The Perfect 2, 3 or 4 Days in Alicante Itinerary

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by Brittany Scott-Gunfield

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On Spain’s southern Mediterranean coastline lies the vibrant city of Alicante, capital of the Alicante region and a historic port city. With its historic centre, inviting beaches, dazzling harbour and exciting nightlife, you can easily spend 2, 3 or 4 days in Alicante, and our Alicante itinerary will take you through all of the hotspots.

How Many Days in Alicante?

The region of Alicante and the Costa Blanca in general is full of wonderful places to see, including the beautiful seaside towns of Gandia, Javea, Denia, Calpe and Altea to name a few, so you can happily spend a two-week holiday in Alicante and see something new every day.

If you’re wondering how many days to spend in Alicante city, it depends on what you’re interested in and whether you want a tight Alicante itinerary or prefer to explore the city at a relaxed pace.

You need at least 2 days in Alicante to see the main attractions and bake in the sunshine on the beautiful beach, but over 3 days in Alicante, you can spend more time wandering the winding streets of the old town, taking in the views from the hilltop castle and include an activity such as a catamaran cruise or a guided food tour.

If you have 4 days, you can take a day trip further afield to the nature reserves South of the city, the more isolated beaches, another coastal town like Villajoyosa, or the surprisingly green city of Elche.

Alicante Harbour
Alicante Harbour

Getting To & Around Alicante

Arriving in Alicante from other European cities is very easy thanks to the Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport just a 15-minute drive, or 30-minute bus ride on the L1, from the city centre. You can fly directly to Alicante Airport from many locations across Europe and beyond. You can organise a transfer here.

Alicante Train Station is very central and easy to reach, however, the Spanish train service is limited so if you’re coming from another country, the easiest, shortest and cheapest way to arrive in Alicante is by plane.

From Madrid, a train takes 2 hours 30 minutes, while it takes 5 hours from Barcelona, and 2 hours from Valencia. You can view train schedules here.

Or, if you’re travelling around Spain or coming from a nearby coastal city like Cartagena or Torrevieja, you can use the bus service Alsa for routes between most cities and towns in Spain. It’s cheaper than the train and can often be easier, but finding the bus stops can be difficult so check the app and if in doubt, ask around – taxi drivers are particularly helpful!

Alicante Bus Station is located on the coast, West of the harbour and just a 15-minute walk from the centre or 10 minutes on the L24 bus. You can view bus schedules here.

Within Alicante centre, you won’t need to use public transport as the city centre neighbours the old town with both Santa Barbara Castle and Saint Fernando Castle within walking distance.

What’s more, the beach and harbour are just a stone’s throw from the centre so you can easily enjoy your time in Alicante completely on foot. If you’re less mobile, there is an extensive bus and tram service in and around Alicante and a lift taking you from the old town up to Santa Barbara Castle.

Esplanade in Alicante
Esplanade in Alicante

2, 3 or 4-Day Alicante Itinerary

Day 1 – Alicante Old Town

On the first day of your trip, discover the old town, El Barrio de Santa Cruz, and all of its hidden gems, finishing your day in one of the many restaurants and bars of the winding mediaeval streets. You can take a walking tour to learn more about the history of city.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral

We start our route through the old town of Alicante at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral due to its proximity to the city centre, making it easy to reach, however, you can change your route depending on the location of your accommodation, or simply wander the streets and marvel at the glorious buildings tucked away behind each corner.

The Concatedral de San Nicolás is one of the oldest buildings in the area, as a large part of the city was destroyed after heavy bombardments that destroyed 90% of the city in 1691, although the cathedral remained intact.

The architecture is very simple, with few decorations, indicative of the Herrerian style of architecture prominent in Spain in the 17th century, however, the original façade of black marble and the Gothic cloister from the 15th century are sights to behold, not to mention the blue domed roofs, reminiscent of a mosque that previously stood in its place.

Town Hall and Discovered City

A short walk from the Saint Nicholas Cathedral takes you to the remarkable Ayuntamiento, or Alicante Town Hall. With a lot of it built after the destruction of the city, the new Town Hall sits on the site of the former town hall, displaying a great example of Spanish Baroque architecture, which you can see from Plaza de la Santísima Faz on one side or Plaza del Ayuntamiento on the other.

