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snorkeling in alicante

The 7 Best Snorkeling Spots in Alicante

Blessed with almost 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, it’s no surprise that Alicante has made a name for itself as one of Spain’s premium holiday hotspots. The region, which sprawls along Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca, is home to some of the best beaches in the country. A varied coastline, both rocky and sandy, with crystal clear waters, make this stretch of the Med the perfect place for beachside fun.

Alicante is somewhere you can relax and unwind, explore secret coves, lounge in beach clubs, and enjoy the local food and wine, but it’s also a destination for recreational watersports. Brimming with national parks that protect the sparkling waters and marine reserves showcasing the diverse sea life, Alicante is a great place to snorkel. 

Our guide explores seven of the best snorkeling spots in Alicante from the expansive public beaches to the jagged shoreline up the coast. Let’s get into it.

Baños de la Reina, Campello

penon de ifach
​​Photo by ABBPhoto on Envato Elements

Twenty minutes from Alicante’s city center lies La Isleta or Los Baños de la Reina. Translated as ‘The Baths of the Queen,’ the coastal enclave was conjured by the Romans as a place to bathe and socialize. The archeological site is now a popular snorkeling spot with crystal clear waters brimming with marine biodiversity.

Los Baños de la Reina is a great place for kids to swim and snorkel thanks to the protection of the rocks and the Penon de Ifach peak, making the water calm and current-free. The seabeds are beautifully displayed in the shallow pools that fill up with crystalline water when the tide is high, perfect for exploring both terrestrial and marine species that can be found in abundance here.

There’s a marked underwater route that visitors can follow with submersible audio guides available from the Tourist Office. This will help you enjoy this unique place to the fullest.

La Caleta Bay, Villajoyosa

best snorkeling in alicante
​​Photo by ABBPhoto on Envato Elements

La Caleta, Villajoyosa, also known as Cala Higuera, is a small pebbly beach, barely 150 meters long, nestled in a picturesque enclave. The beach is located just thirty minutes from Alicante city center and, thanks to its whereabouts, you can expect fewer crowds than other beaches. 

Few places offer as much peace and relaxation as La Caleta but there are still plenty of amenities for holidaymakers, open throughout the high season. La Caleta is located just behind L’Esparrelló, a popular naturist beach in front of Hotel Montiboli. To access La Caleta, visitors have to cross the car park for BlueSense Villajoyosa and follow the path past the numerous empty courts of the former EuroTennis hotel. It might seem like the hotel’s beach, but no beach in Spain is private and Playa La Caleta is well sign-posted. 

The waves can be quite choppy at La Caleta and visitors should take caution entering the water around the large rocks dotted along the shore. Once you’re in, you can fully enjoy the setting with views of the majestic cliffs that tower over the beach, only really visible from the water. Diverse marine creatures live below the surface from spider crabs to the green Thassoma turkey fish, often called the Fredy fish, one of the most colorful species on the Spanish coast.

The town of Villajoyosa is equally worth visiting if you’re taking a trip to La Caleta. There are plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants. Fresh local produce and handmade souvenirs can be found at the bustling local markets. Enjoy a seafood meal overlooking the bay after a tiring day in the water.

Granadella Cove, Jávea

alicante
Photo by Satura on Envato Elements

The Granadella cove, an emblematic cove of Javea, is located about an hour and a half away from Alicante. You might have to hire a car or take a coach to get there, but it will be worth the haul. With crystal clear waters that lap the sands, it’s a great snorkeling spot and one of the prettiest coves on the Costa Blanca.

Before you reach the beach, it’s an experience in itself to cruise the road that runs along the top of the bay. An aerial view of the beach shows its distinctive shell shape, and you can even see all the way to the seafloor from a height thanks to the glassy waters.

The beach is also well known among divers and there are several routes they can follow. There are also hammocks and rental beds, bars, restrooms, lifeguards, and parking. Whether you’re soaking up the rays or diving off the free-floating platform, there’s something for everyone. 

Granadella Cove is one of 18 Blue Flag beaches in the region, so it’s no surprise the water conditions are perfect for snorkeling. The beach can get a little crowded during the high season, but April to June, as well as September, are quieter and equally pleasant times to visit. 

La Olla Beach, Altea

beach on costa blanca
Photo by Unai82 on Envato Elements

La Olla Beach is located in Altea between the ports of Mar y Montaña and Portet de L’olla, some forty minutes by car from Alicante’s city center. The beach stretches for one kilometer with small stones, boulders, and rocks scattered across the shore. La Olla is somewhat remote but this means it can be less crowded than other Alicante beaches, even in the high season.

Colorful fishing boats bob in the bay and the local Chiringuitos serve up seafood delicacies along the beach. A short distance out to sea, you’ll also find the small islands of L’llleta and L’llot. Framed by bright blue skies and turquoise waters, the islands are picturesque enough from the La Olla beach, but you can snorkel all the way to their shores and enjoy the diverse marine life below the surface as you do. 

