Alicante Shore Excursion Reviews

Alicante Cruise Tips, Activities, and Overview

Food and Drink in Alicante

The region around Alicante is known as The Land of Rice and it's estimated that somewhere around 100 different varieties are grown in the city's backyard. You won't have to go far to find a restaurant serving paella, but if you want to try something different go for the 'arroz con costra' -- a rice dish served with an egg crust. Tapas are also on tap in Alicante. Just be aware that the patatas bravas here is made with slices of potato -- cooked more like chips -- as opposed to chunks of new potatoes.

Alicante doesn't have a signature cocktail as such, although sangria is pretty much free flowing in the city. Most restaurants serve a shot of mistella after meals, though. It's a fortified wine that's the color of hay.

There are several pulse points as far as restaurants are concerned. Explanada de Espana features a parade of them, while Plaza de la Santisima Faz is penned in by them.

Nou Manolin: Dressed in neutral colors, this restaurant looks simple but it serves statement food. The tapas menu is a showcase of local ingredients including red Denia shrimp and Spanish meats. (Calle Villegas 3; +34 965 200 368; Monday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. to midnight)

Xiringuito: This tapas and cocktail bar tops Alicante's main beach. The menu features all the classic tapas dishes, from meats to slates of seafood, and it's all served up with a sea view (Playa de Postiguet; +34 670 377 033 Monday to Sunday 10 a.m. to late)

Taberna San Pascual: This restaurant has character, mainly thanks to its larger than life owner. The menu features paella and a long list of tapas dishes like patatas bravas, croquetas and meatballs. (Calle San Pascal 3; +34 645 398 595; Monday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

El Portal: There's a warehouse look to this restaurant. The menu showcases everything from salt baked fish to arroz negre -- a special rice dish made with squid ink. There's also a cocktail bar in the center where bartenders compete against each other. (Calle Bilbao 2; +34 965 143 269; Monday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.)

--By Sarah Holt, Cruise Critic contributor

Beaches in Alicante

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.

Don't Miss in Alicante

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.