We compare a huge range of one-way and return car hire deals from over 20 leading rental companies
Alicante is the main gateway to beach holiday heaven – otherwise known as Spain’s Costa Blanca region. If you're heading here for a sun-soaked city break or a resort stay, hire a car from Alicante Airport to open up a world of hidden beaches and secret coves, and venture into the rugged limestone mountains just inland.
Alicante-Elche Airport (ALC) is around 20 minutes from the city centre in good traffic, and you’ll find around half a dozen car hire companies in the arrivals hall. Most of the big international car rental brands are represented here, including Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt.
The drive to Alicante city centre is relatively easy. From the airport, head west on N-338 and join the A-70; alternatively, go east on N-338 until you reach the coast, then join N-332 northbound.
Car hire companies with desks at Alicante Airport include:
Goldcar (Tel: +34 902 119 701)
Avis/Budget (Tel: +34 902 109 808)
Europcar (Tel: +34 902 105 030 / 902 503 010)
Sixt (Tel: +34 902 491 616)
Hertz (Tel: +34 902 402 405)
Recordg Go (Tel: +34 902 123 002)
Centauro (Tel: +34 966 360 360)
Alicante itself is easy to explore on foot or by public transport. It’s the attractions on the outskirts, from beautiful beaches to quaint Spanish villages, that you’ll need a car to access. If you only want a car for part of your trip, you might find it easier to hire one in the city centre. There are several big brands around Alicante-terminal station, including Hertz and Sixt.
Alicante's historic Centro district is a bit of a warren, with lots of narrow one-way streets to negotiate. The layout becomes increasingly confusing as you move east towards the slopes of Mount Benacantil – and it all gets worse in summer, when the holiday season brings extra traffic to the roads. Avoid driving here if you can. Luckily, most town centre car hire offices are in the more modern Alipark district. Compare in advance for cheap car hire.
Spain uses the right hand side of the road, and you might find the local driving style a little aggressive at times. Be alert, and try to map out your route through the city beforehand to avoid any problems.
It’s also worth knowing that the coastal AP-7 motorway, which links Alicante with most of the resorts in the region, is a toll road. It can be quite pricey but it’s by far the fastest way to get around. If you’d rather save money, the free E-15 road follows much the same route, but is much slower going.
If you’re venturing into the mountains around Alicante, expect steep slopes, hairpins and more warren-like town centres. Villages like Sella – pretty as they are – were designed with horses in mind, not cars.
Driving time: One hour
For a dose of the great Spanish outdoors without having to break a sweat, Guadalest Reservoir is ideal. It’s a scenic drive north along the coast from Alicante, and the perfect place for a dip thanks to its serene turquoise waters. The nearby village of Guadalest has an idyllic position overlooking a valley, and a historic castle accessed through a tunnel carved into the mountainside.
Driving time: One hour
If you've hired a car to get off the tourist track and find some of Costa Blanca's quieter beach towns, El Portet is a good place to start. There are still bars, restaurants and hotels here, but development has stayed resolutely low-rise – partly because the location, on a small natural cove surrounded by steep hills, prevents urban sprawl. The water is gorgeous and the beach shelves really gently, so it's perfect for swimming, particularly if you have little ones in tow.
Driving time: 75 minutes
Beginning at Denia, the Orba Valley is a picturesque destination for a day of hopping between traditional Spanish towns. Orba itself is a charming village surrounded by orange groves, while Pedreguer, Tormos, Rafol, Benidoleig and Sagra – collectively known as the ‘Rectoria’ – represent southern Spain at its most atmospheric.
Temperatures between April and November can soar to 30C, so, when you rent a car from Alicante Airport, be sure to secure a model with air conditioning. With heat this scorching, opening the windows just won’t cut it.
Don’t be tempted to skip the tolls. It is possible to navigate the Costa Blanca from Alicante without using the toll roads – but you’d need to be a map-reading ninja with plenty of time on your hands. The A7 offers the fastest, easiest and most direct route between the main resorts. It may not be dirt cheap (the car toll in 2018 is 16.95 euros to travel between Valencia and Alicante), but the ease of travel is worth the extra outlay.
Google might give you an accurate journey time for the faster coastal routes, but if you’re venturing into the mountains then expect progress to be more leisurely. The inland roads can be nauseatingly windy, and streets in towns like Sella were designed with horses in mind, not cars. Take it slowly, and just enjoy the more relaxed pace of life.
All rental deals compared on TravelSupermarket include mandatory fees (for example, one-way and young driver surcharges) in your rental quote at the time of booking, meaning you’ll know the full price of your car hire upfront.
What age do I need to be to hire a vehicle in Alicante?
In Spain, the minimum legal age for hiring a car is 18. However, you may need to be older if you want to hire a car in Alicante as most car hire companies set their own minimum age limit at 21 – and sometimes older. Check with your provider before booking if you're unsure.
What do I need to hire a vehicle in Alicante?
You must have a full driving licence that you've held for at least a year (sometimes two years). Some car hire companies in Alicante will also ask for additional ID – your passport is ideal. If you hold a UK licence, you do not need an International Driving Permit to drive in the EU.
Do I need car hire excess insurance in Alicante?
No, car hire excess insurance isn't mandatory if you're hiring a car in Alicante. It is, however, worth considering. If you don't get this cover then you'll have to pay any excess in the event that something happens to your hire car. That can be very costly. Your provider will usually offer you its full cover, but check out third-party providers online first to get the best deal.
Can I rent a car with a debit card in Alicante?
Plenty of car hire companies let you use a debit card to pay for your rental, so you should be able to find one for car hire in Alicante. Some companies do prefer credit card and will stipulate that you must buy their full insurance cover.
Which rental companies are available at Alicante Airport?
The car hire companies at Alicante Airport are: Avis, Budget, Centauro, Europcar, Goldcar, Hertz, InterRent, Record Go and Sixt.
Is it cheaper to rent a car at the airport or off site in Alicante?
Compare providers and you can get a good deal on car rental at Alicante Airport. Although it's less convenient, hiring a car off-site is sometimes cheaper.
Can you rent a car in Alicante and drop it off in another city?
Yes, it's possible to get one-way rental from Alicante. It's usually more expensive and not all providers will give you this option – compare deals with your pickup and drop-off locations selected to see what's available.
Can you rent a car the same day in Alicante?
Yes, it's possible to rent a car the same day in Alicante. Availability will, of course, depend on supply and demand, so it may be trickier at peak times. It's still a good idea to compare deals online first.
Can I hire a vehicle at 21 years of age in Alicante?
Yes, if you're 21 you should be able to rent a car in Alicante. The minimum legal age for car hire in Spain is 18 and many car hire companies accept drivers from age 21. You must also have a full driving licence that you've held for at least a year.