Are you visiting Alicante and looking for ideas about beautiful places to visit near Alicante and throughout the Costa Blanca region? This guide covers the best day trips from Alicante, including charming towns, natural sightings and adventurous experiences.
With an average of 320 days of sunshine per year, mild winters and its own microclimate, the Costa Blanca is the perfect year-round destination to visit with its white sandy beaches, stunning mountain ranges and picturesque villages. The city of Alicante is located in the heart of the Costa Blanca.
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While there is no shortage of things to do in Alicante, its central location and proximity to an international airport makes Alicante a perfect base from which to explore the rest of the Costa Blanca region. There are a bunch of amazing day trips you can take within a short drive from the city.
You can easily visit Alicante in 1 or 2 days and spend the remainder of your time exploring the rest of the stunning Costa Blanca region. Each destination can be visited by car. There is also a tram that runs from Alicante to Denia in the north of the Costa Blanca passing through some of the must-visit charming villages.
But if you want to explore with no worries and with a local guide, we highly recommend going with an organised tour. That will give you the opportunity to discover beyond the surface and to support the local economy even more,
Absolute best Alicante day trips
With its vibrant atmosphere, stunning beaches, spectacular activities and great entertainment options, Benidorm is by far the most popular seaside resort on the Costa Blanca.
Benidorm has a modern New York city like skyline, but looks can be deceiving. There are still quite some charming old world places to discover, like the Benidorm old town and the famous ‘Balcón del Mediterraneo’ with amazing views over the city and beaches.
Benidorm attracts almost everyone, from the young and old, to Spanish locals from the rest of the country and foreign tourists alike, to adventure seekers as well as those who are just looking to relax. All in all, it’s a city that caters for just about everyone.
Tip: Benidorm is only a 45 minute drive north from Alicante and can easily be visited by car. Just keep in mind that finding parking close to the city center can be a challenge. Another option is to visit Benidorm with the tram Alacant.
Located also just a 45 minute drive north of Alicante, Altea is one of the most picturesque seaside towns on the Costa Blanca. Its white-washed houses, narrow cobbled streets, stunning beachfront and vibrant artistic atmosphere makes Altea a great day trip from Alicante.
Altea is a hidden gem with 2 main areas. The beachfront has a beautiful promenade with lots of restaurants and bars with outside terraces overlooking the white pebbled beaches and the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Then perched on a hill with a maze of narrow streets climbing up the hillside boasting quaint shops, great restaurants and stunning panoramic views there’s the charming Altea old town. A walk to the top will take you to the Plaza de la Iglesia, a vibrant and lively square filled with restaurants and bars, next to the church of Our Lady of Consolation with its distinctive blue and white tiled dome. This church is the most iconic sight of Altea which can be seen from afar.
Tip: Visit Altea from Alicante either by car, as there is plenty of parking available, or by tram. For your convenience I would recommend this charming villages tour which takes you to visit Altea as well as the colourful neighbouring Villajoyosa.
With the iconic limestone rock ‘Peñon de Ifach’ towering above the city, its pristine sandy beaches and beautiful historical old town, Calpe is a popular place to visit and makes yet another great day trip from Alicante.
You can easily spend a full day discovering the city by going on a tapas tour along the beach promenade or in the old town, by hiking the Peñon de Ifach or by just chilling and relaxing on the 2 main beaches while also spotting flamingoes at the Salinas. There are also some beautiful walks in and around Calpe, like the Paseo Ecologico trail. Use this Calpe attractions guide to plan your trip.
Tip: Calpe is easy reachable by car and parking isn’t hard to find. Do keep in mind the colours of the street parking and where you have to pay and which parking is free of charge. Cape can also be travelled to from Alicante by tram.
A visit to the hilltop village of Guadalest is highly recommended and easily one of the most popular day trips from Alicante.
Guadalest is a charming and picturesque village, beautifully integrated into the rocks with a medieval castle perched high on top of the hill. The village is situated around the castle, or what’s left of it, and has some lovely quaint little shops, as well as a number of small museums and cozy bars.