At Christmas and Easter, the Town Hall is decorated and there are large displays in this square, making it a must-see place on your Alicante itinerary.

You can visit the Town Hall for free from 9 am to 2 pm in Winter and 9 am to 1 pm in Summer, to see the Salón Azul, a large ornate room designed for Queen Isabel I of Castile, who united Castile and Aragon to form the Kingdom of Spain after her marriage to King Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469.

Across each of the rooms allowing access to visitors, you can see fantastic works of art, including those from Alicante-native Gastón Castelló

Next to the Town Hall, although accessible from the Town Hall building itself according to the same opening hours, is the so-called “Discovered City”.

A small area, this underground museum showcases some of the ruins from the Muslim reign over the Iberian Peninsula from 711 to 1492, including the former defensive wall built in the 1200s to defend against the attacking Christian Kingdom from the North.

Alicante City Hall
Alicante City Hall

Santa María Basilica

A few hundred metres down the same road, in Plaza de la Santa María, is the incredible basilica of the same name. Like the Saint Nicholas Cathedral and many churches throughout Spain, this basilica was formerly a mosque but was converted into a Gothic cathedral after the northern Christian forces took over the city.

Aside from its ornate entrance below two towers, the building itself is very square and plain, however, you can see the Gothic arches inside leading to the intricately carved golden altar.

From the street outside, you can also see the cannon shots from the 13th-century bombardment as the mosque had been built into the city’s defensive wall.

Contemporary Art Museum

Facing the same square as the Basílica de Santa María, in the oldest civil building in Alicante, is MACA – the Contemporary Art Museum of Alicante.

Here you can find many amazing works of 20th-century art by revered artists such as Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Ernst and Bacon lit wonderfully in the large open rooms of the 17th-century building, as well as temporary exhibitions, a library and an art workshop.

If you prefer a different sort of art museum, then you can also opt to visit the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts which houses plenty of beautiful artwork, as well.

Contemporary Art Museum & Santa María Basilica
Contemporary Art Museum & Santa María Basilica

Tapas Bars

Known for its nightlife, the Santa Cruz Quarter is perfect for wandering the small streets at the end of your first day in Alicante to find a place to stop for a drink or order some tapas or lounge out on a large terrace sipping your drink. You can even take a tapas tour if you prefer to explore with a guide.

Try a rosemary-infused Xabiga Ale or Antara made with tiger nuts; these craft beers hail from Greater Alicante’s seaside towns of Javea and Xativa respectively and can be found in some local cervecerías.

Or, tuck into some tapas classics, patatas bravas, prawns in garlic, croquetas and albondigas in restaurants, such as Taberna Iberica.

The spacious restaurant has a classical guitarist and also serves a number of paellas and fideuàs – similar to paella but with short spaghetti-like noodles – although these dishes require a minimum of two people.

Keep in mind that these are typically lunch dishes in Spain, so it’s worth planning your paella (or fideuà) feast for the afternoon rather than the evening.

If you’re on a budget, you can find many cheap cervecerías around the city which do deals of a plate of tapas with a caña (a small draft beer) for a couple of euros.

Day 2 – Castles & Beaches

2 days in Alicante will enable you to spend as much time as you please exploring the mediaeval hilltop castle, with numerous activities to engage in, before relaxing on the beach in the afternoon and heading to the port for some delicious seafood.

Santa Barbara Castle

Start your second day with a decent breakfast because you’ve got a steep 30-minute walk ahead of you up to the Castillo de Santa Bárbara. You can of course take the elevator from Avenida Juan Bautista Lafora for a couple of euros to avoid the walk, but you do miss out on the charming winding paths through Parc de l’Ereta to the top of Mount Benacantil.

The Santa Barbara Castle spreads out across the hilltop, 166 metres high, and was originally planned as one of the biggest fortresses in mediaeval Spain; you can wander around most of the grounds and enjoy the amazing structure as well as the spectacular views of Alicante.

The official origin of the name Alicante is said to have come from its former Arabic name, Al-Laqant, however, a legend of the Moor of Al-Laqant and his daughter Cántara who lived in the Santa Barbara Castle is rumoured to be the real reason behind the city being named Alicante.

It’s this Moor who is said to be immortalised in the rock formation below the castle; you can learn more about the legend as you walk around the castle grounds.