As part of the Serra Gelada Natural Park, L’llleta’s seabed has some of the most abundant underwater seaweed meadows in the Mediterranean. Not a strong swimmer? There are several taxi boats that will welcome you aboard so you don’t have to miss out.

Cala Tío Ximo, Benidorm

Cala Tío Ximo, Benidorm
Photo by Unai82 on Envato Elements

Benidorm is best known for its palm-lined promenades, vibrant nightlight, and bustling resorts, but removed from the chaos that is Playa de Poniente and Levante, you’ll find Cala Tío Ximo, a small quiet cove with all the charisma of old Benidorm. Cala Tío Ximo is a favored snorkeling spot for those who know about it, protected by the bay, with gentle waves, and turquoise water.

Cala Tío Ximo is situated in the Sierra Helada national park. There aren’t many beach bars or shops near the cove, but if you prefer to be surrounded by cliffs and nature, this is the spot for you. You can reach the beach via a pleasant uphill walk from the north end of Playa de Levante. This small bay, 70 meters in length, boasts a mixture of sand and fine gravel, and the largely undiscovered shores are a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of Benidorm

Due to its rocky bottom and crystal-clear waters, snorkelers can observe large schools of fish, along with Posidonia grass fields and Salpas plankton. Due to the rocky sea floor, footwear is recommended to help you navigate freely.

Les Rotes, Denia

aerial view of boats
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Nestled on the northern end of the Alicante region, on the other side of the great Montgó Massif, is the former fishing town-turned-port city of Denia. It may be a road trip away from Alicante city, but the reward is high. Les Rotes covers the southern part of the Dianense coast and the rocky beaches provide crystal clear snorkeling conditions. 

There are several bays separated by large rock formations along the Les Rotes area. El Trampolí is one of the longest, stretching around a kilometer. It gets its name from the wooden trampoline nestled in the rocks where visitors can sunbathe and sip drinks from the Chiringuitos. Los Rotes is known for its great visibility and schools of colored fish stand out against dark rock pools. 

On top of the diverse underwater wildlife, the well-preserved remnants of the Mexican Navy steam paddle frigate “La Guadalupe”, which sunk off the coast of Denia in 1799, also lie along the seabed. The wreck is located slightly too far out to reach from shore and is best explored by boat trip or with scuba diving gear.

Luxury villas are dotted along the cliffside overlooking the Mediterranean and Les Rotes. On a really clear day, you can even see Ibiza from Denia’s shores. Restaurants serving sumptuous local cuisine and small shops for your beach essentials line the promenades and it’s a great place to spend a few days. 

Tabarca Island

sailing in the mediterranean
​​Photo by ABBPhoto on Envato Elements

Tabarca Island, officially Nueva Tabarca, is an islet in the Mediterranean Sea, set just off the coast of the town of Santa Pola, some 15 minutes from Alicante Airport. Its charm far exceeds its size and Tabarca is brimming with nature and tradition. 

Tabarca has a fantastic year-round climate with short, wild winters and sun-soaked summer months that help populate the prickly pear trees dotted all over the island. Still, its true treasures are hidden in the rich seabed surrounding the archipelago, which is why Tabarca was designated the first Marine Reserve in Spain in 1986.

Tabarca is a paradise for sea lovers and one of the best snorkeling spots in Alicante because of the immense meadows of flora and aquatic fauna below the surface, ranging from anchovies and squid to dolphins and turtles. Boat taxis leave every thirty minutes from San Pola in the high season, but you can also reach Tabarca Island from Benidorm, Calpe, Villajoyosa, and Alicante. There is a multitude of small coves dotted along the 1,750-meter coastline where snorkelers can take a dip and snorkel at their leisure.  

Does Alicante have good snorkeling?

Alicante, along Spain’s Costa Blanca, has plenty of great public beaches and sheltered coves for snorkeling. The region is home to 18 Blue Fag beaches, which is a testament to the fantastic water quality and safety of Alicante’s bays. The Spanish Mediterranean is known for being crystal clear and Villajoyosa, Les Routes in Denía, Baños de la Reina, and the secluded coves just outside Benidorm offer some of the best snorkeling spots in Alicante, and Spain on the whole.  

When is the best time to snorkel in Alicante?

Water temperatures in Alicante are most pleasant for snorkeling from June to September, hovering in the high 70s. The marine biodiversity is also at its peak at this time of year, while you can expect the best visibility just outside of the busiest tourist months in May and June, and September and October. 

Is it safe to swim in the sea in Spain?

Millions of tourists flock to Spain’s shores every year and enjoy the sea and sands with no issues. Still, that isn’t to say the Mediterannean is risk-free. The ocean is unpredictable and rip tides, steep drop-offs, and sudden changes in weather can put even the strongest of swimmers into deep water. Always stick to depths you can manage, and swim between the flags on beaches. Many of Spain’s beaches are guarded and these are the safest ones to visit. Sharks pose a minimal risk in the Med, but jellyfish populate the seas and can pack a powerful sting.