Our guide to 24 hours in Alicante, Spain

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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.

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La Explanada de Espana

Alicante Harbour

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.

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A Pirate-themed ship in Alicante Harbour
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The view of Alicante Harbour from Castillo de Santa Barbara

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.

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Wandering the neighbourhood surrounding Alicante Water Museum

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!

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The view of Castillo de Santa Barbara from La Ereta Park
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The walk to Castillo de Santa Barbara

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.

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Barrio de Santa Cruz

guide to 24 hours in Alicante

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.

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The views of downtown Alicante from La Ereta Park

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?

*P.S You can read more about our travels through Europe here and here

26 Thoughts to “Our guide to 24 hours in Alicante, Spain”

  1. Alicante looks gorgeous! Looks like the Esplanade there is just as beautiful as the one here in Helsinki. 🙂

    My favourite of your photos has got to the be the pirate ship in the harbour though. It looks like something out of a fantasy film!

  2. What a nice city! Love the pictures. Thank you for sharing this guide… I guess I would choose to stay longer though haha


  3. Liz

    Looks awesome. Beautiful scenery and the old world charm😊

  4. What time of year did you go? Based on your photos, It seems like it wasn’t very crowded with tourists….just how I like it!

    1. Hello Jaime, we went mid-June and a week day so definitely less crazy x

  5. So many places to see in 24 hours! I would love to visit Barrio de Santa Cruz. I love cute and colorful neighborhoods and I bet the tapas there are delicious 🙂

  6. Spain is such a delightful country to explore and now I have more to add to the list! Your photos of Alicante are gorgeous – thanks for sharing this wonderful area!

  7. The view of Alicante Harbour is beautiful and quiet unique. Love the houses with flower pots hanging down the sode. What a pretty location. 😀

  8. Great guide! I haven’t been to Spain yet, so I will def use this to help plan a trip!

  9. Spain is a place that I want to visit. You have inspired me more. The photos are awesome.

  10. Ah, there’s no better place in the world than Spain! I miss it so much. I never made it to Alicante when I was there but I know from the other places I’ve been that Alicante would be well worth it!!

  11. Really nice photos and great tips! Have been in Spain a few times but have unfortunetaly missed Alicante. Will make sure to visit it next time!

  12. Oooh I’ve never been to Alicante. It looks gorgeous, although very hot!!

    The Castillo de Santa Barbara looks the most impressive. The views from there must have been spectacular!

    I also love that photo in Barrio de Santa Cruz with all the plant pots. It’s so pretty!

  13. We have only been to Barcelona so far, where we visited Poble Espanyol and saw all the different architectures of Spain, gathered in one place. Alicante is so wonderful. Being a Mediterranean guy I love all such countries. Really nice and bright photos.

  14. Wow I’ve always wanted to go Spain and your photos just inspired me to do it again! Alicante is the perpect place to be, the harbour is gorgeous, the skyline, the weather and the colourful neighbourhood! I think i can spend all day taking pictures there!

  15. Yes, it is definitly Instagram worthy. Great photos. I would love to see Alicante. Spain is just so beautiful. La Explanda Espana is gorgeous. I would love to see that in person.

  16. Carol Colborn

    We will be in Valencia in October! And Alicante is just under 2 hours from our friend’s place in Valencia where we will be staying. We will surely visit it!

  17. What a beautiful area. Nothing like good advice from an insider. Would love to have the chance to follow your guide to Alicante!

  18. We spent a lot of time near here when I was a child. I loved your pic of the hanging pots on the white walls – that’s exactly how I remember it. Thanks for bringing back so many good memories.

  19. Spain has been on my list of places to travel to for so many years, and your post about Alicante has me wanting to add it to my Spain bucket list right away. What a beautiful place!

  20. I`ve been living in Spain for almost 10 years and even though I`ve traveled quite a lot around here, I still haven`t been to Alicante!

    I`m organizing a road trip this summer, I`ll add it to the list!
    Pinned it so I won`t lose this post!


  21. Hannah

    This looks beautiful! Ok I definitely need to go now!

  22. I’ve always wanted to visit Spain. 😊 I will have to add this city to our list.

  23. Alicante sounds so lovely thanks for the tips!

  24. Great photos! Definitely makes me want to visit!

  25. Well this needs to be at the top of my travel list! xx

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