San Juan Beach in Alicante, Spain

Alicante Cruise Port: The DIY Cruiser’s Guide to Unforgettable Adventures

Dreaming of strolling through sun-kissed plazas, scaling ancient fortresses and eating endless plates of tapas? Alicante (Spain) is your gateway to them all! Let me show you how to make the most of your time at port!

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Alicante Cruise Port: Is a DIY Excursion Easy? 😎😎😎😎😎 (Easy Peasy)

Alicante Cruise Port is an absolute dream for cruisers keen to do a DIY excursion! The port practically spills you out into the heart of the city. Here’s why I rated it 😎😎😎😎😎 (Easy Peasy):

  • City Centre at Your Doorstep: A short 10-15 minute walk on flat ground will have you wandering through the charming streets of the Old Town or dipping your toes in the sand at Postiguet Beach.
  • Castle Conquest Made Easy: No need to break a sweat hiking to Castillo de Santa Bárbara! A convenient elevator whisks you up to the top in no time, saving your energy for exploring the fortress.
  • Beach-Bound Transportation: While Postiguet is a walkable distance away, trams and buses make it easy to venture further afield. For example, Playa de San Juan & Playa de la Albufereta are both a tram ride away.

Alicante Cruise Port Essentials: All You Need to Know

Aerial view of Alicante Cruise Port, Spain
Alicante Cruise Port | Image by armennano from Pixabay
  • Alicante Cruise Port Address: Lg Muelle Levante, 03002 Alicante (Alacant), Alicante, Spain – see my map below for location 👇
  • Currency: Euros
  • Language: Spanish
  • Official websites: Alicante Port’s website lists ship arrival & departure schedules, AlicanteTurismo is the official tourism authority, Vectalia Alicante has bus routes & timetable information. If you prefer a printable PDF map, the official Alicante Tourism map is here (PDF)
  • Recommended Transport App: Use Google Maps for bus routes & live departure times and general walking instructions
  • eSIM for roaming in Spain: For a great data connection without the huge roaming fees, use an eSim data pack from Airalo. I always recommend having a smartphone with a valid plan when you’re at port touring independently. Get US$3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo when you use ROXANN1666 when you sign up or apply it at checkout
  • My Alicante Cruise Port Map: 👇 Click on the upper right hand corner to see a bigger version. Use buttons on bottom left to zoom in/out. If the map is not loading, click here to see it directly on Google Maps

Alicante Cruise Port to City Centre: Your Options

Catch the free port shuttle bus from your ship and you’ll be dropped off at Plaza del Puerto (near Ocean Race Museum) – see location marked on my map above 👆. From there, getting from Alicante’s cruise port to the major attractions below is a breeze:

  • Stroll into the City: From the port shuttle stop, it’s about a 10-minute walk to Old Town and a 15-minute walk to the Lift up to Santa Barbara Castle & Postiguet Beach
  • Buses & Trams: Alternatively, walk 5 minutes from shuttle stop to Porta del Mar – the main transport connection point where you’ll easily be able to catch buses and trams to minimise walking. Bus Line 22 and Tram #5 are best for going to beaches I listed below.
    • Bus Tickets: Easiest (though not cheapest) way for cruisers visiting Alicante for the day is to pay-as-you-go using a contactless card. €1.45 per trip – tap as you board the bus. If you think you’ll use the bus a lot, pay for a 24-hour Alicante Tourist Card for €6.50 (price valid until Jan 2025).
    • Tram Tickets: 1-zone return tickets are €2.50 each – buy from ticket machines onboard trams with cash or card. Some stops also have machines.
    • Note bus and tram tickets in Alicante are not interchangeable!

The local bus authority Vectalia Alicante also runs a hop-on-hop-off shuttle bus, starting at the port shuttle stop at Plaza del Puerto. It runs every day and does a 50-minute loop around the city. However, note that the bus only runs hourly from 10am to 7pm, making timing difficult, especially at intermediate stops when the bus might be stuck in traffic. If you’re tempted, here’s the 2024 Tourist Bus brochure with timetables (PDF). €10 adults, €7 seniors 65+ and €5 kids <12.

