What’s there to do in Alicante? A better question is what isn’t there! Normally associated with its fabulous nightlife, and miles of sandy beaches, Alicante has something for everyone. The city caters for adrenaline junkies, nature enthusiasts, the explorers, and the city break lovers all with complete ease. Pick the role best suited to you and you’ll have no difficulty finding tailor made activities. Or better yet, hire a car with easyCar in Alicante and sample a few!
The Adrenaline Junky
The Costa Blanca’s water is its playground and there is no better place to dive into the great blue yonder. Famed for its crystal clear waters and sandy shores, the islet of Tabarca is a forty minute boat drive from Alicante. The island is a protected marine reserve, so the snorkelling and scuba diving are out of this world! Sink down to the depths to admire the diverse flora and fauna, resurfacing for a caldero or paella lunch at one of Tabarca’s excellent seafood restaurants. Still bursting with energy? Test out the water sports, go for a swim, or try you hand at cove jumping.
The Nature Enthusiast
Commune with nature in Canelobre Caves. A thirty minute drive from Alicante, these natural caves have been formed by seven million years of erosion and are some of the largest open to the public. Head down the 141 stairs into the depths and marvel at the stalactites, stalagmites and other unusual rock formations. Named after a candelabra-shaped stalagmite, the limestone caves also boast jellyfish-shaped and dragon-shaped rocks. Illuminated by beautiful coloured light displays, the caves are given an added dimension by the shifting patterns and shadows cast by the lamps. Concerts are often performed here as the vaults provide amazing acoustics. Nature lovers won’t want to miss out on a chance to see the caves’ stunning surroundings by hiking to the top of Cabeço d’Or.
Perched atop a mountain looking out over waterfalls, mountains, and a reservoir, Guadalest is an explorer’s dream. This picture perfect village is on all the Costa Blanca postcards and is one of areas most visited locations. A trip is well worth the hour long drive from Alicante and there are plenty of viewing points to stop at en route. The village has a whooping nine museums including Orduña House, a four level residence built in the 17th Century. There’s also a castle, a fortress, a church and plentiful small shops selling local produce, so you won’t be wanting for things to see whilst there!
A half hour drive from Alicante (or just over an hour from Guadalest) are the Palm Groves of Elche. You’ll know you’re on the right track as the number of roadside palm trees slowly begins to increase as you travel! Known as the ‘City of Palms’, Elche’s groves date back to the Arab occupation of the 10th Century and their agricultural and irrigation work in the area. This veritable jungle is an ideal place for an explorer to spend an hour, or possibly two with a picnic. Alongside the date palms there are exotic plants, citrus trees, statues, decorative buildings, water features and a dove house. If you are after fancier fare than a humble picnic, then you can’t go far wrong with the daintily presented food at nearby restaurant Els Capellans.
The City Break Lover
Holidays needed be all go, go, go. Make some time to stay local and wander Alicante’s city centre. A great first port of call for a stroll is Explanada de Espana – one of the city’s oldest and most famous promenades. There are an impressive 6.5 million blue, red and white tiles which form the shapes of rippled waves on the beautiful mosaicked floor. There is nothing nicer than walking in the dappled sunlight created by the long lines of palm trees or stopping for a sit down and a chat on one of the avenue’s wooden chairs. Need a refreshing hochata or an ice cream to cool yourself down? Kiosco Peret has the best that can be found and has been serving it for over a hundred years! Sit on the terrace and lick a cone while looking out over Postiguet beach and the harbour.
Still got some strength in your pins? Quick march to Barrio Santa Cruz (the old quarter). This beautiful and unusual district has the feeling of a coastal village despite its city location. The quaint, whitewashed buildings here are decorated with love; colourful flowers spill over from the numerous plant pots attached to the house fronts, railings and balconies, and there are an abundance of religious icons and patterned titles. The neighbourhood is a pleasant one and the local run coffee shops and bars are excellent places to stop for a quick breather before darting off down another alleyway.