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The Best of Alicante: Top Attractions and Hidden Gems

Playa del Postiguet
Playa del Postiguet, Alicante. Credit: Unsplash/Sara Ruffoni

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Alicante is a beautiful destination on Spain's eastern coast. Popular for its scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage, this beautiful Mediterranean gem offers something for every traveler. It also offers a variety of attractions and delectable local cuisines.

This comprehensive guide will explore unforgettable destinations, each promising a unique experience. These experiences extend from tranquil beaches to magical castles, educational museums, and flower gardens; something is exciting for all.

For visitors looking to share their experiences with their loved ones or send a token of appreciation, consider the amazing option to send flowers to Madrid and surprise a loved one, ensuring your emotions are conveyed beautifully. Let's get into it and explore Alicante together.

The Castle of Santa Barbara

Situated on the beautiful Mount Benacantil, Santa Barbara is more than its natural beauty; it is a cultural beacon. The castle dates back to the 9th century.

Since then, it has gone through the tale of time, from Islamic to Christian regimes. Visitors can explore the castle's old cannons, mystical dungeons, and the MUSA or Museum of the City of Alicante.

Moreover, if you are a nature lover, the panoramic view of the sunset is sure to give you a reverie. If you love to click aesthetic photos, the site offers the perfect backdrop for fairytale pictures.

Explanada de España

This beautiful location of Explanada de España is ideal for walking along the coast in Alicante. This 600-meter-long walkway runs alongside the port, from Plaza Puerta del Mar to the Parque de Canalejas.

Moreover, this beautiful walkway is paved with mosaics and reflects the waves of the tranquil Mediterranean. This is a favorite spot for locals who enjoy taking strolls under the rows of palm trees.

You will find the Castle of Santa Barbara north of the Explanada de España. Conversely, the Parque de Canalejas is situated on the southern side, acting as an extension of the promenade. You will also find some of the city's notable buildings like Casa Carbonell.

Swim in the Playa del Postiguet

Situated in the urban region of Alicante, Postiguet Beach is located right at the foot of Santa Barbara castle. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular places amongst locals. The place's popularity is also reflected in a popular Alicante song, "The blanket around the neck and the train will take us to Postiguet."

More than 900 meters, this beach is perfect for family trips. The best part is that the beach is close to the town center. Hence, whenever you feel drained from walking, you can simply dip your feet in the sea and relax.

Visit the Church of Basilica of Santa Maria

Completed in 1384 after only 55 years, the Church of Basilica of Santa Maria is the oldest and the only standing church in pure Catalan Gothic style. Moreover, if you are a history buff, you will surely enjoy the outstanding city view from the Basilica, which overlooks the medieval urban structure of the town.

Visitors will surely get lost in the intricate chapels, ornate altarpieces, and marvelous stained-glass windows. The church is truly built with Renaissance and Baroque influences. Hence, this is a haven for history buffs and architectural lovers.

MARQ Archaeological Museum

Created in 1932, the MARQ Archaeological Museum highlights Alicante's rich heritage through interactive displays and engaging exhibits. It is in a modernist building designed by Juan Vidal Ramos.

The museum boasts various artifacts from different ages, including the Prehistoric, Roman, Iberian, and Medieval periods.

Moreover, the museum's artifacts include the famous Lady of Elche, a beautiful Iberian statue, and some local archaeological finds. Visitors can engage in Alicante's rich past with technological advancements and different multimedia tools.

La Ereta Park

Situated on the beautiful Mount Benacantil slopes, La Ereta Park is a peaceful location for anyone to rewind. Visitors can enjoy the panoramic views of Alicante and its gorgeous coastlines.

The terraces of La Ereta Park offer spectacular views of Santa Barbara Castle and the city, creating a picturesque backdrop for a picnic or a peaceful stroll in the park.

La Ereta Park is also popular for hosting outdoor events, art installations, and cultural events. Tourists and locals seeking a peaceful day can simply take a walk down this park.

Explore the City Landmark of Alicante Town Hall

Designed by architect Lorenzo Chápuli, this baroque piece of civil architecture was built in the 18th century on the site of the old city hall. Interestingly, the structure's two towers and columns, which are made of barley sugar on the exterior, are among the decorative features that visitors can observe.

There are several amazing spaces within, including the Salón Azul, modeled after Spain's Queen Isabel, the Salón de Plenos meeting room, and a chapel used for mass.

Visitors can view intriguing pieces by Padilla, Cabrera, Amorós, and Alicante native Gastón Castelló in the building's many chambers.

The so-called "Cota Cero," the reference point from which the altitude of Spain's numerous cities is calculated, is located at the base of the building's main stairway.

Contemporary Art Museum (MACA)

Popular for its 20th-century Spanish art, MACA is amongst the most popular cultural hubs in Alicante.

Situated in the old Casa de la Asegurada (which used to be a municipal warehouse), the museum boasts works by world-famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Joan Miro.

The galleries hold beautiful sculptures, paintings, and innovative artifacts that feature Spanish art from the 20th century.

Moreover, visitors will be excited to know that the museum also hosts workshops, educational programs, and temporary art exhibitions that bring visitors of all age groups under one majestic roof.

Explore the Beautiful Tabarca Island

The beautiful Tabarca Island is one amazing hidden gem in Alicante. This small yet beautiful island used to be a refuge for Barbary pirates. Now, a protected marine reserve is only brimming with old pirate lores.

