8 Best Things To Do In the Port of Alicante | Cruise Port Guide

Welcome to the port of Alicante, Spain! (Post updated: January 2024)

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)
  • 8 best things to do in the port of Alicante, Alicante shore excursions, useful tips

Visit our cruise port guides for Barcelona, Valencia, Cartagena, Malaga, Cadiz

Port of Alicante

The Alicante cruise terminal (Puerto de Alicante)) 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 downtown.

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.

Alicante is also a ferry port that provides daily (summer months) and weekly transfers to the Port of Oran in Algeria.

Port of Alicante (Puerto de Alicante), the view from Santa Barbara Castle.
Port of Alicante (Puerto de Alicante), the view from Santa Barbara Castle

Getting Around Alicante Port

  • 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.
  • 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, the bus station, the Central Market, the 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 is wheelchair-accessible. You can find information on Turibus and other practical information on Alicante’s tourism office’s 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 Mondays.
  • Alicante train station/bus stop (Alicante Estación Tren) is located 1.7 km/1 mile 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
  • Explore Alicante tours and activities
  • Book a private transfer to/from Alicante cruise port
  • Check out the best hotels in Alicante

8 Best Things to Do in Alicante Cruise Port

Before I share the best things to do in Alicante, I invite you to grab your copy of theMediterranean Cruise Port Guide”, the most comprehensive guide to 45 Mediterranean cruise ports (including Alicante), packed with practical information, expert tips & unforgettable experiences! (PDF format/200 pages)

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1. Santa Barbara Castle

Castillo de Santa Barbara is the iconic castle nestled 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.

Castle of Santa Barbara, Alicante port
Castle of Santa Barbara

Castillo de Santa Barbara Alicante cruise port

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: An elevator is in front of the Postiguet beach, in Avenida Juan Bautista Lafora.
  • Minibus: A shuttle service is available and starts at Plaza del Doctor Gómez Ulla, in front of MARQ (Archaeological Museum of Alicante). 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.

Check out Santa Barbara Castle tours and activities

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.

Explore Esplanada d’Espanya tours and activities

Passeig Esplanada d'Espanya Alicante, Spain
Esplanada d’Espanya. Source: Creative Commons
Casa Carbonell Alicante cruise port
Casa Carbonell is a stunning residential mansion built in a Beaux-arts-inspired style in the first half of the 20th century.

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 many steps involved. The area is packed with charming tapas bars and 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.

Santa Cruz neighborhood - El Barrio Alicante
Santa Cruz neighborhood – El Barrio. Source: Pixabay.com

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.

Check out Alicante sightseeing tours

Basilica of Santa Maria, Alicante
Basilica of Santa Maria

4. Playa del Postiguet

Alicante has many beautiful beaches, among which Playa del Postiguet is the closest one to the port. This blue-flag beach is located only a few minutes walk from the port entrance.

Playa del Postiguet is a sandy beach that 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. You’ll find the lift to Santa Barbara Castle right across the beach.

Playa del Postiguet, port of Alicante Spain
Playa del Postiguet

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 with 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.

Check out Alicante food tours

Alicante Shore Excursions

If you decide to explore beyond Alicante, these are some of the most popular shore excursions and places to visit:

1. Elche

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 the Elche Archaeology and History Museum, the 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.

Check out Elche tours and activities

2. 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 22€ for a round-trip. Find more information at https://cruceroskontiki.com/

Check out Tabarca Island tours from Alicante

Tabarca island, Spain
Tabarca island. Source: Pixabay.com

3. Guadalest

The beautiful mountaintop 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.

Explore Guadalest shore excursions from Alicante

Guadalest, Alicante Spain
Guadalest Valley. Source: Pixabay.com

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2 thoughts on “8 Best Things To Do In the Port of Alicante | Cruise Port Guide”

  1. Nahum Schneidermann

    My wife and I and another senior couple will be arriving in Alicanteon the Celebrity cruise line Infinity ship . I have tried to sign up for any Guadalest Valley and the city tours either by the ship or Viator , but they are sold out , apparently . With your vast contacts , would you know any guide tour that can take us on a prive tour , Four passengers , from the ship?? we will disembark by 8AM and will have to be back no later than% pm . Many thanks for your consideration . Sincerely , Nahum Schneidermann

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