The cold, rain and wind often reduce winter to a single plan: sofa, film and blanket. However, although we love to spend time at home with our family and friends, there are many more options on the Costa Blanca. It is very easy to get it right with a good plan in summer: you just need to visit any of the paradisiacal coves in the surroundings and take a dip, either in full daylight or enjoying the evening breeze. Mild temperatures, sunny days, explosive sunsets. Now is the perfect time to get to know the other side of the Alicante region. In fact, when you check out its cultural, gastronomic and heritage offer you will stop missing your swimming costume, we assure you!
The province of Alicante is one of those places that, far from losing its charm with the cold and winter’s arrival, becomes, if possible, even more fascinating. The Costa Blanca, due to its southeast-oriented position, has a particularly mild and sunny microclimate, and is a perfect destination in Spain to visit during the winter season, thanks to its exquisite average temperature of 18 °C and its more than 300 days of sunshine per year. It is undoubtedly a perfect climate to enjoy its landscapes and activities throughout the year, as well as its popular Christmas traditions.
Its corners and dreamy villages guarantee fun at any time of the year. However, the beginning of the winter season is the perfect time to soak up all the magic and all the contrasts of the Alicante region; a province that is synonymous with sunshine, good gastronomy and a wide range of cultural activities.
Our route to discover what to do in Alicante in winter will take us through more than one town in the province. Along the way, together we will discover the charms of winter tourism on the Costa Blanca, and how it dresses up to welcome Christmas. Join us on this fascinating journey!
The essential plans of Alicante in winter
One of the main advantages of sightseeing in Alicante in winter is that, as it is the low season, the province is not so crowded and, for this reason, you have the opportunity to enjoy all its wonders with more peace and quiet. Likewise, some experiences can only be lived at this time of year, when the Christmas spirit invades its inhabitants and the magic overflows the streets of the most beautiful towns on the Costa Blanca.
The legendary Belén de Tirisiti in Alcoy and its traditions
In Alcoy, when it is celebrated, it is done in a big way. Its Moors and Christians festival (declared to be of International Tourist Interest) is one of the most eagerly awaited events, although the spectacular display of its Three Kings Parade is not far behind either. However, the rest of the year is also full of attractions such as medieval remains, modernist architecture and its elegant Plaza de España. It is a city of contrasts: in Alcoy, you can go into an underground refuge from the Civil War (converted into a museum), or into the avant-garde Lonja de Sant Jordi designed by Santiago Calatrava. Likewise, the Museum of the Moors and Christians Festivals is the best way to feel the roots of this celebration and, the Plaça de Dins is the perfect place to try its traditional “plis play” (coffee liqueur with Coca Cola). Do you still have time to spare? Complete the unique route for Camilo Sesto’s fans through the city where he was born, or go to the ‘Covetes del moro’ in the nearby Bocairent town.
Likewise, Alicante at Christmas would not be the same without the legendary and prestigious Tirisiti Nativity Scene (Belén de Tirisiti), a puppet theatre performance that has been performed since the 19th century and has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. In fact, it is the oldest and most unique event performed in Spain with puppets.
Without a doubt, visiting Alcoy in the month of December is to live the tradition and the most classic Christmas atmosphere, however, seeing this famous puppet theatre is not the only reason to travel to this place. The city of Alcoy is one of the great references of the Valencian Community for its mountain gastronomy and its architecture (bridges, medieval towers, Casa del Pavo, war shelters). This city is certainly worth a visit.
Ibi: capital of handmade toys
The toy industry was the economic engine of this Alicante town between the 1940s and 1980s, and the handmade toys that were made here made Christmas merry for thousands and thousands of children all over Spain. The excitement of the little ones of the house for the gifts from Father Christmas and the Three Kings can be felt in every corner of this charming town, also known as the ‘Villa del Juguete’ (Toy Town). Truly, the devotion to toys is felt among its inhabitants and is reflected by the fact that the whole town revolves around this theme: the Valencian Toy Museum; the house of the Three Wise Men, a themed hotel, etc. Ibi breathes history and passion for Christmas everywhere, with more than 100 years behind it, the toy continues to be the town’s driving force since the first one was made in 1905. For this reason, Ibi is a must-see if you are wondering what to do in Alicante during the winter.
