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See: Why hire a car in Alicante ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Generally, we would say that a hire car is a good idea if you are flying into Alicante and then heading for one of the various coastal resorts in the area. Additionally, we would say that it’s more the case here than it is in any other destination in mainland Spain.
Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the 2021 tourist season. For additional Alicante car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

cool Why? Visiting Alicante using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Alicante ?


Do you need a car in Alicante? Here are a few reasons why:
  • We would advise getting a rental car in Alicante for all of the obvious reasons you would expect here. Alicante car hire is cheap, the roads are of a good standard, and with a rental car, you will have a huge amount more flexibility.
  • In terms of specific places to visit when you hire a car in Alicante, this is mainly a matter of exploring coastal scenery and beaches in either direction from the city. Also,  a car can also be useful for exploring inland, and particularly for heading to attractive local towns like Teruel. (See also Valencia – you can do some of this by train).
  • There have been some improvements in the tram network around the city of Alicante in recent years, but there’s still nothing stretching out as far as the airport. Most of the more recent holiday resort development has been very much based around serving tourists who either have their own hire cars, or who are more likely to use and taxis and resort shuttles.

foot-in-mouth Why not? Visiting Alicante without a car

Why don't you need a car in Alicante ?


The one place where you really will find that public transport is more than adequate is in the city of Alicante itself.

Alicante city & resorts without a car

  • With the tram work network having expanded massively in recent years, you should have no problem getting around using either this system or the local buses. However, there is a sharp decline in service standards the moment you get outside the city.
  • Historic Alicante is also easy enough to walk around.
  • Various bike hire options are ideal for gentle cycling along the beach.
  • Since you will often be walking in narrower medieval streets, there’s always plenty of shade – but be warned that much of the old town is hilly.
  • Alicante is popular with road cyclists, but there aren’t so many off road trails, and designated cycle paths are limited to a few areas around the waterfront.
  • There are a few urban cycling routes in Alicante.
  • Most of the central area in Alicante is also either pedestrianised, or on streets which are closed off for through traffic.
  • Within major resorts like Benidorm, you will find adequate local bus services, including tourist buses.
  • Most major resorts have a huge range of activities within easy walking distances of the main hotels.
  • Local buses and suburban trains are also more than adequate for reaching some of the nearby coastal towns.

Beyond Alicante without a car

  • To reach Benidorm from the airport, you can take an hourly coach service, bookable online from ALSA – https://www.alsa.com/en/web/bus/home.
  • The same company also offer direct buses from Alicante to Murcia via the airport. In both cases, the airport transfer will take about an hour.
  • The local trains might not take you to anywhere particularly useful. However, you can certainly fly into Alicante and then continue on by express train to other parts of Spain.
  • If you are looking for a fast link to Madrid or Barcelona, or if you want to take a day trip to Valencia (see those pages for further details).
  • Alternatively, you can also travel onwards from Alicante to any of the Balearic Islands by ferry.

Integration

A key factor to consider when trying to get around Alicante without a car is whether or not public transport services are well integrated with each other. Generally, in Alicante, this really isn’t the case, although with a bit of research, you’ll find your way around easily enough.
  • The centre of transport in Alicante is the main station, which will be labelled “Terminal” or “Estacion Intermodal”. This station has been expanded to cater for new fast AVE services to Madrid, taking around 2 1/2 hours.
  • Local mainline train services will all use the Terminal station.
  • However, the train to Benidorm (change there for Denia) is operated as part of the tram system. By all means take it to enjoy the ride, but the bus is much quicker!
  • Trams currently terminate in an underground station at Luceros, which is around 300m walk from the main station. There is a plan to extend this to the main station, but this project is currently on hold due to budget constraints.
  • There’s a bus station at Avenue Loring. Again, this isn’t quite at the railway station, so allow time for a short walk.
  • The old railway station next to the bus station is now an impressive arts space and tourist centre. However, you won’t find any trains here, so don’t fall into this  trap!
  • You’ll see the Alicante-Murcia mainline just behind the car rental lots at the airport. The nearest station is at Torrelano, about 2.5km / 30 minutes walk away. Generally, buses will be quicker for getting from the airport to Murcia, but if you want to take the train, budget for a short taxi ride.

