The city can be broadly divided into the city beach- Playa Postiguet- the old town- Barrio Santa Cruz- the marina and the castle-Castillo de Santa Bárbara- overlooking the city.
Apart from a wealth of good value bars, restaurants and cafes it has a tram that connects with beaches all along this stretch of the coast, including one of the best beaches in Costa Blanca, Playa San Juan.
Here is our brief guide to Alicante City and its beaches.
Beaches in Alicante- The main city beach is Playa del Postiguet. This blue flag beach is almost 1km long with soft golden sand and calm waters. It does get very busy in summer, however, when we visited in November there were just a couple of dozen people on the entire beach before noon and the sea was ‘refreshing’ but still fine to swim in.
A 20-minute tram ride away is the much longer beach at Playa San Juan which was our favorite beach along this stretch of coastline.
Old Town- Barrio Santa Cruz/ Casco Antiguo-Santa Cruz/ El Barrio is located between the beach and the foot of the castle and is the most charming part of Alicante City. Originally this was the area settled by the Moors and called Al-Laqant. Most of the streets are car-free and make for a very picturesque walk, however, they are not suitable for those people with mobility issues.
Bars, cafes, and restaurants are dotted around all over this area, we’ve listed a few of our favorites below- and like the beach, in low season this is a relatively non-touristy area of the city that is a must-visit for visitors.
Alicante Marina- Marina Deportiva del Puerto de Alicante is located right next to the city beach, Playa del Postiguet. You can get boat trips from here but for non-boaters, the main attraction is the bars and restaurants all around the marina.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE:
The Mushroom Street- In 2013 it was decided to liven up a commercial street- Calle San Francisco- by installing statues of mushrooms with cartoon faces. It worked as this street in the old town is now an essential stop for tourists taking Instagram photos.
La Explanada de España- The most famous walkway in Alicante city is lined by palm trees on both sides and it’s just a short stroll from the beach/ marina. At night it’s a good place for people-watching with a cold beer, but we found the restaurants here very touristy, overpriced and the service was generally poor. There are many better-eating options in the old town!
Santa Barbara Castle- Santa Bárbara Castle is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe and wherever you are in Alicante city you can’t miss it. If you aren’t a history buff then the main attraction here are the fantastic views over the marina, city, and beach. There is a lift to the castle, a taxi from the beach will be less than Euros 5 or you can walk there, but bear in mind that to enjoy the best views you will need to walk up fairly steep paved paths once inside so if you have mobility issues you may not enjoy it especially when it’s a hot day. Sunset views are worth a second trip.
Alicante has plenty of really good places to eat. Here are just a few of the beach bars and restaurants in Alicante city that we enjoyed:
Beach- Our go-to spot on the main beach in Alicante for breakfast/ brunch was Xiringuito Postiguet, a laid-back ‘beach shack’ with friendly service, great smoothies, and a menu with some good vegan options as well as classics like club sandwiches and hamburgers. On summer evenings they often have a DJ playing chilled tunes and sometimes a jazz band and they mix some great cocktails.
Playa San Juan has a better selection of beachfront restaurants for lunch in our opinion. Service and ceviche were great at Goleta Beach a stone’s throw from the sand.
A little further along at Cervecería Restaurante Qué Rico, we loved the gambones al ajillo with some chilled white wine.
Old Town- There are so many places to eat here it can be a bit difficult to choose, but wherever we ate the ambiance was good, the service was friendly, and the food was delicious and good value.
We had an excellent beef tenderloin at In Bocca Al Lupo Alicante and the starter of Burrata di Puglia was outstanding. Service was attentive and friendly with some good wine-by-the-glass recommendations. The pizzas on the other tables looked and smelled amazing.
Restaurante La Brújula is right on the marina and is an old-school, in the best way, restaurant specializing in great seafood dishes. A great spot at sunset, we enjoyed the dish of red prawns of Dénia and the paella Alicante which had chicken, shrimp/prawns, clams, squid, and langoustines was one of the best we’ve eaten in Alicante.
La Tasca Del Barrio is located on one of the pedestrianized side streets in the old town, we’d describe it as upscale tapas. The waiters were great, the place is charming and the dishes are reasonably priced. You definitely need to book in high season for dinner as it’s very popular with residents as well as visitors. Our starter of truffle mushroom croquetas was sublime, the meatballs had a very nice slightly sweet sauce with well-cooked chips, and the paella de marisco was perfect. We liked this place so much that we returned for lunch the next day.
Restaurante Italiano Casanova Alicante is lit up like a Xmas tree and is a great spot for a romantic Italian dinner. The pizza and service at La Casa de la Pizza Alicante were absolutely spot on!