Unmissable Sights & Activities Near Alicante Cruise Port

1. Castillo de Santa Bárbara

Alicante Port from Castillo de Santa Barbara
View of Alicante Port & Postiguet Beach from Castillo de Santa Barbara

Castillo de Santa Bárbara is Alicante’s crown jewel! Originally built by the Moors in the 9th century, it’s the best vantage point to get 360 degree panoramic view of Alicante. The castle is named after Saint Barbara, as the castle was recaptured by Christians from the Arabs on her feast day in December 1246.

  • How to Get There:
    • Lift (Recommended): Ascend to the Castle using the lift on Avenida Juan Bautista Lafora (opposite El Postiguet Beach) – I’ve marked it on my map above. Return rides are €2.70. Free for kids under 5 or seniors 65+. There can be queues but it will still be faster than the 30 minute hike up!
    • Hike Up: Two routes can take you up the Castle – via the Old Town or from El Postiguet Beach. Both routes take about 30 minutes. See my map for more details.
  • Opening Hours: 10am to 8pm daily (summer), 10am to 6pm daily (winter). Open till 11pm from mid-June to end-August.
  • Tickets: Visits to old dungeons, cisterns & the old hospital are via guided tours only (1 hour) – check English tour times here. Otherwise, you’re free to walk around the castle. Guided tours have to be booked at least an hour in advance at the info centre.

Don’t miss the Museum of Alicante City (aka MUSA) located in the Castle. It’s open when the castle is open to visitors and is also free to visit.

2. El Barrio (Old Town)

After your visit to the Castle Santa Barbara, take the lift back down or wonder down the hill to Alicante’s Old Town and you’ll find yourself in Old Town. El Barrio dates back to the medieval period and there are lots to see:

  • Basilica de Santa Maria d’Alacant: Built back in the 14th century on the ruins of a former mosque, this Basilica is the oldest active church in the city. There are twin bell towers to visit but if you only have time for one church, I would recommend visiting the Co-Cathedral of St. Nicholas instead.
    • Opening Hours: 10am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, 1:30pm to 7pm Sundays. Hours seem to change a lot, so double check on its website here.
    • Tickets: Includes visit to Bell Towers and an audio guide. €6 for adults, €5 for seniors 65+, €4 for students. Free for kids under 12
  • Co-Cathedral of St. Nicholas: Also built on the site of a former mosque, after Alicante was recaptured from the Moors in the mid-13th century. The current building dates back to the 17th century and that’s why the church is mostly in Renaissance style. Dedicated to St. Nicholas of Bari, the patron saint of Alicante, it’s most famous for its blue dome.
    • Opening Hours: Generally open from 8am to 1pm, then from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. As it’s a working church, it will close to sightseeing during masses. Free to visit.
  • Ayuntamiento de Alicante: The Town Hall of Alicante features an impressive facade. It’s a working city hall, so it’s free to enter during workdays from 8:30am to 5pm. (Closed weekends). It’s most famous for the St. John the Baptiste statute by Salvador Dalí.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (MACA): Free admission & definitely worth a wander! The permanent collection is filled with works from 20th century masters, from Picasso, Dalí to Miró.
    • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays. Open 10am to 7pm Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 2pm on Sunday.
  • Gravina Museum of Fine Arts (MUBAG): Free admission too! This museum houses a collection of Spanish paintings and sculptures from the 16th to 20th centuries.
    • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays. Open 10am to 8pm Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 2pm on Sunday

Just outside El Barrio district is the central market – Mercat Central d’Alacant. It’s the perfect place to take a lunch break or join a tapas bar crawl 😋.