Jijona: the cradle of the most typical Christmas candy
Another mythical place to discover Alicante in winter is Jijona, known as the cradle of turrón, the sweet protagonist on the tables of all Christmas dinners and lunches. There, the traditional value of handmade turrón is claimed, far from mass production and own brands. Moreover, as it could not be otherwise, the city has the Museo del Turrón (Nougat Museum), a full-scale homage to its star product.
Similarly, to burn the nougat fat, Jijona is one of the best places in the province of Alicante for lovers of hiking, with significant points of attraction such as the Llibreria, the Carrasqueta or the Castillo, very close to the city. In addition, and as a curiosity, Jijona has about a hundred old fountains.
Orihuela: the great architectural and artistic heritage
The city of Orihuela, located in the Vega Baja region of Alicante, is also one of those perfect places to visit in winter. Generally speaking, this region to the south of Alicante is not very well known, but it does have places full of magic and which are undoubtedly worth discovering, such as the city of Orihuela.
This town has nothing to envy to many Spanish capitals in terms of architectural and artistic heritage in its streets. El Palacio Episcopal (The Episcopal Palace), el Museo de Arte Sacro (the Museum of Sacred Art), el Colegio Diocesano (the Diocesan College) or the San Juan de Dios Museum are tourist attractions that stand out for their architecture and beauty.
Furthermore, one of the things that Orihuela is most famous for is that it is the birthplace of Miguel Hernandez, one of the most famous Spanish poets and a symbol of the fight against Francoism. Here you will find the Casa Museo (House Museum), the place where the poet lived with his family and where you will be able to see a series of elements that bear witness to the life of this genius from Alicante.
Complete the miradores route of Jávea
The route of the 15 viewpoints of Jávea: In winter we enjoy the coast in a different way, much more leisurely and relaxed, allowing us to contemplate the beauty of its landscapes. For this reason, winter is the perfect time to do this route and discover beaches like Granadella or Portitxol from the heights. Don’t miss the Cala Blanca or the Creu del Portitxol, overlooking Cap Prim and one of the most peaceful beaches in Jávea, Cala Sardinera.
We are talking about 15 scenarios in which to contemplate the cliffs and hidden coves that so many tourists visit in summer. Fifteen different ways of seeing the sea, most of them easily accessible by car, and equipped with explanatory panels that will allow you to assimilate all the vegetation, fauna and history that this area has to offer. Of course, you will not miss the natural wonder of the Montgó or the 14th-century mills. You neither will miss the viewpoints, islets and pine forests, during a route that begins in the Cabo de San Antonio to extend to the Castell de la Granadella.
Discover why Guadalest is one of the most beautiful towns in Spain
Here you will find the proof that the Levantine interior has nothing to envy to the coastal landscapes. Castell de Guadalest is a town stranded in the mountains and surrounded by the Xortà, Aitana and Serella mountain ranges that do not give up the Mediterranean essence of whitewashed houses and traditional cobbled floors. It is divided into two neighbourhoods: El Castillo, where the remains of the Muslims of San José and La Alcozaiba (11th century) rest, and the Arrabal, a picturesque annexe where small craft shops and museums as eccentric as the Microminiaturas (Microminiatures) Museum or the Saleros y Pimenteros Salt-cellar and Pepper shaker) Museum proliferate. It’s worth continuing along the winding road that borders the Sierra de Aitana to Confrides, passing through Benimantell or Benifato, and trying some typical mountain dishes such as Olleta de Blat.
Sailing off the coast of Altea
With one of the most famous domes in the Mediterranean, the narrow streets of the historical centre of Altea are a must for those who wish to see the most picturesque profile of the Costa Blanca. Its promenade, its Yacht Club and its pebble beaches also deserve a special mention. That is why we propose you to contemplate them from a different angle: the one obtained from its bay. In addition, many nautical academies, such as Pailabot, offer introductory sailing courses with an instructor, as well as the possibility of experiencing an unforgettable red sunset over the sea. Why not start a new hobby in style?
Visit the Serra Gelada Natural Park
Despite the fact that a large part of this natural park lies in the depths, there are two main walking trails. The first is a moderate and photogenic walk from the car park located at the end of the ‘Camí Vell del far’ in El Albir. Approximately two and a half kilometres of excursion in which we will pass by ochre mines and small coves, culminating in a viewpoint of incomparable views. The second one, somewhat more demanding, is a 6.5-kilometre route that links the start of the Lighthouse Way with the Benidorm Cross, in the Rincón de Loix, one of the few places in the city where you have to look down to see the skyscrapers. Likewise, if we are still strong enough, we can extend the walk another two kilometres to the Punta del Cavall. Once we have overcome the challenge, all that remains is to face the tunnel (forat) and the crests of the Sierra Bernia.
