Alicante | Travel Guide
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Update Jun 14: Spain (including the Balearics and Canary Islands) has been added to England's amber list. Mainland Spain is open to UK visitors without quarantine or even a test.
No test is required to visit mainland Spain from the UK.
When you're there:
There is a curfew between midnight and 6am, with bars and restaurants allowed to operate at 50% capacity indoors, and 100% outdoors until 11.30pm. Shops are open with a capacity of up to 75%.
Traffic light status:
Spain and her islands are on England's amber list, which means it is legal to travel there for any purpose, including a holiday. (The UK government discourages, but has taken no steps to prohibit, holidays to amber list countries). The FCDO advises against travelling to the whole of Spain with the exception (at time of writing) of the Canary islands.
Alicante Travel Guide
Hola intrepid explorers and welcome to our Alicante travel guide - the only place to find out everything you need to know before you travel.
Alicante is a great destination whether you're looking to spend a week relaxing and tanning or escaping Britain's winter for some milder temperatures. There are tons of things to see and do all year round, so beaches, museums, festivals and a fantastic dining scene await you whenever you arrive.
What to expect in our Alicante travel guide
Getting to Alicante
Alicante has it's own airport, which makes this a very easy destination to get to. There are regular flights from the UK, at very competitve prices. The flight time is around 2 hours 40 minutes, so not too long to keep the kids entertained for!
Once you have landed in Alicante it's only a short drive to the city, we recommend pre-booking an airport transfer as this is the most hassle-free way to reach your accommodation.
If you haven't prebooked however you can either grab an Alicante airport taxi (€20), or hop on the C-6 bus line which operates a 24/7 bus service to the city centre (€3.85).
Alicante is located in south eastern Spain, in the Costa Blanca.
Time zone: Alicante uses Central European Standard Time (CET), meaning it's one hour ahead of the UK.
Currency: Alicante uses the euro, and VAT is always included in the price.
Power adapter: Spain uses type C and type F - these are both two round pins.
Language: Spanish (Castillian) is the main language. It's always good practice to try and speak Spanish, so here are some quick phrases to get you by.
Hello - Hola
Please - Por favor
Thank you - Gracias
Goodbye - Adiós
Do you speak English? - ¿Habla usted Inglés?
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Getting Around Alicante
Most of the main sites of Alicante are easily reached on foot - and it's our preferred way of seeing the city. Alicante tourist board has an excellent walking route map which you can take with you, or join our friends at Free Walking Tours Alicante if you want local insight and a more personal touch.
If walking is not for you, or you need assistance getting around the city then there is an excellent public transport network to get you around. There is a reliable tram and bus service that runs throughout the day, and if you plan to use these regularly we suggest purchasing a BONO card as you can preload multiple trips rather than buying individual tickets each time. As with most cities there is also a hop-on/hop-off tourist bus that runs between the main tourist sites, this can be a great option if you have mobility issues or are pushed for time but want to see all the main sites.
If you are looking to get out of the city then it may be worth hiring a car as this gives you greater freedom of where you can travel.
Top Places To Visit
Castillo Santa Barbara
No holiday to Alicante is complete without a visit to this stunning hilltop castle - arguably the number one must visit for tourists. The castle sits atop of Mount Benacantil, and at 166m it offers unparralleled views across all of Alicante.
The castle can be reached on foot via La Ereta Park, but be warned this is an unphill walk with not a lot of shade! So make sure you have plenty of water and sunscreen. The effort is worth it though as you will have fantastic views on your way up. If the climb isn't for you or you need a more accessible route then there is a lift up to the castle from Postiguet Beach (it costs around €2.70 per person)
The Mercado Central is a modernist-inspired marketplace in central Alicante. It has around 292 stalls over two storeys, selling fresh fruit, veg, meat, fish, bread and much more. Most of the stores are owned by local families, so it's a great way to experience some authentic cuisine.
The main entrance can be found on Avenida de Alfonso el Sabio, but can only be accessed via steps. So if you need an accessible entrance head to the back entrance on Plaza 25 Mayo. The plaza is worth a visit on its own, especially on Saturdays when the locals gather for tardeo, or evening drinks.
