Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos are some of the most important fiestas in the region, and the three-day Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos in Alcoy, about 60km from Alicante, is perhaps the biggest of the lot. It’s held for three days around St George’s Day (Día de San Jordi); usually April 23 but this can vary slightly according to when Easter falls. Magnificent processions and mock battles for the castle culminate in the decisive intervention of St George himself – a legend that originated in the Battle of Alcoy (1276), when the town was attacked by a Muslim army. New costumes are made each year and prizes are awarded for the best, which then go into the local museum, the Museo Alcoyano de la Fiesta, at c/San Miguel 60–62 (Tues–Sat 10.30am–2pm & 4–7pm, Sun 11am–2pm; €3;
t965 540 812).
On the first day, the Christians make their entrance in the morning, the Moors in the afternoon; day two is dedicated to St George, with several religious processions; day three sees a gunpowder battle, leading to the saint’s appearance on the battlements. Access from Alicante is easy, with five buses a day. If you decide to stay in town, you can try Hostal Savoy, c/Casablanca 9 (t965 547 272, whostalsavoy.com; €100), or the Hotel Reconquista, Puente San Jorge 1 (t965 330 900, whotelreconquista.es; €66, during fiestas €150). The turismo, c/Sant Llorenç 2, next to the ayuntamiento (Mon–Fri 10am–2pm & 4–6pm, Sat & Sun 11am–2pm; t965 537 155, walcoy.org/turismo), can also offer suggestions for accommodation. After Alcoy’s fiesta, the Moros y Cristianos fiestas in Villena (beginning of Sept) and Elche (Aug) are two of the best.