The Best Free Things To Do In Alicante in 2021
Sitting on Spain’s Costa Blanca is the dreamy port city of Alicante. Travelers flock here every summer for quality beach time but it’s worth a visit all year long. With a stunning castle, buzzing nightlife, and mouthwatering Spanish dishes like paella, Alicante is a top destination.
A trip to Alicante doesn’t have to be expensive. There is so much to do here without spending any money. Read below for 11 free things to do the next time you’re in Alicante.
1. Lounge on the Beach
Top of the list of free things to do in Alicante is chilling on the beach! Everyone comes to Alicante to spend time on its long sandy beach. Postiguet Beach spans the length of the city, with the beautiful Santa Bárbara Castle looking over it. Come play in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea or spend the day lounging on the fine golden sand. Kids and adults love the calm water. Little stands selling treats and small cafes serving drinks with live music dot the sand. A promenade stretches alongside the beach, the perfect place to ride your bike or enjoy a walk.
You can easily spend your entire trip relaxing on the beach in Alicante. During the popular summer seasons, the beach can become quite crowded. Luckily, due to its large size, you will still always be able to find a spot to lay out your towel.
2. Relax in Plaza de Gabriel Miro
Escape to Plaza de Gabriel Miro, a little oasis in the city. Although small, this is one of the nicest squares in Alicante. It is surrounded by ancient rubber trees with branches trailing towards the ground that give the park a fairytale feel. Benches circled around a large ornate fountain are the perfect place to sit after walking through the city.
Stop here to smell the flowers or to eat at one of the cafes and restaurants that face the beautiful square.
3. Stroll Through Barrio de Santa Cruz
No visitor to Alicante should skip the captivating neighborhood of Santa Cruz. Located right under the Santa Bárbara Castle, Santa Cruz is worth the walk from downtown Alicante. This postcard worthy old town is the best place to take photos and take in the quintessential Spanish charm. Beautifully tiled flower pots overflowing with tendrils of blossoms are hung on the walls of the pastel and white buildings. Narrow streets with steep teetering steps bring guests to amazing viewpoints.
Climb all the way to the top of the neighborhood to visit the Ermita de Santa Cruz church. Look out at the glistening Mediterranean Sea above the red tiled rooftops.
4. Tour the Museo de Hogueras
The Spanish region of Valencia is famous for its bonfire celebrations. The Museo de Hogueras (Bonfire Museum) is completely free to visit and explains a bit of this history.
Every summer solstice, on June 23rd, coastal Spanish cities celebrate the Bonfires of St John. The celebration in Alicante is the largest and most elaborate. Colorful effigies are burned on the beach while festival goers watch, dance, and have a good time. Some of these works of art have been saved from the flames and are on display in the museum. This is a great way to see what the festival is like if you are unable to visit during the celebrations.
5. Walk Along the Explanada de España
Palm trees line the Explanada de Espana, one of the prettiest promenades in Spain. More than six million blue, red, cream colored tiles set in a wave shape give this promenade its one-of-a-kind look. Market stalls are set up along the way, full of artisan crafts and souvenirs to browse. Cafes and restaurants with umbrella shaded terraces dot the walkway.
The wide promenade is a beautiful place to walk and people watch. Stroll past the harbor and see the boats come in, watch street performers, and enjoy the slow pace of life. Statues and interesting lush plant life guide your way past the beach.
6. Mercado Central
Walk a bit farther into the city from the beach, and reach Alicante’s Mercado Central. Built in 1922, this eclectic building is polished off with Valencian modernist decorations, making it truly one-of-a-kind.
Locals come here to buy fresh produce, meat, and fish. Local artisan goods, bakeries, bars, and tapas restaurants are on site. Browse through two stories and almost 300 stands. It is easy to lose track of time between the stalls.
7. Castillo de Santa Bárbara
You can’t miss Alicante's Castillo de Santa Bárbara. Looming over the city and beach, Santa Barbara Castle has been sitting on the top of Mount Benacantil since the 9th century. The castle is completely free to visit, with a catch. Since the castle is located 166 meters up a mountain, reaching the top is quite the hike. Visitors who want to avoid this uphill trek can simply take an elevator with an entrance near the beach. The elevator is inexpensive, costing only €2.40.
Once you reach the top, the views are unbeatable. Look out onto the glistening azure blue of the Meditteranean Sea, the surrounding city, and the curving coastline. Tour the interior of the castle to read about the castle’s interesting history, including sieges and wars.
8. Santa Maria Basilica
The Santa Maria Basilica is Alicante’s oldest active church. After Moorish rule ended, the Spanish built the Basilica over the remains of a mosque in the 14th-16th centuries.
The church is built in a Valencian Gothic tile with an intricate Baroque style facade. The doorway is intricately carved with images of the Virgin Mary out of the sand-colored stones. Step inside to see the soaring high ceilings and beautiful artwork. You might hear the 17th-century organ playing or the bells ringing out as you leave.
9. Palmeral de Elche (or Palm Grove of Elche)
About 30 minutes outside of Alicante, easily accessible by car, train, and bus, you can be transported to the largest palm tree grove in Europe. The Palmeral de Elche is home to 11,000 towering date palms. Believed to first be planted in ancient Roman times, it was expanded by both the Moors and Catholic Kings.
Completely free to enter, the Palmeral is truly an oasis. Stroll through the park, past ponds, fountains, and blossoming flowers. Stop by the museum afterward to learn more about its history and ancient canal system. If you're hiring a car in Alicante, check out our full guide to get the most out of your rental
10. Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante (MACA)
Located in the heart of Alicante’s old town, The Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante (Museum of Contemporary Art of Alicante) is always free to visit. This interesting building is filled with colorful modern art. It’s a nice break from many of the medieval somber paintings visitors see in churches and other museums in Spain.
In Alicante’s MACA, provocative sculptures pop against the airy white museum walls. The permanent collection rotates in this small museum, as well as temporary exhibits featuring Spanish artists.
11. Hike to La Ereta Park
La Ereta Park is a little park sitting below Alicante’s castle with an amazing view. Visitors hike up to La Ereta to sit at one of its benches and look out over the city.
The park is overflowing with green plant life and little terraces and walkways to explore. There is a restaurant located in the park where you can stop for a drink or bite to eat. Stay here to watch the sunset behind you while you gaze out over the Mediterranean Sea.
There’s so much to see and do in the seaside resort town of Alicante without breaking the bank. We hope these 11 things to do in Alicante improve your next Spanish holiday.
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