Verdict

Do you need a car in Alicante?
  • Unless you are planning on spending most of your time in the city of Alicante itself, then everything in this region lends itself towards getting a hire car.
  • Because so much of the tourism here is centred on resorts like Benidorm, rather than on the city proper. If you want to do anything other than shuttle to and from the beach, then an Alicante hire car is going to make sense.

yell Ratings: How does Alicante compare?

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Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Alicante ?

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Spain Spain (Canary Islands)

Lanzarote

As with the other major islands in the Canaries, Lanzarote is just large enough for a hire car to be useful, and driving is generally a lot more convenient than going by bus, except for the some of the areas around the capital Arrecife, which can be prone to traffic congestion at the busier times.

Independent minded travellers might want to combine a visit to Lanzarote with a trip to other islands in the Canaries, and this is particularly easy to do by taking advantage of the short ferry hop to nearby Fuerteventura. You can also easily reach Gran Canaria by continuing onwards from Fuerteventura by ferry, whereas all of the Canary Islands are interconnected by local air services.

It’s easy enough to find low-cost one-way outbound legs and then to combine them with a return from a different island using one or more of the European budget airlines. If looking at this sort of itinerary, then naturally a hire car makes no sense, because of the extra costs of transporting it by ferry, and potentially exorbitant one-way rental fees.

For anyone who would prefer to explore the island using a rented bicycle instead, it is well worth cycling to the spectacular Timanfaya National Park, although you can only go around the internal loop roads by bus, as cycling and driving in a private car are not permitted.  Make sure you are well prepared for the heat – unlike on the Canary Island of La Palma, which has lush shaded slopes, the most impressive places to see in Lanzarote are all well out in the open.

It’s also perfectly possible to enjoy the spectacular volcanic landscapes of Lanzarote by taking some sort of organised bus tour, but scheduled local bus services are limited. For example, you simply cannot take a local scheduled bus to any part of Timanfaya National Park.

Given that almost all visitors per Lanzarote will stay in one place, and that the major resorts all offer plenty to do without needing to get by using anything other than your own two feet, a rental car here is certainly far from essential, but if you are going to get a hire car, it might still make sense to get one for a whole week, rather than just for one or two days. This is especially so if the rental contracts are based on a full to empty tank of fuel. Generally, on airport car hire is also usually cheaper than hiring in resort, but this will depend on seasonality and the offers available at the time.

My personal view

I visited Lanzarote in December 2015, as part of a combined visit to Fuerteventura, travelling to Lanzarote by ferry from Corralejo. A hire car is not practical for travelling between the islands like this, but not having one is extremely limiting for travelling outside the main resorts on Lanzarote. I took one day bus tour of the island – something I usually hate doing, even though the service was extremely good, and the stops were reasonably well timed. The organised bus tours will usually include a trip around the loop road within Timanfaya National Park. If you drive here, you will have to take the bus tour that is provided on site.

I absolutely loved the stark Martian landscape of Timanfaya, but I found the bus tour rather hollow. Not being able to get out made it feel like you were observing from a space craft, rather than actually seeing it from close up. I would recommend planning ahead and taking a walking tour inside Timanfaya if you can. These are only available on selected days, and you must be fluent in the language spoken on the day of the tour, which will typically vary between Spanish, English and German.

the following day I hired a bike, and headed back to Timanfaya early in the morning. This was largely because I had to check out, but going out in the morning or later in the afternoon is also an obvious tactic for avoiding the midday heat! Lanzarote is a great place for cycling, and it’s obvious that loads of people come here for this. You can hire a bike in the afternoon and then use it again in the morning, effectively getting two decent cycle rides out of a single rental period. Daily rates start from anything around €10, but a quality road bike will be closer to €20-25 per day. If you are happy with seeing cycling as an option, then I’d advise this above hiring a car, but otherwise, I think a hire car is still a wise choice here.

Therefore our Lanzarote car hire advice is that you will probably be better off getting one.

Verdict – yes.