Why is Alicante in Spain Popular with Tourists and Expats

7 mins read

Alicante in Spain is a popular tourist and expat destination with a warm Mediterranean climate, sandy beaches, and food to die for. Today, the modern metropolis and province on the east coast, with a bustling port and an important cultural centre, hosts several museums and galleries. Fishing, shipping, and tourism also play significant roles. In addition, Alicante’s modern airport, road and rail links, and regular ferry services impact the European community and culture, especially for northern Europeans. So what does this all add up to?

A destination that attracts foreigners to holiday, buy a property and live in Alicante. Attracting millions of tourists yearly, expat communities scattered all over this province, fronting the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea, also call Alicante home. But what exactly does Alicante have to offer and is the region right for you?

About Alicante in Spain

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The Mediterranean Sea location

Alicante–Elche Airport is one of Spain’s busiest airports and serves several significant airlines with flights throughout Europe, including Ryanair and EasyJet. In addition, the well-equipped airport includes shops, restaurants, lounges, and car rental services. Transportation options from the airport include taxis, buses, and trains. So whether you’re arriving in Alicante for business or pleasure, Alicante Airport provides a convenient and comfortable start to your journey. Let’s not forget that gorgeous Spanish climate that attracts many people in the winter.

Visit Alicante City

The city’s historic buildings, monuments, landmarks to visit, and bustling shopping districts, make it the second-largest city in Valencia. The old town of Alicante is the charming historic centre. This picturesque area, with narrow, winding Spanish streets, beautiful plazas, and historic city buildings, features famous landmarks, like the Santa Bárbara castle, Explanada de España, and San Nicholas cathedral.

Visitors explore streets and buildings, sample delicious Spanish cuisine, and experience lively old-town atmospheres. As a popular city destination with shops, cafes, restaurants, museums and galleries, every corner of the old town highlights Spanish culture. Important city landmarks in the Santa María neighbourhood also include the Church and Altabix Tower.

Mercado Central and Traditional Food

The large indoor Mercado Central features stalls selling fresh produce, meat, fish, and other products. Buy local ingredients for traditional meals or learn about local food culture. The Mercado Central is housed in a modern building with a distinctive glass and metal roof, which provides plenty of natural light and creates a bright and airy atmosphere. The market is open from Monday to Saturday, with different stall hours.

Alicante’s cuisine fuses traditional Valencian dishes and more contemporary cooking styles. Popular dishes include paella, a traditional rice dish cooked with saffron, meats and vegetables, and arroz a banda, a fish dish made with a tomato-based sauce. However, in most places, various restaurants offer international menus; hence every taste is catered for.

Other Traditional Markets

  • Explanada Market: This weekly market on the Explanada de España is great for souvenirs and clothing.
  • Mercado de Abastos: This sizeable indoor market is famous for fresh produce and seafood.
  • Flea Market: This weekly market in various locations is ideal for second-hand goods and vintage clothing.

alicante in spain

Architectural Styles of Spain

Alicante’s rich architectural heritage reflects cultural influences from over the decades. The city’s mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Modernist styles are seen in architectural landmarks like the Gothic-style church of Basilica of Santa Maria; Casa Carbonell, a modernist building reflecting architectural styles that dominated Alicante in the early 20th century, and the Renaissance-style Palace of Monteagudo palace, also home to the city’s History Museum.

In addition, Alicante’s charming residential neighbourhoods, like Tossal de Manises, also promote well-preserved historical buildings on tree-lined avenues. So whether you’re interested in medieval castles, renaissance palaces, or charming residential and city streetscapes, Alicante’s architecture is interesting.


Things to Do and Places to Visit

  • Tabarca Island is the only inhabited island off Alicante’s coast and boasts a well-preserved historic town. The Spanish Island was once a pirate stronghold; walls, fortifications, and buildings from the 18th century have been well preserved. Unfortunately, the island is only accessible by boat, but daily boat trips are available from the Spanish mainland.
  • The Castillo de Santa Bárbara medieval castle sits on top of Mount Benacantil with panoramic city and coast views. The castle’s long history dates from the 9th century and has been a military fortification, prison, and Museum.
  • The Explanada de España promenade in Alicante centre is lined with palm trees and features distinctive hexagonal marble tiles, creating a unique and eye-catching pattern. The path offers stunning sea views and several cafes and restaurants for tourists to relax and enjoy the sun. The Explanada is also the site of several important events and festivals.
  • The Archaeological Museum offers an exciting journey through Prehistory, Iberian Culture, Roman Culture and Middle Ages. The Museum attracts tourists who want to know more about Alicante throughout the ages.
  • Alicante hosts several important festivals and events throughout the year, including the Bonfires of Saint John, one of Spain’s largest and most famous festivals.

Stunning Beaches in Alicante

Playa del Postiguet has a wide promenade with harbour views along the sand. El Postiguet, a popular summer destination, offers various coastal activities, including sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Restaurants, cafes, and shops surround Playa del Postiguet, making summer and coast days great fun. Other famous beaches include…

  • San Juan: A sandy beach in northern Alicante with decent nightlife.
  • Albufereta: This small, sheltered beach offers clear waters and peaceful atmospheres.
  • El Saladar-La Albufera: This large beach is famous for windsurfing and kite-surfing.
  • Sitting in Villajoyosa town, with vibrant coloured houses and seafood restaurants.
  • La Marina: A wide sandy beach near Elche with lively summer atmospheres and amenities.

