Hundreds of years ago, the fishermen used to come to this beach to catch tuna. They used an ancient arabic technique and this is where the name of this beach comes from.
Next to the sailing club and with a lovely generations-old beach bar (you have to try the sardines and squid, fantastic!) this little beach has one of the few working wooden walkways remaining in the province.
10 minutes by bus from the city center, this beach is a great place to chill out at night, when temperatures are still high: fishing, family picnics and the unmissable Noche de San Juan, on June 23rd, when Alicantinos make bonfires, write their wishes on a piece of paper and burn them in the flamesRead More
In 1986, the Housemartins sang “Every woman, every man join the caravan of love” and a caravan on Albufereta beach was the love nest the Australian cangaroo breeder Richard Abbott-Griffiths and his wife Claire Greenfield chose for their honeymoon back in 1955, when tourism hardly existed in Spain.
This area is famous for its archaelogical sites while this beautiful crescent shaped beach runs for 0,5 km, has a full range of services and can be accessed both by bus and tram from Alicante in less than 10 minutes.
Albufereta is connected with Almadrava beach through a lovely restored wooden walkway which is one of the very few of its kind in the province.Read More
So, you’ve killed a dragon or two, rescued several maidens in distress, become a saint, been named patron of Lebanon, Georgia and England and are now looking for some more action. Nothing better than becoming the hero of one of the loudest, most colourful and most extravagant fiestas in Spain – Moros y Cristianos in Alcoy!
St George takes centre stage in these huge, and hugely popular celebrations in the town of Alcoy, 45 minutes inland from Alicante, every year between 21- 24 April (or more usually the nearest available weekend). This internationally recognised festival commemorates the battle between the Christians and the Moors (think Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice) of Alcoy in 1276, and has taken place, in one form or another, since 1511.
The most interesting parts are the spectacular period costumes; the choreographed parades with horses, cigar-smoking sword-swinging Moros; re-enacted battles with fireworks and arcabuzes (13th century shotguns!); and, of course, St George riding along the battlements, leading his side to the final victory.
And if you don’t think you can keep up with all that on an empty stomach, try La Noche de la Olla (the Night of the Cooking Pot) on the first night of the celebrations. It’s a (very!) hearty stew based on the gorgeous, sweet, fresh broad beans of the region, and is often washed down with a plis-play (coffee liqueur with coke) or a Sonrisa Alcoyana (an Alcoy Smile, of whisky with lemon sorbet). St George swears by it!
Today, Easter Wednesday, Lent finishes; the moment that ends a difficult 40 days of fasting.
In case you didn’t know, in its origins Holy Week was a form of penitence, of sentence. In fact, the typical cone-shaped hats of the Nazarenes that are frequently worn in the processions have their origins in those sentenced to die by the Inquisition. Originally, the hat would have been decorated with illustrations of the crimes the convict was found guilty of. Its elongated shape was supposed to reduce the distance between the penitent prisoner and their imminent place in heaven!
As fasting finishes today, you can find a huge range of typical sweets in all the pastry shops. In times past, in order to combine faithful fasting with hard physical work in the fields, agricultural workers needed a little sugar. Over time, these little sugary treats evolved into the famous Easter sweets and cakes
In Alicante province, among many others, the best known processions are those of Crevillente, he famous Palm Sunday in Elche, and the procession of the Gypsy Christ in Santa Cruz.
I love medieval markets and the one in Orihuela is a really good one.
Orihuela is a small city, 50 km from Alicante and famous for its historic monumental architecture, Easter Processions and traditional gastronomy, including convent-made sweets and cakes.
Every year, at the end of January, Orihuela commemorates that back in the XV century it was one of the most imporant cities in the Kingdom of Castile.
The market has been running for 17 years now and with more than 350 stalls it is considered one of the biggest in Spain.
Magic tricks, toffee apples, falconry exhibitions, street food stalls…a trip back in time you cant miss!
If you plan to stay overnight, try the luxury Tudemir Boutique Hotel, a beautifully restored palace from the XVIII century.
This time round Mascarat opted for a full day of culture and gastronomy, and Xativa was the chosen destination.