Explanada de España
Enjoy an evening stroll along the marble tiled Explanada de España, there's plenty of bars and cafes to stop by for a drink. Or grab an ice cream and browse the artisinal stalls that pop up.
One of our favourite spots in Alicante is the old town, or El Barrio as it's also known. During the day you can wander the winding, narrow streets, with many old buildings and art galleries. But at night, El Barrio comes alive! With some of the best bars, tapas and music in Alicante make sure you spend an evening exploring and taking in the atmosphere. Don't expect an early night though, as things don't really kick off until 11pm!
Basillica of Santa Maria
If you enjoy history and culture, then head to the Santa Maria Basilica. Built in the 14th century over the remains of a mosque, this is the oldest church in the city. This beautiful church can be found in the old town, so there's plenty of picturesque streets to explore whilst you are there.
If you have a bit more time, then we recommend taking a day trip to Tabarca. This untouched island just off the coast of the city is only a 40-45 minute boat trip away, and around €20 for a round trip. The sea surrounding the island have been declared a Mediterranean Marine Reserve – you can enjoy the crystal clear waters on the boat ride over or on a scuba diving trip beneath them.
This beach is the most central in the city, situated below Castillo Santa Barbara. So it's an excellent choice if you want to spend the morning on the beach and then the afternoon exploring sites in the old town. It's a wide sandy beach, with a beautiful promenade and a number of kids' play areas.
Easily accessible by tram, the largest of the beaches is San Juan, with plenty of white sand and space to relax - it's also a great choice for water-based activities and there are a number of shops and resturants to explore on the beachfront.
Cabo De Las Huertes Cove
North of the city, and between the beachs of San Juan and Albufereta, this cove is an excellent choice for getting away from the crowds. Though this beach is rockier, the crystal clear waters make this an ideal spot for diving. There's an excellent footpath that runs the length of the coves which takes around two and half hours to walk. These beaches are popular for nudists, so bear this in mind when visiting.Image courtesy of Alicante Turismo
You can find this small sandy beach northwest of the city, and it's easily accessed by tram. There's great access for those with reduced mobility and this beach is usually much quieter if you're looking for somewhere more tranquil.
Alicante For Families
Alicante is the perfect destination for families and there's plenty to keep the kids entertained. Firstly, the beaches - there are a number to choose from and all readily accessible from the city. With beautiful sand (perfect for sandcastles!), a kids play area, and a shallower swimming section we definitely recommend El Postiguet.
For little kids with big imaginations then definitely take a day trip to Tabarca island, this was a popular hide out for pirates and smugglers. Plus the crystal clear waters on the boat ride over are worth the trip alone!
Outside of the city there's an amazing selection of amusement parks you can visit - for pools and slides head to Aqua Natura; or if animals are more your thing then visit the zoo theme park Terra Natura. You can even buy a combo ticket which allows you entry to both!Image courtesy of Aqua Natura
Accessibility In Alicante
Alicante has made great efforts to make the city accessible as its popularity as a tourist destination has grown. Alicante city offers assistance at 3 of the major beaches (from July-September), El Postiguet, San Juan and Saladares-Urbanova. This includes adapted parking and changing rooms, wider walkways, use of amphibious chairs and staff to support you.
The trams that run throughout the city are accessible, with lift access to the street and ramp access to the trams. There is also a hop-on/hop-off bus which can be used to see most of the main tourist attractions.
Accessiblity at the main attractions does vary, and in some cases though they may be accessible there can be difficulty navigating narrow cobbled streets. Castillo Santa Barbara has lift access to the top of the castle, but note that some sections are steep and may be unsuitable for those with mobility issues.
Alicante has a thriving gay and lesbian culture, and Spain as a whole is one of the safest countries for LGBTQ+ travellers in the world. There are a number of gay friendly hotels, guesthouses or B&Bs to choose from, and if you're looking to hit up the nightlife then Canibal Pub is a popular gay venue in the heart of Alicante. Check out the Alicante tourist boards handy guide to find more LGBTQ+ friendly places to visit.
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