Alicante was, hands down, the favourite place for all of our children. It was the perfect combination of history, culture, and beach. We found Alicante as a nice alternative to the noisier, busier seaside towns of southern Spain. The city was incredibility family friendly. Most of the town is level making stroller use a breeze. We were thrilled for this after spending several days in the hilly, non-stroller stairway streets of Granada. Santa Barbara Castle was the only place I would recommend using the baby carrier instead of the stroller. The buses run regularly up and down the beachfront and were very easy to use.
- Santa Barbara Castle
The Castle dominates the skyline and is so impressive that our kids could not wait to ascend the hill and explore. Along the sea is the entrance which leads you to a lift taking you to the top. You wander through the fortress and run from one breath taking view to another. Bring a snack and picnic allowing the kids to play all day in the fortress imaging pirate ships sailing into the waters poised to attack.
- Mercado Central
We absolutely love visiting the city markets when we travel. El Mercado Central is located in the center of the city and you cannot miss the beautiful old warehouse with the ornate gate entrance. The local treats and fresh foods are fabulous and the kids never grow tired of the incredible fresh seafood. The sellers are very friendly and helpful allowing the kids to touch the scary fish and offering us wonderful suggestions on local cheeses and breads. Grab food for a picnic and enjoy.
The Mediterranean Sea never disappoints. The beaches of Alicante are easily accessible via busses and are right in the center of town. There are lifeguards and water rinse stations to clean the sand after. We found that late afternoon swimming was perfect. We could watch a bit of the sunset with the incredible castle in the background and then have time to freshen before dinner. Spanish dinner is typically quite late in the evening beginning around 8:00 or 9:00pm.
- Eat local fresh seafood
The La Explanada de Espana is the gorgeous marbled mosaic walkway that stretches the length of the city. The massive trees along the path will leave you speechless. Stroll this path and choose any number of amazing dinner options. Dine outside as you enjoy the warm night air and feast on the fresh catches of the day. Be sure to try the paella, a local speciality.
I can not recommend this short trip down the coast enough! Tabarca Island is a remote tiny island, scarcely populated as most of the land is a wildlife nature reserve. You can take boats to the island from several ports but we choose Santa Pola. It is the shortest boat ride and we weren’t sure how the baby would handle the speed boat and chopping waters. Santa Pola is a cute little seaside port town and you can’t miss the string of water taxi companies waiting to take your money for a ride across the waters. Glass bottom boats were also an option, but probably not worth the extra cost. The ride is a bit slower and they stop briefly to allow viewing into the sea. However, once you get to Tabarca, you will be able to see much more for free!
Upon arrival, the boat ride was about 15 minutes, we ventured to the left along the uninhabited part of the island. There is a lovely path around the island and loads of opportunities for the kids to explore the waters. I recommend bringing water shoes for sure and goggles or even snorkels. Our boys saw so much amazing sea-life and the younger girls were happy playing in the water and catching crabs. We have heard you can spot octopus but we were not fortunate that day. Bring plenty of water and snacks. That half of the island is truly uninhabited and no cafes!
As we wound our way around the island, we entered the little town and swimming beach. As you swim, tiny colourful schools of fish swim right next to you! It was a blast! The beach has a free public restroom and the town has a handful of decent restaurants to grab a bite. Definitely not a stroller friendly adventure but the kids will love every minute of it!