Delicious Drives Spain
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Alcoy, situated around 54 km from Alicante, and 105 km from Valencia, is famous for its amazing Moors and Christians Festival.  This is a superb time to visit the city. For those who appreciate architecture, there’s plenty to see. The hub of the city is the Plaza de España (Spain Square) and heading off from it you can either go into the medieval quarter or in the opposite direction the modernist part of Alcoy. The Viaduct of Canalejas is one of the great symbols of the town, which was rather innovative at the time of its construction in the early 20th century.

The town is surrounded by mountains but nature has also gifted the area with a beautiful Mediterranean forest. There are a number of great routes to choose from to explore the surrounding nature, whether on foot, bike or horseback. If you fancy a day out at the beach, the closest well-known resort is Altea, which is 59 km away, but it takes about an hour and a quarter to get to. Even though Benidorm is quite a few kilometres further away, at 92 km, it’s a far better road and you should get there in under one hour.

Known as the City of Bridges because of its unusual topography which makes a number of bridges a necessity, Alcoy, the capital of the county of Hoya de Alcoy, is marked by ravines. These days the town is experiencing an increase in tourism, as more and more people opt for experiential travel, rather than the typical sun, sea and sangria experience.

About

It’s Moors and Christians Festival is wonderful, and the festival has been declared to be of International tourist interest. This happens in April. Also the town’s Three Kings Parade is considered to be one of the oldest in Spain, and has been declared a Festival of national tourist interest. The city has also been included in the European route of modernism.

Things To Do

Archaeological Civilisations

Yacimiento Arqueológico de La Serreta – La Serreta Archaeological Site

This archaeological site was discovered in 1917, and was made a heritage and artistic site in 1931. The site goes back to ancient Iberian times and also to Roman times. It’s a double site where there’s both a village and a shrine. Notable finds include interesting Iberian and terracotta pottery. In 1987 the site cemetery was discovered, along with around 80 graves. These state to around the 14th century BC, and of particular note is to number 53 which has a lovely handle.

From the area of the sanctuary the summit of the Sierra de Aixorta can be seen. There are some astronomers the feel that this positioning may be significant, because it points to the sunrise during equinoxes. Although there aren’t any large remains, all of the hillside is dotted with remnants of the civilisations. The views are superb and the setting is evocative.

Yacimiento Arqueológico de El Puig – El Puig Archaeological Site

Located on the plateau of El Puig, this site dates back to the Bronze Age and the ancient Iberian periods – around the 5th century BC. The remains are a little scarce because the town has been heavily eroded, but in 1964 the Archaeology Laboratory of the University of Valencia excavated. Notable finds that give evidence of wealth are imported ceramics, some of which have Greco Iberian alphabetic graffiti.

Architectural Interest

As mentioned earlier Alcoy is known as the City of Bridges – here are some of the city’s most important bridges.

Viaducto de Canalejas – Canalejas Viaduct

The visual symbol of the town, is this 200 metres long viaduct over the river Molinar. The viaduct has 325 long tons of steel, which rest on three pillars and two brackets. Its maximum height is 54 metres. It’s named after the local member of Parliament of that time.

Puente de la Pechina -Pendant Bridge

Constructed in 1863, this bridge goes over the River Benisaidó. Its maximum height is 28.6 metres and it has five arches.

Puente de las Siete Lunas – Bridge of the Seven Moons

It takes a little bit of an excursion to go to see the Bridge of the Seven Moons. However you have the backdrop of the Natural Park of Font Roja (Red Fountain), plus it’s ideal for bungee jumping. You’ll find it a little further on from the Balcoi district, and it’s an urban bridge which was built for the Alcoy to Alicante train to pass through, which never actually happened in the end.

Puente de San Roque – Bridge of San Roque

This is a 19th-century bridge, which was built when local industry was at its peak. It has three arches of 8 m, and its maximum height is 20.5 m. Like other bridges of that same era, it was built with stone which was quarried from local quarries.

Puente de María Cristina – Maria Christina Bridge

This bridge was constructed between 1828 and 1838, and allowed people to cross over the Riquer Barxell river. At the other side of the bridge you can see the Cervantes Tour, which is the town’s dedication to the famous writer, since 1905.

Puente de San Jorge – St. George’s Bridge

Another striking visual symbol of the town is the St Georges bridge which was opened in 1931. The most monumental bridge of the cityscape, it stands over the Riquer River, and caused an urban revolution to Alcoy, as a new district was created because of it. This let the city grow beyond its traditional boundaries.

Puente de Fernando Reig – Fernando Reig Bridge

Built in 1987, this is a modern cable stayed bridge.

Churches

Iglesia Arciprestal de Santa María Alcoy – Archiprestal Church of Saint Mary

On 27 May 1725 the first stone of the church was laid. This stone is actually of real Jade and bears the name of Mary as well is the shield of the town. When the four-man died in 1750, work came to a halt, but began again a few years later. The church has been through a fire and the Spanish Civil War, and a couple of reconstructions. However it is a fine structure which is worth a visit.

