The exceptional museums, historic sites, and ancient ruins of Alicante offer plenty of options for travelers in the heart of the Costa Blanca. Still, nearby historic towns and quiet little villages prove worthy of a day trip beyond the urban center. These are some of the best villages in the area.
Little Villena, considered one of the prettiest towns in the Val de Vinalopó, has a decidedly Castilian feel to it. Wander through the old quarter to Plaza de Santiago, tour the towering Atalaya Castle, and pay a visit to the town’s excellent archaeological museum.
Elche, home of the UNESCO-listed Palm Grove—the largest in the world—has long been an important fruit producer thanks to its Moorish irrigation system. Walk through the palm forest, tour the Basilica of Saint Mary, or stroll through the old town.
Visitors to the hillside town of Alcoy can travel back some 60,000 years while examining ancient rock paintings and old Iberian ruins. In addition to Barchell Castle, the Hermitage of St. Anthony the Abbot, and the Archaeological Museum, Alcoy is known for its numerous Modernista buildings.
Set beneath the shadow of Castillo de San José (built by the Moors in the 11th century), the village of Guadalest is one of the most beautiful Spanish villages in the region, thanks to its incredible views of the turquoise Mediterranean Sea. Among the town’s several museums is a collection of some 20,000 salt and pepper shakers. Combine your visit with a stop in nearby Benidorm.
Nicknamed the “jewel of the Mediterranean,” Altea comprises a whitewashed old town overlooking the sea, as well as a sleepy fishing harbor and several pebble beaches.