What must be the Valencian Community’s most impressive Christians & Moors Festival takes place in the beautiful mountain city of Alcoy on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of April.
Scratch that — this must be the best such festival in all of Spain. We went on the 22nd, and find it hard to imagine that anything else could even come close. This was one of the most impressive celebrations I’ve ever seen.
With beautiful, ornate costumes that manage to look both hundreds of years old and sparkling new, thousands of marchers transform the streets of Alcoy’s magnificent old city into a gigantic party. The festival’s first day sees the entrances: first of the Christains at 11:00, and then of the Moors at 17:00. Each parade lasts hours and hours, and is chock full of incredible music, dancing, floats and costumes.
The streets were jam packed, and it was difficult to find a place to stand. So, purchasing a seat for the parade is well-worth the money. You can get tickets from Alcoy’s tourist office.
On the 23rd, Alcoy celebrates the Fiesta de San Jorge. All day long, the streets are packed with revelers. And on the 24th, the city sees recreations of the infamous battles between its historical masters. This, from the pictures I’ve seen, consists of people marching down the streets with shotguns, making a lot of noise.
All three days are worth seeing, but the Moorish Captain we had a chat with after lunch confirmed that the entrances on the 22nd are the most interesting for tourists. For locals, the battles of the final day are the most anticipated. Probably because they party all night.
If you go and spend the night, it’s worth trying to get into a Fila hall. We didn’t do this, so I don’t have first-hand advice, but the Filas are the different groups in charge of the festival, similar to Valencia’s Fallas commissions. There are Moorish Filas, which try and recreate a feeling of Arabian marketplaces, and Christian Filas, too. These are private grounds, so you have to be invited to participate, but this is usually possible without too much effort.
While you’re watching the parades, we can highly recommend the typical drink: la Mentira. Details here!
Even without the festival, Alcoy is definitely worth a day trip from Valencia. The old city is gorgeous, accessible from a more modern area of town across a long bridge. The streets are hilly, and there are plenty of monuments and natural beauty to gawk at.
Now the Moors are coming: