All about Alicante

All about Alicante

The name of the city comes from the Arabic name Laqant  or Al-Laqant, which in turn reflects the Latin Lucentum.  The area around Alicante has been inhabited for over 7000 years.

Alicante is a city and port and is the capital of the Alicante Province situated in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a very historic Mediterranean port.

The population of the city of Alicante in 2016 was estimated at 330,525, making it the second largest city in the Valencian region city it is also the 8th largest area of Spain. 

Alicante is an attractive Spanish city with a castle, old quarter and long waterfront, you will also find lots of museums, most of which are free and well worth a visit.

How to get to Alicante from Benidorm

Details on how to get to Alicante by Train/tram from Benidorm can be found HERE  

Alsa bus also provide a regular service from Benidorm to Alicante

Beniconnect ALITREN, takes you to the centre and drop off /pics up at the train station. Only 10 euros

Book Beniconnect here

READ THIS WONDERFUL ARTICLE - Alicante, Montaditos and Fun by Benidorm Seriously member R Colclough



This is a mount (or rather a large hill) that dominates the urban part of Alicante, and is the characteristic image of the city. 544ft above sea level.

The rock mount is covered by pine trees and bushes on the north side, while on the south side, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, there are only rocks. In the intermediate areas there are bushes and grasses that are quite characteristic for the dry climate.

The mount is famous for the rock formation on its south-western slope, known as la cara del moro ("the moor's face").

Mount Benacantil, Alicante

The medieval fortress of Alicante, the Castle of Santa Barbara stands on the top of the mount. On the slopes of the mount there are Park Ereta, neighbourhoods of Santa Cruz, San Roque, San Anton and Raval Roig.


Alicante Castell de Santa Barbara

Perched on top of M­ount Benacantil, at a height of 166 metres, stands one of Spain’s largest mediaeval fortresses, providing great views of Alicante’s perfect bay.

The castle has three different enclosures from three distinct periods.

The upper enclosure, “La Torreta”, is where visitors will find the keep and the most ancient remains of the fortress, which mostly date from the 14th century.

The mid-level enclosure is home to the most important buildings, which were built in the 16th century. These include: The Salón Felipe II hall.  The Cuerpo de Guardia guardhouse the Patio de Armas parade ground the Baluarte de la Reina bastion.

The lower enclosure dates back to the 18th century and is home to the Revellín del Bon Repós ravelin.

You can access the castle via a lift built into the rockface opposite El Postiguet beach, or on foot or by car along the road on the north side of Mount Benacantil.


Alicante Port

The port has been reinventing itself since the the 1980s. In recent years, the Port Authority has established it as one of the most important ports in Spain for cruises, with 72 calls to port made by cruises, bringing some 80,000 cruise passengers and 30,000 crew to the city each year.

The 1990s marked possibly the greatest changes in the modern history of the port of Alicante. The Special Plan for the Port ('PEP' in Spanish) of 1992 allowed the port to plan an expansion towards the south, and made provisions for converting some of the quayside into a zone of seafood restaurants, an extensive promenade with modern bars and nightclubs open until dawn.



Construction began on the San Nicolás Co-Cathedral in the year 1600, replacing a building that had stood their previously. It is built in the Herrerian renaissance style and is located in the heart of the city.

Its floor plan is in the shape of a Latin cross, with an interior that boasts notable features such as the 15th century cloister with two baroque doors, the altar and the blue cupula 45 metres high. Below the cupola is the Capilla de la Comunión communion chapel, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Spanish baroque.

The interior has recently been restored to mark the celebration of the La Luz de las Imágenes exhibition (The Light of Images) in Alicante, which aims to recuperate and promote the Region of Valencia’s artistic heritage.

Plaza Abad Penalva, 1

Opening hours:  From Monday to Saturday  From 11.30 am to 12.30 am  From 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm



El barrio is the old neighbourhood in Alicante and has with it's narrow streets and old buildings a nice area to go for a walk.  Built under the protection of the Santa Barbara fortress, and full of narrow, steep streets and colourful buildings.

