- For other places with the same name, see Alicante (disambiguation).
The city is believed to have been founded by the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, who established the fortified settlement of Akra Leuka (Greek: Ἄκρα Λευκή, meaning 'White Mountain' or 'White Point'), where Alicante stands today. It was later conquered by the Romans who renamed it Lucentum. In mediaeval times, Alicante became a major Mediterranean trading station, exporting rice, wine, olive oil, oranges and wool. More recently the city has become a hub of tourism directed to the beaches of the Costa Blanca.
- Tourist Info Alicante, Rambla Méndez Núñez, 41 (near Plaza de San Cristobal), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00. The primary tourist office is open year round, and has free maps and brochures.
- Tourist Info Alicante Ayuntamiento, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 1 (in the city hall), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 09:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00.
- Tourist info Alicante Platja del San Juan, Avda de Niza, s/n (Playa de San Juan / San Juan Beach), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jul-Aug: daily 10:30-14:30 17:30-20:30.
- Tourist Info Alicante Renfe, Avda de Salamanca, s/n (in the main train station), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 09:30-14:00 16:30-19:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00.
- Tourist info Alicante Aeropuerto, Aeropuerto El Altet, ☎ . Tu 09:00-19:00, W-F 09:30-15:00.
Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche ( IATA: ALC), also known as L'Altet Airport, is located 11 km (6.8 miles) south of the city centre. One terminal is in service, known as Terminal N or the new terminal. Terminals T1 and T2 that were used before the construction of the new terminal are no longer in service.
Bus C6 (tel. +34 902 106 992, email: firstname.lastname@example.org) connects the airport with the city, departing every 20 minutes from a bus stop at the departure level (level +2) of new terminal. Don't get confused between the departure level (level +2) and the bus level (level -2); the latter is used by charter buses. The city bus takes about 20 minutes to the city centre, where it follows a circular route. It stops near the Alicante bus station, at Plaza Puerta del Mar, near the Archaeological Museum, next to the central market, at Plaza Luceros, and on its way back to the airport near the train station. A one-way ride costs €3.85 (2016). The buses run from 6:00 until 23:00; a complete schedule is available here.
A taxi to the city will cost €20-25. Cabs can be caught at the arrival level (level 0) of the new terminal. A dozen car rental agencies including Avis, Budget, Hertz and Europcar are located at the arrival floor of the new terminal.
- Estación de Tren de Alicante ( Alicante Train Station), Avda de Salamanca, 1, ☎ . Renfe runs a number of trains per day from Madrid and Barcelona. A ride from Madrid by high-speed AVE trains should take between two and two and a half hours. From Valencia the trip takes just under two hours, and from Barcelona on conventional rail it takes up to five hours. Renfe regional train (cercanía) line C1 can get you from Elche to Alicante in half an hour, and from Murcia in under 1½ hours.
- Facilities at the station include a tourist information office, storage lockers, a café, bookshop, and car rental office, as well as bicycle rental.
- Estación del TRAM ( Tram Station), Plaza de los Luceros, s/n (main station), ☎ . Tram Alicante (el Trenet) operates a light rail train connecting all major settlements along the coast between Alicante and Dénia, with the exception of Xábia. Benidorm is a changeover point for destinations further north. For travelers with smartphones, there is a helpful official app (iPhone and Android) with a route planner and timetables. A single journey costs €1.35-7.15, depending on distance.
- The tram service along the coast is enjoyable and reasonably priced. When going from Alicante to Benidorm, sit on the right side of the tram to get a sea view. The ticket price between Alicante and Benidorm is €3.75 (2013). In case you don't want to practise Spanish (why? You're in Spain!), get a ticket from automatic vending machines, which are equipped with an English-language interface. If you plan to return the same working day, get a round-trip ticket right away with small discount. As always, keep the ticket until the end of journey. On some stations (including all stations in Alicante) you will need the ticket to exit from the system.
- Estació Autobusos Alacant ( Estación de Autobuses de Alicante / Alicante Bus Station), Muelle de Poniente, s/n (by Avda de Loring), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. ALSA has many lines, including to Valencia, Barcelona and Granada; a complete listing of all connections can be found here. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the bus station. Public city buses lines 6 and 24 both start and terminate at this location.
- Port de Alacant ( Puerto Alicante). Services the many cruise ships which stop here as well as ferries to Algeria.
If you stay in the old town, most areas of interest are within walking distance.