Entrance to the large Patio de Armas and castle walls are free for visitors, however, access to the Old Dungeons, Cistern and Hospital is only available by guided tour.

Within the courtyard, you can enjoy a drink and snack at the cafe, or book a tasting of local products such as wine, craft beers and foods, to really make the most of your time in the historic site and learn about local products among experts.

You can also go up to the castle’s highest walkway, the Macho del Castell, where you have an unobstructed 360º view of the city.

You can expect to spend over an hour in the castle, and more if you take part in one of the many activities on offer. If you want a guided tour, check the website for information on what time the English tours take place as they alternate between English and Spanish. You can also book a dramatised tour for a fully immersive experience.

It’s a great place to take in the views of the city, so if you prefer, save your castle visit until sunset for some breathtaking scenery.

Santa Barbara Castle
Santa Barbara Castle

Postiguet Beach

Alicante is famous for its weather and any trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip down to Playa del Postiguet. Stretching for almost 900 m alongside Gómiz Promenade, this is one of the most popular places in Alicante for tourists and locals as the beach is so close to the city centre.

Despite its proximity to the harbour, the water is a clear blue, inviting you to paddle and take a breather from the city all year long.

You can walk all the way along Gómiz promenade next to the beachfront, from Plaza Porta del Mar to the Mirando al Mar sculpture, with its beautiful tiled ground and palm trees on either side providing shade. Watch out if you stop for a photo though, as this promenade is popular with roller skaters!

From the beach, you can also see the Santa Barbara Castle and the rock formation under the castle which is said to look like a head with a crown, known as the Head of the Moor.

Postiguet Beach
Postiguet Beach

Port of Alicante

The Port of Alicante, formed in 1271, is one of the most significant places in the city, as it has a long history of trade and sailing across the Mediterranean.

There is still a great deal of activity in the sailing clubs and marina; it’s even been the starting point for The Ocean Race numerous times, a big sailing event that began in Alicante last in January 2023 and next in 2026.

Take a stroll around the port from the scale replica of the Santísima Trinidad, one of the ships of the Spanish Armada involved in the Battle of Trafalgar, along the Esplanada de España and admire the boats or look for a restaurant for the evening such as Restaurante La Brújula for fresh seafood giving you an amazing view over the water, especially around sunset.

Day 3 – Alicante Cuisine & Alternative Sites

Day 3 will show you a different side of the city, taking you to a historic fort before sampling the local cuisine at the central market and exploring the peculiar Mushroom Street – yes, you did read that correctly…

Mercado Central de Alicante

In the centre of Alicante, in Avenida de Alfonso X El Sabio stands the large early 20th-century building housing the city’s famous market.

Over two floors in the huge hall, you can find hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fish and meat, but you can also stop for breakfast or coffee and pick up some dried meats, cheeses, bread and fruits for a picnic at lunchtime.

After you’ve explored the inside, peruse the outside of the market hall to see the impact of the bombings during the Spanish Civil War that the building managed to withstand.

The market opens Monday to Saturday from 7.30 am to 2.30 pm and can get very busy so go early if you want to avoid the crowds. If you want to learn about local cuisine and produce, then visiting the market is definitely one of the best things to do in Alicante.

Saint Fernando Fort

Walking northwestwards from the marketplace to Tossal Hill, you can continue to the historic Castillo de San Fernando.

Built in 1812 and named in honour of the King of Spain, the castle was designed as a fortress to defend the city against attack as well as a prison. However, it was built hastily and hence fell into ruin several years later.

You can spend up to an hour walking around the ruins of the neoclassical fort and perhaps enjoy a picnic with the produce from the morning market with views over the city. Or, you can head down to any of the parks surrounding the castle to relax in the greenery, such as Parc Tossal.

Head back down to the city centre from Calle Pablo Iglesias onto Calle San Francisco for one of Alicante’s most popular attractions.

Castle of San Fernando
Castle of San Fernando

Calle de las Setas

Previously an unwelcoming area of the city, in 2013 after council discussions, Calle San Francisco was transformed into an imaginative wonderland with colourful paving and several large mushrooms dotting the small street.

At almost 4 metres high, the mushrooms, some with small insects and snails on top, turn the street into a curiously picturesque dream that’s reminiscent of children’s stories. At some point over 3 days in Alicante, you have to see it for yourself!

