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Our guide to 24 hours in Alicante, Spain



Our guide to one day in Alicante and how best to experience this gorgeous Spanish city on a tight schedule. Featuring 6 must-do experiences.

We featured the beautiful Spanish city of Alicante in our 12 places we loved 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. In fact, not only is there loads to do in Alicante itself, there’s loads of cool day trips from Alicante too.

So, here’s our ultimate guide to spending one day in Alicante.

6 things to do in 24 hours in Alicante

Yep 24 hours in Alicante may seem like a short amount of time but you’d be surprised at how much you can fit into one day in Alicante. As long as you stick to a schedule and follow my list below (in that order preferably) you could fit up to 6 activities into 24 hours in Alicante. Of course if you want to do one (or a few) of the recommended guided tours I’ve recommended in the below blog post then I recommend allowing more like 2-3 days in this lovely city!

alicante harbour view from castillo de santa barbara
Alicante beach from La Ereta Park!

Here’s the top 6 places we recommend visiting in Alicante (more detailed information if you scroll down):

  • La Explanada de España
  • Alicante Harbour
  • Alicante Water Museum
  • Castillo de Santa Barbara
  • Barrio de Santa Cruz
  • La Ereta Park

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.

la explanada de espana
Walking on La Explanada de Espana!

Alicante Harbour

We spent an hour or so walking around the harbor, mainly because it was sweltering and we needed a slight breeze from the ocean. As you stroll through here you will have gorgeous views along the picturesque Postiguet Beach. If you have time you may be interested in visiting one of the other amazing beaches in Alicante.

There are lots of restaurants lined along the harbor, great for people-watching but beware they are pricier because of their desirable location. Some of the best restaurants here include Restaurante El Pescador and Taberna del Puerto.

From the harbor you can go on a boat tour. Choose from a sunset catamaran experience or an awesome 6-hour day trip to nearby Tabarca Island. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous you can book a 3-hour catamaran cruise that includes snorkeling!

a pirate ship in alicante harbour
Posing with a Pirate Ship in Alicante Harbor!

Alicante Water Museum

Next, we began the daunting hike to Castillo de Santa Barbara with a quick pit-stop at the Alicante Water Museum because it has awesome air-conditioning. It is 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. These wells 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.

the streets near alicante water museum
Exploring the streets near 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 de Santa Barbara.

We didn’t spend too much time wandering the Castillo grounds as I was most interested in the spectacular views. At 166 meters above sea level the views from here are unbelievable! The Castillo was built way back at the end of the 9th Century and over the years the archaeological remains of the Bronze Age, Iberian and Roman have been unearthed here. It is filled with history and such a great way to spend a couple hours.

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!

You can see the Castillo on a guided tour which also includes a visit to the Central Market and tapas in a locals only restaurant! You can book this specific tour here.

castillo de santa barbara
A view of the Castillo from Alicante CBD!

Barrio de Santa Cruz

This cute and colorful neighborhood 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 Benacantil Hill. At night, the atmosphere grows lively as locals head to the Barrio’s many tavernas for tapas and drinks.

A fantastic way to see this neighborhood and other quirky areas in Alicante is on a 2-hour food tour. Eat where the locals eat and get a real sense of the city on this highly recommended tour!

alicante, spain, costa blanca, guide to 24 hours in Alicante
Me walking through Barrio de Santa Cruz!

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.

This park is almost 7 hectares and is home olive trees, oak trees and other typical Mediterranean plant life. There’s also an exhibition hall, small museum and a water fountain here.

the view from la ereta park
The gorgeous view from La Ereta Park!

One day in Alicante – how we got here

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 just a 20 minute drive from downtown. So, we 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 for spending the best one day in Alicante.

Where to stay in Alicante

We stayed at the cheap & cheerful Ibis Alicante, which is as I mentioned before is 6km from Alicante city. We choose the Ibis Hotel because it is very reasonably priced (approx. €30). Also, we had an early flight to catch to the airport the next morning and this hotel is on the route to the airport. The airport bus service stops just across the road.

If you book any of the hotels listed here through these links – I will get a tiny commission (to continue my travels) & you will get the best available rate!

We also highly recommend the following hotels in Alicante:

  • Suites del Mar by Melia – located right on the main beach in Alicante & with spectacular views. And a rooftop pool!
  • Hotel Almirante – a large outdoor pool and epic beach views from most of their rooms. This hotel is located at San Juan beach, a 10 minute drive from Alicante.
  • Urban Hotel by MC – this is very reasonably priced considering its location in the central district. The rooms are clean and minimally styled and there are loads of bars & restaurants nearby!

You can search all the best hotels in Alicante here via booking.com!

Getting to Alicante

Alicante Airport is 9km from the city and is the 6th largest airport in Spain. It serves a variety of routes within Europe.

You can also reach Alicante via train from the larger cities of Barcelona and Valencia. Detailed information on trains to Alicante.

Have I convinced you to visit Alicante (for just one day)?

In short, Alicante is a quintissentially ‘Spanish’ city. The Castillo de Santa Barbara is beautiful, the harbor 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 one day in Alicante?

Recommended to read next | splurge-worthy things to do in Santorini

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Our guide to one day in Alicante and how best to experience this gorgeous Spanish city on a tight schedule. Featuring 6 must-do experiences.

50 replies on “Our guide to 24 hours in Alicante, Spain”

You have convinced me to visit Alicante. But definitely not on a hot day. I’ll got in the spring or fall. Beautiful sights.

Loved your blog post! Going to pin & save it for later when I (finally) make it to Spain. That climb to the castillo looks beautiful, hard, but beautiful.

Love your photos! The streets look so dreamy, thank you for sharing! Spain has to be on my list now 🥰

Spain is one of the places I desperately want to visit. I went to Columbia and Mexico as a child, but have not ticked Spain off the list as yet. La Explanada sounds like a magical destination.

Such beautiful photos! I have to admit that I had not heard of Alicante until now. How amazing is that? Thank you for sharing with us. Spanish cities have my entire heart!

Very very charming city. Great shots of Alicante. Have not visited this part of Spain and will certainly add it to my travels the next time I’m in the country. You’ve certainly intrigued me!!

I love the architecture of Barrio de Santa Cruz, it looks really charming. I had heard about Alicante before but never really considered visiting but it looks really lovely adding it to my bucket list!

I prefer to go by car to the last point of the Castillo because I am not a good climber. I am sure view from the top must be incredible. Other places also look interesting to visit.

I’ve seen some decently priced flights to Alicante on WOW Air recently. I wasn’t sure about it, because I’d never really read much about it. But now, seeing all your photos and things to do, I may consider buying a ticket!

I love your photos!! Alicante looks so beautiful- you’re so lucky that your parents have a holiday home there. Spain is a really incredible country and I would love to explore so much more of it 😊

I’d love to go back to Spain and do some more exploring. Alicante looks like a great place to visit. Since I like history and views the Castillo de Santa Barbara would be on the top of my list of things to do. Good to know there is a snack stand at the top as I’m sure it gets super hot.

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 🙂

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!

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!

Gracias!

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