Iglesia de San Jorge – Saint George’s Church

This Neo-Byzantine church, which was built in honour of St George, is also worth a visit.

Hermitages

Ermita de Polop – Polop Hermitage

Also known as the Ermita de San Isidro Labrador, this hermitage is located between to natural parks, in the Valley of Polop. It is thought that was built in either the 17th or 18th century, in order to provide a religious service to the various farmhouses located in the valley.

It was very much driven by the local people who lived in the farmhouse, and supported by them financially. Until not long ago you could actually see chairs in the Chapel which had the names of the various farmers owners who have contributed.

The hermitage and its religious celebration that happens on the last Sunday of each August, is dedicated to San Isidro. On this day there is a traditional procession to ask for the blessing of the fields of the Valley, and for good harvests in the coming year.

Museums

MUBOMA Museo de Bomberos – Firemen Museum

This is a fantastic Museum, and the first of its kind in the Valencia community to honour the hugely important work of the firefighters. There are some gorgeous old firetrucks, and while there you can learn about some of the different methods firefighters have putting out fires, and about the tools are used to do their job.

Website: http://www.muboma.com/index_en.html

MAF Museo Alcoia de la Festa – The Festival Museum of Alcoy

Another very interesting Museum which does a great job and keeping alive the traditions of the Festival of the Moors and Christians. It is both entertaining and educational, and really a must visit if you’re interested in the culture of the area.

Website: http://www.museualcoiadelafesta.com/

Modernist Routes

La Casa Laporta

The first modernist house was built in 1904 in Alcoy, when the businessman José Laporta Valor, instruct the architect, Timoteo Briet Montaud, to construct a home of the style for him.

From 1904 until 1914, approximately 30 more modernist buildings were built in the city. Alcoy is now part of the European Route of Modernism.

Casa del Pavo – House of the Turkey

Built between 1908 and 1909, this is a private modernist building. It symbolic of the good economy of early 20th-century Alcoy. Designed by the architect, Vicente Pascual Pastor, it was then converted into a painting studio for Fernando Cabrera Cantó.

Conservatorio de Música y Danza Joan Cantó – The Joan Cantó Consevatory of Music and Dance

This modern as to building was once a home, but these days is the Conservatory of music and dance.

More about Alcoy here in the European Route of Modernism

Day Trips

Alcoy Days Out

Valencia is a fabulous city, and at a distance of 105 km, it would be shame to miss out. Check out our Valencia Travel Guide.

We will soon be suggesting more days out as we continue to add more content to the site.

Where to Sleep

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Where to Eat

Restaurants

Alcoy Spain Food

It is thought that olives stuffed with anchovies were actually invented in Alcoy. Anther typical local dish is stuffed peppers – which are normally stuffed with minced garlic, tomato sauce, rice and either pork or fresh tuna which is baked. When you visit you could order a Borreta – which is a stew with cod, spinach, egg and potatoes. The town also has its own coffee liqueur, which can be drunk just as an aperitif, or some people also mix it with lemonade, or lemonade with crushed ice.

More Restaurants

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Events

Festivals

Alcoy Moors and Christians Festival

The famous Moors’ and Christians’ festival of Alcoy (Alcoi) has even been featured on ths short learning documentary from none other than the BBC.

Dedicated to St George, this Festival is an amazing spectacle and celebration of the history and legends of what happened in the 13th century.

 

 

Photo Credits:
rSnapshotPhotos / Shutterstock.com

Mircea BEZERGHEANU / Shutterstock.com

rSnapshotPhotos / Shutterstock.com

Geanina Bechea / Shutterstock.com

Mircea BEZERGHEANU / Shutterstock.com

Map

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6 Responses to Alcoy Travel Guide

  1. Paula McInerney March 4, 2015 at 8:40 am #

    We definitely go for experiential travels and this is something that would be so interesting. “Olives stuffed with anchovies ” oh yeah. This seems an amazing area and another one to add to our list.

    • Jackie De Burca March 4, 2015 at 8:44 am #

      Hey Paula, yes it is indeed. There are a number of places here that fit into this type of scenario! I hope you pick up some ideas from our blog. Thanks, Jackie 🙂

  2. Paul (@luxury__travel) March 6, 2015 at 9:02 am #

    Wow… those costumes! I’ve been to one or two low-key festivals in Spain and they’ve always tend to have a bit of an amateurish feel about them. This, on the other hand, looks like a very professional operation, and no doubt a lot of hard work from a lot of people goes into it. Good to see children getting involved, too.

    • Jackie De Burca March 10, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

      The festivals Paul are very varied, as you’ve obviously gathered. Alcoy is especially well known for this one! 🙂

  3. Kathryn Burrington March 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    What a fabulous place! Love your colourful photos. The festivals look great fun and I’d love to visit and photograph it all myself sometime. I’ve never heard of Alcoy before so thank you so much for this wonderful introduction.

    • Jackie De Burca March 10, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

      Thanks so much Kathryn! I hope to see you here one day, you would get great photos and have a fabulous time I believe!

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