Alicante is a shining beacon of culture on Spain’s Costa Blanca. The beautiful port city has something for everyone with fantastic beaches and ancient history, and it’s just a stone’s throw from some of the country’s most vibrant cosmopolitan hubs. But you might be wondering, is Alicante safe?
Complete with its own Old Town, medieval landmarks, and no shortage of bars and restaurants, there is tons to do in Alicante. Still, this doesn’t mean it’s all Mediteranneaan sunshine and rainbows. It is the capital of the Alicante province, and with capital cities, come larger populations, busier streets, and often, more crime.
From the nightlife to the narrow streets, and the natural hazards of visiting the med, this guide looks at everything you need to be wary of when visiting Spain’s southeastern coast. Whether you’re after an authentic city break or lively nights full of adventure, Alicante caters to everyone, but do you know everything about it? Find out below.
Is Alicante Safe to Visit?
Alicante is a large eastern province in Spain that spans over 5,000 kilometers and is the home of the Costa Blanca holiday brand. Characterized by its Mediterranean landscape that reaches from the azure waters to the mountainous valleys, Alicante offers a variety of different holiday experiences and a taste of true Andalusian life.
Alicante is also the name of the ancient capital city, located within the southern Valencian Community of the province. It is thought to have been inhabited for over 7,000 years, conquered first by the Carthaginians, and subsequently ruled for over 700 years by the Romans.
Built on the edge of the Benacantil hills, the landscape is naturally arid and the city benefits from warm year-round temperatures. Culture, beaches, nightlife, and culinary delights draw over three million tourists a year, on-top of the 100,000 ex-pats and 30,000 students that call the city home. Alicante offers good quality of life, but like any urban metropolis, frequented by tourists, petty crime exists and precautions should be taken wherever you go.
Spain, on the whole, demonstrates some of Europe’s lowest crime rates, and Alicante is no different. The economic crisis of the last few years has led to marginal increases in overall criminality. Still, the most common type of crime in Spain, theft of property from a car, has seen a considerable decline over the last few decades.
Alicante comes in with a crime index of 27.66 and a safety index of 72.34. This makes it safer than London, Rome, Brussels, and Lisbon, and on par with Krakow and Copenhagen. But safety isn’t all about crime, so what are the risks of natural hazards on this side of the med?
Extreme weather isn’t the norm in western Europe, so this shouldn’t be your first concern when relocating or going on vacation to the region. But the warm, dry landscape is at risk of drought and wildfires, and Alicante receives almost 300 days of sunshine meaning skin damage and dehydration could be concerning. Southeast Spain also isn’t a stranger to seismic activity. There haven’t been many serious earthquakes in Spain in the last few decades, but a magnitude 6.6 tremor quake killed 10 people in 2016 in southern Spain. This might be something to think about when visiting Alicante.
Is Alicante Safe for Solo Travelers?
So Alicante is safer than much of the United Kingdom and even some regions in France, but do the same rules apply if you’re visiting the city alone? And what precautions can you take neighborhood to neighborhood?
No matter where you go, you face an increased risk of being a victim to direct crime if you’re alone. Strength in numbers is true for most safety concerns, bar those of a digital nature, but the risk of being mugged, carjacked, or attacked is low in Alicante. Hate crimes, both verbal and physical, are even categorized in their own league with very low rates in terms of reports, which is great news for solo travelers.
It’s very safe to walk the touristy streets of Alicante alone during the day, whoever you are. Women don’t generally have to contend with a higher risk of crime, as most incidents are of a petty and opportunistic nature that the victim is unlikely to be aware of. Pickpocketing does happen, but much less often than in Europe’s capitals. Being vigilant and leaving valuables at home will diminish this risk.
Locals are welcoming and helpful and this is your best port of call if you’re a solo traveler wondering where is safe to go. Naturally, Alicante has its bad and good districts but there is more of the latter and you’re unlikely to hear many scare stories about the city. Still, like any major town, walking alone at night is much less safe. Solo visitors are advised to avoid the suburban neighborhoods of Virgen del Remedio and Juan XIII, rumored to be havens for the small minority of gangs that operate in the city.
Is Public Transport Safe in Alicante?
Alicante is a well-connected city, with a relatively extensive bus and tram route that can be accessed cheaply. You can reach the airport by public bus and the same system bridges the Downtown and the Harbor to the outer edges of El Barrio.
The main train station is a bustling port in the heart of the city, connecting Alicante with surrounding cities and even other nations by high-speed rail. But the best way to get around the internal center is by tram. Efficient and quaint, the tram costs the same as the bus, €1.40 ($1.54) for a single journey, and connects the most touristy areas within the city.
Spain’s public transport networks have made headway in recent decades, adapting to the number of commuters. But more travelers mean increased risk of crime, and the city of Alicante, as a major tourist hub, has less safe public transport than quieter regions in the province. Petty theft is the most commonly reported crime on public transport in Alicante, just like in the rest of the city, and organized pickpocketing rings operate on trams and buses.
Still, this is the only major risk of using public transport and there are ways to completely eliminate yourself as a target. Leaving cash at home, dressing and acting like a local, and zipping away money and valuables in hard-to-reach areas instantly makes you less likely to be subjected to petty theft.
