A One-Day Walking Tour of Alicante City

Playa del Postiguet

Disclaimer: My trip to Alicante was kindly sponsored by Jet2CityBreaks. However, as always, all opinions are my own.

Alicante is a vibrant port city on the Spanish Costa Blanca, known for its long stretches of sandy beaches, its charming Old Town and the medieval Castle of Santa Barbara which overlooks the city.

It’s a wonderful place to explore on foot. One moment you could be losing yourself in the city centre’s maze of narrow streets; the next, you could be enjoying the fresh ocean air as you stroll along the promenade.

This one day in Alicante itinerary will enable you to visit the city’s highlights on a self-guided walking tour. It includes a visit to Santa Barbara Castle, exploration of the Old Town and its historical buildings, and a stroll along the promenade, before finishing at the beach.

You might also be pleased to know that admission to everything detailed in this Alicante itinerary is completely free!

Santa Barbara Castle

Begin your day in Alicante by heading up to Santa Barbara Castle. It’s pretty hard to miss, as it dominates much of the city’s skyline. It sits perched atop Mount Benacantil and is, without doubt, the most iconic landmark for Alicante; a reflection of its rich history and cultural heritage.

The castle dates back to the 9th century when it was built by the Moors as a fortress to protect Alicante. Over the centuries, it has been modified and expanded on by various rulers, including the Arabs and the Christians. The castle you see today is mostly from the 16th century.

You can either take the elevator up to the castle (opposite Playa del Postiguet) or you can hike to the top via a footpath. I recommend the latter. It’s fair work in the Spanish sun, but the reward is worth it.

Once inside the fortress walls, you can explore the castle’s ramparts and towers, as well as enjoy panoramic views across Alicante, the Mediterranean Sea and the Serra Grossa mountains.

Opening hours: 10am to 6pm every day

Santa Barbara Castle Alicante

El Barrio

From Santa Barbara Castle, head down into El Barrio — Alicante’s Old Town. Charming and picturesque, it’s characterized by narrow, winding streets, pretty plazas and colourful buildings.

El Barrio contains many of Alicante’s most important historical sights, including the Central Market, Concatedral de San Nicolás, Santa Maria Basilica, and the City Hall — all of which you’ll see on this Alicante itinerary. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops to explore here.

El Barrio Alicante

The Central Market

Your first stop in the Old Town is the Central Market, a large indoor market offering a vast variety of local produce. It’s housed in a beautiful Art Nouveau building, decorated with colourful tilework and stained glass windows. This is a great place to grab a coffee and a bite to eat after your hike up to Santa Barbara Castle.

Opening hours: 7am to 2:30pm weekdays; 7am to 3pm Saturdays; closed Sundays

Concatedral de San Nicolás

From the Central Market, wind your way through El Barrio to the Concatedral de San Nicolás. The exterior of the Cathedral might be a little sombre, but the inside is beautiful, featuring intricate stone carvings and stained glass windows. I definitely recommend you head inside to see the chapel.

The Cathedral was built in the 14th century and was initially a small church dedicated to Saint Nicholas, a patron saint of sailors. It’s been renovated and expanded upon over the years, but much of the cathedral you see today is from the 19th century when the Baroque facade was added to the building.

Opening hours: 8:30am to 1pm and 6pm to 8:30pm

Cathedral of Saint Nicholas Alicante

Santa Maria Basilica

Up next is the Santa Maria Basilica. As the oldest active church in Alicante, the basilica is one of the most important religious buildings in the city. It was built between the 14th and 16th centuries and is a great example of Valencian Gothic architecture, with its grand stone arches and intricate carvings.

You can go inside the basilica to admire its high ceilings, stained-glass windows and ornate decor. The main altar is particularly beautiful, adorned with opulent gold detailing and framed with white columns.

Opening hours: 10am to 1pm and 6:30pm to 8pm

Basilica of St Mary of Alicante

The City Hall

Your final stop in the Old Town is the City Hall, housed in a beautiful 18th-century building. It features a grand central dome and a clock tower, and its façade is adorned with intricate sculptures. You’ll find the main entrance of the City Hall on the Plaza de Ayuntamiento square — a typical Spanish courtyard with arcade walkways and people sipping coffee under the shade of parasols.

Opening hours: 8:30am to 5pm Mon – Thur; 9am to 2pm Fri; closed on the weekend

Alicante Town Hall

The Explanada de España

You’ll now leave the Old Town behind as you head towards the seafront. Take a stroll down the Explanada de España, a lively promenade paved with colourful mosaic tiles and lined with palm trees.

The Explanada is a great place to people-watch and soak up the atmosphere. There are plenty of cafés, bars and dessert places with outdoor seating here, so why not relax with an ice cream, coffee or glass of wine?

The Explanada de España

Playa del Postiguet

It’s a short walk from the Explanada to the sandy Playa del Postiguet, where your Alicante walking tour will finish. With clear waters, fine golden sand and a great view of Santa Barbara Castle, it’s the perfect spot to relax after your day exploring the city.

There’s a palm-tree fringed promenade behind the beach which is lined with bars, cafes and restaurants. I recommend a visit to Gomiz, a relaxed beach bar that serves delicious sangria, cocktails and snacks. Or, if you’re still full of energy, there are lots of watersports available during the summer, such as parasailing and guided kayaking tours.

Playa del Postiguet

Got more than one day to spend in Alicante? Here are some more ideas on how to spend your time.

For outdoor enthusiasts, I recommend heading to the tiny Serra Grossa mountains outside the city. There are some hiking trails and gorgeous viewpoints here. Alternatively, you could relax on the beautiful Playa de San Juan beach, visit the contemporary art museum MACA, take a ferry to Tabarca Island, or take a day trip to charming Altea to explore its cobblestone streets and white-washed buildings.

Alicante essentials

Want to visit Alicante for yourself? Here’s what you need to know in order to plan your trip.

When: Alicante is a fabulous destination year-round, thanks to its hot summers and mild winters.

Where: We stayed in the hotel Melia Alicante through Jet2Holidays. I can highly recommend it: it’s beautiful with fantastic views of the ocean and is a short walk away from Playa del Postiguet and the Explanada.

How: There are plenty of affordable Jet2 flights to Alicante throughout the year from airports across the UK. Alternatively, you could book an Alicante City package with Jet2CityBreaks, which includes flights and accommodation bundled together for your convenience.

Thank you for reading! If you found this post useful, I’d be grateful if you would consider using the affiliate links below when planning your travels. I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This will help me to keep this blog running. Thanks for your support – Lauren.

Hotels – Booking.com
Hostels – Hostelworld
Cheap flights – Skyscanner
Travel insurance – World Nomads
Outdoor gear – Decathlon / GO Outdoors
Cycling gear – Chain Reaction Cycles

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