This pedestrian area has a number of great bars and restaurants of all cuisines, so it’s a great place to wind down your day and join the locals for a late afternoon vermouth.

Plaza Portal de Elche

Just before you reach the end of Calle San Francisco, there’s a small square hidden behind the buildings with a delightful round cafe-bar, a replica of the 20th-century kiosk that previously stood there.

The cafe is an incredibly charming place to spend an evening as the lights on the kiosk and the surrounding streets look wonderful amongst the four enormous Australian Banyan trees which have been protected due to their size.

With large roots hanging down from their branches, the trees are quite impressive, especially given their over 6-metre circumference.

As a small space, it can get busy so if you don’t get to go in the evening, it’s still lovely to come back for a coffee the next day.

Day 4 – Day Trip from Alicante

If you’ve got 4 days in Alicante, you’ll want to get out of the city centre and explore your surroundings, from the beautiful beaches to the salt flats and the palm trees of Elche. If you’re looking for a leisurely day there are also various half-day cruises or wine tasting tours you can take.


To the southwest of Alicante is the small but beautiful city of Elche, 25 minutes by car and 30 minutes by train or coach.

While the city is mostly famous for its huge inner city palm forest, El Palmeral, it actually has an incredibly long history, having been occupied by the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Muslim forces and the Catholic Kingdoms.

You can see this across the city in the 12th-century Altamira Castle which now holds Elche’s Archaeological Museum and the 17th-century Basilica of Santa María de Elche.

The palm grove, however, is the main attraction and you can’t spend 4 days in Alicante without seeing it. With the largest palm grove in Europe in the centre, the city of Elche has over 70,000 date palm trees providing shelter, greenery and of course, delicious dates around the city since the Romans first established it.

In the site there is a museum dedicated to the palm grove, a National Artistic Garden, and a Municipal Park, so it’s the perfect place to spend a warm afternoon, learning about the long history of the palm forest, the influences each culture has brought and the modern threats it faces.

The palm grove is free, however, the museum costs a few euros.

Town of Elche
Town of Elche

Los Arenales del Sol

A 20-minute drive from Alicante centre or an hour on the train will bring you for a delightful beach day in Los Arenales del Sol. A quaint seaside town, with everything you need for a relaxed day out including small shops, cafes, bars and restaurants on the large beachfront.

If you walk along the beach away from the centre, you’ll come across a large walkway over the beach which you can walk along and take in the views from an elevated point.

You can also walk inwards from the town and discover several quiet hiking trails around a lake and the Bunker del Clot de Galvany.

Alicante Salt Flats

Further South of the city of Alicante are the amazing salt flats of Santa Pola and lakes of Torrevieja and Torre la Mata.

You can drive for 20 minutes from Alicante centre or take an hour-long bus to reach Santa Pola, where you can walk around the huge salt flats spotting flamingoes and go to the Museo de la Sal y Centro de Interpretación del Parque Natural Salinas de Santa Pola to learn about the history of the salt flats and how the salt is collected and used.

If you have a car (browse for options), you can then drive south for around 40 minutes to reach the small towns of Torrevieja and Torre la Mata which have enormous pink and green lakes respectively and make for great photos.

Lakes of Torrevieja
Lakes of Torrevieja

Where to Stay in Alicante

Hotel BH San Francisco – This 3-star hotel is perfect for those looking for a comfortable, mid-range place to stay in Alicante. They have lovely rooms available, a great location in the city and plenty of great amenities to ensure your stay is a great one.

Suites del Mar by Melia – This beachfront hotel is an excellent choice for those after a luxury stay in Alicante. They have a range of delightful, modern rooms on offer along with a lavish swimming pool and other great perks for guests, as well.

Balmis Plaza Apartments – If you’d like to have your own self-catering space while visiting Alicante, then these apartments are a great option. There are different fully furnished flats available, along with a great location for exploring the city.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Alicante hotels!

A trip to Alicante is perfect to explore the historic sites of the city centre and relax on the beach enjoying the Valencian cuisine, but however many days you spend in this beautiful city on the coast of Spain, you’re sure to have a great time.

Are you planning to visit Alicante? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Brittany Scott-Gunfield

Brittany is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Colchester, England, she is slowly but surely travelling the world as a digital nomad. She loves to hike around different landscapes and has a deep love for travelling around France (and elsewhere in Europe).

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