Few places manage to make me smile as much as this city, which never ceases to amaze me. Even though I have lived there for more than three decades. Having the opportunity to introduce you to it, talk about the Alicante hidden gems, and transmit a small part of what it manages to do to me, is an experience that I will not miss.
You may know her from one or another trip; you may have heard about her or even been lucky enough to enjoy her during your vacations. You will have gone to the most known and recommended places, which appear in the tourist guides and are worth knowing, however, Alicante is infinitely much more.
My name is Andrés, and I have lived in Alicante since my second day of life. Since the first one, I spent in Elche only and exclusively to annoy my neighbors when we talk about sports rivalries.
Today I would love you to accompany me on a tour in which I will try to show you a side of Alicante that most people don’t know, leaving behind the usual tourist spots. We will go into the magical corners of the city, to places, viewpoints, streets, and restaurants that either they tell you about or you would never see them.
Note: The order of these unusual things to do in Alicante is not intended as a ranking.
Note: This post is part of our “Local Experts” series, in which locals present their land. The text was written by Andrés, who was born and raised in Alicante.
What to find out in this post
- 1 17 Alicante Hidden Gems you didn’t know about
- 2 1. El Casco Antiguo (Old Town)
- 3 2. Museo de Aguas de Alicante & the wells of Garrigós
- 4 3. La Ciudad Descubierta
- 5 4. La Concha de la Explanada
- 6 5. Tardeo in calle Castaños and the Old Town
- 7 6. Museo de Fogueres
- 8 7. Alicante’s Rice Dishes
- 9 8. Fireworks from the Beach
- 10 9. An alien invasion
- 11 10. El Mercado Central de Alicante
- 12 11. Ereta Park
- 13 12. La Calle de las setas (Mushroom Street)
- 14 13. El paseo volado
- 15 14. The Air-raid shelters of Alicante
- 16 15. Lucentum, the origin of Alicante
- 17 16. Alicante from the sea
- 18 17. The views from Hotel Gran Sol
- 19 Alternative things to do in Alicante
17 Alicante Hidden Gems you didn’t know about
Before we begin, let me tell you that the following places you are about to visit may be part of a place you know and may even have been recommended to you before. However, not in the way you are going to see them today. And since I’m in a hurry to get started, let’s dive right in!
The most popular activities & tours in Alicante
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Transport: You can get around Alicante on foot, by public transport; metro and bus, or with a rented bike
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1. El Casco Antiguo (Old Town)
The old town of Alicante is, quintessentially, the heart of the city. In it is the Barrio de Santa Cruz, with its picturesque streets and white staircases full of flowers and icons as striking as peculiar.
However, this traditional and classic area of the city, during the weekends, will become one of the most active areas of Alicante. The activities in its different squares, as well as the locals, restaurants, and bars that follow one after another, make it the perfect place to enjoy.
If you choose to get to know the old town for real, let me recommend a series of places worth visiting in this classic area of the city:
- La Taberna Ibérica. Carefully decorated and famous for its typical sausages and salted meats.
- Taberna Alioli. Another wonder of Alicante that is worth a visit. Wines, sausages, and cheeses that will pleasantly surprise you.
- Taberna del Gourmet. In this case, whether it is rice, meat, or fish, here you will find the best quality with refined gastronomy.
- Calle Labradores. Known for being one of the icons of the old town, its nightlife, and for having more than one restaurant worth visiting, such as the mesón de Labradores.
- MUBAG. The Gravina Museum of Fine Arts is located on the same street Labradores, and in it, in addition to marveling at its art exhibition, you can get to know a real palace worth visiting.
Opening Hours MUBAG: Winter: 10 am – 08 pm, Sundays & holidays: 10 am -02 pm. Summer: 11 am – 09 pm, Sundays & Holidays: 11 am – 15 pm
Entrance fee: free of charge
- MACA. Another museum, only this time, it is of contemporary art and, although nobody knows it, it is exhibited in the oldest civil building in the entire city of Alicante and has works by Picasso, Chillida, and Dalí, among many others.