By tram and bus
Public transportation is provided by trams (described above) and buses. Visitors intending to use both systems may want to consider purchasing a rechargeable Bono Móbilis Multiviaje card, which costs €8.70 for 10 rides plus €2 for the plastic card (2016); discounted youth and senior Móbilis cards are also available.
The card can be purchased at the main TAM Office (C/ Díaz Moreu 6, tel. +34 965 140 936, M-F 09:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-13:00), at the central bus station (M-F 08:30-14:00, 17:00-19:00), and at a number of shops throughout the city.
Subus Alicante operates an expansive network of bus routes, with bus stops at key locations including the train station, airport, shopping centres, and major sights. On most routes, buses run from 06:30-22:30, with extended hours on weekends. There are also a number of night routes. A single ride costs €1.45 (2016), payable in cash directly to the driver on entry; drivers can give change for bills €20 or less. Maps and schedules for all routes can be downloaded here.
Taxi rates are regulated and most tourists find them affordable. A number of taxi stands (sitios) are located in various places, including by the bus station, the train station, and the Explanada de España.
- Euro Taxi Alicante, Portal de Elche, s/n, ☎ , e-mail: , (mobile)firstname.lastname@example.org. Available 24 hours, charges set rates for certain destinations.
- RadioTeleTaxi, C/ Alcalde Lorenzo Carbonell, 35, ☎ , , , (Whatsapp)fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Taxis can be reserved by phone, Whatsapp, or online.
- RadioTaxi, ☎ .
- Taxi Area, ☎ .
The old town of Alicante is roughly the triangular area enclosed by the Rambla de Méndez Núnez, the Explanada de Espanya, and Mount Benacantil. Largely tourist-friendly, the old, narrow streets make for an enjoyable wander provided you don't get yourself lost. Here you'll find the town hall, cathedral, an old covent, and several art museums.
- Castell de la Santa Bàrbara ( Castillo de Santa Bárbara / Castle of Santa Barbara). Oct-Mar daily 10:00-20:00, Apr-Jun daily 10:00-22:00, Jul Aug daily 10:00-24:00, Sep daily 10:00-22:00. On top of Mount Benacantil at a height of 166 metres, there is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain, built in the ninth century by Muslims. An amazing view of town and harbour. If you feel fit, the walk from Plaza de Carmen is a sight in itself, through some narrow winding streets. The castle can also be reached by car, but parking slots are scarce. Free.
- Museu de la Ciutat d'Alacant ( MUSA / Museo de la Ciudad / Museum of the City of Alicante), Calle Vázquez de Mella s/n (Castell de Santa Bárbara), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10:00-14:30, 16:00-20:00. Showcases archaeological finds from the city and the region. Free.
- Lift ( near the main rd of Avda de Juan Bautista Lafora). Oct-Mar daily 10:00-20:00, last lift up 19:20; Apr-Jun daily 10:00-20:00, last lift up 19:20; Jul Aug daily 10:00-23:30, last lift up 19:20; Sep daily 10:00-20:00, last lift up 19:20. There is a lift in the core of Mount Benacantil itself, which runs from the ground level and stops at two levels in the castle. It may not be easy to spot the entrance! The easiest route is to follow Postiguet beach to the footbridge, then cross the road and pick your way West along the pavement until you see the sign for the castle and the tunnel entrance. The ticket machine for the lift is near the end of the tunnel. Insert your money, press the large green "A" button, then "Ticket", and your ticket will be printed. Maps are provided. Travelling between the two castle levels is free. €2.70 (round-trip), free (seniors); free access Jul Aug daily 19:45-23:30.
- Basílica de Santa Maria ( Basilica of Santa María). Begun during the 14th century on top of the remains of an old Moorish mosque, construction was completed in the 16th century, and incorporates Gothic and Baroque stylistic elements in its structure. The main entrance to the church is especially notable for its elaborate Baroque decorative elements; inside the Gothic choir and Rococo altar are noteworthy, along with the Baroque organ from 1653. The exterior still bears traces of bombardment by French forces in the 18th century. Free.
- Lucentum Archaeological Site ( El Tossal de Manises), C/ de Zeus, s/n (Albufereta), ☎ . Winter: Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Su 10:00-14:00; Summer: M-Sa 09:00-12:00 19:00-22:00, Su 09:00-12:00. This site, which covers over 7 acres, is the location of the original Roman city which later became Alicante. Although excavation is currently still ongoing, it is open to visitors. Notable features are remains of the defensive walls, Roman baths, and forum, as well as part of the old Muslim cemetery. Free.
