Day trips from Alicante take you to see castles, caves, islands, and beautiful valleys. Not forgetting you can hop on the bus and cruise other Costa Blanca beach towns.
The Valencian Province of Alicante is a year-round destination. It’s one of the warmest places in Spain in winter and is best enjoyed as a relaxing beach vacation with a dose of outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, and excellent seafood. And that’s where these Alicante day tours come into the picture.
Here is a taster of some of the best places to see near Alicante on a day trip.
12 Best Day Trips from Alicante
Alicante is not a particularly large city and as such it’s easy to tick off the principal things to do in Alicante over a day or two. If your itinerary allows, Alicante day trips help get more of a sense of the wider Costa Blanca region as well as the hinterland of the province.
The following day trips are accessible via public transport, rental car, and/or guided tour. Before getting behind the wheel, cast an eye over our tips for driving in Spain.
1. Guadalest Valley
Of all the days out near Alicante, Guadalest takes the biscuit. Officially “El Castell de Guadalest” this is a mountain town in a green valley north of the city on the way to Valencia. It’s interesting to visit for a change of scenery – in place of the Alicante beaches, you’ll see an emerald lake and cascading waterfalls.
Driving from Alicante to Guadalest takes one hour. This is a great option if you’re hiring a car in Spain and are comfortable driving on mountain roads.
Otherwise, you can join a tour – which is much more comfortable. This Alicante to Guadalest Valley and Algar Waterfalls tour is capped at eight participants.
It starts with some free time in El Castell de Guadalest. It’s up to you whether you swing by a museum or two (at an additional cost) or simply wander the streets. Admission to the Moorish fortress and San Jose Castle is included and you’ll visit these with the group.
The trip continues at Las Fuentes del Algar (Algar Waterfalls) where swimming is permitted during the summer season.
2. Costa Blanca
Unwinding on the local beaches is one of the unmissable things to do near Alicante – we all know the importance of vitamin D!
Alicante is technically a Costa Blanca (White Coast) resort city itself. However, it’s worth visiting neighboring resorts for a chance of pace and a different vibe. The vacation region applies to 150 miles of coast from Dénia in the north to Pilar de la Horadada in the south.
If you have a rental vehicle, touring a couple of Costa Blanca beaches is one of the coolest day trips from Alicante by car. It’ll take just under an hour to drive south to Torre La Mata and Torrevieja a little over an hour on the bus. Moraira is an hour by car to the north although it’s too complicated with public transport.
Whether you head north or south, plot out a route that involves stopping at a couple of places along the way. The Costa Blanca is lovely to explore independently.
We’ll take a closer look at some of the most interesting Costa Blanca towns.
The lovely seaside town of Villajoyosa (Vila Joiosa in the Valenciano dialect) is one of the most popular Alicante day trips on the Costa Blanca.
It comprises a colorful Old Town awash with buildings known as “las casas de colores” or “las casas pintadas”.
Villajoyosa has enough chocolate ateliers to rival those of Brussels plus a museum about the history of chocolate-making in the region. Naturally, catching a ray or two is part and parcel of a day out in Villajoyosa.
The Alicante Metro Tram takes around one hour to reach La Vila Joiosa or Creueta in Villajoyosa. Buses operated by ALSA are also available. It’s one of the easiest day trips from Alicante by public transport.
Otherwise, you could rent a car and stop off at other Costa Blanca towns along the way.
On the other hand, you can visit as part of a tour. This Alicante Charming Villages tour includes a trip to Villajoyosa and then Altea. It’s devised to give you free time in each town although the guide will share insider tips on what to see and where to eat lunch.
Altea is another joyful seaside town on the other side of Benidorm. It’s often referred to as the Santorini of Spain due to its white-washed Old Town and cobalt-domed church.
The seafront area is quite spread out and it’s best explored by rental bicycle or perhaps kayak. If your day trip allows, you can also consider joining a guided kayak excursion. This takes you past the cliffs of Morro de Toix and into the Cueva dels Coloms. However, you’d need to drive yourself there and leave Alicante early in the morning.
ALSA buses take 1.5 hours whereas drive time is around 50 minutes.
Altea offers an entirely different experience from Villajoyosa, which is why the Alicante Charming Villages tour is worth considering.
5. Tabarca Island
Floating off the coast, Tabarca Island is one of the best boat trips from Alicante.
Also known as Isla Plana, Nova Tabarca, and Illa Plana in Valencian dialects, Tabarca became Spain’s first Marine Reserve in 1986. Its Posidonia Oceanica provides a safe habitat to seahorses, turtles, groupers, red mullets, octopuses, sea bass, and more. The island is edged by small beaches, natural coves, and cave systems.
A day on Tabarca may be spent enjoying the water and taking in views from on land.
Ferries operate all year but services are increased over summer. A return ticket costs €22 ($24 USD) and the crossing takes one or two hours, subject to sea conditions. Tickets and schedules are available on the Civitatis website.
Otherwise, you can sign up for a catamaran cruise to Tabarca. It’s a full day out with free time on the Mediterranean island plus snorkeling and swimming off the sailboat. A paella lunch and one alcoholic drink are included in the cost.
Heading inland, Murcia is a beautiful city 50 miles (81 km) southwest of Alicante. It’s located on the banks of the Segura River and comprises grand architecture and green spaces.
The Cathedral de Murcia and its climbable bell tower mark the center of Murcia. Close by, the casino is awash with sculptures, frescoes, and ornate walkways. It costs €5 ($5.50 USD) to go inside and have a look around.