From the village you’ll have stunning views over the Guadalest Valley as well as the Guadalest Reservoir, which is also worth a stop.
It’s a 1 hour scenic drive inland and north from Alicante to Guadalest with some of the most spectacular views of the Guadalest Valley as the village is situated at an altitude of 586 metres (or 1922 feet) above sea level.
Tip: When visiting Guadalest during peak season (in Summer, public holidays or long weekends), we recommend taking a tour as parking can be a problem unless you arrive very early. It’s a small village and car parking spaces are limited. Do make the most of a full day, this specific tour not only takes you to Guadalest but also makes a stop at the wonderful and scenic Algar Waterfalls or Fuentes de Algar for a refreshing swim.
Elche is home to one of the largest palm groves in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the highlight to visit in Elche. This ancient palm grove dates back to Roman times where the Moors laid out the current landscape and the different orchards in which the palm trees are divided.
Apart from the palm trees, the city of Elche itself is also well worth a visit. It is where you can explore the Mudejar architecture, but don’t neglect to also visit the replica of ‘la Dama de Elche’ (the lady of Elche), a bust of a woman with an elaborated headdress dating back to the 4th century BC.
Useful info: Elche is about 30 minutes drive inland and south from Alicante.
Tip: If you don’t have your own transport or don’t feel like driving, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Join this wonderful day trip from Alicante to explore the palmgroves in Elche as well as the El Hondo natural park.
Tabarca Island is a small island off the coast of Santa Pola, just south of Alicante. It’s the smallest permanently inhabited islet in Spain and the largest island in the Valencian community.
You can walk around the island and visit the little town with white washed houses, as well as explore the historical church, lighthouse and port. The sandy beaches invite to relax and as the crystal clear waters around the island are declared a marine reserve they are great for snorkelling.
How to get to Tabarca Island?
As Tabarca is an island, you can only get there by boat. You can buy return tickets for the ferry boat and spend the day enjoying the island or you can go with an organised tour, where snorkelling is often included.
If you prefer the luxury of a private boat, have a look at this awesome full-day private sailing trip to Tabarca with skipper. Or hop on this 6 hour round trip catamaran cruise to make the most of your Tabarca Island day trip, including a paella meal and snorkelling in the marine reserve.
Locally known as ‘La Vila Joiosa’, meaning the joyful city, Villajoyosa is a colourful town located 32 km north of Alicante.
Famous for its multicoloured painted houses in the old town, its long sandy beaches and the production of chocolate, Villajoyosa is definitely worth a day trip from Alicante.
Don’t miss out on a visit to the famous Valor chocolate factory and museum where you’ll learn all about their journey and history. You can also sample their various chocolate products in the shop. Check their opening hours here so you can plan it in with the rest of your visit to Villajoyosa. Do take your time to stroll through the narrow streets of the old town while admiring the colourful houses and walking the beautiful beachfront promenade all the way to the marina and back.
When driving north towards Benidorm, Villajoyosa or Calpe, have a stop at the ‘Embalse de Amadorio’ or the Amadorio Dam. Located inland from Villajoyosa, the dam was constructed over the Amadorio river to serve as a water storage reservoir.
The dam is situated in a picturesque setting with amazing scenery. You’re allowed to walk over the dam wall from where you can see the Mediterranean sea and the town of Villajoyosa in the distance.
There is a large parking lot close to the dam wall with benches to sit on and relax or to have a picnic. From there, it is just a small walk to the dam itself.
Tip: If you’ve seen the movie The Covenant by director Guy Ritchie, you may recognise some of the scenes that were filmed here, more specifically the final scenes with the Taliban fight.
Just half an hour drive from Alicante, the Canelobre Caves are one of the main natural tourist attractions in the Alicante province and one of the top sites to visit from Alicante. The entrance of the caves are near the village of Busot at an altitude of 700 metres (or 2300 feet). The caves are renowned for their impressive limestone formations and with a height of 70 meters (230 feet) houses one of the highest vaults in Spain.
The caves are illuminated with various hues of light, accentuating the shapes and textures of the stalactites, stalagmites as well as the various rock formations giving it all a mysterious atmosphere.