- Castell de Sant Ferran ( Castillo de San Fernando / Castle of San Fernando) (on Tossal hill, N of Alicante centre). Dawn to dusk. Built at the beginning of the 19th century, the fortress is now the centrepiece of a city park. Free.
Museums and galleries
- Museu Arqueològic Provincial d'Alacant ( MARQ / Museo Arqueológico de Alicante / Archaeological Museum of Alicante), Plaza Dr Gómez Ulla, s/n, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-F 10:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-20:30, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00. founded in 1932, has avant-garde design and uses modern audiovisual techniques, with more than 80,000 pieces found in local archaeological sites. Shows educational movies about the history of Alicante area from the Stone Age, through Iberian and Roman eras, to the medieval times. €3 (adults), €1.50 (concessions), free (disabled/teachers/journalists/children under 8).
- Museu de Belles Arts Gravina ( MUBAG / Palau Gravina), C/ Gravina 13-15 (Old Town), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1 Sep - 30 Jun: Tu-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00; 1 Jul - 31 Aug: Tu-Sa 11:00-21:00, Su and holidays 11:00-15:00. This local fine arts museum, housed in an 18th-century palace, has some excellent artworks by Spanish artists, displayed over 3 floors. Take time to watch the video presentation Black and White about historic Alicante. Free.
- Museu d'Art Contemporani d'Alacant ( Museo de La Asegurada / MACA), Plaza de Santa María, 3, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su and holidays 10:00-14:00. On display there are a few works by world-famous artists of the 20th century: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Julio González, Juan Gris, Joan Miró; as well as art collections by two local artists Eusebio Sempere and Juana Francés. Free.
- Museu de la Universitat d’Alacant ( Museo de la Universidad de Alicante / MUA), Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig, s/n (Campus de la Universidad de Alicante), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00. Opened in 1999, this ultra-modern museum is devoted to contemporary art and hosts special exhibits as well as concerts and other events. Free.
- Museu d’Aigües d’Alacant ( Museo de Aguas de Alicante / Alicante Water Museum), Plaza Arquitecto Miguel López, s/n (Plaza del Puente, Casco Antiguo), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Sep-May: Tu-F 10:00-14:00 17:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00; Jun-Aug: Tu-F 10:00-14:00 18:00-21:00, Sa Su 10:00-14:00. The museum is located adjacent to the Pozos de Garrigós (Garrigós Wells), a collection of wells dating from the Moorish period to the 16th century, and in use until 1898. Exhibits in the three-floor modern museum illustrate the history of water resources and distribution in the city and the area. Free.
In the heart of the city there is Platja del Postiguet (Playa de Postiguet). The sandy beach is popular during the day and fairly busy during the evening when it's illuminated by sodium street lights. These give the beach and breaking waves a surreal effect.
With a bit of traveling by bus 22 or tram (L3, stop 'Costa Blanca'), you can reach the spacious 7 km long Platja del San Juan (Playa de San Juan), which is considered to be one of the finest in Spain.
The less crowded Platja del Saladar (Playa del Saladar/Urbanova, bus 27) is located south of the port, along the road from Alicante to Cartagena. Platja dels Arenals del Sol (Playa de los Arenales) is a bit further still, has sand dunes, and is even less crowded. This beach can be accessed by an hourly bus from the main bus station.
There are several companies near the port which offer boat trips, from 45-minute excursions on a catamaran to all-day trips to the island of Tabarca. Prices vary.
Las Hogueras de San Juan is the most important festival in the city. The celebration takes place around the 20s of June, but you can see locals setting up about a week earlier. Throughout Alicante, enormous monuments (up to and above 3 stories tall) are constructed and burned at the end of the festival during the night of 24th to 25th, after the shooting off of the very large "Palmera" firework from the top of the Castillo de Alicant. The explosion takes the shape of palm tree leaves (hence the name, Palmera). This is the symbol that begins the burning of the Hogueras monuments, which lasts into the later hours of the night. After that, a week of night fireworks continues in the beach. During the festival you won't have to go far to find music, drinks, and dancing, that all usually lasts until the early mornings.
Other celebrations include Carnival (in February–March, just before Lent) with parades of people in disguises and open air concerts (yes, weather allows it!), Holy Week (with parades of religious brotherhoods with their images of Jesus Christ, Holy Mary and so on) and Santa Faz (second Thursday after Good Friday) where a massive pilgrimage/walk to a close village where a relic with and image of Jesus is on display. As in the rest of Spain, in the Epiphany (January the 6th) there is a parade in remembrance of the Three Wise Men that adored Child Jesus, where every child participates (it is the equivalent to Santa Claus in the Spanish culture).
