Alicante: Main Sights
Capital of the Costa Blanca
There is plenty for visitors to do, and Alicante offers a wide range of attractions, with the city boasting historic architecture and museums, breathtaking scenery and sandy beaches.
The Castle of Santa Barbara
The Castle of Santa Barbara is one of the biggest mediaeval fortresses of Spain, and is located in the center of Alicante. This major landmark of the city stands on the top of Mount Benacantil, which offers spectacular of the city. Whilst looking at the castle from El Postiguet beach, visitors are able to see a shape of a human face known as the Moor's Head.
St Mary's Church (Iglesia de Santa Maria)
St Mary's Church is one of the most visited attractions in Alicante, built in a gothic style between the 14th and 16th centuries over the ruins of the foundations of a mosque during the Moorish occupation. The building, which boasts a spectacular Baroque interior, has a wide range of art with two of the most valuable pieces dating from the 15th century.
Ayuntamiento (Town hall)
This building with baroque civic architecture is situated just behind a park in the centre of Alicante. Known to locals as the “Ayuntamiento”, it features beautiful twin towers which reach 35 metres in height, a blue room, the plenary room and the chapel. Before viewing the dramatic statue of Dali, visitors are able to see a small metal disc, an instrument that is used to measure the height above sea level in all other parts of Spain.
San Juan Beach (La Playa de San Juan)
The San Juan beach or La Playa de San Juan is Alicante’s most visited, and is located around 7.2 kilometres (4.5 miles) from the city centre. The long and sandy beach has been awarded Blue Flag status by the European Union, and it is the ideal place for sunbathing and swimming in the Mediterranean sunshine with a good selection of shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and water sports on the beach.
Tabarca Island (Isla de Tabarca)
A great day trip from Alicante, Tabarca (or Isla de Tabarca in Spanish) is a beautiful rocky island officially considered as part of Alicante and lies only 17 kilometres (11 miles) southeast of the city, making it easily reachable by boat in just under an hour.
On Tabarca Island, natural beauty abounds and buildings are kept low and unobstrusive. Whilst the main economy is tourism, which is hugely popular in the summer months, the mild climate and crystal clear waters make it a lovely place to visit at any time of year. While on Tabarca Island, it is worth sampling some of the delicious fresh seafood available from the cluster of shoreside restaurants.
Tabarca Island was the first official Marine Reserve in Spain and protects over 1400 hectares of marine life. For this reason fishing is restricted on the island, although professional sport fishing is possible.