We had never heard of this town before booking this cruise and figured it would be a “so-so” stop. Far from it!! We loved Alicante! I had done a little research ahead of time and found several self-guided walking tours; I believed I used www.alicante-turismo.com. Those were very helpful.
Alicante provides a free shuttle bus to the town. You will only have to walk a block to the exquisite Esplanada – a promenade with a wavy mosaic pattern made from almost 7 million colored marble tiles. and lined with palm trees and with gorgeous flowers in the median. Pensioners sit in chairs in small groups; what a way to while away the time. We walked along it for a while but had a hike ahead of us which we wanted to finish before it got too hot.
The Castillo de Santa Barbara dominates the town, and that was our goal. You can take an elevator up, but we wanted to walk the old city walls all the way up. We had a difficult time finding the beginning of the walls, but that was fine – our journey took us through El Barrio, the old town with charming white-washed houses in tiny streets filled with flowers, and we were happy enough to get lost. If you want to do this, continue through El Barrio, following signs to the Santa Cruz church. Once there, follow the path down to the street; go left along that street; and it will take you to the old walls. The walk is long and you have a good ascent, but anyone in reasonable shape could do this. The views are beautiful. If you prefer, you can ask directions to Ereta Park, which is a terraced park in front of the castle, and walk the switchbacks all the way to the castle (we took this was down, and it is lovely). The castle is free, and once you’re there, it is quite an extensive place to explore. It is definitely worth it, elevator or hike.
After the castle, we walked to the beach and strolled the water’s edge to the sandbar and back. Back into Alicante itself for some walking and sightseeing. If this interests you, El Barrio has a Nativity Scene Museum that is free and excellent. We made our way through more streets over to the Rambla, the Central Market, bought some tourron (local sweet – kind of a dry nougat with nuts),and sat at a beautiful fountain before finding the Promenade again (the opposite end from where we began) and walking back to meet the shuttle late afternoon (the ship left at 6pm).