3. Explanada de España

Castillo de Santa Bárbara & Casa Carbonell in Alicante, Spain
Image by Jose Francisco Caro Martínez from Pixabay

Stretching parallel to the harbour, the promenade’s palm tree lined path is easy to spot from the cruise port. The walkway is distinctive too! Created from 6.5 million tricolour tiles in red, black and cream, the promenade is dotted with numerous cafes, arts and craft markets and street performers. This is a great spot to take a break after the walk in El Barrio.

How to Get There: From port shuttle drop off point, keep walking for about 5 mins until the first major T-junction. You’ll see the Casa Carbonell – 👆 see photo above. It’s a local landmark built in a beaux arts-inspired style in the 1920s. The promenade starts there.

4. Ocean Race Museo

This is last on my list of “things to do in Alicante” because it’s located on your way back to the ship. When you got onto the port shuttle from your ship in the morning, you would have been dropped off right outside the Ocean Race Museum.

You’ll learn all about the history of the gruelling Volvo Ocean Race, known as the “Everest of Sailing”. The Virtual Reality (VR) experience is fun and kids friendly, provided that you’re not prone to motion sickness! You’ll feel like you’re sailing over 30 knots in an ocean yacht race!

  • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays/Tuesdays. 11am to 7pm from late June to mid-September Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 3pm Sunday. Double-check opening hours here for non-peak summer months.
  • Tickets: Free to visit the permanent and temporary exhibitions. Virtual Reality (VR) experience tickets are €5 for adults and €3 for kids 6+, students & seniors 65+. Get VR tickets at the museum ticket desk.

Sun, 🏖️ Sand, and Relaxation: Your Guide to Alicante’s Beaches

1. Postiguet Beach: Alicante’s Urban Oasis

Postiguet Beach, against backdrop of Castillo Santa Barbara, Alicante Spain
Postiguet Beach, against backdrop of Castillo Santa Barbara, Photo by Quinten Sluis

Postiguet Beach, or Playa del Postiguet, is a mere 5 minutes walk from the port shuttle drop-off point. This city beach is known for its golden sands, clear blue waters and stunning views of the city. The water is relatively shallow, making this a kids-friendly beach.

All usual facilities are available, including sun loungers for rent. There’s also a children’s playground. If you simply want to have a chilled beach day, then it doesn’t come any easier than this! It’s so close you can head back to the ship for lunch!

2. Playa de la Albufereta

For a quieter suburban atmosphere, head along the coast to Albufereta Beach. The beach is shorter but the sand is just as fine and the water clear and shallow. This is a good backup beach if you see that Postiguet Beach is too busy.

  • How to Get There: Walk to Porta del Mar, opposite Postiguet Beach. Catch tram #5 to stop to “La Isleta” and Albufereta Beach is a stone throw’s away. Purchase tickets onboard machines in the tram – return tickets are €2.50. Cards are accepted at the machines. Journey time is about 20 minutes.
    • Backup Plan: Bus line #22 will also take you there. Pay €1.45 fare with contactless card onboard. Bus #22 Timetables here.

3. Playa de San Juan

San Juan Beach in Alicante, Spain
Image by Vicente Viana from Pixabay

Further up the coast is Playa de San Juan, best known for its long sandy beach and clear turquoise waters. The beach stretches on for 7km (around 4 miles) and has great facilities. It’s worth the journey from the cruise port if you want to spend an entire day chilling at the beach.

  • How to Get There: Walk to Porta del Mar, as above. Catch tram #5 to “Plaza La Coruña” – the beach will be on your right as you alight. Purchase tickets onboard the tram – return tickets are €2.50. Cards accepted. Journey time is about 40 minutes each way.
    • Backup Plan: Bus line #22 will also take you there. Pay €1.45 fare with contactless card onboard. Bus #22 Timetables here.

Featured Image by Vicente Viana from Pixabay

I hope this guide has filled you with ideas on how to make the most of your port at Alicante cruise port! With its rich history and beautiful beaches, Alicante can offer a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. If you found this guide helpful, I would most appreciate you sharing it with your fellow cruisers in your roll call group!

Wishing you a fantastic port day in Alicante! Safe travels and happy cruising!

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