In October is the Moros y Cristianos festival in various small towns around the Alicante region. The festivity keeps memory of the Reconquer of each town by Christian kings of the territory to Islamic forces. Locals dress up in colorful costumes as Medieval Moorish and Christian warriors and knights. Live camels and elephants can sometimes be seen in street processions. In some areas, temporary wooden castles are built and mock battles are waged. Loud gunpowder arquebuses are discharged into the air, and fireworks can last late into the night.
- Don Quijote Alicante, Passeig Esplanada d'Espanya, 15, ☎ . A great Spanish school where you can take 4–6 hours of courses a day. All courses including beginner courses are taught entirely in Spanish.
- University of Alicante offers a variety of courses, including intensive Spanish classes for foreigners.
- Estudia Espana offers a selection of quality, affordable private Spanish language schools in Alicante. Courses for all levels and budgets all year round.
There are market stalls along the Explanada d'Espanya selling beads, clothes, flags etc.
If you want to see how the locals shop, head into town down the Rambla de Méndez Núnez then turn West on the Avenue de Alfonso El Sabio, and you'll find the city's main market, the Mercado Central de Alicante (38°20'52.5"N 0°29'9.6"W). It is open until about 14:30 or so most days, the two levels sell all the fresh meat, seafood, cheeses, fruit and vegetables anyone could need. If you exit the market through the back, you'll find the flower sellers in a small outdoor square.
As with the rest of Spain, breakfast is usually light, usually some sort of bread (e.g. toast) or piece of bakery. Traditionally, a hearty meal in the early afternoon is followed by a siesta as the heat builds. Many restaurants are then closed between 16:00-21:00. A light meal is taken once the sun goes down, often in the local taperia if you are a visitor. A lot of restaurants don't open before 21:00 for dinner, so bear this in mind when planning your dinner schedule.
As elsewhere in the region, seafood and rice dominates, with paella in the frontline. In almost every restaurant, you will find a "menu of the day" or a similar special for €10, a three- or four-course meal with or without a drink. This is an excellent way to economise if you want to splash out later.
In tourist areas, you'll have no problem finding UK fare served at earlier times, if you find yourself intimidated by the local cuisine.
Go around Calle Castaños (near the Theatre), Calle San Francisco and Calle Mayor (near Saint Nicholas Cathedral) for hubs of restaurants of the whole price range.
- Mesón de Labradores, C/ de los Labradores, 19 (Casco Antiguo / Old Town), ☎ . Daily 13:00-17:00 19:00-00:30. Founded in 1693, this taberna serves excellent regional dishes. The house specialty is the Chupi-Chupi, with a special secret sauce. €15 per person.
- El Nou Cisne, C/ Bazán, 47 (near the Teatro Principal), ☎ . Serves tapas and raciones. Set menu €11.90.
- Nou Manolin, C/ Villegas, 3 (near the theatre), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 13:00-16:15 20:15-00:15. A very popular restaurant which focuses on regional specialties. On the ground floor is a great tapas bar, while formal dining is located on the upper floors. Also has a great wine cellar. Mains €18-27.
- Piripi, Avda Oscar Esplá, 30, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 13:00-16:00 20:00-24:00. A popular restaurant best known for its tapas and rice dishes. Mains €12-25.
- Restaurante El Mirador, Rambla Méndez Núnez, 3 (in the Hotel TRYP Gran Sol), ☎ . Daily 13:00-16:00 20:00-23:00. The hotel is one of the city's tallest buildings; the restaurant is situated on the 26th floor and offers excellent views of the sea and the city. Set menu €30.
- La Taberna del Gourmet, C/ San Fernando, 10, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11:00-00:30. A well-known tapas bar and delicatessen, with fine wines. Tapas €7-19, tapas tasting menu €27.50, standard tasting menu €55.
- Dársena, Muella de Levante, 6 (port area), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 13:00-16:00 20:00-23:00. A long-established and respected restaurant, known especially for paella and other rice dishes, and for seafood. This place is very busy and reservations are recommended. Mains €16+, tasting menu €60.
- Monastrell, Avda Julio Guillen Tato, 1 (port area), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 13:00-16:00 19:30-23:00, Su 13:00-16:00. Michelin-starred chef María José San Román focuses on contemporary and avant-garde cuisine, relying on local products. The minimalist dining area is decorated with wood, aluminum, and granite. Reservations can be made online. Tasting menu €79.