You can travel Alicante’s public transport at night safely, and it’s advised over walking alone in the dark. Taxis are also considered safe, but the biggest risk is being overcharged so always get your driver to run the meter.
Is Tap Water Safe in Alicante?
The dry and arid landscape of the Alicante province means it lacks permanent water streams. Many natural water sources have dried up over the decades with gradual temperature increases. Still, this means Alicantinians have been imaginative when sourcing water and taps are fueled by subterranean waters, rivers, and even the sea.
All of these water streams are treated before reaching taps and regulated by European and Spanish laws, much like all European countries. This means tap water is usually potable and very safe to drink in Alicante.
Local warnings distinguishing undrinkable water aren’t that uncommon, but they’re easy to follow and there should be a drinking water tap nearby. Look out for signs that read “Agua No Potable”, especially if you’re near the beach or in a public setting.
The flavor of water also differs by region, but if the water in Alicante tastes chlorinated you can use a filtering jar or tap filter to alter it. It shouldn’t need too much filtering to be drinkable with the high standards tap water adheres to. Chlorinated water is also unlikely to cause much harm, but could cause belly aches if you’re not used to it.
Is Alicante Safe to Live?
Spain is hugely popular with ex-pats and Alicante is a very safe place to live. The city has one of Spain’s lowest crime rates, far below that of Barcelona and Ibiza, and since most of the criminality sees tourists as a target, you’re likely to feel even safer as a resident.
Alicante is at minor risk from natural hazards but extreme weather shouldn’t be a concern if you’re relocating to the city. Remote regions of the province are more likely to face drought, power shortages, and declines in services. Still, the exciting University city offers great access to health care and an efficient education system.
There are tons of neighborhoods that are popular with ex-pats, and crime rates are considerably lower here, with most reports of petty theft coming from tourist hubs. Vistahermosa is tranquil but convenient with great services, while La Albufereta offers laidback seafront living. Cabo de Las Huertas is an exclusive residential neighborhood where many affluent ex-pats choose to live. Despite the concentration of wealth, crime rates remain low here and it makes a great choice if you want extra security and freedom.
Not only will living like a local mean you know where to go and how to navigate the city, but you also won’t stand out in the same way tourists do, making you less likely to be a victim of crime. You’re unlikely to frequent crowded tourist attractions and travel on quieter transport routes, so life in Alicante should be danger-free.
7 Tips for Staying Safe in Alicante
Leave valuables at home – The easiest way to prevent petty crime from ruining your holiday is to reduce the valuables on your person and lock away your money, passport, and expensive gadgets in your hotel safe.
Book airport transfers – Unregulated taxis can be dangerous and put you at risk of money scams. And although public transport operates between the airport and city, you’re more at risk of being pickpocketed when traveling with luggage and all your valuables. Book airport transfers through your accommodation or a reliable company to reduce waiting times and feel safer.
Research your neighborhood – Good research before visiting Alicante is the best way to keep safe. You’re in the right place with this article, and there aren’t many “no-go” areas in the city. But reading reviews before booking accommodation is always advised. Different factors can affect how safe you feel and well-lit streets in residential neighborhoods are the best places for vacation rentals.
Don’t walk alone at night – As for any European city, walking alone at night is never smart. Hop on public transport or take a taxi before you wander around poorly lit areas, abandoned alleys, and even the beaches at night.
Know your limits – Alicante is home to some of Spain’s best and most diverse nightlife, and alcohol is cheap. But this means it can be easier to push your limits. Being inebriated makes you more of a target to crime and you should never leave your drinks unattended. There is also a high number of police officers operating in the center of the city. While this can make you feel safer, you don’t want to get on their bad side by being drunk and disorderly.
Don’t underestimate the sun – The Mediterranean sun is extremely powerful and can cause skin damage if you don’t wear a good SPF of 30 or above every day. Never forget to put on enough sunscreen, even on overcast days, and drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.
Don’t hire a car – Public transport is often a hotbed for pickpockets in big cities, but Alicante’s transport systems are very safe, especially if you’re vigilant. Busy roads and carjacking cases make hire cars riskier than busses and trams. While hiring a car in Alicante is safe, it’s not danger-free. Save money and protect yourself by traveling on public transport.
Is Alicante worth visiting?
With entertainment catering to all types of travelers and everything from beaches, to ancient landmarks, vibrant shopping streets, and late-night bars, Alicante is definitely worth visiting. Alicante is one of the safest cities in Spain and there are a ton of attractions to explore. If you’re after coastal charm, you’ll find it at the seafront promenades and nearby fishing villages, family-friendly resorts line the southern beaches, and the university population means the nightlife is vibrant year-round.
When is the best time to visit Alicante?
Alicante benefits from almost 300 days of sunshine and warm year-round temperatures. It is a pleasant place to visit at any time, but the summer shoulder season of March to May promises blue skies, fewer crowds, and an average temperature of 20 degrees Celcius. Just missing the crowded high season from June to September also means you’ll benefit from low season discounts and attractive deals.