Coastal Getaway: Exploring Alicante in 3 Remarkable Days
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
Alicante holds a special place in my heart, and a destination I frequently visit when I’m looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Madrid. Its vibrant atmosphere, warm hospitality, and rich heritage make it an absolute delight for any explorer. From sun-drenched beaches to ancient fortresses, Alicante offers a remarkable tapestry of experiences that will leave you enchanted. Prepare to lose yourself in its undeniable beauty and discover a side of Spain that will captivate your soul. The enchanting city of Alicante, nestled along the picturesque Costa del Sol in Spain, is a Mediterranean gem that is a Spaniard favorite, yet foreign to many Americans. If you're seeking a captivating destination combining history, culture, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife, you're in for a treat.
This comprehensive 3-day itinerary has been carefully crafted to ensure you make the most of your time in Alicante, immersing yourself in its wonders and creating unforgettable memories along the way. From exploring ancient fortresses and savoring delectable cuisine to basking in the sun on golden sands, get ready to embark on a journey that will leave you spellbound. Let's dive into this thrilling adventure and discover the hidden gems of Alicante together.
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Hotel Hospes Amérigo
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Day 1: Exploring the historic heart of Alicante
Start your day with a light brunch or coffee at Sip & Wonder Coffee, a bright, spacious place with industrial decor and inviting armchairs. It’s an excellent spot to sit and enjoy one of the many special espresso drinks before visiting the buzzing Mercado Central, where you can sample local delicacies and enjoy a tapas feast.
Enjoy brunch at José Fuster. This stall is one of the best-known in the Alicante Central Market. And it is because of the quality of its bay fish and because several generations of people from Alicante have bought it here, including several prestigious chefs.
Making your way to the heart of Alicante’s Casco Historico (Historic Quarter) to visit the iconic Santa Barbara Castle. Take a leisurely stroll or hop on the elevator to reach the summit of Mount Benacantil, where the castle stands majestically. Marvel at the panoramic views of the city, coastline, and surrounding mountains.
Next, immerse yourself in history at the San Nicolas Cathedral, a magnificent Gothic-style structure. Admire the stunning interior and intricate craftsmanship, then explore the nearby Old Town. Get lost in its narrow streets, stumble upon quaint squares, and browse through local shops offering handicrafts and souvenirs.
Stop for a delicious lunch at one of the many charming cafés or seafood restaurants in the area like La Taberna del Gourmet (C. San Fernando), for traditional Alicante cuisine or Pipirrana Vermut (Rbla. de Méndez Núñez) where you can sample vermut and various types of regional tapas and Arroz a Banda, a classic rice dish similar to its northern Valencian cousin, Paella.
Head down to the vibrant Explanada de España, a beautiful promenade lined with palm trees and mosaic patterns. Don’t miss Concha de la Explanada (“the shell of the esplanade “) a visual attraction not to be missed when you walk along the Explanada de España. However, many do not know that it is a small municipal auditorium. They perform concerts that you can enjoy outdoors on a beautiful summer afternoon.
Stop at Peret, Alicante’s 100-year-old ice cream kiosk, and continue on to enjoy a leisurely walk along the waterfront, taking in the refreshing sea breeze.
As the sun sets, experience the lively atmosphere of Alicante's nightlife. Start with dinner at Nou Manolín (Villegas, 3). Since 1971 this restaurant has been one of the most famous and most awarded in the city and is a perfect place if you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Alicante, above all, if you want to sample the finest seasonal produce.
Day 2: Sun, sea, and sand
Rise and shine to a day filled with sun-soaked adventures. Start your adventure with a light brunch or coffee at Madness Specialty Coffee then head to the stunning Playa del Postiguet, Alicante's most popular urban beach.
Spread your towel on the golden sands, soak up the Mediterranean sunshine, and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters. If you're feeling adventurous, try some water sports like paddleboarding or kayaking.
Indulge in a delightful beachside lunch at one of the charming beachfront restaurants. Savor fresh seafood dishes while enjoying breathtaking views of the sea.
Afterward, venture a bit further from the city to the beautiful Playa de San Juan. Its long stretch of golden sand offers a more relaxed and serene atmosphere. Unwind, take a leisurely walk along the shore, or enjoy the tranquility of this picturesque beach.
Return to the city center and discover the vibrant Alicante marina. Stroll along the promenade, lined with yachts and sailboats, and take in the picturesque sunset views with a drink in hand at Soho Mar.
Treat yourself to a delectable dinner at Monastrell (Avenida del Almirante Julio Guillén Tato), the holder of one Michelin Star, this is one of the most refined restaurants in Alicante. Running the show is María José San Román who serves her particular signature cuisine replete with avant-garde touches, which is available in both the dining room and at the bar, a good option for those on more of a budget.
Day 3: Cultural delights and modern marvels
Begin your day on a high note at Lucero's Coffee, a truly remarkable coffee shop that sets the stage for an unforgettable morning. As you ascend the stairs, you'll be greeted by a warm and inviting ambiance, complete with cozy seating options that create the perfect setting for savoring a delightful breakfast. Lucero's Coffee has got you covered whether you're in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely brunch.
After treating your taste buds, it's time to immerse yourself in the tranquility of Parque el Palmeral, an idyllic oasis just a stone's throw away from Alicante's bustling city center. As you enter this serene sanctuary, prepare to be captivated by its ethereal beauty. Here, you'll discover a mesmerizing tapestry of cascading waterfalls, lush gardens, and picturesque bridges gracefully spanning flowing streams. It's worth noting that Parque el Palmeral is not only a place of natural splendor but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcasing the enduring Arab agricultural practices that have influenced Europe since the 5th century BC. With its abundance of date trees and other verdant foliage, this park is a testament to the region's rich history and showcases a harmonious blend of natural and cultural heritage.
Enjoy the contemporary side of Alicante. Visit the impressive Museum of Contemporary Art (MACA) to admire a diverse collection of contemporary artworks from both Spanish and international artists. Immerse yourself in the creativity and thought-provoking exhibits that showcase the vibrant art scene of Alicante.
Enjoy lunch at Sale & Pepe Barrio, which pays homage to the strong Italian community within the city, before discovering the intriguing blend of history and modernity at the MARQ Archaeological Museum. Unearth the ancient civilizations that once thrived in the region through interactive exhibits and archaeological treasures. Gain insights into Alicante's fascinating past and the cultures that have shaped it.
Save some room for dessert, head to Heladeria Borgonesse for ice cream, and take a leisurely stroll along La Calle de Las Settas, affectionately known as Mushroom Street. While this project initially faced criticism during its redevelopment of Calle San Francisco, today, Mushroom Street has become an iconic landmark in Alicante. It's no surprise, given the street's distinctive green cobblestones and the whimsical mushrooms adorning its center. This pedestrian street truly stands out as a unique and charming gem within the city.
To conclude your Alicante adventure on a high note, head to Taberna Alioli around 6 pm, a wonder of Alicante that is worth a visit, for an early evening glass of regional wines, sausages, and cheeses that will pleasantly surprise you.
End your trip with a delightful dinner at a rooftop restaurant, Terraza Bar Ereta, where you can savor delicious cuisine while enjoying the city's enchanting night lights. This charming restaurant is nestled within the Castle of Santa Barbara, Terraza Bar Ereta provides a unique dining experience. Enjoy delicious tapas and refreshing drinks while savoring panoramic views of the city below, including the old town, the harbor, and the Mediterranean coastline.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Sarah Shafer-Hazim's guide, 4-Day Travel Guide to Barcelona.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Spain.