Santa Barbara Castle, Spain

The Santa Barbara Castle is one of the most visited landmarks in Alicante, Spain. Easily accessible from the city it is a favorite among holidaymakers and locals alike.

Metal statue of a medieval archer shooting a bow in Santa Barbara Castle of Alicante, Spain.

Offering extended visiting hours in high season as well as hosting concerts and various experiences, the Alicante Castle (Castillo de Santa Barbara) caters for all kinds of visitors.

Together with Guadalest Castle (El Castillo de Guadalest), it is one of the must-visit castles in Spain and a favorite day trip from Benidorm or other close by cities.


Eastern Spain, Costa Blanca (The White Coast).

View through an arch of Alicante castle walls.

How to get there

From Alicante – Elche Airport take the C6 bus to the city center (it runs every 20 minutes, every day of the year). From there, you have a few options how to get up to Santa Barbara Castle. They are all mentioned in detail below in the FAQ’s section). Or, take a taxi, rent a car if planning a road trip in Spain.

From Valencia – Take the AP-7 motorway/highway and drive south. You will reach the city in under 2 hours.

From Benidorm – Via AP-7 motorway/highway. You will arrive at the Castle of Santa Barbara in about 35 minutes. Or, take a tram!

Broken pottery exhibit at the castle.


From the 9th to the first half of the 13th Century, the Santa Barbara Castle was under Arab ownership. After, it was captured by Alfonso of Castille and later conquered by James II of Aragon. It was he who initiated its reconstruction.

Over the time, this fortress has witnessed being bombarded by the French, held by the English, having served as a prison, and left abandoned until it was recognized as an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1961.

Medieval castle walls and passage.

Opening hours

This fortress is open every day from 10 am.
The closing times vary depending on the season so it is best to check Santa Barbara Castle Website for the most accurate information.

Here is the latest information:

Summer: 17 June to 4 September – until 11 pm.
Winter: 15 November to 27 February – until 6 pm.

28 February to 16 June & 5 September to 14 November – until 8 pm.

Important: The castle is closed on 24 June, 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 and 6 January.

The closing hours can change when the castle hosts some events like performances or concerts so check before you plan your visit.

Extraordinary closing: 8 to 16 May 2024 – The castle is used as a filming location for a movie so it will be closed on these days.


The entrance to the castle grounds is free of charge!

View from Santa Barbara Castle.

What to expect or not to expect

  • Restaurant – Offering drinks and quick bites as well as Spanish tapas and some sweet items like crepes or waffles.
  • Toilets – These are located right next to the restaurant.
  • Pushchair/wheelchair access – You can get easily up with a lift. The grounds may be a bit challenging, but it is doable with a pushchair. I am not sure if the same goes for wheelchairs.
  • Souvenir shop – I do not remember seeing one there but this may have changed since we visited.
Visitors at the Alicante castle courtyard.

Expert tips and info

  • Guided tours in English need to be pre-booked in the visitor center next to the shop, apparently 1 hour before the tour starts. The spaces are limited and the times are usually set, with only a few slots per day.
  • If you want to enjoy this fortress and take it easy, make sure you have plenty of time to do so. They won’t let you in 30 minutes before its closing time!
  • To explore the dungeons, old hospital and cistern, you will need to book a guided tour!
  • The castle hosts various experiences from wine and beer tasting to chocolate tasting. These need to be booked and their price may vary, depending on the kind of experience, between 10 to 30 euros.
  • The AP-7 motorway is free to use. However, this is apparently going to change in the near future and tolls will also be collected on this highway that covers the East Coast of Spain.
Panoramic view of Postiguet Beach in Alicante.

When is the best time to visit?

Late spring or early fall. In summer, the best month to do so is June. That being said, any sunny day is perfect for the visit.

But, if you decide to visit Alicante castle in high season, try avoiding doing so between noon and 4 pm. It is the hottest part of the day, and the heat can be quite exhausting.

If you can, avoid visiting Spain in August. This is the busiest month of the year as well as the warmest. You don’t want to be sightseeing with temperatures reaching 104 Fahrenheit/40 Celsius.

Also, during special days and celebrations (fiestas) like Holy Week (Semana Santa), the sights can be overcrowded.

Metal sculpture of a archer in Santa Barbara castle.

Frequently asked questions

How do you get up to the castle in Alicante?

You have several options:

  1. Use a lift – Entrance from the “Avenida Juan Bautista Lafora” street. Price: 2.70 euros per adult.
  2. Get a taxi – from anywhere in the city.
  3. Hop on a minibus – They run every 40 minutes with stops at Puerta del Mar, the Postiguet footbridge, Plaza Goméz Ulla and the castle itself.
  4. Drive up – You can use your car to drop off passengers right outside the main gate but cannot park there. The access is via the “Calle Vázquez de Mella” street.
  5. Walk – Count with 30+ minutes. There are 2 ways to go. The easier (more straightforward) is following the “Calle de La Virgen del Soccoro”. To get there you will start in front of the castle lift allocated cross Playa de la Postiguet and walk from there. Now I don’t recommend doing this in the heat of summer! The lift is a great option and very affordable.

Is Castillo de Santa Bárbara free?

Yes, it is. You can browse its grounds and towers without having to pay any entrance fee. However, if you use a lift to get up, you will need to pay for it.

Is one day in Alicante enough?

Yes! It is a compact city that you can easily explore in a day.

Is Alicante better than Benidorm?

It depends on what you are looking for. Benidorm is Spain’s most popular vacation spot but also a party city. It has it all from beautiful hikes, to wide beaches, long promenades and rich nightlife. Waterpark and ZOO are also nearby.

If you are looking for a quieter place to stay, with a more traditional vibe, then Alicante might be the better option for you. If you want to be in the center of the hustle and bustle, choose Benidorm!

Battering ram with wooden wheels at the Alicante castle.

What we think

A nice fortress to visit and walk around or simply admire the beautiful panoramic views. The best thing is that it is for free, so it truly is worth checking it out!

If you decide to spend a day in Alicante, then I highly recommend paying the little charge and take the lift up. This will save you plenty of time. It is so convenient!

If your budget allows it, check out the experiences they host. As far as I know, they take place over the weekends but if you like to taste some wines, or beers or chocolates, then this might be your thing.

Tip: In case you are staying more than 24 hours in Alicante, go visit the fishing village of Villajoyosa. Best known for chocolate factories and colorful houses.

Metal statues of knights fighting with swords.

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