar place to escape. And that’s why I love it. So, here’s our guide to 24 hours in Alicante.
Located on the Costa Blanca, with the closest major city being Valencia, Alicante has lots to offer a respective tourist in a short time. Even though I’ve visited Alicante on day-trips numerous times in my youth, this time I decided to spend the night here and trully get a feel for this coastal city. We took the bus from Torrevieja, which is where my parents house is located and approximately an hours bus journey from Alicante. Our hotel for the night was a 20 minute drive from downtown, so, we decided to put our luggage into the coin operated luggage storage at Alicante bus terminal. If memory serves me right, it was about €5. So, down to business here’s our top tips in our guide to 24 hours in Alicante.
La Explanada de España
First stop coffee! There are lots of sweet little coffee shops lining La Explanada de España and we picked one that was thronged with Spaniards smoking and chatting lazily outside, inside was dark and dusty and very authentic. Very cheap too, I think we paid €4 for a ham & cheese croissant and coffee. Oh by the way, it’s called Cafeteria Ripoll
Afterwards we walked the famous Esplanade and I forced Paul to take lots of photos of me. FYI – as you can see it’s extremely instagram-worthy.
We spent an hour or so walking around the harbour, mainly because it was sweltering and we needed a slight breeze from the ocean. There are lots of restaurants lined along the harbour, great for people-watching but beware they are pricier because of their desirable location.
Alicante Water Museum
Next, we began the daunting hike to Castillo de Santa Barbara with a quick pitstop in the Water Museum because it had awesome air-conditioning. It was actually quite an interesting stop, you can visit the ‘Pozos’ or Wells of Garrigós which are believed to date as far back as the 16th century but were redesigned to their current layout in the 19th century in an attempt to lessen the effects of the prolonged droughts suffered by the city.
Castillo de Santa Barbara
Now, back to the climb to the Castillo, not for the faint-hearted especially during the hottest time of the day (FYI-if you have a car you can park in one of the carparks much closer to the top). It’s free admission to the Castillo. We didn’t spend too much time wandering the Castillo grounds as I was most interested in the spectacular views. We spent a whole lot of time admiring the views from the top and taking lots of photos. There is a restaurant and a little kiosk on site for refreshments, which is a welcome sight in the heat of the Summer!
Barrio de Santa Cruz
This cute and colourful neighbourhood is the oldest part of the city. Barrio de Santa Cruz nestles at the foot of Benacantil Hill. Step back in time as you climb this neighborhood’s narrow streets to Santa Barbara Castle at the top of Banacantil. At night, the atmosphere grows lively as locals head to the Barrio’s many tavernas for tapas and drinks.
La Ereta Park
This park has excellent views of San Nicolás Cathedral and the Port of Alicante thanks to its location on Mount Benacantil. It is also a great starting point for visiting other sights I recommended such as Barrio de Santa Cruz and Castillo de Santa Barbara.
Our guide to Alicante accomodation
We stayed at the cheap & cheerful Ibis, which is as I mentioned before is 6km from Alicante city. We choose Ibis because it was very reasonably priced (approx. 30) also we had an early flight to catch to the airport the next morning and it was on route to the airport with the airport bus service stopping just across the road.
Getting to Alicante
Alicante International Airport is 9km from the city and is the 6th largest airport in Spain. It serves a variety of routes within Europe.
Have I convinced you to visit Alicante?
In short, Alicante is a quintissentially ‘Spanish’ city. The Castillo de Santa Barbara is beautiful, the harbour area very sophisticated with cool bars and restaurants. But the best part for me are the quirky flower-filled streets of Barrio de Santa Cruz underneath the Castillo. Tell me, how did you find our guide to 24 hours in Alicante?