An hour and a quarter to the north of Alicante, this small town, sometimes known as The City of 1000 Fountains, has a marvellous castle, walled enclosure and historic heritage. Our guide told us the secrets of the two Pope Borjas born here, Calixto III and Alejandro VI, as well as the popular distaste for King Felipe V (no, the current one is Felipe VI!), whose portrait hangs upsidedown in the Almoidi Museum. Can you guess why?
After wandering through the lovey historic old town, we headed towards the craft brewery “La Socarrada” which makes two fantastic beers. One, La Socarrada (a World Beer Award winner), with hints of honey and rosemary, and the other, El Boqueron, has a secret ingredient to remind you of the sea!
To recover our strength, in their gorgeous patio, the Tunel restaurant had prepared a fantastic oven-cooked paella for us. Absolutely delicious!
Now that the good weather has arrived in Alicante, there aren’t many better things than a cold beer as the temperature starts to rise at midday. Apparently, the Egyptians built a civilisation on it, and it has always been linked to the areas around the Mediterranean and a healthy diet, if only for the antioxidants 😉
That’s why, on this occasion, Mascarat treated us to a fantastic day out with a visit and tasting at Alicante’s most famous craft brewery, Santa.
Santa make 3 different beers: Santa Faz, in honour of the popular pilgrimage to the village of that name on the second Thursday after Easter; Santa Barbara, named after the castle in Alicante; and Santa Cruz, one of our most emblematic neighbourhoods.
A perfect day in great company with a fantastic beer tasting.
A few weeks ago our friends in Mascarat suggested one of their favourite activities, trekking. On this occasion the association chose the district around Villena as it has a number of interesting routes, some of which follow the tracks of the former railway line that carried the train known as Chicharra (the cricket – the insect, not the game!), so you can imagine,the kind of noise it must have made.
The chosen route was El Sendero de la Villa, 12 km starting from the foot of the castle in Villena and passing through the wonderful countryside of the Morron mountains, the Umbria de la Celada overlook and the Beneixama valley.
A pleasant four hours later, to finish a day’s trekking, nothing better than a tasty fideua (a close cousin of paella made with fine pasta instead of rice). Other typical Villena dishes include the fantastic potato studded paella of white beans and cod, gachamigas (flour tortilla), and Villena gazpacho, a seriously hearty dish (nothing like the refreshingly cold tomato-based gazpacho of Andalucía) reflecting the influence of nearby La Mancha. We’ll definitely be trying them when we go back next time!
Last March we were lucky enough to visit the Enrique Mendoza vineyards and cellars in Alfaz del Pi, a pretty little village, close to Benidorm, which is nowadays home to an international community.
Enrique Mendoza started to plant grapes in the 1960’s, but it wasn’t until a full 30 years later that wine production could start from the now mature vines.
Those 30 years of care and patience mean that Enrique Mendoza wines are exceptional, the jewel in the crown being their Reserva Santa Rosa.
Our guided tour included a visit of the facilities, the experimental vineyard where they try out new cultivation techniques, the spectacular barrel room, and an explanation of the process that turns the fruit into the stellar product we can find on wine merchants’ shelves.
Our visit ended with Miguel, our guide, helping us to find and enjoy the subtle flavours of six of their wines, accompanied by some of the finest Spanish cheeses. Quite a delicious challenge!
Last 25 April Mascarat celebrated their 11th edition of this gorgeous 4 hour walking route, from Benissa to Xalo, passing through Lliber, and taking in the localities where the Mistela dessert wine is typically made.
The starting point was Benissa, passing through cobbled streets and up to its fantastic overlook. Then on into the countryside where we found centuries old riu raus (traditional constructions like the one you can see in the photo below that were the centres of grape production), cultivated terraces dating back to Moorish times and the origins of region’s vineyards, and el Pla de las Viñas (the valley of the vines), a whole valley dedicated to wine making.
Once in Xalo, we had time to visit the ethnographic museum, its famous street market and, of course, winery, for a fantastic tasting of the wines of the region. There was only one thing left to do…enjoy the signature dish of this region.
Reflecting its Moorish origins, we tucked into a magnificent Couscous of the Marina Alta.
Don’t wait for the 12th edition to come around!