- One One, C/ de Valdés, 9, ☎ . Tu-Sa 12:00-17:00 21:00-24:00; closed mid-Aug through mid-Sept. A cozy restaurant that offers innovative and original cuisine. Has a good wine cellar. Mains €25.
- Restaurante La Ereta, Parque de La Ereta, s/n (on the slope of Mt Benacantil), ☎ . Winter: Tu lunch, Th dinner, Sa lunch/dinner; summer: M-W dinner, Th-Sa lunch/dinner, holiday eves. Creative cuisine offered in two tasting menus, with great views of the sea and city. Tapas tasting menu €45, standard tasting menu €65.
Alicante has its own regulatory wine council . Tinto Alicante and Moscatel Alicante are the most known varieties.
Nightlife is concentrated in Old Town, called El Barrio or El Casco Antiguo, with dozens of bars and clubs along the narrow streets. Another focal point is the eastern rim of the marina, called Puerto, in and around the casino, where things start and end later.
The "Barrio" is the center of nightlife in Alicante, with bars like Dos Gringos, Mulligans, Carpe Diem, and Swing; there is never a dull night in this small Spanish city. Drinks are cheap, and shots are sometimes free. Pregame of "Botellon" on the castel or on the beach, then head over to the Barrio at around midnight. Then head over to swing or the puerto at 4am. A typical night should end at around 7 or 8am. (Note: "El botellon," literally, "the large bottle," is a custom among young people in Spain, in which they buy 2-litre bottles of soft drinks and mix into them hard liquor, and then stand or sit around drinking in parking lots and other public places. This is to avoid the high cost of drinks in some bars and clubs. There are many organizarions which organise and advertise the party scene of the Barrio, such as BarrioLife.
- Desden. Large beer for €1 before midnight!.
- X Hostel Alicante, Carrer del Tucuman, 28 (centrally located and less than 5 minute walk from the train station), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:30. Amenities include, singles, doubles, and shared dormitories for short and long term stays, guest kitchen, free breakfast, roof top terrace, free internet and wifi, and large common room to meet other travelers. It's clean, safe, and is the only true backpackers hostel in the city. €17.
- La Milagrosa Bed & Breakfast, C/ Villavieja 8 (by Iglesia de la Santa Maria, 2 blocks from the beach), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:30, check-out: 11:30. Thoroughly refurbished, bright and clean with a large roof terrace. Kitchen and laundry facilities available, free Wi-Fi. Close to nightlife. Also has apartments that can house up to 6 people. €42+ (singles), €75+ (doubles).
- Capricho de la Portuguesa. The C/ Trinquet, 7 - Beniali, Vall de Gallinera - 03787 Alicante. Being located in a Mediterranean valley reminiscent of Arabic influences, the 300-year-old olive mill "El Capricho de la Portuguesa" blends memories and experience.
- NH Alicante, ☎ , fax: . Mexico, 18 (esquina Rosa Chacel), 03008, NH Alicante Hotel is situated in the new commercial zone, 5 minutes away from the city centre.
- NH Cristal, ☎ , fax: . Tomás López Torregrosa, 11, 03002, Close to the 'Rambla de Méndez Núñez' and 'Esplanada de España', In the heart of the city's commercial and service district, it is close to the Historic Centre and Town Hall.
The city provides free wifi to everyone in a number places across the city centre, including Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Plaza de los Luceros, Plaza de la Montañeta, as well as at the Santa Barbara Castle, and at the Postiguet beach.
- The Canalobre Caves is a big cave with impressive stalacites and stalagmites. It is located just 24 km north of Alicante, 40 km south of Benidorm, close to Busot. The inner aspect of the cave, with one of the highest vaults of Spain, is very similar to the one of a cathedral. Visitors are able to admire the diverse and capricious forms that have been taking rocks: candelabra, animals and multitude of spectacular forms. Sometimes, their superb acoustic and environmental conditions take advantage of for spectacles in which music is privileged protagonist.
Entrance requires you join in on a tour (which was mainly in Spanish on a visit in October 2010, though some information provided in English).
Entrance fee: Adults €5 (October 2010)
September 16-June 30: Mon-Fri: 10:30am–4:50pm, Sat-Sun: 10:30am–5:50pm.
July 1-September 15: 10:30am–7:30pm.
- Costa Blanca