Opening Hours: Winter hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am – 8 pm, Sundays and holidays from 10 am – 2 pm. Summer schedule: Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am – 8 pm, Sundays and holidays from 11 am – 3 pm.
Entrance fee: free of charge
2. Museo de Aguas de Alicante & the wells of Garrigós
Opening hours: Summer hours: Tuesday – Friday, from 10 am – 2 pm & 6 pm – 9 pm, Saturdays & Sundays from 10 am – 2 pm; Winter hours: Tuesday – Friday, from 10 am – 2 pm & 5 pm – 8 pm, Saturdays & Sundays from 10 am – 2 pm.
Entrance fee: free of charge
Although many of us who live in the city know it and have even been surprised to see the images of what it contains inside, this museum located in the highest part of the old town, in my opinion, is really undervalued.
Inside, you can see the mechanisms and pipes that were used in the Middle Ages to supply water to the city, as well as see the wells of Garrigós. They are imposing and striking as soon as you enter the interior and see how they managed to store rainwater and then trade with it.
3. La Ciudad Descubierta
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: from 9 am – 2 pm
Entrance fee: free of charge
For lovers of culture and history, the Ciudad Descubierta is an archaeological exhibition that you can visit on your next trip. Alicante locals are used to seeing the imposing glass building that protects it, but you’d be surprised how many people still don’t know what’s inside.
They discovered these archaeological ruins in a building adjacent to City Hall. Its glass structure is striking from the outside, but more important and curious is what is inside. From a 13th century wall to the remains of houses that were bombed during the war.
4. La Concha de la Explanada
Its peculiar, striking and original shape make this Concha de la Explanada (“the shell of the explanade“) a visual attraction not to be missed when you walk along the Explanada de España. However, what many do not know is that it is a small municipal auditorium. They perform concerts that you can enjoy outdoors on a beautiful summer afternoon.
Although its calendar of activities depends on the City Council and the groups that have requested to play, it is worth visiting the area to find out about the upcoming events that are usually announced. It is fantastic to be able to walk along the Esplanade while enjoying the music of the many orchestras and musical groups that play there.
5. Tardeo in calle Castaños and the Old Town
One of the main leisure activities in Alicante is to enjoy its busy streets and terraces in the well-known “tardeo alicantino“. Castaños street and the entire old town become an area of leisure and enjoyment for people of all ages.
The tardeo alicantino has positioned itself as one of the best leisure events, where we are not limited to one street to appreciate the terraces of pubs, cafes, and restaurants. And, being almost a culture with its own identity, what less than to join and enjoy a good drink in an exceptional atmosphere.
For many visitors, this social phenomenon goes completely unnoticed, as it is confused with a simple day of leisure. However, going into each of the streets, walking through them, and enjoying their terraces is a practice that is becoming increasingly contagious, both for locals and visitors alike.
6. Museo de Fogueres
Opening hours: Summer hours: from 10 am – 2 pm, and from 6 pm – 9 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm. Sundays, Mondays, and holidays: closed; Winter opening hours: from 10 am – 2 pm, and from 3 pm – 6 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm. Closed on Sundays, Mondays, and holidays.
Entrance fee: free of charge
This is a space where you can soak up the traditions, activities, and identity of Alicante. The Bonfires are the most important event, all Alicante people wait impatiently for the arrival of June to impregnate with a festive atmosphere each and every corner of the city.
The city is filled with gunpowder, barracas, music, stalls, and all kinds of activities that make these dates an authentic experience where more than a million people come every year. If you have the opportunity to travel to Alicante between June 15 and 23, you can experience it in person.
In the Fogueres museum, you will have the opportunity to learn about our main festivities, listed as a festival of international tourist interest. You will see costumes, videos, and all kinds of audiovisual material to learn about the evolution of one of the most recognized festivals in the Valencian Community.
7. Alicante’s Rice Dishes
One of our signs of identity and for which the whole province of Alicante is known. Alicante rice dishes are a real wonder for the palate, so I have decided to include them in this list of secret corners of Alicante. Here you have a selection of some of the best places to try great rice:
- Restaurante Racó del Plá. Located just over 1 km from the Castle of Santa Barbara, this gastronomic and traditional corner of Alicante offers a wide variety of rice dishes. Among them, I’ll go for the Arroz con pata, I would not have words to describe such a pleasure.
