Don't Miss

Castillo de Santa Barbara Elevator: Opposite Postiguet Beach, the elevator takes you up to the castle through the rock face of Mount Benacantil. Once at the top you can wander around the ruins of the fort, which date back thousands of years. There's a museum at the top, too, where you can dive deeper into the history of the castle. Alternatively, just grab a drink at the cafe and take in the panoramic views of Alicante. (Avenida Juan Bautista Lafora; open daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., April to September, and 10 a.m to 8 p.m., October to March)

Barrio Santa Cruz: This neighborhood is a tangle of cobbled lanes lined with crayon-colored houses. There are a couple of historical hermitages at the north of the neighborhood that are usually closed, but they're easy on the eye to say the least.

Parque de La Ereta: Some of the best seats in Alicante's house can be found in Parque de La Ereta. Halfway between Barrio Santa Cruz and Castillo de Santa Barbara, the park features leafy gardens, viewpoints with benches and even an outdoor gym.

Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art (MACA): Located inside the 17th-century Casa de la Asegurada, this museum's collection name-drops artists like Dali, Miro and Picasso. (Plaza Santa Maria 3; open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Volvo Ocean Race Museum: Alicante has fired the starting gun on this round-the-world yacht race since 2008, and this museum tips its cap to everything and anything to do with the sporting contest. Exhibits are interactive and include 3D simulators and touch screens. (Puerto de Alicante; +34 966 377 034; open Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Central Market: Located inside a pyramidal building on Avenida Alfonso el Sabio, the central market features two floors of food and flowers. There are tapas bars inside, too. (Avenida Alfonso el Sabio 10; +34 965 140 763; open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Museo Arqueologico de Alicante: MARQ brings the timeline of Alicante to life using multimedia and audio-visual exhibitions. Visitors can find out about all sorts of archaeological eras, from pre-history, through the Roman period and up to modern day. (Plaza Dr Gomez Ulla; open Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 8.30 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Guadalest: This gravity defying village perches in the mountains in Marina Baixa, an hour's drive from Alicante. It's postcard pretty and serves up panoramic views. It's also a little larder as far as local produce is concerned. Honey and cheeses are just two of the souvenirs you can take home from here.

Elche: This Moorish village, 23 kilometers from Alicante, features on UNESCO's World Heritage Site list twice. Firstly, for its annual medieval play, and secondly for its palm groves; they're the largest in Europe and they fur the ground of Elche with more than 70,000 leafy palms. Either take a shore excursion here or catch the cercania train, on the line that goes to Murcia.

Beaches

Playa de Postiguet: This beach hits the bull's-eye for cruise passengers whose main aim in Alicante is to get to the beach as fast as possible. It's just round the corner from the shuttle bus stop and it comes complete with soft tawny sand, loungers, cabana beds, a volleyball court and beach bars.

San Juan: Just over 4 kilometers from Alicante, this long stretch of sand has the seal of approval from Blue Flag. It features beachside restaurants and bars as well as activities like a volleyball court and children's playground. The Alicante tram stops here.

Tabarca: Technically, this isn't a beach, it's an island, 11 nautical miles from Alicante. From spring to summer, there are boat and catamaran departures to the island from Alicante marina every day. Boat trips start around 10 a.m. and carry on for a few hours.