Enter the caves of Canelobre
You can find this spectacle of stalactites, stalagmites, columns and jellyfish thanks to the effects of water in the town of Busot, located 25 kilometres from Alicante. Hidden at an altitude of 700 metres in the Cabeçó D’Or mountain range, among its more than 80,000 square metres, one of the highest vaults in Spain and a stalagmite more than 100,000 years old stand out. Undoubtedly, a magnificent and didactic plan to spend a day with the family, and in spite of the bad weather.
Crowning the Peñón de Ifach in Calpe
A classic among holidaymakers and locals that, although it does not understand the seasons, it is usually enjoyed more when tourists and temperatures drop. The route can be divided into two stages: the first, along an easy path that includes the Centro de Interpretación (Interpretation Centre) and several viewpoints until you reach the tunnel. The second one, much more abrupt and vertical, will take us to the top of the 332 metres of its peak (using the right footwear is essential). In total, two and a half hours separate us from our reward: the complete views of Calpe and its bay, which on the clearest days will give us a glimpse of Ibiza. After this wear and tear, we recommend that you take a seat in the Lonja from 5 pm onwards to witness the fish auction. This activity takes place from Monday to Friday, with the arrival of boats and wholesalers from the area, and that is singularly curious.
See the world in pink in Torrevieja
Due to their peculiar tone and their ability to transform themselves into a large mirror, La Mata and Torrevieja’s salt mines are one of the most characteristic places in the area. They are formed by two lagoons, one greenish and the other with a singular pink colour that gives it its unique composition, separated by an anticline called El Chaparral. There are several routes to explore this natural park, both on foot and by bicycle, and thus enjoy the crystallized banks, the mountains of salt and the flows of birds, such as flamingos. You will not find a better landscape for your photos!
The city of Alicante in winter: enjoy it without the summer crowds
If you are wondering what to do in the city of Alicante in winter, the answer is simple: the same as in summer (except for going to the beach) but without so many tourist crowds. Let yourself be sheltered by the winter sun of the capital of the Costa Blanca and enjoy its great attractions. For example: start by going up to the Castillo de Santa Bárbara, a medieval fortress, famous for its Patio de Armas, and then relax in the port area, visit the sites of the Museo Arqueológico (MARQ) (Archaeological Museum) or go back a few centuries enjoying the exhibitions of its Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art), stroll through the old town or get lost in the colourful Santa Cruz neighbourhood. You can also walk along the sunny and famous Explanada de España, the promenade in front of the Postiguet beach and sit on one of its terraces to enjoy a delicious chocolate with churros.
Follow the trail of the Michelin stars
The fact that people in Valencia eat particularly well is nothing new. Its unique gastronomy wisely selects and enhances the best ingredients from the sea and the garden – without hiding its weakness for rice – giving rise to delicious options for all budgets. However, if you want to border on excellence, we suggest you take a tour or at least choose one of the 11 Michelin-starred restaurants that the province of Alicante boasts. You’ll find consolidated restaurants such as “Quique Dacosta” in Dénia, which accumulates three distinctions, along with others that have been awarded for the first time, such as “Xato by Cristina Figueira” in La Nucía. Will you be able to resist the temptation?
The most charming inland villages can be visited any time of the year, but their beautiful mountain landscapes, castles and old towns make these towns even more special, if possible, in winter. We also recommend you to visit Teulada and Polop de la Marina.
The most picturesque museums: The summer invites you to enjoy the climate by taking a bath in the sea or having a drink on a terrace, so we recommend you take advantage of the coolness to visit those museums you had pending. There are museums for all tastes, such as the Chocolate Museum in Villajoyosa, for those with a sweet tooth; the Comic Museum in Calpe; or the Abargues House Museum in Benissa, a real journey into the past, as it is a replica of a palatial house from the 18th-19th centuries.
In short, it is always a good time to discover all the corners of the Alicante region and get to know a nearby, accessible, beautiful and cheerful land. Are you joining our winter plan?