- Restaurante Isabel Pedrera. Although you will have to use the car to go there since it is located in the Polígono de Garachico, direction Muchamiel. Here you can enjoy the best rice dishes, and I say best because the quality of the ingredients and the stoves where they cook the rice are incomparable.
- Restaurante Petimetre. We go to the beach of San Juan to go to one of the places I like the most. The senyoret rice prepared here is one of the best I have tasted in a long time. Located inside the Golf Club, it offers the opportunity to marvel at the rice and finish with a drink a few meters away at Copity, another icon of fun in the Alicante nightlife.
And these are just a few since, fortunately for all of us, we are lucky enough to be in a city where it is more difficult to try bad rice than good. The key lies in knowing where to sit down.
However, if you have the time to travel, I also recommend you to try the rice with snails from Pinoso or the rice with crust from Elche, authentic wonders just a few kilometers away.
8. Fireworks from the Beach
Although the Hogueras festivities in Alicante are the icon of the city, many are unaware that between June 25 and 29, one of the most beautiful and striking fireworks competitions in the Valencian community takes place.
In this case, the fireworks are launched from the vicinity of the central beach of El Postiguet, so any place is good to enjoy them. Thousands of people gather on the sand of this beach and from the Albufera or Almadrava beaches to watch the spectacle.
Others prefer the rooftops and terraces of some restaurants. Even the Castle of Santa Barbara has become one of the most recommended places. Take advantage of the walk and stop to enjoy them while enjoying an incredible panoramic view of the city.
9. An alien invasion
There is a small company called Virtual Zone that has caught the attention of the newspapers, surprising everyone with its peculiar way of offering an alternative form of entertainment. Imagine that you find yourself in 2050 trying to fight aliens with all available means.
The funny thing about the game is that it is made in virtual reality. In other words, the environment is not just any scenario but the main streets and arteries of the city. An apocalyptic Alicante opens up before you, offering you a completely different experience from anything you’ve seen before.
And yes, you will be able to shoot aliens in the Plaza de los Luceros. One of the weird things to do in Alicante has raised the most interest in recent months. It’s not every day that you get to experience virtual reality between shots in such a fantastic environment.
10. El Mercado Central de Alicante
One of the jewels of the city, a point that we locals all have used to locate ourselves on the map and meet with friends. The Central Market of Alicante, besides being one of the largest and liveliest in the province, is an ideal building for history lovers.
This building experienced a tragedy during the Civil War, where in 1938, a bomb fell on it in the middle of the day. This event killed more than 300 people who at that moment were inside the building doing their groceries.
Today, however, you will find many gastronomic stalls with traditional products worthy of bringing to the table. It is a reflection of Alicante society, its routine, and traditions, where hundreds of people come every day to fill their shelves.
11. Ereta Park
As a general rule, the tourist buses that access the Castle of Santa Barbara don’t stop at this small park located on one of the castle’s slopes. If you have the opportunity to walk up, you will see how halfway, there is a detour that you can take.
After crossing a small parking lot and continuing on, you will come across something that not everyone knows; the park of the Ereta, a garden corner full of tranquility, with views of the harbor and the city that will surprise you.
From here, you can follow the path to the castle or take the stairs down to the old part of the city, enjoying the view of the peculiar little houses of the Santa Cruz neighborhood. Finally, you can enjoy a drink in one of the bars I recommended at the beginning of this text.
12. La Calle de las setas (Mushroom Street)
Although in its beginnings, this project to recondition the Calle San Francisco received a lot of criticism, today, the street nicknamed the street of mushrooms has become one of the icons of the city of Alicante. And no wonder, the striking green color of its cobblestones and the various mushrooms located in the middle of the road make it a pretty unique pedestrian street.
There are no longer cars on it, now, there are only curious visitors who are surprised to come across it and do not hesitate to photograph it for their social media accounts. And fortunately for you, it is full of terraces and restaurants that you should know, such as Chico Calla, a gastronomic corner that you will almost certainly love.
