Alicante enjoys fiestas galore throughout the year to celebrate momentous events such as Christmas and Carnival to more mundane matters like the Burial of the Sardine. You’ll find a fiesta going on somewhere in the Alicante region throughout the year. Check out our Events section for more details or take a look at our Top 10 fiestas to see if you agree with our tips for the best fiestas in Alicante.
San Anton Day, January 17. Animals go in two by two - or on their own - to churches throughout the Costa Blanca and Alicante region to be blessed by the priest. St Anthony Abbot is the patron saint of animals and the doting owners take their pets or farm animals for the church blessing. It's worth a look to see what happens when a pampered pooch comes face to face with a boisterous billy goat.
Medieval Market, February. Orihuela hosts the biggest and best medieval market in Spain at the beginning of February. The city’s historic old town provides the perfect setting to turn back the clock to the Middle Ages, to a time of jesters, falconry, hawking and jousting. Many towns hold a medieval market including Denia in December.
Carnival, February or March. Many towns celebrate carnival just before Lent as it is their last chance to party before the beginning of Lent. Colourful floats, fancy dress and fireworks are the main attractions. Spectators can dance along to the bands, sit back and enjoy the show or book a ringside restaurant table for a meal with street entertainment laid on. Alicante puts on a particularly colourful carnival. Benidorm is also a great place to dress up and party on down on carnival nights.
Burial of the Sardine, February or March. The end of Carnival is symbolised with the solemn (albeit comical) burial of the sardine to symbolise fasting and abstinence. It is held in various Alicante resorts including Denia, Javea, Benidorm and Alicante.
Fallas, March 14-19. Let Alicante province light your fallas with one of the noisiest, craziest and zaniest festivals to be seen. Artists spend the year working on a huge statue - some as tall as multi-storey buildings - costing thousands of euros, only to watch them burn on St Joseph's day on March 19. A musical mascleta is held daily when noisy fireworks and firecrackers are set off in the main town squares. Denia, Alfaz del Pi, Benidorm and Calpe all join in the fun of the fallas fiesta.
Easter and Holy Week. High drama, mixed emotions, silent processions and impressive artwork take centre stage in Alicante during Easter week.Emotional scenes leading to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ are played out on the streets in many towns and villages. Historic sculptures are paraded through the streets as a sombre reminder of Easter. Elche is a great place to watch the Palm Sunday ceremony while Orihuela puts on great parades with magnificent sculptures during Easter weekend.
Santa Faz Pilgrimage, April. Each year after Easter, about 200,000 people make the pilgrimage from Alicante to the Santa Faz monastery. It is Spain’s second largest pilgrimage. During the 8km trek, people will breakfast on anise rolls and mistela wine. The monastary is said to house the veil with which Veronica wiped Christ’s face as he carried his cross to his Crucifixion.
Moors and Christians. Throughout the year, many towns and coastal resorts will hold a re-enactment of the Re-conquest when the Christians took back the land and defeated the Moors. Running battles are fought in the streets and at sea. Gunpowder, explosions, muskets and marching bands compete for your attention as the historic battle is reenacted before the celebrations begin as the Moors are banquished. Alcoy puts on the finest fiesta and it has been voted one of Spain’s best festivals.
San Vicente Ferrer fiesta, April 11-22. Teulada holds religious fiestas in honour of the patron saint Vicente Ferrer who was born in the town. The fun includes processions, bull running, music and dancing.
San Juan, June 23-24. Midsummer madness hits the Costa Blanca beaches as family and friends enjoy a night around the bonfire to celebrate the Feast of St John's. The fire is not to keep out the cold but for young daredevils to jump over three times for good luck. The beaches are packed with revellers enjoying a midnight picnic, drinks, music and good company. Alicante is a good spot to join in the fun.
Bous a la Mar, July. Foolhardy youngsters and the young at heart take the challenge to run with the bulls through the streets. In Denia, the bulls are enticed into a makeshift bullring while the youngsters try to lure them into the sea. Bull running takes place in Denia and Pedreguer during July and Javea in August.
Elche Mystery Play, August 14-15. This theatrical performance dating back to the 15th century is held in the Basilica de Santa Maria and the surrounding streets in Elche’s old town. It tells the story of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption and crowning in Heaven. UNESCO has declared it a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Benidorm Gay Pride, September 14-16. A weekend of music, food and fun, including a spectacular carnival through Benidorm old town on Saturday. There is also a fashion show and drag queen gala.
Christmas and Three Kings, Dec 22-Jan 6.Christmas officially begins on December 22 when the El Gordo lottery numbers are read out. Ticket holders can have their dreams come true to enjoy their first Christmas as a multi-millionare. Christmas is a family affair with plenty of food and the exchanging of presents on Christmas Day. New Year's Eve is another excuse for fine dining, fireworks and dancing til dawn. On the eve of the Epiphany on January 6, the Three Kings arrive by boat or on horseback at the Costa Blanca towns and villages.