Alicante on a budget – Free things to do in Alicante

by Katja Kaven

With mild weather all year round, Alicante is the perfect destination for your next trip! Especially if you’re traveling in winter, Alicante might be worth considering. And since we all love to save some money, keep on reading to find out how to travel Alicante on a budget. I’ve included a lot of free things to do to have a great time.

If you’re looking for good food for your time in Alicante, check out my vegan food guide for Alicante!

Tip: Follow me on Instagram here to keep up with my life after traveling.

How to get to Alicante on a budget

Alicante has its own airport where lots of budget airlines fly to. Especially if you’re flexible when to come, you will be able to find some cheap flights. Flight time from central Europe or the UK is approximately 2 ½ hours. If you’re coming from another city in Spain, such as Valencia, there are multiple trains a day that you can take.

How to get from the Airport to the city of Alicante on a budget

The bus C6 has multiple stops in the city center. It leaves from right outside of the terminals – just follow the signs. Furthermore, it leaves every 20 minutes and takes around 20 minutes to the port of Alicante. It costs 3,80€ which you can pay in cash or with contactless payment.

Where to stay in Alicante on a budget

Disclaimer: This section contains affiliate links to places I’ve stayed at during my time in Alicante and another place I’ve heard great things about. If you book your stay through any of my links, I will earn a small commission. This comes with no extra cost for you. Be assured that I’ve only included accommodations I would stay at again!

I stayed at Market Hostel Alicante, a very modern and very clean hostel located close to the Central Market in Alicante. I would definitely recommend it, especially the bathrooms were great – not only for hostel standards. Another hostel I’ve heard great things about (I had a friend stay there just days after I was in Alicante) is X Hostel. I personally preferred the location of Market Hostel Alicante but from what I’ve heard, X Hostel is also a great place to stay at.

Tip: If you’re not traveling Alicante on a budget, consider staying at Tryp Alicante Gran Sol for some great views of the port. I stayed here for a few nights when my mom came to join me for the weekend.

Free things to do in Alicante

Now let’s get to the main part of this blog post. Alicante offers a great number of free things to do which is why it is perfect for traveling on a budget. Check out my favorite activities:

Walk up to Castillo de Santa Barbara

Castillo de Santa Barbara is one of the main attractions in Alicante. That’s why I was even more surprised to find out that it is actually one of the free things to do in Alicante. You can take an elevator up from the beach (that is not free, though) or just walk up to the castle through the Parc de la Ereta. Around the castle, there are many great viewpoints and photo spots. You can also go on a guided tour for 3€ or just walk through the castle and its small exhibition by yourself.

Visit the Mercado Central

The Mercado Central in Alicante has three areas – meat, fish and fruits, and vegetables. I skipped the first two and went straight to the third section. The selection of fresh fruits and vegetables is very impressive and they also sell other things like nuts and herbs there. Obviously, this isn’t a free thing to do in Alicante if you decide to join the locals in buying your food but the market is also worth a visit if you decide to just take a stroll and take in the buzzing atmosphere.

Go to the beach

If you’ve come to the Costa Blanca, you’re probably here for the year-round good weather. So why not take advantage of it and spend your days on the beach? The easiest option would be to just go to the Playa del Postiguet which is located just meters away from the Esplanada d’Espanya. However, you could also go to San Juan Playa or Playa de la Almadraba which are both located less than half an hour away from Alicante. This wouldn’t be one of the free things to do in Alicante though since it requires you to take the tram (1,45€ one-way) or rent a bike (5-12€).

Don't miss the beach when visiting Alicante on a budget
The city beach in Alicante.
Go to the Ocean Race Museum

This is something I honestly did not expect to be this interesting! I have no connection to sailing whatsoever but still thought that this exhibition was so intriguing. It tells the story of The Ocean Race (a yacht race around the world that takes place every 3-4 years since 1973, lasts almost 9 months and that I had never heard of before). Furthermore, you can learn more about sailing, life on board, oceans and sustainability, and heroes and legends. You can probably explore everything within an hour. However, because I was so fascinated and ended up watching every video and reading every information board, I spent almost three hours at the Ocean Race Museum.

Stroll down the Esplanada d’Espanya

With its interesting design, the Esplanada d’Espanya is definitely an eye-catcher. Just strolling down the Esplanada can be fun, walking past restaurants, cafes, and street artists. There is even an open-air auditorium located on the Esplanada where you can stop to listen to some great music.

You can't miss a stroll down the Esplanada d'Espanya when visiting Alicante on a budget.
Don’t miss a stroll down the Esplanada d’Espanya.
Visit El Palmeral

The park El Palmeral is located around 45 minutes by foot from the harbor of Alicante. Unfortunately, the walk there is not as nice as we expected it to be seeing that it follows the coastline – you will have to walk next to the big street instead, though. Therefore, we took the bus back for 1,45€, so this wasn’t completely free. You can walk both ways though and the park is definitely worth a visit! It’s like a little oasis where you can walk around the palm trees while listening to the sounds of the waterfall inside of the park and the sea just outside the park. Perfect if you need some time in nature.

You can visit El Palmeral for free - perfect for being in Alicante on a budget!
A nice break from the city life.
Watch the sunset from the Puerto de Alicante

Alicante has some stunning sunsets (and sunrises) to offer, so it’d be a shame to miss out on them. You can watch the sun set from the Port of Alicante. Surely, it might be even nicer to sit down on the terrace of one of the bars or restaurants with a drink. But if you’re in Alicante on a budget, you can totally just watch the sunset from one of the benches in the harbor.

