Alicante, a vibrant coastal city on Spain’s Costa Blanca, boasts a rich history that is beautifully preserved in its historic centre, also known as the Barrio de la Santa Cruz or Casco Antiguo. The enchanting narrow streets, colorful houses, and historic landmarks make this area an essential part of any visit to Alicante. In this article, we’ll take you on a virtual tour through the historic centre of Alicante, exploring its fascinating history, architectural marvels, and cultural treasures.
Also read: 16 Things to do in Javea
A Journey Through History
The historic centre of Alicante is a testament to the city’s diverse history, with influences from the Iberians, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors, before the final Reconquista by the forces of King James II of Aragon. As you wander through the narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways, you’ll discover remnants of Alicante’s storied past, including ancient walls, historic churches, and charming plazas.
Among the many captivating sites in Alicante’s historic centre, a few stand out as must-see landmarks:
- Santa Bárbara Castle: Perched atop Mount Benacantil, this iconic fortress offers breathtaking views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea. With origins dating back to the 9th century, the castle has been an important part of Alicante’s defense system throughout its history. Read more about Santa Barbara Castle
- Santa María Basilica: As the oldest active church in Alicante, this stunning basilica is a fascinating fusion of Gothic and Baroque architectural styles. The elaborate façade, adorned with intricate sculptures and reliefs, contrasts beautifully with the church’s medieval charm. Read more about Santa Maria Basilica
- San Nicolás Cathedral: Another important religious site in the historic centre, the San Nicolás Cathedral is a stunning example of Spanish Baroque and Herrerian architecture. The cathedral’s elegant interior is home to a wealth of artistic treasures, including frescoes and ornate altarpieces. Read more about San Nicolas Cathedral
- Town Hall (Ayuntamiento): This striking Baroque building, located in Plaza del Ayuntamiento, serves as the city’s administrative center. Its grand façade and twin towers create a sense of majesty and importance, reflecting the city’s growth and development throughout the centuries.
- Museum of Contemporary Art of Alicante (MACA): Housed in a beautifully restored 17th-century building, the MACA showcases an impressive collection of contemporary art, including works by renowned Spanish artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró. Read more about The Museum of Contemporary Art in Alicante
- The Central Market (Mercado Central): A vibrant hub of local life, the Central Market is an excellent place to experience Alicante’s gastronomic delights. The modernist building, completed in 1921, hosts a variety of stalls offering fresh produce, meat, fish, and other local products. Read more about Mercado Central in Alicante
Exploring the Neighborhoods
The historic centre of Alicante is divided into several charming neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and atmosphere:
- El Barrio de Santa Cruz: Known for its colorful houses adorned with flowers and traditional decorations, this picturesque neighborhood is the perfect place to experience Alicante’s local charm. The narrow streets and staircases wind their way up the hillside, providing stunning views of the city and the sea.
- El Barrio de San Roque: Another enchanting neighborhood, San Roque features a mix of historic houses and modern buildings, creating a fascinating blend of old and new. The lively atmosphere and welcoming plazas make it an ideal destination for leisurely strolls and outdoor dining.
Located approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Jávea, the historic centre of Alicante is an unmissable destination for anyone visiting the Valencian Community. This description outlines how to get to the historic centre of Alicante from Jávea using various modes of transportation.
The most convenient way to travel from Jávea to the historic centre of Alicante is by car. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on traffic. To start your trip, head south on the CV-735 towards Alicante. Continue onto the N-332 and then take the exit toward A-70/AP-7. Merge onto the A-70/AP-7, and after about 61 kilometers (38 miles), take exit 67 for Alicante.
Follow signs for the city center (Centro Ciudad) and then look for parking nearby. There are several parking lots and garages within walking distance of the historic centre. The area can be easily explored on foot, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the charm and history of Alicante.
By Public Transportation:
You can also travel from Jávea to Alicante using public transportation. Start by taking the bus from Jávea to the nearby town of Denia. The bus line is operated by Autocares Carrió, and the journey takes around 30 minutes. You can find more information and book tickets at their website: https://carriogroup.com/
Once in Denia, transfer to a tram (TRAM Metropolitano Alicante) at the Denia Tram Station. Take Line 9 towards Benidorm. At the Benidorm Tram Station, transfer to Line 1, heading towards Alicante. You can find more information and buy tickets at the TRAM Metropolitano Alicante website: https://www.tramalicante.es/
Get off at the Alicante Mercado Tram Station. From there, it’s a short 5-minute walk to the heart of the historic centre. Head southwest on Av. Alfonso X El Sabio, turn right onto Calle San Francisco, and then turn left onto Calle San Agatángelo. The historic centre will be on your left.
By Taxi or Rideshare:
Alternatively, you can take a taxi or use a rideshare service like Uber or Cabify for a more direct and comfortable journey. The cost will be higher compared to public transportation, but it can save you time and the hassle of transfers.
Regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, the trip from Jávea to the historic centre of Alicante promises to be a memorable experience, as you discover the beauty and history of the Valencian Community.
A visit to the historic centre of Alicante offers an unforgettable journey through the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. The charming neighborhoods, stunning architectural landmarks, and fascinating museums provide a glimpse into Alicante’s past and present, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s unique atmosphere. As you wander through the narrow streets, sample local delicacies at the Central Market, or take in the breathtaking views from Santa Bárbara Castle, you’ll discover the true essence of Alicante and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply looking to experience the authentic charm of a Mediterranean city, the historic centre of Alicante is an unmissable destination. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this enchanting area and uncover the stories, traditions, and beauty that make Alicante a truly captivating city.