Welcome to the port of Alicante (Puerto de Alicante), Spain!
Alicante is a beautiful port city nestled on the southeastern coast of Spain, on the famous Costa Blanca in the Alicante province. Due to its incredible historic heritage, charming old town, beautiful beaches and well-developed port, Alicante has become a frequent stop in Mediterranean cruise itineraries.
In this article, read about:
- Alicante cruise port (Alicante cruise port terminal, getting around)
- 6 best things to do in Alicante port, Alicante shore excursions, useful tips
Port of Alicante
Alicante cruise terminal is located approximately 2 km/1.3 miles (a 20-25 minute walk) from Alicante city center and the famous Esplanada d’Espanya, a gorgeous waterfront promenade and a popular tourist hub.
Cruise ships dock at the outer wall of the harbour, at Muelle Levante, and there are free shuttle buses provided by the port authority to transfer the cruise passengers to the port entrance. If you wish to walk, you can do so however it will take you 20-25 minutes to get to downtown.
Alicante is also a ferry port that provides daily (summer months) and weekly transfers to the Port of Oran in Algeria.
Port of Alicante official website: https://www.puertoalicante.com/
Alicante cruise terminal’s official website: https://www.cruisealicante.com/
The shuttle bus drop-off/pick-up point is at Plaza Puerta Del Mar, located next to the port entrance. There is a tourist information office at this square and from here you start the exploration of the city’s major landmarks. On your left side, you’ll spot a beautiful marina and a busy area of Esplanada d’Espanya and on your right, the bustling city beach Playa del Postiguet and Santa Barbara Castle.
- Port of Alicante is wheelchair-accessible as the majority of surfaces are flat.
- The currency in Spain is EURO (€). You’ll find ATMs and currency exchange in the city. Credit cards and local currency are widely accepted. See the currency converter
- Most of the Alicante attractions can be visited on foot, however, if you prefer to have a sightseeing bus tour, make sure you hop on Alicante Turibus (aka Alicante Hop on Hop off bus tour), a tourist bus that stops at 10 different places around the historic city and you can hop on/hop off as much as you want! The first stop is Plaza Puerta del Mar, the circuit takes 50 minutes and some of the major stops are Santa Barbara Castle, the old town, bus station, the Central Market, Archaeological Museum and Plaza del Puerto-zona Volvo I located next to the marina, at the port entrance. Turibus runs every 30-60 minutes (30 minutes when ships are in port), offers a multilingual audio system (6 different languages) and they are wheelchair-accessible. The admission fee for adults is 10€ and for children 5€ with some exceptions. You can download the brochure on https://www.alicanteturismo.com/en/turibus/
- You can find information on Turibus and other practical information on Alicante’s tourism office official website
- Some shops may be closed between 13:30 – 16:00 due to the Spanish siesta time (department stores and shopping malls are exceptions). Tourist attractions and museums are normally closed on Monday.
- Alicante train station/bus stop (Alicante Estación Tren) is located 1.7 km/1 miles or a 20-minute walk west of Plaza Puerta del Mar where the shuttle bus will drop you off. Alicante Terminal is the official name of the train station that is used by RENFE trains with services to Murcia, Valencia, Cartagena, Ciudad Real, and others. Read more information on the Alicante Railway Station webpage
- Alicante Airport (Aeroport d’Alacant) is located around 13 km/8 miles or a 15-minute drive southwest of the port of Alicante. It features domestic and international flights.
- Check out the best hotels in Alicante
8 Best Things to Do in the Port of Alicante
Before I share with you the best things to do in Alicante cruise port, I invite you to sign up below and get my exclusive, insider SHORE EXCURSION GUIDE FOR FREE!
1. Santa Barbara Castle
Castillo de Santa Barbara is the iconic castle that sits on top of Mount Benacantil, a large hill rising 166 m above the city, built for defensive purposes and used by different civilizations over the centuries.
The fortification was built in the 9th century at the time of Moorish rule of the Iberian Peninsula which lasted from the 8th until the 13th century. The castle was later conquered by Alfonso de Castile and renamed Santa Barbara. Throughout history, it suffered from bombings, served as a prison and was completely abandoned until 1963 when it was reopened again.
Nowadays, inside the castle complex you can visit the museum, La Torreta keep, the ancient remains of the fortress and a few more important historic structures dating from the 18th century. There is also a cafeteria where you can take a coffee and admire the most spectacular views of the city and its port. Entry to the castle is free unless you access it by lift. Read more on Castle of Santa Barbara’s official website
There are a few ways to get to Santa Barbara Castle:
- On foot: There are several pedestrian routes that you can take to reach the top (a moderate to strenuous level of fitness is required).
- Lift: There is an elevator situated in front of the Postiguet beach, in Avenida Juan Bautista Lafora. The cost of the lift is 2.70€.
- Minibus: There is a shuttle service that starts at Plaza del Doctor Gómez Ulla, in front of MARQ (Archaeological Museum of Alicante) and the fare is 1.45€ each way. These buses run every 20 minutes or even more frequently on cruise days, however, this option is not recommended for cruise passengers as the bus stop is located on the opposite side of the hill.
- Alicante Turibus: One of the stops of Turibus is right in front of the castle.
