What to see in Alicante: the definitive guide to a surprising city

The city of Alicante is often overshadowed by the wonderful beaches that surround it, which are famous all over the world. But beyond being the perfect place to enjoy the Mediterranean at any time of the year, the capital of the Costa Blanca is a city full of beauty, history and tradition that you cannot miss.

The Explanada in Alicante

If you decide to spend a few days on the Alicante coast, don't miss the opportunity to visit Alicante city and discover how many secrets its streets and squares, full of good atmosphere, monuments and picturesque corners, have hidden. Ah! And don't forget to try a horchata at La Explanada (tri coloured marble walkway) to complete what will be the excursion, not to be forgotten, of your next vacation.

Next, we propose the 7 best places to visit in Alicante and all the things you have to see to know the authentic essence of the city. Shall we get started! 

1. Santa Cruz district

At the foot of the Castle of Santa Bárbara, on one of the slopes of Mount Benacantil, is this small white washed neighbourhood that is the origin of the Alicante we know today. No doubt! Everyone who visits the city has to drop by the narrow and intricate streets of steps that cross the neighbourhood, breaking up the white beauty of the houses with pots of geraniums and small squares full of charm.

At the top of the neighbourhood, the hermitage of Santa Cruz stands out, built by order of King Alfonso X the Wise in 1271, which is an essential meeting point for residents and visitors. Especially when its most popular festivals are celebrated, the Cruces de Mayo (Crosses of May) and Easter Week, when the balconies are decked out to celebrate the anniversary with music, flowers and a lot of great feeling. 

Santa Cruz district in Alicante

2. Castle of Santa Bárbara

The Castle of Santa Bárbara gives the city of Alicante a unique profile. From the highest point of the fortress, located in the urban centre on Mount Benacantil, you can enjoy impressive panoramic views of the bay of Alicante and, even on clear days, it is possible to perfectly distinguish the skyline of Benidorm or the island of Tabarca.

The old Muslim fortress on which the castle stands dates back to the 9th century, when the city was dominated by Muslims, and Ali and Princess Cántara lived their love story while starring in one of the most beautiful legends of Alicante. Touring the old rooms and courtyards of the castle is a perfect option for history lovers who will be able to scrutinize the rich culture that Alicante treasures, but also for those who wish to know the outcome of the old and passionate legend of the Cara del Moro.

Wall of the Castle of Santa Bárbara

3. Basilica of Santa María

The old Muslim Mosque gave way in the 13th century to this beautiful Catholic Basilica that can be considered one of the churches with the greatest wealth of heritage in the entire Spanish Levant. It is a true living museum.

Santa Maria is a testament of pure art which brings together in the same building the artistic styles of the many centuries in which its construction extended. From the sumptuous main altar in the Rococo style, through the Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic styles, touring its naves allows you to get an idea of the talent of the Alicante artists who centuries ago worked to give us this architectural jewel. Did you know that its tower served as a prison for the Templars in the Middle Ages? Enjoy a truly interesting visit! 

Basilica of Santa Maria

4 Leisure Marina

The port of Alicante is one of the most beautiful places to enjoy the sunset watching how, little by little, the sky changes colour and with it the profile of the castle of Santa Barbara, the buildings and the boats that are reflected in the beautiful clear water painting a huge watercolour.

The port of Alicante is one of the most important sports marinas on the entire Spanish coastline and it houses hundreds of pleasure boats. Strolling along its docks is a pleasure within arm's reach on a summer afternoon. You just need to try a classic Alicante ice cream to live the full experience! 

Boats in the port of Alicante

5. Alicante Town Hall

The Alicante town hall (casa consistorial) dates from the 18th century and is a beautiful baroque palace built with limestone from the nearby Serra Grossa, set with balconies and flanked by two towers crossed by individual alleys. One of them, the northernmost, has a clock that plays the city's hymn at every hour, being something very characteristic to go to the square and listen to the distinctive chimes.

The building's construction work began in 1699 and, apart from its facades, the very rich noble floor stands out which, once was occupied with a small chapel and a hall, El Azul, today serves as the setting for municipal plenary sessions and those acts or events of greater importance for the city. And a note for the most curious! The first step of the main staircase of the building serves as a zero point of sea level and serves as a reference for this measurement throughout Spain. I bet you did not know that? 

Façade of the Alicante Town Hall

6. La Explanada

The Promenade of La Explanada is one of the main avenues of the city and one of the most touristic places. It stretches along the port showing one of the most famous pavements in all of Spain, sheltered under hundreds of palm trees. The colourful floor of the Esplanade is made up of millions of tiny tiles that draw a sea of white, red and black waves. You will not be able to resist photographing yourself stepping on this mosaic that has become one of the most iconic images of Alicante.

In addition to visiting its terraces and craft stalls, you will be able to contemplate the facades of very slender stately buildings such as Casa Carbonell or Casa Alberola. La Explanada is the ideal place to take a break from your visit and taste the quintessential Alicante drink: horchata. At the Peret kiosk, located on the promenade at its closest end to Postiguet Beach, you will find the genuine Alicante tiger nut horchata. Have you tried it? 

Colourful tiles on the Alicante Explanada

7. Saint Nicholas’ Co-Cathedral

Located in the heart of the historic centre of Alicante, the Co-Cathedral of San Nicolás de Bari is the main religious temple of the city and its patron saints are guarded: the Virgen del Remedio and San Nicolas himself.

With a sober appearance on the outside, the Renaissance interior of the church treasures works of art of great interest such as the Chapel of Communion, the Baroque organ, which is the oldest in the Valencian Community, or jewels of imagery such as the Christ of the Good Death of the seventeenth century. Nor can you miss the colossal dome that crowns the building 50 meters high or its beautiful cloister in which you can breathe a most mystical atmosphere. A haven of peace amid the bustle of the streets of the old town of Alicante. 

Aerial view of the Co-Cathedral of San Nicolás

Have we piqued your interest? Surely you are already thinking about when your next vacation in Benidorm is going to be. The sun, the beach, the atmosphere of any of our hotels in the best areas of the "Manhattan" of the Mediterranean... Book with us and take advantage of your stay at Servigroup Hotels to make a getaway to Alicante and enjoy a vibrant city with so many things to see and do!

If you prefer to disconnect without losing sight of the sea, do not miss the Hotel La Zenia, located in the south of the province of Alicante on the front line to the beach and just a short distance from the city. We are waiting for you! 

Most popular entry

Caves of San José, enter the heart of La Vall d'Uixó

The endless white sandy beaches of the Costa de Azahar often overshadow the many other charms that this incredible area of the Mediterranean coast awaits travellers. This is the case of the Coves de Sant Josep, some very interesting underground caves that hide the longest underground navigable river in Europe and whose walls house cave paintings. Are you going to miss it?