One of the most wonderful things about visiting Alicante, Spain, at almost any time of year, are the huge number of traditional Spanish festivals the city puts on. Everything from traditional religious festivals to carnivals, Moors and Christians mock battles, cooking competitions, special fiesta street stalls, and processions are all part of Alicante’s fun festivals. On your next trip to Alicante, try to schedule your trip around one of these fabulous festivals. They’re the best Alicante puts on, and you’ll have a blast.
Porrate de San Anton – Held every year on the 17th of January, at the Porrate de San Anton festival in Alicante, you’ll find everything from special street stalls set up to celebrate the Alicante area’s top food delicacies, a wonderful carnival procession, the crowning of the Lady of the Festival, a best paella competition and fireworks.
One of the most famous parts of this festival is the traditional “Blessing of the Animals” ceremony, where animal and pet owners from all over the region bring their animals to be given a blessing by a priest. Cats, dogs, rabbits, goats, horses, donkeys, you name it — they’ll all be at the blessing of the animals ceremony Not only will you have fun, but the Porrate de San Anton is a superb place to take photos too.
Saturday Before Ash Wednesday (Sabado Ramblero) – One of the prettiest festivals in Alicante, the famous Sabado Ramblero festival takes place on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday every year. Much of the town is decorated and a huge carnival procession travels down Las Ramblas with floats all decked out in ribbons, flowers and other decorative items and participants wearing elaborate costumes. Sabado Ramblero is basically just one big party. Join in the party spirit. You’ll love it
Moors and Christians – The most famous, and largest, festival in Alicante every year is the Moors and Christians festival. Based on numerous battles between Moors and Christians, and the subsequent wins by the Christians, these festivals take place in March, June and August, depending on which area of Alicante you visit.
Participants dress up in authentic Moors and Christians costumes, parades come through town, Christians ride horses and the Moors often arrive on camels or elephants (no, I’m not kidding). There are mock battles, superb food stalls, lots of music and a carnival atmosphere. After the festival (or even if you’re not in town during it), make sure you visit one of the museums in the area, where you can see festival costumes from past years displayed. The small town of Altea, just 45 minutes by train from Alicante, has a lovely costume museum.
Virgen del Socorro – Taking place between the 5th and 8th of September, the Virgen del Socorro (Our Lady of Succour) festival in Alicante is wildly fun. You can watch a cooking competition where cooks really get into the spirit of the display, there’s another parade, street stalls, live music, and lots of games you can join in. If you like dancing, this festival is the one to attend. Just don’t be surprised if you get whisked off your feet by a handsome Spanish man.
San Nicolas (Saint Nicholas) – One of the most important religious festivals in Alicante, the festival of San Nicolas occurs on December 6th every year, just before Christmas. The festival procession is one of the most amazing, as you’ll see procession participants underneath enormous giant figures (10-12 feet tall) walking down the street and others with huge papier mache heads. Not only do they walk in them, they dance in them too!