The castle site as seen today was established by the Muslim occupiers of the 9th century, although earlier remains have been found at the site. Artefacts from as early as the Bronze Age and Roman Empire have been unearthed here. Alfonso X and his Castilian forces recaptured the site on the feast day of Saint Barbara and so for this reason it was named Santa Barbara Castle.

The castle is a good reference point from which to navigate Alicante’s historical quarter. It presents superb photo opportunities – both looking out across the port and looking back at the castle itself from anywhere nearby. By day the sun toasted rock complements the sky. By night it is up lit to form a proud glowing fortress – orange against the night sky and harbour.

Access to the castle is not too tricky if you take the park path – it is perched on top of a rocky and steep hill – Mount Benacantil. If you decide to make the climb you will be rewarded with a quirky and extensive fortress, and views of the port and the deep, blue Mediterranean beyond. Most of the original Arabic architecture is hard to distinguish due to medieval conversions. Of the oldest features, the barracks, tower and walls remain. Cannons used by the most recent inhabitants were left behind when the castle was deserted in 1852.

More recent additions to the castle include some creative bronze sculptures and Ereta Park on the gentle slopes behind and to the North of the castle. Here you can find an exhibition room, café and restaurant, and some pleasant palm tree areas to find some shade in the summer.

Alicante Travel Guide

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