Its location is ideal, as it is in the heart of the city and serves to walk around it and stop at Calle Castaños to know the famous tardeo. From here, you can also access the most commercial and active streets of the city, such as Paseo de Gadea or Avenida de Maisonnave.
13. El paseo volado
Given its location, this promenade is not exactly a point of interest known to all. And it is a pity because it is one of the most beautiful platforms to visit and enjoy at any time of the day.
The “flying walkway” of the port of Alicante is located just behind the Meliá Hotels and Spa Porta Maris, at the end of the breakwater that ends in the sea. It is perfect for walking almost on the water and fantastic for enjoying sunsets, fireworks, and any clear night.
In addition, its location by the sea and peculiar structure make it an ideal place for photography, as there are many couples who bet on this corner of the port of Alicante to take the best snapshots.
14. The Air-raid shelters of Alicante
Opening Hours: You can check the exact opening hours with this link since access is normally limited to groups of guided tours organized by the City Council itself.
Entrance fee: 5 €
When I said that Alicante was much more than the traditional icons and famous points of interest, it is because I know that there are special places that do not appear in all travel guides. A clear example is the Civil War shelters that the city maintains.
The Civil War was a tragic episode that affected every corner of this country. Alicante was no exception. Despite having dozens of them located and scattered throughout the city, there are currently two that have been rehabilitated so that you can see them from the inside.
In the biggest one, where more than 600 people were crammed together, you will be able to listen to a recreation of the sound of a bombing.
15. Lucentum, the origin of Alicante
Opening hours: you can check the exact opening hours here, as it varies according to the time of the year and the guided tours.
Entrance fee: 2 €
Few tourists know the city’s origin, and even fewer have visited it. Lucentum is the archaeological site par excellence in the city. Here you can walk through the old streets and Roman ruins of what was once Lucentum, a Roman city.
It is located in the neighborhood of Albufereta, so you will have to take the bus or the car to get around. Walking from the city’s center could take you an hour and a lot of water if it is summer.
16. Alicante from the sea
We locals from Alicante are lucky always to enjoy a perfect climate, where the sun is present almost every day of the year. Therefore, the sea conditions are great to put on the captain’s hat and go sailing.
Alicante is beautiful no matter how you look at it. However, to see it at sunset aboard a catamaran is almost an activity that you have to do at least once in your life.
Currently, there are boat rental services with which you can tour the entire coast and even end up spending a pleasant day on the island of Tabarca. However, if you do not have time or lack of qualifications to sail, I recommend you to simply join a catamaran trip in the bay of the port of Alicante, like this one.
17. The views from Hotel Gran Sol
The hotel is well known; hundreds of tourists come to stay in its rooms and enjoy the city for a few days. Its height is an icon of Alicante, just like its name. However, what many do not know is the treasure hidden on its 26th floor.
There is a restaurant where you can enjoy spectacular views, where the sea merges with the coast, and the panoramic views offered by its imposing height will make you stay for dinner, as well as melt the battery of your camera.
If your trip to Alicante is with your partner, take the opportunity to surprise her with this architectural marvel that you have at your disposal. Access is free, although you will have to consume a drink to avoid discomfort.
Alternative things to do in Alicante
And while we’re at it, I’ll take the opportunity to recommend some of the different alternative options. So you can choose which places to visit and where to avoid the crowds. Alicante has a lot to offer you:
|Touristy sights in Alicante||Alicante Alternative|
|Playa del Postiguet||Playa de San Juan or Playa de la Albufereta|
|Castillo de Santa Bárbara||Parque de la Ereta|
|Avenida de Maisonnave||Mushroom Street|
|Ayuntamiento de Alicante||Palacio de la Diputación de Alicante|
|Parque de Canalejas||Parque del Palmeral|
|Alicante Port||Paseo Volado|
|Museo Arqueológico de Alicante||Lucentum or Ciudad Descubierta|
I hope that with all this information about hidden places in Alicante and places you should visit, you can make your next trip to the capital of Costa Blanca an authentic experience. If you liked it, share your experience below and tell me what you think about this city.
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