Alicante is a Mediterranean coastal city in the southeast of Spain. It is also the capital city of a province with the same name inside the Valencian Community. There is a population of 337 482 people as per 2020 data.
The city has been inhabited for more than 5000 years which enriches the cultural heritage and history we nowadays have in the city. Part of this heritage is kept in the Archeological Museum of Alicante.
Alicante is also a famous tourist destination as it is the capital of Costa Blanca. The city counts miles of golden sandy urban and semiurban beaches including the beaches on an island, Tabarca.
Furthermore, Alicante is a cultural-rich city with pretty beaches, vivid nightlife with a big international community that is not massified in proportion with the city’s population.
Alicante VS Benidorm
Alicante and Benidorm are two different cities situated in the same province. They are 40km away and are well connected by public transport: TRAM trains and coaches. Going from Alicante to Benidorm takes around 40min by road but double the time by TRAM.
Alicante has been for thousands of years a bigger city than Benidorm. Benidorm has focused on the tourism industry in the last few decades while Alicante has been more of a Spanish-working city all this time. Nowadays Alicante has 337 482 (2020) inhabitants while Benidorm has 67 558 (2022 data). In both cities population increases in summer but the Benidorm’s increment is of several sizes in its winter population due to tourism.
Both places have an old quarter, nice beaches and vivid nightlife but with a different vibe. While Alicante keeps the Spanish feeling all around the city, Benidorm is a mix of international cultures sensed in its shops, restaurants, hotels and party places. While British culture is strong in Benidorm it is far from being the only one represented around the town.
The weather is surprisingly good in both cities.
What is Alicante Famous For?
Alicante is a pretty city famous for its excellent beaches, gastronome and restaurants, affordable prices, amazing weather, a child-out vibe and many cultural and leisure activities.
What to Do in Alicante
Alicante is rich in cultural and leisure activities, museums to visit and beaches to enjoy. Here are some examples of things to do in Alicante:
- Enjoy its beaches
- Beach El Postiguet at the city centre
- San Juan Beach, one of the longest urban beaches in Spain
- El Cabo de la Huerta coves. Rocky semi-urban coves
- Visit Santa Barbara Castle
- Stroll through Explanada De España and Canalejas park
- Walk around the Old Quarter up to Parque La Ereta to Santa Cruz
- Visit San Nicolas Cathedral in the Old Quarter
- Walk around the Central Market in Alicante
- Visit The Ocean Race regatta museum
- Be in Alicante from the 10th-24th of June for Hogueras de San Juan
- Visit Alicante’s museums, such as MARQ Museum
- Organise a day trip to Tabarca Island
- Stroll next to Alicante’s marina
- Try as much as you can of Alicante’s gastronomy, food and wines
- Enjoy the good weather outdoors or on its beaches
- Eat Churros with hot chocolate at Valor
- Enjoy the contended prices
- Find your perfect accommodation in between the large variety of hotels, hostels and others
- Feel Alicante’s laid-back quality of life
- Visit the millenarian archaeological site Lucentum, the ancient origin of Alicante
- Visit other countries using its Airport
- Enjoy day trips to places such as Terra Mitica, Calpe, Altea or Benidorm
- Do active and adventure tourism activities such as kayaking, city visits by bike or electric scooters, kicking, coves, parasailing, sailing, kitesurfing and many others
- Use the TRAM train to Benidorm to enjoy the views from the train
- Visit Alicante during the easter holidays to see the parades
Alicante Airport (officially Alicante-Elche Airport) is the 5th busiest airport in Spain by passenger number per year, with more than 13.2 million passengers using Alicante Airport in 2022 (in Spanish).
The airport received in 2018, 2019 and 2022 (in Spanish) the ACI award the “Best Airport in Europe” for its category -15m to 25m passengers per year-. Alicante airport is comfortable for travellers and has connections with most of the major cities in Spain, Europe and Morroco. Examples of cities with direct flights are Rekiqvick, Oslo, London, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Marrakech, Budapest, Zurich, Brussels, Berlin, Kaunas and many more.
Some of the airlines flying from and to Alicante airport are Ryanair, Vueling, EasyJet, Jet2, Norwegian, Iberia, Icelandair, Swiss, British Airways and many others. Note some of the airlines are low-cost so flying to/from Alicante can be economic.
The airport is separated into two main areas, one for domestic and European flights with shops and restaurants such as Burger King, Budweiser, Duty Free or Costa Coffe and many others. In this area, there is also a terrace for smokers in the Budweiser pub. The area reserved for non-EU international flights (to the UK, Morroco, etc) has a smaller restaurant and shops offer.
Security is usually fast with several lines opening and closing depending on the passenger’s load. The Alicante Airport building is relatively new, opened in 2011, which makes it well-designed and prepared to transport millions of people per year comfortably.
The transport to the airport is only by road as there is no train station at the airport. There is a bus to Alicante (line C-6), a taxi stop, private transfers and a coach/bus station for commutes to Benidorm, Altea and many other destinations. You can not order Uber or Cabify from Alicante airport but taxis are available and waiting in the terminal.
Alicante is good for partying too. It has a vivid nightlife cheered by people of all ages. The party is divided into 4 main areas:
Old Quarter El Barrio
The main party area in Alicante with the most clubs. A bit of everything, from Latin music to techno not forgetting commercial Spanish music, commercial international music, reggaeton, rock and more. Clubs close at 3 am by law.
Perfect to join up on the Tardeo phenomenon. The Spanish usually start partying late. It is common to meet your friends for a dinner at 10 pm and then go to a club from 11 pm-12 am up to 3 am or more moving to after-hours clubs.
In Castaños, people would meet earlier for a drink, from 5 pm or so, which is not that common in Spain. In that street, clubs open earlier than in the Old Quarter so you can be partying from 5-6 pm and go home earlier after a nice party evening.
Clubs will open in the evening and close at 3 am too.
Puerto (means port or harbour) is in between El Postiguet Beach and Alicante’s marina, close by the “The Ocean Race” museum.
At Puerto, some of the clubs will close later than 3 am so it is a good place to go after a party at the Old Quarter or Castaños. There are different places with different music styles, including Latin music, and even a karaoke bar.
Playa de San Juan (Summer)
Playa de San Juan has also some pubs and clubs but the season when more people would party in this part of Alicante is summer.
El Golf (Summer)
Next to the golf field “Alicante Golf” there are some clubs that get busy during summer. You can go by TRAM lines 1 and 3 getting off at “Campo de Golf” which usually offers night service during the summer weekends.
Alicante is rich in traditional gastronomy. Here are some examples of foods that you should try when in Alicante:
- Arroz Alicantino: A Banda, arroz del señorito, arroz con costra, con bogavante, del señoret and other variants
- Coca de Mollitas
- Turrones de Jijona
- Olleta Alicantina
- Coca de San Juan/Coca amb Tonyina