San Juan beach: six kilometres of sand
San Juan beach is a seemingly endless stretch of sand just 8 km north-east of Alicante and it’s the perfect summer getaway destination. This is true for both Alicante residents, who see this beach as their second home, and people from across Spain, who are tired of mountains and barren plains and come here to splash in the sea at least once a year. San Juan de Alicante beach has all kind of facilities and a beachfront promenade lined with a series of great restaurants. It’s also the traditional place to celebrate the famous San Juan night on 24 June. During this Christian festival the shores are transformed into a jaw-dropping constellation of bonfires. And if that weren’t enough, San Juan beach is one of the 566 beaches in Spain with blue flag status, the highest international award to date. If you’d like to know more about this beach and what to do nearby, keep on reading!
What the beach is like and how to get there
Previously known as Platja de l’Horta, San Juan beach in Alicante has golden sands and surprisingly clear waters. It stretches out unbroken for 6 km from the Alicante neighbourhood of Cabo de las Huertas to the town of El Campello. In fact, a curious feature of this beach is that it’s so long it has two names depending on which part you are on:
- the three most southerly kilometres are part of Alicante city and have the official name of San Juan beach;
- the three kilometres to the north belong to the town of El Campello and are marked on the map as Muchavista beach.
Regardless of which part of the beach you’re on, San Juan beach has excellent transport connections with all the nearby town centres. In addition to the stops used by the TRAM Metropolitano de Alicante ―a modern tram that runs along the entire coast of Alicante― San Juan beach also has large public car parks.
Facilities and activities
Semiurban San Juan beach has all the typical basic facilities (public toilets, showers, sunbeds and lifeguards) and numerous extras that make a day at the beach a real adventure. Around 20 volleyball courts and outdoor fitness zones sit alongside playgrounds with swings, mini football goals and rope net pyramids. And because the beach is ideal for doing water sports, it’s easy to find specialist companies, such as Energy Active Club, where you can book classes and hire equipment e.g. pedalos, surf and windsurf boards, etc.
Aside from sports and games, there is also a wide choice of food options with chiringuitos (beach bars) and restaurants along the beachfront promenade for visitors to enjoy. Along its 6 km length you’ll find historic restaurants such as Casa Domingo and Casa Julio, both of which specialise in typical Valencian-style rice dishes. In turn, ice cream parlours like La Ibense and El Cantonet de Jijona serve everything from ice cream to leche merengada (milkshake with egg whites, lemon and cinnamon) and orxata (traditional drink made from tiger nuts). And if your food preferences don’t include meat, then the vegan dishes at Kult Bar are just what you’re looking for.
In terms of nightlife, the range of options is perhaps a little more limited. However, make sure you visit the chiringuito Remember to try its mojitos, and the concerts at Barrazero and themed nights at cocktail bar Texaco are also great fun.
What to see near San Juan beach
San Juan beach is unique thanks to its physical characteristics and its outstanding location means visitors can grab their rucksack and visit other interesting places nearby once they’ve finished swimming. Some are as close as Alicante Golf, a golf course with environmental certification that was designed in 1998 by Severiano Ballesteros, one of the best golf players ever. Located next to Cabo de Huertas, less than a 15-minute walk from the shore, visitors can come to this sports complex to enjoy its holes and also Petimetre its star restaurant, where the caldero al estilo Tabarca (a typical stew from nearby Tabarca island) impresses locals and foreigners alike.
And back on the beach, don’t forget that every 24 June on the eve of San Juan a celebration of biblical proportions is held on its sands. And biblical is the right word, because this Christian festival is linked to the birth of Saint John the Baptist. During the festival a vast number of bonfires are lit, recreating the magic of ancient pagan festivals on San Juan beach. It’s an occasion that shouldn’t be missed.
Leaving aside the obligatory visit to Santa Bàrbara castle in the heart of Alicante city itself, there are two other fascinating places a little further out to the north-east of San Juan beach that are worth exploring. The first is Villajoyosa, a small coastal town that is 28 km from El Campello. Its historical centre is remarkably well conserved and has many different architectural styles, including some especially unusual colourful hanging houses. And if you carry on along the road you’ll reach Benidorm, the city of skyscrapers where visitors from overseas, especially the United Kingdom, come to worship the sun each summer.
Information of interest
How to get there:
By car: A-31 motorway.
By bus: routes 21 and 22.
By tram (TRAM): L1 and L3.