Useful info: Flash photography and/or tripods/selfie sticks are not allowed inside the caves.
Tip: The easiest way to get to the caves is by car (parking is free). If you don’t have your own transport available you can book a tour to the Canelobre Caves here or here including a local guide and pre-booked entrance tickets.
The area of Alicante and more specifically Benidorm is home to various water, theme and animal parks.
Here are some of the most popular parks to visit on a day tour from Alicante:
- Aqualandia: A very popular and also one of the largest water parks in Europe, Aqualandia is located in Benidorm, a 45 minute drive from Alicante. It’s great if you enjoy a day of extreme water fun with lots of slides, wave pools, tube rides, children’s areas, shows and more. At a height of 33meters (108 feet), Aqualandia is also home to the highest capsule slide in the world. The park is open from end of May until mid September. Prebook your ticket to guarantee entry here or skip the line here.
- Mundomar: Located next to Aqualandia, but open nearly all-year-round, Mundomar is a marine and exotic animal park. You can experience dolphin and sea lion shows, see primates, tropical birds and visit the aquarium. You can pre-book your ticket here or skip the line here.
- Terra Natura: An animal park just outside Benidorm where you can watch animals roam wild in their natural habitat. The park is divided into the different continents and is home to over 200 different species of animals. Pre-book your ticket here or skip the line here.
- Aqua Natura: A waterpark within the Terra Natura park. It is smaller than Aqualandia but also still lots of fun. It can be combined with a visit to Terra Natura and you can either buy individual tickets or purchase a Terra Natura combiticket.
- Terra Mitica: A theme park located just outside of Benidorm. The park has various rides and attractions, theme-styled areas, roller coasters, shows and interactive experiences. Pre-book your ticket here or skip the line here.
Pink Salt Lakes in Torrevieja
Torrevieja, located an hours drive south of Alicante, is home to two salt lakes; Laguna Salada de Torrevieja and the Laguna de la Mata, together forming the Las Salinas de Torrevieja nature reserve. These salt lakes are not only historically important for their role in salt production but also for the ecological and environmental significance of the area.
The Laguna Salada de Torrevieja is the largest of the two and is famous for its distinctive pink colour. It’s the algae and bacteria in the water giving the lakes its beautiful pink hue. At times you can also see flamingoes in the lake, which come to eat the shrimps feeding on these algae in the lake. As it is a still working place, it is not allowed to visit inside the lakes by yourself. You need to take a guided tour. There is a tourist train that starts from the Paseo de la Libertad in Torrevieja (by the large fountain) and tickets can be bought on the train itself.
The nearby Laguna de la Mata is slightly smaller and is connected to the Laguna Salada forming the ‘Parque Natural de las Lagunas de La Mata y Torrevieja’ and is an important stopover for migratory birds. The main difference is that this is not a pink lake and at this lake there are various walking and hiking trails one can follow for free. Visit Komoot for more info about walking trails in the area.
Useful info: The bright pink hue is not always directly visible from the road. It will also depend on the weather and if it has rained a lot, after which the pink colour becomes rather brown instead.
Tip: The natural park can also be discovered by bike via the many bicycle routes. Enjoy the tranquility of the park, visit the lakes and spot the water birds with an e-bike. You can find more information about a bicycle tour here. What about admiring the beauty of the natural park and the lakes with a guide while enjoying a glass of organic wine or with a gourmet tasting.
Santa Pola is a coastal town just 30 minutes drive south of Alicante. This former fishing village is home to wide golden sandy beaches making it a popular beach destination for tourists and locals alike. It has a vibrant fishing port with lots of great restaurants, a historical castle as well as its own salt lakes, known as the ‘Salinas de Santa Pola’.
Tip: Make sure to also visit Playa d’el Pinet, south of the Salt Flats featuring white dunes and a long beach. During peak season it will get crowded but outside of peak season it is one of the nicer beaches to visit on the Costa Blanca.
Useful info: As Tabarca Island is closely located to Santa Pola, the return taxi boat to the island leaves from here. Make sure to reserve your taxi ticket in time here.
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