An experimental study has been carried out to evaluate the microstructural and microhardness evolution on the directionally solidified binary Al-Cu and multicomponent Al-Cu-Si alloys and the influence of Si alloying. For this purpose specimens of Al-6wt.%Cu and Al-6wt.%Cu-8wt.%Si alloys were prepared and directionally solidified under transient conditions of heat extraction. A water-cooled horizontal directional solidification device was applied. A comprehensive characterization is performed including experimental dendrite tip growth rates (VL) and cooling rates (TR) by measuring Vickers microhardness (HV), optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy with microanalysis performed by energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM-EDS). The results show, for both studied alloys, the increasing of TR and VL reduced the primary dendrite arm spacing (l1) increasing the microhardness. Furthermore, the incorporation of Si in Al-6wt.%Cu alloy to form the Al-6wt.%Cu-8wt.%Si alloy influenced significantly the microstructure and consequently the microhardness but did not affect the primary dendritic growth law. An analysis on the formation of the columnar to equiaxed transition (CET) is also performed and the results show that the occurrence of CET is not sharp, i.e., the CET in both cases occurs in a zone rather than in a parallel plane to the chill wall, where both columnar and equiaxed grains are be able to exist.