The crystal-clear waters, charming restaurants along the coast, quaint town, and narrow streets draw in visitors from around the world. Moreover, you can enjoy traditional paellas and fresh seafood and get lost in the beauty of the sea.

San Juan Beach

San Juan Beach is Alicante's most famous beach, with sands spanning from El Campello to Cabo de la Huerta. This open beach with fine sands is situated amid an apartment complex with various amenities and companies.

Various restaurants and beach bars are along the seafront, some even on the beach. San Juan Beach is extremely close to the Alicante Golf Course.

There are numerous public parking lots nearby and other sports facilities such as beach volleyball, football, and windsurfing. Moreover, visitors can choose from various hotel options in nearby areas.

Casa Carbonell

Casa Carbonell is a striking example of an early 20th-century architectural wonder. Also designed by the famous architect Juan Vidal Ramos, the structure showcases beautiful decorative features greatly influenced by Catalan modernism.

Visitors passionate about historical art and architecture will find this structure stunning with its wrought iron balconies and vintage ceramic tiles. The Casa Carbonell's facade is decorated with reliefs and sculptures showing maritime elements.

Interestingly, the maritime elements highlight Alicante's age-old connection to the sea. Although initially built as luxury apartments, it is now home to various commercial spaces and businesses.

Alicante Provincial Council

One of the more recent monuments, the Alicante Provincial Council, was built in the late 19th century. The Provincial Council is a spectacular architecture with ornate ceilings, a grand marble staircase, and classical architectural columns.

The chambers at the council are further decorated with historical sculptures and paintings that showcase the long history of Alicante.

Moreover, visitors and locals can admire the beautiful exterior of the structure from Plaza de la Montaneta, a hub for cafes and small shops. The Provincial Council highlights the administrative functions of Alicante while brimming with its natural history.

Las Cigarreras Cultural Center

Established in the early 19th century, Las Cigarreras Cultural Center is a unique historical site, now a hub for culture and arts. The structure is in the historic tobacco factory in the old Tabacalera.

Interestingly, the site was a source of employment for many workers for over 200 years. Moreover, when tobacco production was transferred to the nearby suburbs, the old factory was taken over by the town's council.

Now, with the restoration project of three factories, the site has once again become an important site for the Spanish culture.

Bullfighting Museum of Alicante

Bullfighting, though controversial, has always been an intricate part of Spanish culture. Located in the Plaza de Toros structure, the Bullfighting Museum of Alicante offers insights into the rich bullfighting culture in Spain.

The museum boasts interesting artifacts like matador memorabilia, costumes, and paintings featuring bullfighting. Moreover, tourists and visitors can learn about the symbolism, techniques, and rituals of bullfighting along with its relevance in Spanish culture.

The museum's collection also highlights the history of bullfighting as a spectacle and a sport. This place truly offers thought-provoking glimpses into the rich culture of Spain.

Alicante Tram

The gorgeous Alicante Tram is much more than a simple transport system. It takes visitors on a journey through the scenic beauty of the Costa Blanca region and connects Alicante to its neighboring suburbs and coastal towns.

A tram ride will take you on a fairy-tale journey through beautiful mountains, stunning beaches, and quaint towns.

Moreover, traveling to Alicante on a tram is the most sustainable and convenient way to explore locations like El Campello, Altea, and San Juan. On the journey, you can stop at local markets and explore towns or even enjoy coastal dining.

Best Time to Visit Alicante

The months of April through June in the spring and September through November in the fall offer nice, moderate weather that is perfect for outdoor activities, making them the finest times to visit Alicante.

Blooming flowers and mild weather in the spring make it the ideal time of year to visit the city's attractions without the oppressive summer heat. Similar benefits may be found in autumn when it's pleasant for sightseeing and beach enjoyment with mild days and cold evenings.

Moreover, the summer months of July and August are Alicante's busiest travel times, with warm weather and throngs of people. This time of year, is perfect for beachgoers and those who want to attend exciting festivals like Hogueras de San Juan.

However, remember it is important to budget for increased costs and reserve lodging well before the trip.

Additional Tips for a Seamless Trip to Alicante

Here are some additional tips to consider on your visit to Alicante:

Getting around: To move around the city and neighboring areas, the best form of transport is the Alicante tram. As mentioned above, the tram network takes visitors across the city, showing many popular attractions in the main city and nearby towns.

Accomodation: Remember to book your hotels early to avoid cancellations during the peak seasons or during major festivals.

Local Cuisine: Don't forget to try the local cuisine, which includes specialities like turron (nougat), fresh seafood, and arroz a banda (a delectable dish made with rice cooked in fish stock). Moreover, you must visit local markets such as Mercado Central to lose yourself in the culinary delights of Alicante.

Festivals: Alicante is a hub for cultural events and festivals. Hence, be sure to check the festival calendar when you come down. You can go to events like Hogueras de San Juan, which offers an exciting experience with street parties, parades, and fireworks.

Wrapping Up

This guide only comprises some of the popular things to do in Alicante. Alicante is more than a destination; it is the epitome of culture and scenic beauty.

From natural wonders to historical landmarks, serene mountains, and tranquil beaches, Alicante has something for everyone.

Whether you enjoy sipping coffee against a historical backdrop or enjoy taking walks on mosaic roads, you will lose yourself in its wonders. Hence, whether you are looking for an adventure or to simply relax, Alicante has got you covered.

So! What are you waiting for?

Cherish the destination with its stunning beauty and culture while exploring the unknown.

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