El barrio is mainly known for it's high number of bars and discotheques, but also by daytime it's a nice place to go for a walk to enjoy the beauty of the architecture.

Visit the most photographed street in Alicante

This has been nicknamed the "Mushroom Street" and was designed in 2013 and is now a favourite street for many.  The streets real name is calle San Fransisco and it can be found in the Old town area.



Explanada de Espana - palm avenue along the coast of Mediterranean sea.  Many people consider it as the most beautiful quay in Spain.  A wonderful place to sit and watch the world go by.  It is paved with 6.5 million marble floor tiles creating a wavy form. The Promenade extends from the Port of Alicante to the Gran Vía and ends at the famous statue of Mark Hersch.  At the end of the promenade is a monument by the artist Banuls of the 19th century.

Park El Palmeral (The palm grove)  The park is close to the busy N-332 outside the city centre  As the name suggests, a park full of different palm trees, in fact there are over 7000.  You walk on well-kept gravel paths, over bridges, pass beautiful flower beds and rare palms. The gravel paths make this park very accessible for people with prams and wheelchair users. but dogs are NOT permitted.   

Alicante Park El Palmeral

You can also view the park from the water. In the park you can rent a free rowing boat to sail over the beautifully landscaped pond. You just have to sign up at the dock, they will ask for your driver's license or passport and sign that you will return the boat intact.  The pond consists of beautiful open spaces and narrow passages. 

There is a lovely cafe and plenty of activity area for children and sports facilities. 

The park is open daily from 9 am to 10 pm in winter and 11 pm in summer. The hours for rowing vary depending on the season.



Created in 1932, this museum was originally located on the ground floor of the Provincial Council building on Avenida de la Estación avenue in Alicante. In 2002 it was transferred to the former site of the San Juan de Dios provincial hospital.

Visitors to this highly innovative and visual museum can enjoy an avant-garde approach to archaeology supported by modern audiovisual techniques.  Its exhibits stretch from the Palaeolithic through to Contemporary Modern Culture, tracing the history of Alicante.  This museum won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2004

OPENING HOURS - Tuesday to Friday  from 10am to 7pm. Saturday from 10am to 8.30pm Sunday and bank holidays from 10am to 2pm.


This museum is housed in the city’s oldest surviving civil building. In the baroque style, it dates back to 1685 and is located next to the Santa María basilica. It was originally designed as a cereals warehouse but was also used as a business school before finally becoming a museum.

It has three permanent collections: the collection of 20th-century art, which includes works by Miró, Dalí, Juan Gris and Julio González; the Juana Francés Collection, donated by the artist on her death in 1990; and the Eusebio Sempere Collection, acquired by Alicante Town Council since 1997.

Opening hoursFrom October to May Tuesday to Saturday from 10.00 to 20.00 h. Sundays and holidays from 10.00 to 14.00 h. Closed on Mondays.  June, July, August and September: Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00 to 14:00 h and from 18:00 to 20:45 h. Mondays, Sundays and holidays from July, August and September CLOSED.  FREE admission



This museum occupies the 18th century Gravina Palace, which once belonged to the Count of Lumiares and housed the Provincial Archives. It exhibits works owned by the Provincial Council of Alicante, with collections comprising works of art created in Alicante from the Middle Ages through to the early 20th century.

Address:  c/ Gravina, 13 – 15 (Old Quarter) Phone:(+34) 965 14 67 80

Opening hours: July and August: Tuesdays to Sundays from 11.00 to 21.00 h.  Sundays and holidays from 11.00 to 15.00 h.  Closed on Mondays.