When being in Alicante on a budget, don't miss the opportunity for a beautiful sunset.
The perfect spot for sunset.
Walk the streets around Monte Benacantil, see la Cara del Moro

Alicante’s Old Town is worth a stroll for sure. There are a lot of cute colored houses to see. Furthermore, when walking around Monte Benacantil on which the Castillo de Santa Barbara is located, you might be able to see a face on the mountain (la Cara del Moro). So keep your eyes open as you make your way through the small streets around Monte Benacantil!

Visit the Town Hall of Alicante

Not only does it feature a big golden sculpture by Dalì in the entrance hall but you can also find “La Cota Cero” which is the reference point from which the altitude of Spain’s various cities is measured in meters above sea level. Upstairs, there are several rooms you can explore, such as a salon, a meeting hall and a chape. The Town Hall of Alicante is opened from 9 am to 2 pm on weekdays. 

Go to the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Alicante (MACA)

Another great place to spend your day when the weather in Alicante isn’t as good as you hoped. And it’s also one of the free things to do in Alicante on a budget! You can explore a temporary collection (based around portraits when I was there in February 2020), a 20th-century art collection and collections provided by Caja Mediterraneo and Eusebio Sempere. 

Being in Alicante on a budget is perfect because most museums are free!

Some more free things to do in Alicante when traveling on a budget

Visit Basilica de Santa Maria

The Basilica of Santa Maria is the oldest active church in Alicante. It can be visited every day from 10 am to 1 pm and from 6 pm to 7:30 pm.

Visit Basilica de Santa Maria when in Alicante on a budget.
Basilica de Santa Maria
Stroll through the Parc de la Ereta

Located on the slopes of Mount Benacantil, you will inevitably end up exploring the Parc de la Ereta if you decide to walk up to the Castillo de Santa Barabara. Great for city and sunset views.

Going for walks is always good when being in Alicante on a budget.
One of the views in the Parc de la Ereta
Admire the street art

Just by walking through Alicante, you will discover lots of great art around the city. So, if you’re ever bored, just go for a walk and see what you can find.

Observing street art is a great thing when being in Alicante on a budget.
Just one of the many murals.
Walk through Calle San Francisco

Calle San Francisco is a street full of huge mushrooms. Yes, you’ve read that right. The street used to be a place for prostitution and illegal businesses. In 2013, it was decided to theme the street in order to attract more tourists and open new businesses. Go here if you’re in the area anyway but it’s not really worth a visit on its own, in my opinion.

A great place to explore when being in Alicante on a budget.
Calle San Francisco
Visit Plaza Gabriel Miro

Named after a famous Alicante writer, the Plaza Gabriel Miro makes the perfect escape from the heat with giant Ficus trees, a water fountain, and stone benches to relax on. With its tranquil atmosphere and some cafes around, you will find a lot of locals taking a siesta there.

Spend some time here when you are in Alicante on a budget!
Plaza Gabriel Miro
Visit Plaza del Portal d’Elx

Another plaza just meters away from the Esplanada d’Espanya. Furthermore, another shady escape from the heat with outdoor spaces and a cafe.

That’s it for my recommendations on free things to do when traveling Alicante on a budget. Did I miss anything? Make sure to reach out with any further questions and tag me if you try out any of these!

Tip: Follow me on Instagram here to keep up with my life after traveling.

Check out:

For amazing food in Alicante, check out my vegan food guide for Alicante.

Find more inspiration on what to do in different places. Check out things to do in Ubud, Hanoi, Hobart, Byron Bay, Sydney, Wellington, and Taupo.

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Miri May 3, 2020 - 00:37

Just bookmarked this post! I live in Spain but never made it to Alicante. This is definitely on my list when the travel restrictions are lifted. thank you so much for sharing.

lots of love, Miri

Katja Kaven May 3, 2020 - 20:20

Hi Miri! Thanks for your comment – Alicante is definitely worth a visit. Let me know how you like it!

Lots of love, Katja

Alexandra Booze April 4, 2020 - 20:23

There are an endless amount of beautiful cities in Spain! This is one of them 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your tips and photos!

Katja Kaven April 5, 2020 - 09:43

I absolutely agree! You’re very welcome 🙂

Megan April 2, 2020 - 18:38

great post and beautiful photos – especially that sunset is to die for!

Katja Kaven April 4, 2020 - 09:59

Thank you! Yeah the sunset was great!

Karen April 2, 2020 - 04:38

Great ideas for free and cheap things to do. It will be fun to see the vegan options for food too.

Katja Kaven April 4, 2020 - 09:57

They’ll be coming to the blog tomorrow!

Marina April 2, 2020 - 03:45

I’ve been quite a few times to Spain but never to Alicante yet, it looks like I need to go!

Katja Kaven April 4, 2020 - 09:57

Yes for sure! I hadn’t heard of it before but my mom suggested it.

Julie Ruhl April 2, 2020 - 02:16

We are always traveling on a budget so we always appreciate posts like this. Free things to do are the best! Thanks for sharing these awesome ideas.

Katja Kaven April 4, 2020 - 09:56

Me too! Glad you like it.

Disha Smith April 2, 2020 - 01:20

Wow! This place looks so dreamy. I’m loving the beach vibes. I can’t wait to visit!

Katja Kaven April 4, 2020 - 09:56

I love beach cities as well! Hope this whole thing is over soon and you’ll be able to visit!!


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