Located in the Costa Blanca (White Coast) region of the Iberian Peninsula, Alicante is a port city where visitor can enjoy many attractions at reasonable prices. If you are looking for the best areas to stay in Alicante, the first thing you should know is that this is a favorite destination for many Spanish tourists, particularly those who travel from Madrid.
Something else to know about this city is that many of the best neighborhoods to stay in Alicante are contiguous, which means that you do not have to travel far to catch all the wonderful sights.
For many travelers, especially those arriving from other European destinations, Alicante is mostly a transportation hub or waypoint on their way to other spots along the Costa Blanca, namely the resort towns of Benidorm and Torrevieja, but they are truly missing out on everything that this sunny city has to offer.
The problem is that the travel industry has mostly focused on whisking arriving visitors away from the Alicante-Elche International Airport and off to the more established beach towns in a fast and efficient manner.
Before deciding where to stay in Alicante, it helps to learn what you can expect when you visit:
* White and golden sandy beaches.
* A pulsing nightlife district.
* Medieval castles.
* Ruins dating back to Roman times.
* Museums and cultural performance venues.
* Amazing architecture.
* Nice beachfront hotels.
* Excellent cuisine at very affordable prices.
* Offshore fishing.
* Countryside lodges and ecotourism.
Where to stay in Alicante? Best areas to stay in Alicante
Here’s a rundown of the main neighborhoods in Alicante where you will certainly enjoy your stay.
1. El Centro – Historical Downtown City Center
Located just 15 minutes away from the airport, El Centro is one of the most visited areas and one of the best places to stay in Alicante. Frequent bus service is provided by line C6, and a one-way trip costs less than $6 in 2019.
A local tourism chamber office is strategically situated near the bus terminal, and this is where you can get a free map, advice on where to stay in Alicante, directions, and recommendations.
If you are fortunate enough to arrive in early June, you will enjoy Les Fogueres, a month-long celebration to San Juan, patron saint of this city. The “parades” are highly recommended because they mix religion and patriotism with tradition; these street parties feature fireworks, local cuisine and beauty pageants.
Getting to the beach can be accomplished by walking, taking a taxi or catching the tram. Even though the Moorish and neo-classical architecture of El Centro evokes a historical vibe, you will find quite a few modern conveniences nearby.
Aside from numerous museums, theaters, castles, seafood restaurants, and tapas bars, you can also enjoy walking tours of the most labyrinthine neighborhood in Alicante. Even though the Santa Barbara Castle is not in this district, it is located nearby, and you should not skip it during your stay in Alicante.
If you book a multilevel hotel on a hilltop, you may get a nice view of the Mediterranean or a medieval fortress such as Saint Ferdinand Castle. Families take note: El Mundo de los Niños is a seaside amusement park located on the southwestern corner of El Centro, and you can’t beat its prices.
Smart travelers who stay in El Centro will find accommodations that are more reasonable than at the nearby beaches; they range from backpacker hostels to boutique inns as well as international chain hotels.
2. Postiguet Beach
There are only a handful beaches in Alicante, and the most legendary is Postiguet because it put this city on the map as a favorite coastal resort for Spanish visitors. During the 1960s and 1970s, Postiguet emerged as a bustling resort located just a few minutes away from the train terminal and international airport.
Staying at one of the hotels developed during the Golden Age of tourism in Alicante is a special treat because they have been carefully maintained to preserve the original ambiance, which is quite elegant and family-friendly.
If anything, Postiguet is an all-inclusive type of coastal resort where you can improve your suntan, relax at the beach, enjoy poolside bars, dance the night away at local clubs just blocks away from the water.
Most importantly, however, this is where you can enter a tunnel, board an elevator and be magically transported to the Santa Barbara Castle and its imposing fortress. Even if you stay elsewhere in Alicante, you should make it a point to float up to the castle from Postiguet Beach.
You should expect to pay more for lodging at Postiguet Beach; after all this is one of the best places to stay in Alicante and quite a few hotels offer multiple views of the beach and the Mediterranean.
3. Cape Huertas – Almadraba Beach
Located about a 15-minute drive east of El Centro, Cap de l’Horta is a coastal district of Alicante where the beaches are more organic and feel more natural because they have not been subject to excessive development. This is a family-friendly beach town that attracts travelers interested in ecotourism.