Living in Alicante – Spain

The population of Alicante includes many foreign residents, particularly those from Northern and Western Europe. Some factors that make Alicante attractive to foreign residents include mild climates, beautiful beaches, and a relatively low cost of living. Many people from different countries are retired people attracted by the area’s relaxed pace of life, healthcare facilities and quality of life—however, young professionals and families also like Alicante for job opportunities and good schools.

Foreigners in Alicante choose to live in the city or nearby coastal towns and villages like Torrevieja, Benidorm, and Villajoyosa. In these areas, residential communities cater to ex-pats, with various housing options, facilities, and services to meet their needs. Overall, a large foreign community in Alicante positively impacted local economies and boosted the real estate market, retail and tourism sectors.

The Alicante Metropolitan Area is composed of several smaller municipalities and towns, including but not limited to:

  • Elche: Sitting 11 km from Alicante, attractions include Palmeral de Elche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • San Vicente del Raspeig: 10 km from Alicante and famous for the university and research centres.
  • Santa Pola: This coastal fishing town is 15 km from Alicante.
  • Villajoyosa: A coastal town 25 km from Alicante, with vibrant fishing industries and colourful architecture.
  • Novelda: A town about 45 km from Alicante, with a ceramics industry and beautiful architecture.

These are essential areas of the Alicante Metropolitan Area. Still, other smaller towns also offer unique history, culture, and modern amenities, making the Alicante Metropolitan Area, a diverse and dynamic region to visit or live in. The decision on where to live in Alicante ultimately depends on individual preferences, and budget. However, famous neighbourhoods and areas are…

  • Alicante centre: For urban lifestyles with easy access to shopping, public transportation, dining, landmarks, and entertainment, the city centre is ideal.
  • Playa de San Juan: This popular neighbourhood for families and beach living offers several amenities.
  • Cabo de las Huertas: This coastal neighbourhood with stunning sea views includes various parks and nature reserves.
  • El Campello:  Just north of Alicante, El Campello offers a more traditional, laid-back lifestyle and several beaches.
  • Santa Pola:  South of Alicante, Santa Pola offers various beaches and is famous for fishing and seafood cuisine.


Why Buy Property in Alicante – Spain

  • Climate: The sunny weather is better than the colder climates of northern Europe, making the region popular in winter.
  • Cost of living: Compared to other European cities, the cost of living in Alicante is relatively low, making it affordable for property buyers.
  • Lifestyle: Alicante’s relaxed and laid-back lifestyle suits all ages.
  • Location: Alicante is well-connected to other cities in Spain and Europe
  • Economy: The growing economy offers opportunities for investment and entrepreneurship.
  • History: Alicante’s history dates back to the Moors, and historic landmarks include the Castle of Santa Barbara and Explanada de España.
  • Economy: The city’s port is one of Spain’s busiest, alongside thriving tourism businesses and manufacturing and technology companies.

All these factors combined make Alicante an attractive destination for those looking to buy holiday homes, permanent residences, or investment opportunities. The Alicante town hall is the administrative centre responsible for providing various public services to residents and making decisions on local policies and regulations. Alicante town hall also symbolises government and civic life with multiple offices and public services, including the mayor’s office and council chambers. In addition, the town hall is open to the public for business, exhibitions, and events.

About the Costa Blanca of Alicante Province

Other towns and cities in the Costa Blanca include Benidorm, Torrevieja, Altea, Calpe, Denia, Jávea/Xàbia, Santa Pola, and Guardamar del Segura. These towns offer various experiences, from bustling summer resorts to winding streets of traditional Spanish villages. Popular attractions include Terra Mítica theme park in Benidorm, Altea Old Town with narrow streets and white-washed houses, and delightful traditional church and Peñón de Ifach rock formation and nature reserve in Calpe. Also, visit the Salzillo Museum in Murcia dedicated to the works of sculptor Francisco Salzillo and Guadalest Valley behind the Costa Blanca with a castle, church, and reservoir. Additionally, the province features several natural parks and reserves, including Sierra Helada Natural Park.

Valencia Province of Spain

The province of Valencia is an autonomous community in eastern Spain bordered by the provinces of Alicante to the south and Castellón to the north. The region’s vibrant cities, like Valencia, Alicante, and Castellón, are famous for agriculture, including oranges, lemons, rice and vegetables. Tourism hosts millions of visitors annually with historical sites, cultural attractions, and places like Benidorm and Gandía.

Final Summary

We are Spot Blue, and we sell property in Alicante – Spain. As experienced estate agents, we provide expert service and guidance to clients throughout the buying process. Our in-depth knowledge of local real estate markets and attention to detail ensures a smooth buying process. In addition, we work closely with clients to understand their unique needs. So if you want to buy your dream home in Alicante, we support you every step of the way. See our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale, or contact us today and speak more with an agent about Alicante in Spain.

About Natalie

Natalie is a dedicated real estate professional currently working at Spot Blue International Property. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding global properties.

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