Altea cultural festivals

Altea’s Cultural Festivals: A Calendar of Celebrations

Nestled on the picturesque eastern coast of Spain, Altea is more than just a stunning seaside town. It's a vibrant cultural hub, celebrated for its rich tapestry of festivals that showcase the unique blend of traditional Spanish heritage and modern artistic expression. Each year, Altea’s calendar is marked with a series of festivals that attract visitors from all corners of the globe, eager to immerse themselves in the town’s lively cultural scene.

January: The Three Kings Parade

The year in Altea kicks off with the magical Three Kings Parade on January 5th. This enchanting event, also known as "Cabalgata de Reyes," celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in the town. It's a spectacle of lights, color, and music, where children line up to catch sweets thrown by the kings who parade through the streets on their ornately decorated floats.

February: Carnival

Before the solemnity of Lent, Altea bursts into a frenzy of colors and costumes with its annual Carnival. This festival is a wild celebration of freedom and fun, featuring extravagant parades, flamboyant costumes, and lively dances that spill from the streets into the town’s squares.

March/April: Semana Santa

Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is observed with profound reverence in Altea. This deeply spiritual festival features a series of processions that are both solemn and spectacular. The most poignant is the Silent Procession, held on Holy Thursday night, where the only sounds are the slow beat of drums and the shuffling feet of the hooded penitents.

June: San Juan

Celebrated on the night of June 23rd, the Feast of San Juan is one of Altea’s most anticipated events. This festival, marking the beginning of summer, is famous for its bonfires on the beach, where people gather to jump over flames and wash their faces in the sea at midnight, a ritual believed to cleanse the soul and bring good luck.

July: Moros y Cristianos

The highlight of Altea’s summer is undoubtedly the Moros y Cristianos festival. Held in honor of Saint James, this event commemorates the historical battles between Moors and Christians in Spain. The town is transformed with mock battles staged in the streets, grand parades of elaborately costumed participants, and a stunning fireworks display that lights up the night sky.

August: Castell de l'Olla

Unique to Altea, the Castell de l'Olla is an impressive fireworks festival held on the second Saturday of August. The fireworks are launched from platforms in the sea, creating a spectacular display of light and sound, reflected by the water, which attendees can enjoy from the beach or boats.

September: Fiesta de San Lorenzo

In September, the Fiesta de San Lorenzo offers a quieter, though no less meaningful, celebration. It features a traditional procession through the Old Town, a mass, and, of course, the customary communal meals and dances that are integral to Spanish festivals.

October: Altea la Vella’s Festivals

Altea’s smaller district, Altea la Vella, hosts its own set of celebrations in October. These include the patron saint festivities, filled with traditional music, dance, and communal dining, epitomizing the tight-knit community spirit of the area.

November: All Saints Day

On November 1st, Altea observes All Saints Day, a time for remembrance and homage to the deceased. Families visit cemeteries to decorate graves with flowers and candles, turning them into vibrant displays of affection and memory.

December: Christmas Markets and Nativity Scenes

As the year winds down, the Christmas spirit takes over Altea. The town squares buzz with festive markets selling handmade gifts, decorations, and traditional foods. Nativity scenes, known as "Belenes," are elaborately displayed, with local competitions for the best presentation.


Each of these festivals is not just a celebration but a window into the heart and soul of Altea. They offer a glimpse of the town's history, its artistic inclinations, and its communal spirit. For visitors, these events provide a unique opportunity to experience local customs and participate in the ongoing cultural dialogue between the past and present. Whether you're drawn by the solemnity of Holy Week, the revelry of Carnival, or the artistic display of fireworks at the Castell de l'Olla, Altea’s calendar of celebrations promises a year filled with enchantment and unforgettable experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Moros y Cristianos festival in July is the most significant, commemorating historical battles with spectacular parades and fireworks

Yes, visitors are encouraged to participate in many of the festivities, including the beach rituals during the Feast of San Juan and the lively dances of Carnival

Yes, the Castell de l'Olla in August features a unique fireworks display launched from the sea, which is specific to Altea

Families can enjoy parades, firework shows, and cultural performances at festivals like Three Kings Parade and Moros y Cristianos. Many festivals also include activities specifically for children

Altea welcomes summer with the Feast of San Juan on June 23rd, celebrated with beach bonfires, rituals believed to bring good luck, and midnight swims

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