Rest of the year:  Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10.00 to 20.00 h.  Sundays and holidays from 10.00 to 14.00 h.  Closed on Mondays. FREE admission

Shopping centres in Alicante

Centro Comercial Panoramis - Muelle de Pte., 6, 03001 Alicante

Gran Vía Shopping Center - Calle José García Sellés, 2, 03015 - Alicante

Centro Comercial Puerta de Alicante - Avinguda de Alcalde Lorenzo Carbonell, s/n, 03007 Alacant

El Corte Inglés - Av. Federico Soto, 1, 03003 Alicante

Plaza Mar 2 - Hermanos López Osaba, 03013 Alicante

Centro Comercial Fontana - Av. Holanda, s/n, 03540 Alicante

Please note Shops in the area are not open every Sunday but selected dates over the year.

And of course don´t forget the BEACHES

Postiguet Beach

This beach is located in Alicante’s city centre, at the foot of Santa Barbara Castle and next to the marina and the Explanada de España.

San Juan Beach

Almost 3 kilometres of golden sand make San Juan the most popular beach in Alicante. This is a long open beach with high quality fine sand.

La Almadraba Beach

A small uncrowded beach, ideal for rest and relaxation. The sea here is tranquil with no waves and it’s the perfect place for watching a sensational sunset.

Cabo de la Huerta Coves

Between the beaches at Almadraba and San Juan, rocks and sand form these beautiful coves with clear water.

Albufereta Beach

Located to the north east of the city of Alicante, between the Serra Grossa and Tossal de Manises, in an area with important archaeological sites. This is where the city’s origins lie.

Saladares Urbanova Beach

This beach is located 5 km from Alicante city center. It is situated in a quiet area, with plenty of services for visitors and signposted nudist areas.

 A TRIP TO TABARCA from Alicante

The island’s waters are officially declared a Mediterranean Marine Reserve for their excellent quality and for the biodiversity of their flora and fauna.

Tabarca is the only inhabited island in the Region of Valencia and is located opposite the city ofAlicante, 11 nautical miles offshore and near the Santa Pola headland. In fact, it’s more than just an island: it’s a small archipelago that comprises the islets of La Cantera, La Galera and La Nao as well as the Isla de Tabarca itself. It is approximately 1,800 metres long and measures some 400 metres across at its widest point.

In the past, its shores were a refuge for Berber pirates and, in the 18th century, King Carlos III ordered the island to be fortified and a town built, in which to house several families of Genoese fishermen who were being held prisoner in the Tunisian city of Tabarka.

The walls surrounding the town have been officially declared a Historical and Artistic Site and an Asset of Cultural Interest.

A visit to the island usually lasts one day. There are numerous departure times from the port of Alicante, although the regularity of these depends upon the time of year. The boat ride is comfortable and lasts for around one hour. The island can also be reached from Santa Pola and Benidorm.

Museum Nueva Tabarca - Tabarca island. Almacén de la Almadraba Building. 

Winter: Wednesday to Sunday. From 11.00 to 14.00 h. From 15.30 to 16.30h.

Summer: Wednesday to Sunday. From 11.00 to 14.00 h. From 16.00 to 18.30h.

General ticket: 2 €.  Reduced ticket: 1 € for arranged groups of students of more than 10 people and adults with student card.  Free admissión for people older than 65 years, and children up to 12 years accompanied or handicapped.

The boat trip to the Tabarca Island can be comfortably made from Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar and Benidorm.

From Alicante Marina


At Easter and over the summer season, there are several departures every day.

Outside of the summer season, confirm timetables beforehand:

Alicante- Tabarca

From Monday to Sunday


From Monday to Sunday

Approximate journey time: 1 hour. Children over 4 years and adults: 19€ Children under 4 years: free

Once on the island, visitors can enjoy the coves and beaches with their crystal-clear waters and a picturesque fishing port with excellent eateries offering the opportunity to try the traditional “caldero”, the island’s typical dish.

We recommend a stroll through the town and a visit to the island’s museum.

Visitors can now even enjoy an overnight stay on the island, thanks to the recent opening of accommodation.

Find details of other places to visit in this section of the website - The surrounding area. Like us on Facebook

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Montaditos and fun.

