Alicante - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events
Facts for the traveller for Alicante
When to Go to Alicante
You may prefer not to visit Alicante and its surrounding towns over summer (June-August), because millions of other people will. During the summer peak tourist season, prices are higher, accommodation is hard to find without a reservation, and the sun is at its hottest; the temperature rarely falling below 30°C (86°F). Advice like that may miss the point though: you might want to go in summer precisely because this means the biggest holiday crowds, wildest parties and hottest sun of your life. Let's just say if you're looking for something quiet this year, summer in Alicante might not be for you.
It's certainly worth visiting Alicante at other times of the year, when there will be thousands fewer harassed, sweating groups of tourists on the beaches. The sun shines all through autumn and spring, and most of winter. There are some heavy rains in spring (March-May) and autumn, (September-November), but these don't happen very often, and the sun quickly evaporates what hasn't been sluiced underground. Winters are mild, with the average temperature hovering at around 18°C (64°F).
Spanish towns are famous for their festivals, often a mixture of solemn religious observance and rambunctious street party. In late April the Muslims and Christians Festival commemorates the reconquitsa (reconquest), or defeat and expulsion of the Moors from Alicante in the 13th century. Hundreds of locals turn out for the parade wearing splendid period costume. Alicante's key festival, however, is the fabulous Festival de Sant Joan, a week-long affair in late June. Drinking and dancing stop only for an outrageous street procession of floats bearing forgueres, huge, grotesque satirical figures made of wood and papier maché. The festival climaxes on the night of 24 June with a monstrous palmera, or fireworks display, a raucous ceremonial burning of all the floats and their brightly coloured passengers, a public hose-down of the forgueres and the crowd by the fire department, and then, incredibly, even more drinking and dancing.
Only a week later, before you can even pick yourself off the floor, it's time for the Feast of San Pedro at the start of July, with more processions, more effigies, more fireworks, and more drinking and dancing in and around makeshift wooden party enclosures known as barracas. The rest of the year is more subdued. September sees the annual theatre festival, Alicante e Esena and the Alicante International Music Festival. In December puppets from all over the world gather for the International Puppet Festival and are thankful to leave town without being attached to fireworks or put in parades and then burnt.