A beautiful walk that takes you away from the high-rise tourist apartments fringing Albufereta beach, and out along the shoreline for four kilometres or so to the lighthouse – el faro – at Cabo de la Huerta.
You then stroll right round the headland below the lighthouse to the start of the truly massive megabeach that is Playa San Juan. Map and directions at the end of this post – or jump to them here.
So what’s to see?
In the first part of the walk, you get big skies and panoramic views across the bay to the towers of Alicante waterfront, with Santa Barbara castle high up on Monte Benacantil overlooking the city.
Later on, you’ll see a natural limestone pavement, stretching down to the water’s edge and unique to this walk, There are a few small little beaches along the way too – and at the end there’s the elegant tower of el faro del Cabo de la Huerta (you’ll see it called Cap de L’Horta in Valenciano).
Albufereta beach – start point
At the end of Albufereta beach, there’s a boardwalk that gets you started. The Romans were here 2,000 years ago; the square pools you’ll see hacked out of the rock next to the walkway were their fish farms. The ruins of Lucentum, the Roman city of Alicante, lie a short walk inland from here. If you’re fond of a spot of history, I recommend a guided tour.
As you head out past the Club Nautico and leave the rather scruffy seafront of Albufereta behind you, the shoreline gets a lot more interesting.
This southern flank of the Cabo de la Huerta has somehow escaped the unstoppable wave of tourist development that has swamped pretty much everywhere else in this part of the world.
Yes, there are some urbanizaciónes that do stretch down as far as the coast path, but it still feels relatively unspoiled, peaceful and picturesque.
Your path is punctuated by a few small rocky coves where you can swim and snorkel. There are even one or two swimming pool- style step ladders in the rock at the water’s edge, so you can easily hop in for a swim in the crystal clear waters.
In springtime, there aren’t many people about – a few fishermen, the occasional naturist taking the sun and a few runners and walkers. It can get a lot more crowded (and hot!) in summer though, especially at the little coves accessible by road.
Later on, a kind of wide natural pavement emerges at the shoreline, created by the action of the waves on the limestone rocks, with shallow rock pools right at the water’s edge.
I’ve never seen a shoreline quite like it. By the time you reach the lighthouse at the end of the walk, the pavement looks almost man-made. It makes a handy fishing perch for cormorants, or just a good place for them to dry their wings in the sunshine.
The limestone rocks at the base of the lighthouse are carved into some fantastic shapes by the constant action of the waves.
The lighthouse is unmanned, and it isn’t open to the public – there’s a formidable green fence surrounding it. Look across the bay and you can see its twin, the lighthouse perched on the cliffs of Cabo de Santa Pola. Both lights guide shipping into the busy commercial port of Alicante, and were built on the foundations of 16th century watchtowers.
Join the walk at different points
You don’t have to start from Albufereta beach: you can get down to the sea at various points such as Cala de los Judíos, Cala Cantalar and Cala Palmera.
Duration: about 90 minutes. The walking is relatively easy – there’s a proper path at the start and a stony, occasionally rocky track thereafter.
Little shade in summer, so take water. Trainers or shoes with good grip are a must.
Try La Playita, down by the sea in Albufereta, a short walk from the beach. It’s a cross between a chiringuito (beach bar) and a restaurant. The food is great, the service is informal, so relax and take your time.
Or if you just fancy a cold beer and a tapa, try Cerverceria Sento, a few metres back from Albufereta beach on Camino Colonia Romana.
How to get there
If you don’t have a car, you can do the whole thing on public transport, using the tram L4 or L5 or bus from Alicante to Albufereta.
If you do come by car, park on the street near Albufereta beach, or near Albufereta tram stop. To get back to your car afterwards, get the tram L4 or L5 from Avenida de las Naciones (about 20 mins walk from the end of the hike) to Albufereta.
Or get bus 22 which goes round Cabo de la Huerta and has the Parque del Cabo stop within walking distance of Cala Cantalar.
Both tram and bus 22 will take you back to Alicante city itself.
© Guy Pelham
More posts about Alicante
My top ten things to do in Alicante
Lucentum – how the Roman city of Alicante was saved
Spectacular clifftop views – the skywalk at El Cabo de Santa Pola
Discovering the Torres de La Huerta