by Victor Sesma
Victor Sesma is an Alicantinian living in London. He is a Software Engineer who likes writing about the city he was born.
Your Guide to Alicante [By an Alicantinian]
Alicante is an ancient and charming Mediterranean city. A day is a little time to enjoy all of what Alicante has to offer so let’s focus on how to make time most of your time.
There are a few things to do in Alicante that will make your time the most enjoyable possible in the city: Visits to ancient monuments, walks in between palm trees, lunch with sea views…
Start your day strong. Spaniards eat “late”. Anytime from 1 pm to 3 pm and life gets easier and more yummy adapting to that lunchtime. Just choose a place nearby where you are staying and have a good breakfast.
Sometimes you will need to go out from where you are staying to have breakfast. The top areas are Mercado Central, El Barrio or bars in front of El Postiguet or Virgen del Socorro street. Do not overthink this too much, just go close to the place where you are staying and have a good breakfast.
Typical things to eat at breakfast are a toast with grated tomatoes (Pan con Tomate in Spanish) with coffee or natural orange juice.
One of the top attractions in Alicante is Santa Barbara castle and it is the perfect way to start your day. And the entrance is free! It is on the top of mount Benacantil (544 feet or 166 meters up) so the best option is to get the lift costing a small fee. This article has all the info you need to know about Santa Barbara castle. This is the address to the lift:
Expected time: 1:30h to 2h
Be ready for more slopes. But the way down from Santa Barbara Castle is quite picturesque and worth the effort. Exit through the main exit in the castle and walk the trails to La Ereta park. Keep down and use one of the doors in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood.
This little neighbourhood was originally protected by walls. The city down the castle fortification.
On your way down you might want to visit some of the museums around the area. For example, Aguas de Alicante -to learn how a super dry area like Alicante has been outsmarting nature on water usage for millennials-, MUBAG museum -if you like fine arts- or Maca museum if you like contemporary art.
Expected time: about 1h to 2h visiting museums.
At this point of your visit, it should be already around the Spanish lunchtime (1 pm to 3 pm).
So are you hungry after so much walk on the slopes of the Benacantil?
Now it is time to find a good restaurant to eat at. Have in mind that for the Spaniards, lunch is probably the most important meal of the day, the most abundant.
My favourite recommendation is to go to a skyscraper for lunch: El Gran Sol.
This renovated 97m tall skyscraper has an amazing restaurant on floor 26. It is the 3rd tallest building in Alicante and, probably, the one with the better views. I would recommend you book in advance as it can get busy. It is a bit more expensive than other restaurants but not in excess.
They have typical Alicantinian cuisine. The views from the top are astonishing.
If you were thinking of having tapas instead… I would leave that for the dinner. Foods such as Arroz (similar to paella and cooked at Gran Sol) are eaten by local people at lunchtime so it is better to use this opportunity for that type of meal instead of tapas.
Expected time: about 1h to 1:30h (that’s the time Spaniards would take).
Just below the Gran Sol is La Explanada de España. This picturesque pomegranate is worthy of a walk.
The floor has wave shapes in a reminder of the sea of Alicante. The colours are representative of the area as the stones are from nearby mines.
If you didn’t have a dessert or coffee it is a perfect place to have it in one of the different cafes, ice cream shops or bars along the pomegranate.
Expected time: from 45min to 1h.
The recommendation will now be dependent on the day of the week. During weekdays museums like the MARQ should be open until 7 pm, except for Mondays. On weekends it closes earlier. But don’t worry if the museums are closed, there are more things to do in Alicante.
A good idea to use this time is to visit more museums. One of the most important museums in Alicante is the MARQ museum. MARQ stands for Museo Arqueologico or Arqueological Museum.
The exhibition stores pieces from virtually all the cultures Alicantinian land has helped to grow and develop. There is more information about the MARQ Alicante, including opening times, in this article.
MARQ is not in Alicante city centre so you might need to take the TRAM or the bus.
If MARQ is closed or you are simply you are tired of museums there are more options for you.
There are several shopping malls in Alicante but they look the same in every city so let’s focus on the high street.
In Alicante, the highstreet is Avenida de Maisonave.
At the west extreme is Alicante Train Station and at the east side is the Plaza Sotelo Calvo park. But most important, on each extreme is El Corte Inglés, one of the most important department stores in Spain.
Also, at Avenida de Maisonave, there are many important brands such as Zara, Stradivarius, Tezenis, Breshka and Massimo Dutti as examples.
Luceros Fountain, in Luceros Square, dating from 1930. It is one of the most important monuments in the city for its significance and its architectonical value.
It might be worth a quick look at the fountain if you are nearby.
This is a very beautiful park in Alicante. It features many centenary Ficus trees. It is nearby Alicante port so it is worth walking around it.
It was built in 1886 and the name is in honour of a former Spanish prime minister: Jose Canalejas y Mendez.
It is at the end of La Explanada:
Expected time: 2h-3h
At this point, it should be around 8 pm-9 pm. Anytime from 8 pm or 8:30 pm is a good time for dinner in Spain.
Now it is time for tapas. A good street with several tapas restaurants is “La Calle de Las Setas” or Masshrooms Streets. As soon as you are in the street you understand why it is called that way. It is here:
Another good area for tapas is around Mercado and also at El Barrio.
Expected time: 1h to 2h
Most Spaniards will go party from 12 pm. The party area in Alicante is El Barrio and Castaños.
But if you want to go to have a drink after dinner don’t worry, most of the places will be already open for you to enjoy a cocktail or a beer.
The clubs and most of the places in El Barrio, have to close at 4 am by law.