Prices are more reasonable than Postiguet, and the beaches are less crowded. The beach sand is darker and rich in nutrients because of oceanic erosion, which makes it easier to build sandcastles.
Narrow spits of sand and coral reef that extend into the ocean are ideal for hiking, and the nearby Nautical Sports Club offers opportunities for offshore fishing, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, and ocean charter excursions.
It should be noted that Almadraba is an Arabic expression that roughly translates into “place where you struggle,” and it refers to a bluefin tuna fishing technique that involves plenty of wrangling by hand. While subsistence fishing is not seen too much in Almadraba Beach these days, local restaurants offer plenty of tuna dishes.
As for lodging options in Cape Huertas, quite a few of them are long-term apartment rentals or bed-and-breakfast arrangements. A nice touch in Almadraba Beach is that many hotels offer balconies with sweeping views of the Mediterranean along with room service, which means that you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, or cocktails while looking at the sea right in your room.
4. Albufereta Beach
Whereas Spanish families from Madrid prefer to spend their beach vacations at Postiguet, Albufereta is where Alicante locals flock on weekends. The beach area is smaller, but the fine golden sands make it very attractive and relaxing.
This is a Blue Flag beach, which means that it is super clean and eco-friendly despite being a fully developed resort town.
Albufereta Beach is where you can find the Lucentum ruins of Tossal de Manises, the most important archaeological attraction of Alicante; these ruins correspond to the days when the Roman Empire settled in the Iberian Peninsula, we are talking about the 4th century B.C.
The Mediterranean views from Albufereta hotels are among the best you can find in the Costa Blanca. Since this is a more upscale part of town, you can expect to pay more to stay at the imposing towers in front of the beach; many of these resorts double as miradores, viewing spots where you can drink and dine while enjoying sweeping ocean vistas.
The long-term apartments tend to be luxurious and well-appointed. While there are a few boutique hotels in Albufereta, there are no hostels.
5. San Juan Beach
Located just north of Cape Huertas, San Juan Beach is an updated version of Postiguet Beach. Initially developed a couple of decades after vacationers from Madrid discovered Alicante, San Juan Beach is a premier resort town where the ambiance is reminiscent of Costa del Sol.
All the conveniences you demand from a modern beach resort can be found in San Juan: lifeguards on duty, sand courts for volleyball, playgrounds for children, all-inclusive resorts, seaside restaurants, areas for pets, and a pristine boardwalk.
If your ideal beach vacation includes sports and adventure, San Juan is where you will want to stay in Alicante. A few of the resorts and local tour operators organize weekend beach soccer matches as well as ocean kayak races. Windsurfing classes are very popular, and the same goes for cross-country athletic events for beginners.
San Juan Beach is a great place to stay in all-inclusive beach resorts. There are a few boutique resorts and long-term apartments, but they tend to get booked very quickly.
Golf players looking for the ultimate country club experience should consider the hotels near the challenging Alicante Golf course, which offers views of the beach and city castles from some of its fairways.
6. Alicante Main Train Station
Of all neighborhoods in Alicante, this district is one of the most convenient places to stay in Alicante for business travelers and backpackers. You will find convenience aplenty near the train terminal, everything from fast-food restaurants to neighborhood bars and from laundromats to gyms can be reached within walking distance.
When you feel like watching the sunset from an oceanfront location, you can walk down General Marva Avenue, which connects with Federico Soto and Dr. Gadea Avenue before ending at Almirante Julio Guillén Tato Avenue; this is a nice boulevard stroll along a busy commercial district.
You will not find luxury hotels in this district, but you will be close to all the attractions.
7. Alicante Airport (ALC) Area
This busy and ultra-modern international airport is known to many travelers who vacation at Benidorm or relocate to Torrevieja, home to many expats from around the world. The Alicante Airport is located south of El Centro, and it is surrounded by residential areas and a few industrial zones.
Aside from city parks and shopping plazas, there are not many tourism attractions near Alicante Airport.
If you are not sure as to where to stay in Alicante upon arrival, you will find a few attractive options to the northwest. The hotel diversity surrounding the Alicante Airport is surprising: the backpacker hostels here cost a little more than the ones located closer to downtown, but they are worth every penny because they offer extras such as bars and restaurants.
As expected, you will also find business hotels with free shuttle service to the airport, but a couple of country inns are located farther out west. International chain hotels are closer to La Torreta district, and they are very reasonably priced compared to their counterparts in El Centro.