Alicante Weekend Break
Anyone wanting to take their holidays in Alicante are well advised to do so, there are plenty of Alicante activities to keep you busy including the amazing beach you could spend a while there – but equally the city is compact enough that an Alicante Weekend Break is the perfect get away.
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Starting the day off with a coffee on the beach has to be one of life’s greatest pleasures. The best view of the beach in my opinion is from the board walk at the western end of the Playa de Postiguet. I had coffee a few times at a restaurant called Palm Beach, I wasn’t brave enough to try their food as the location and prices didn’t give me lot of hope, but the coffee was reasonably priced and tasty.
After your coffee, walk east along the beach until you get to the weird but functional lift that will take you from the beach level up to the street on the hill above. Walking through this neighbourhood is a nice stroll with great views of the coastline. Curving up and around the base of the acropolis that the Castillo perches on will take you in close proximity to the MARQ – Museum of Archaeology in Alicante.
Busses: Busses seem to be super common in Alicante and there is a bus which almost circles the hill, if you don’t want to walk!
This museum has incredibly cheap entry (General Admission 3 Euros, Student 1.50) and is without a doubt one of the best archaeological museums that I have been to. Ever.
The building itself is gorgeous, originally built as a hospital in the 1930’s complete with a chapel. The Alicante museum of archaeology has a fantastic façade that looks down on a baking hot courtyard where you can find coffee and food in the shady corner. The chapel has been de-consecrated and turned into a library. Apart from an interesting history and a beautiful setting, the curators of the MARQ have done an absolutely incredible job setting up the exhibitions. It feels like the designer knew a lot about art, art galleries, and the way people respond to light and atmosphere. It is, for lack of a better word, beautiful.
I took about two hours to go around the museum in total, and I had a coffee in the courtyard just to soak up the atmosphere of the place. From here you should continue walking around the Castillo hill and down into the old town. There are so many places to eat in the Alicante Old Town you can stop for lunch any time you like.
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Old chapel at the MARQ turned into a library 😍 there’s just something f about an apse. • • • • #architecturedaily #geometricarchitecture #churcharchitecture #1930sarchitecture #apse #darklibrary #librarylife #spaintravel #espana🇪🇸 #españa🇪🇸 #marq #alicantegram #alicante_city #nerdhistorytravel #travelforhistory #sheisnotlost #femaletraveller #solofemaletraveler #nerdtravel
Alicante Old Town
The Old Town of Alicante is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. The streets are aesthetic, full of gorgeous architectural details and opinionated dogs will bark at you from their balconies. Take some time to visit the beautiful Basillica of Santa Maria. The intense Gothic style of this 16th century basilica is breath-taking. I sat for a good few minutes just taking in the gorgeous baroque entry way.
There are a lot of other things to see in the old town including the Cathedral de San Nicolas, the contemporary art gallery, and not to mention the wine shops and bars all calling my name!
Alicante Old Town is a perfect place for photographers – professionals and the selfie royalty alike. I would however advise wearing more sensible shoes for this day as Alicante Old Town is on the base of the hill of the Castillo. The rather steep hill. Take heed and leave the heels at home, or pop them in your bag and whip them out for the photo shoot you will definitely want.
Grab dinner either in Alicante Old Town or head down the hill a bit to the more touristy area and grab dinner there.
Take a walk past the marina of Alicante, taking in the crowds and the vendors at the Paseo de Explanada. A lovely design, the dual lines of trees give excellent shade from the sun. I would avoid the restaurants on this stretch though unless you find an exceptional one as this is where the majority of the tourist focused restaurants are and there isn’t always a good connection between proximity to tourist attractions and quality of food, if you get my drift.
There are a few options for the morning of day two, there are so many museums to choose from in Alicante City. From art galleries like The Old Fish Market (Museu de la Llotja) https://www.alicanteturismo.com/la-lonja-the-fish-market/?lang=en which has been housing unique exhibitions since 1992, or Gravina Museum of Fine Arts which is a historical monument in itself houses Medieval to modern Spanish art. If sport history is more your thing there is the Museo Volvo Ocean Race which is dedicated to competitive sailing, equipment, and history. The Alicante museum to the ocean race is small but very interesting.
Castillo Santa Barbra
Grab a light lunch on the way up the beach. You’re looking for the small cut into the mountain with a large door in it – the lift to the Castle. It is affordable and quick, for 2,70 euros you can zip up to the top of the hill in about 30 seconds.
Side Note: You can definitely hike up to the castle, and from all accounts it is a great hike, but make sure you check where you’re going. I followed a ‘shortcut’ given to me by a person living locally, and it landed me in what was almost certainly someone’s garden and on a section of the hill that was closed to the public! So pay attention to the signs, I gave up and jumped in the lift.
The Castillo is an awesome spot to explore, there are artefacts from as far back as the Bronze Age found on the slopes but the castle as we understand it was built in the 9th century CE, and was in pretty much constant use until after the 18th century when its use declined and at points was completely abandoned until 1963 when it was opened to the public.
Apart from the awesome history of the place, the visit is worthwhile just for the incredible view of Alicante from the highest walls of the castle. Though if you have a pacemaker you should avoid the absolute highest level as they use it for transmitters and there is a magnetic field up there, the lower sections are apparently fine however. There are two refreshment areas where snacks and beverages are available – including beer and ice cream, though I had my customary coffee in the shade. The informational signs are quite detailed though there are some guided tours if you want more detailed information, these are 3 euros per person.
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The Castello Di Santa Barbara at the end of the afternoon was probably my favourite time in Alicante, the buildings are just so aesthetic! • • • • #architecturedaily #medievaltimes #medievalarchitecture #espana🇪🇸 #españa🇪🇸 #Spain #traveltospain #castle #castlewalls #shetravels #damestravel #neverstopexploring #findhistory #travelforhistory #archaeology
Alicante Beach – Playa de Postiguet
The afternoon is for the beach. Head back down in the lift and cross the road, generally the eastern end seemed quieter than the western end when I was there. The sand is pretty solid at the water’s edge with a smooth slope out in to the water so if you want to kick your shoes off and walk in the water to find your spot – go for it. The umbrellas are NOT free, even if there doesn’t seem to be an attendant around – I stopped and asked someone on them and discovered they were ten euros, but she didn’t know if that was for the whole day or just a few hours. Either way I declined. The sand is soft and fine – a towel or sarong will more than suffice. While the naturist beaches are further out of town there were plenty of people of all ages going topless and not one person seemed to care. There is of course your fair share of the tight and tanned but equally there were plenty of people outside the societal beauty norms kicking back and relaxing – so don’t feel any pressure on Playa de Postiguet.
An Alicante Weekend
There you have it, two days packed full of Alicante. There is plenty more to do, and if you are a beach bunny extraordinaire there are plenty of other beaches to visit. Obviously a weekend is quote a short trip but if you like to be busy, get stuff done, and don’t want to spend a whole week on the beach then I think it is a good amount of time to spend in Alicante. If you would like a physical copy of a map to take with you, the Michelin Map of Alicante Area is a good one (and on Book Depository you get free delivery!)
Alicante Must Sees
If you only see three things in Alicante you absolutely must visit the Castillo Santa Barbra, Alicante old Town, and the Alicante Museum of Archaeology (MARQ). The view, the history, and the best museum I have been to in a very long time.