Plaza de las Flores is another spot to spend some time on your day out. It’s named for the florists and is a lovely choice for sitting out with a coffee or glass of wine.
It only takes an hour to drive to Murcia but this is one of the best day trips from Alicante by train. That way you can indulge in a cold beer or two in a sunny plaza. Direct trains take one hour: check times and fares on Omio or directly on the Renfe trains website.
Cartagena is one of the more ambitious day trips from Alicante by train. Journey time is 2.5 hours and trains are not hugely frequent but it’s doable.
The main reason to visit Cartagena is to see the Roman Amphitheater next to the port. This is one of the most interesting historic places to see near Alicante. With the capacity for 7,000 spectators, it’s one of the largest Roman arenas in Spain and construction was overseen by Emperor Augustus.
This Ancient Roman walking tour includes admission to the amphitheater and the attached museum. Artifacts excavated from the arena and surrounding area shed light on the cultural and political influence Rome had on Cartagena. Which many historians refer to as Little Rome.
In addition, you can visit the House of Fortune (Casa de la Fortuna) for a glimpse into the domestic life of the Romans in Cartagena. Right next to the train station, you’ll find an archaeological site around the ancient walls.
8. Canelobre Caves
The Canelobre Caves (Cova dels Canelobres) are one of the best day tours from Alicante on a sweltering summer’s day.
This complex is one of the highest-altitude cave systems in Spain. The natural exhibition displays stalagmites, stalactites, and other prehistoric formations. It’s a fun option with kids but has just as much appeal to adults who can’t resist a peek at what’s going on belowground.
It takes 30 minutes to drive to the Canelobre Caves from Alicante. Admission to the caves is €8 ($8.76 USD).
If you’re not planning on driving in Spain then you can book this Canelobre Caves tour with transport. The guides are super knowledgeable and bring the experience to life through commentary on the region’s natural and cultural history. It includes a stop at the town of Busot, too.
9. Hanging Bridges of Chulilla
Chulilla is a medieval town surrounded by a spectacular limestone gorge within the Los Calderones Municipal Natural Park. It overlooks the Turia River and is one of the most popular Alicante day trips for rock climbers.
Non-climbers can explore the gorge via a sequence of hanging bridges known as Ruta de los Calderones or Senda de los Pantaneros. The trails are suitable for all ages and abilities although it’s a moderate degree of walking. You’ll need decent footwear and hiking clothes.
Chulilla is one of the best day trips from Valencia. However, it’s also accessible from Alicante via a scenic 2.5-hour drive. Given the distance and terrain, it’s more comfortable to join a tour.
This Chulilla and the Hanging Bridges tour offers pick-up from Alicante, Valencia, or Benidorm.
10. Castles of Vinalopó
Following the Route of the Castles of Vinalopó is one of the best things to do near Alicante for history enthusiasts.
The fort-studded Valley of Vinalopó harks back to the Middle Ages when the Kingdom of Valencia and the Kingdom of Castile reigned over the region. Castles and other defensive monuments are scattered across a 46-mile (75 km) route.
This private tour of the Vinalopó Castles allows for personalization. It covers a selection of the most interesting castles where your guide will provide a commentary.
Typically, these include Castillo de la Mola and the attached Santa Magdalena Sanctuary, Castillo de Castalla, and Castillo de Sax. The tour also includes a wine tasting at Bodega Casa Sicilia.
11. Wineries of Alicante
Alicante isn’t the most famous wine-making region in Spain but that’s not to say it doesn’t exist! The Alicante wine region has a prestigious history where production is shaped by the Mediterranean Sea and the mountain ranges.
This is one of the day tours from Alicante where a tour is essential. It’s pretty pricey but this Alicante wineries full-day private tour does offer great value to groups. The price accommodates up to six guests.
After being picked up from your hotel in Alicante, your bilingual sommelier guide will walk you through wine production at two estates.
These typically include Bodegas Francisco Gomez and Bodegas Monovar. The former is a modern estate committed to sustainable and organic wine production. The latter is a historic bodega focused on Fondillón.
Elche is a beautiful inland city and one of the best day trips from Alicante that you can take.
You can easily get here by bus in about an hour or you can drive from Alicante in around 45 minutes.
The main reason to come to Elche is the palm forest known as El Palmeral. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this palm forest was once home to over 100,000 date palms. These days it is still a strong 45,000 palms inside 67 different orchards.
You can stroll through the palm forest which spreads across the city. There are small buildings throughout some of the parks that have some nice Mudejar architecture.
In addition to the palm forest, I highly recommend checking out the Elche Museum of Archeology and History.
Housed inside the Palace of Altamira, a stunning historical building that dates back to the 11th century. It was used by Jaime II of Aragon, Ramón Berenguer, Pedro IV, and the Catholic Monarchs.
The museum has history that goes back 2,000 years and the rooftop of the castle offers some stunning views back over the rest of the historical center of Elche.
Valencia is one of the worst day trips from Alicante. That’s only because you need to stay for at least a night to scratch the surface of one of the best vacation destinations in Spain!
However, if you’re spending more than a day in Alicante then it’s worth venturing north of the Costa Blanca – provided you can handle an early start.
Some fun things to do in Valencia include wandering around the Old Town (Ciutat Vella) and the contemporary City of Arts and Sciences. On a limited timeframe, prioritize seeing the street art of El Carmen over the galleries. You’ll not have time to see the wonderful beaches in Valencia but you could always pop across to the port and grab a drink near the water.
This is one of the best day trips from Alicante by train as it’s too long to spend driving. Trains take two hours and tickets may be purchased via Omio.