2. Esplanada d’Espanya
Passeig Esplanada d’Espanya is a bustling waterfront promenade (boulevard) overlooking the marina and one of the most beautiful promenades in Spain. It is lined with palm trees and paved with millions of marble floor tiles designed to create a wavy effect. The promenade starts at Plaza Puerta del Mar where you’ll spot the imposing Casa Carbonell and extends around 600 m to the Monumento a Canalejas, a statue dedicated to José Canalejas, the Spanish politician who contributed to the expansion of the port and urbanization of the city.
The promenade is lined with numerous restaurants, eateries, banks and some shops, and there are many shaded places to sit and admire the charming port, particularly beautiful at sunset.
3. El Barrio de Santa Cruz
Also known as El Barrio (Barri Vell – Santa Creu), the Santa Cruz neighborhood is Alicante’s old town located at the foot of Mount Benacantil close to the Castle of Santa Barbara. The hillside part of this historic quarter is known for picturesque, traditional houses colored in white, decorated with eye-catching colorful tiles and friezes, flower pots and plants.
El Barrio consists of many steeply climbing, winding streets and there are many steps involved. The area is packed with charming tapas bars, eateries and there are several viewpoints with magnificent panoramic views of the city and the bay. It is highly recommended to wear comfortable walking shoes when exploring the hilly part of the old town.
In Alicante’s old town you’ll also find museums such as Gravina Museum of Fine Arts MUBAG and MACA Contemporary Art Museum of Alicante, charming squares, the iconic 17th-century Concatedral de San Nicolás with its imposing blue dome, Alicante City Hall and other historic landmarks. Here you will also find one of the oldest churches in town, Basilica de Santa Maria (Basilica of St Mary of Alicante), built in Valencian Gothic style between the 14th and 16th centuries over the remains of an ancient mosque.
4. Playa del Postiguet
This blue-flag beach is located only a few minutes’ walk from the port entrance. This beautiful sandy beach is safe for swimming and has been awarded for its cleanliness. It is backed by a boardwalk lined with palm trees and a couple of bars and eateries. Right across the beach, you’ll find the lift to Santa Barbara Castle.
5. Mercado Central
Central Market (Mercat Central d’Alacant) is an indoor, 2-story market located around 1 km/0.6 mile or a 15-minute walk from Plaza Puerta del Mar. This bustling place is popular for both locals and tourists and here you’ll find a wide variety of goods, from fresh fruits and vegetables to cheeses, fresh fish, meats and seafood.
The back façade of the Central Market is situated in Plaza 25 de Mayo, named in honour of the 300 civilians who lost their lives during the Italian bombardment of the market on the 25th of May 1938, during the Spanish Civil War. In front of the market, there is a lovely square with flower shops and a tapas bar where you can try some of Alicante’s specialties.
Alicante Shore Excursions
If you decide to explore beyond Alicante, these are some of the most popular shore excursions and places to visit:
Located 27 km/16.7 miles (a 30-minute drive) southwest of Alicante, the main attraction of this city is The Palmeral de Elche (aka “The Palm Grove of Elche”), an orchard of 300.000 palm trees whose origins date back to the end of the 10th century when this part of Spain was under the Arab rule. El Palmeral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and nowadays visitors can take a stroll around this beautiful oasis.
Other attractions are the 12th century Altamira Castle which is home to Elche Archaeology and History Museum, Basilica of Santa Maria de Elche, Town Hall (Municipio) and El Barrio del Raval (the city’s old town). The iconic UNESCO-listed “Mystery Play of Elche,” a sacral-lyrical medieval drama dating from the 15th century, is performed here every year in mid-August.
7. Tabarca Island
Isla de Tabarca is a small archipelago that comprises several islets located approximately 20 km/12.5 miles south of Alicante, opposite the Santa Pola resort. Once a refuge for Berber pirates, Tabarca Island’s waters have been officially declared a Mediterranean Marine Reserve for their exceptional quality and rich flora and fauna.
Nowadays, tourists can enjoy the island’s wonderful beaches and coves, delight in traditional Spanish dishes in one of the numerous eateries (make sure you try the traditional “Caldero” dish) or stroll around the picturesque fishing port and the town. Make sure you also visit the island’s museum and learn about the rich historic and cultural heritage of the island.
To get to Tabarca Island, you can catch a boat at the port of Alicante and the boat ride takes around 1 hour one way. The boat rides are operated by Cruceros Kontiki and the price for an adult is 21€ for a round-trip. Find more information on https://cruceroskontiki.com/
The beautiful mountain top village of Guadalest is located 61 km/37 miles (a 1-hour drive) north of Alicante port. Officially named El Castell de Guadalest, this tourist village is known for the medieval Castle of L’Alcazaiba (aka Castle of Saint Joseph) which was built in the 11th century during Muslim rule.
Nowadays, visitors can see the remains of the castle, admire the views of the picturesque Guadalest Valley, visit numerous museums (The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum; Torture Instruments Museum and others), or stroll around the winding cobbled streets of the El Arrabal area where you’ll find shops, cafes and restaurants.
To Wrap Up
To fully enjoy Alicante cruise port, make sure you plan your day ahead! If you want to read about other cities in Spain to visit on a cruise, make sure to read my article Ports of Spain: 20 Cities to Visit on a Cruise to Spain
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