I have always wanted to visit Alicante, so my invitation from Marian, a nice Spanish lady was greatly received.
My journey began from Benidorm, the place I was currently visiting. I was told the best way to go would...

Montaditos and fun.

I have always wanted to visit Alicante, so my invitation from Marian, a nice Spanish lady was greatly received.
My journey began from Benidorm, the place I was currently visiting. I was told the best way to go would be on the tram. I purchased a return ticket from the station office. The cost of the ticket was very reasonable, and the staff were most pleasant and helpful. I did not have to wait long for my tram. The journey was most enjoyable, stopping at small towns, with magnificent views of the Spanish coastline. The journey took just over one hour. Travelling alone, I felt comfortable and safe. I was somewhat nervous in my approach, as I have not dated for a long time. My barriers were raised from the hurtful pains of the past. Yet no grudges no hate, as we pass through this wonderful world, we walk the song of confrontation and love. I am just a bloke trying to get by like everyone else, though just maybe, I can have some fun along the way.

I arrived at the station in Alicante. I proceeded to the exit, reaching the outside of the station, I looked around the city, historical buildings, open spaces, spotlessly clean sidewalks, and tiled promenade's, also a varied range of retail outlets, bars and other services. I will refrain from the word cosmopolitan, it's more than that. A thriving combination of new and old, the diversity of Alicante holds a fascinating gift for those who walk the path of its city life.
I text Marian to inform her of my position, and she came as quickly as she could. She greeted me with her lovely smile. I looked upon her face, and she gave me her heart, the world transformed with the glow of the city, and the breath of the sea, this was to be a most joyful day.

We then strolled down a beautifully tiled pathway towards the sea holding hands. She could speak a small amount of English, and I could speak a small amount of Spanish, although we got by, enjoying each others company. I find some things can be said without talking, a glance or a smile can say a lot. Her good manners and her heartfelt charm gave me a feeling of respect for her, and my treatment towards her was of etiquette and kind. It is important to be right and proper, the befitting way to treat a nice Spanish lady. Reaching the end of the pathway and crossing the road, the harbour, a painting of blue and white, the boats bobbing around to the soft music of the sea. If you listen carefully you can hear the calm whispers of the sea, empowering your senses and flavouring your thoughts. Marian then introduced me to the masters of the past, an architectural dream, the magnificent buildings designed by men of vision, monuments to stand through the immortality of time. This city of life, a time capsule of history, echoing the achievements of so many things. The people of Alicante can walk with pride retaining their values of tradition and family life.

After all that walking, it was time for a bite to eat, we rested at a very pleasant pavement cafe. Marian suggested that we have montaditos
something I have never tried before.
They were small baguettes with a choice of delicious fillings at a reasonable cost. You don't need to go to a 5-star restaurant to find good food. I have sampled street food in many countries, if the food sellers are popular and busy, you know it is a good and a safe place to eat. We enjoyed our montaditos, and we washed it down with cold beer.
Marian then asked me if I'd like to go for a walk or dancing, as in Alicante the dancing starts on a Saturday afternoon, so it was dancing for me.
We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking beer and dancing to Spanish music, although I was the only English person in the bar, I felt very welcome. The dress code was casual but smart.
There was no bad behaviour in the bar, just respectful feelings towards each other.
We had great fun, but with the evening curtain drawing slowly over the Alicante sky, it was time for me to catch my tram. After a tearful goodbye at the station, my journey began to my good friends in Benidorm. When I returned to Benidorm, my mood changed, touching my very soul, I felt different somehow. My barrier lowered thanks to Marian, and my mistrust in love, reduced to just a small echo in time. I now look forward to my next travelling encounter, it's good going to Benidorm, having good times and drinking, but, there is so much more to do and see. The history and culture, the glowing happiness and contentment of the Spanish people, it's all there for you. So when you are in Benidorm, take a bus ride jump on a tram, you will not be disappointed.
R Colclough

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Russell Colclough
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