Alcoy has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The name's etymology is unclear, but is believed to derive either from Arabic (al-Qawi – the fort/village) or from Latin (Arabic article al + Latin cola – cultivator/inhabitant). The town in its current incarnation was formally established after the Christian reconquista in 1256, and was the setting for repeated Arab revolts. The last of these was suppressed in 1276 and is still commemorated today in the city's annual Moors and Christians festival.
In the mid-19th century the city became heavily industrialized; most architecture in the centre dates from this period. Today the city is a regional commercial and financial centre.
- 1 Tourist Information, Plaça d'Espanya, 14, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 10:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Sa 11:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Su 11:00-14:00; closed 1 and 6 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec.
- 1 Estación de Tren de Alcoi (Train Station), Plaza Estación, s/n, ☎ . Alcoy is connected by Renfe regional trains to Cocentaina, Xàtiva, and Estació de València Nord.
- 2 Estación de Autobuses (Bus Station) (across from the train station). From Valencia, Autocares Travicoi (tel. +34 963 491 425) runs several buses daily, including on weekends, with the journey taking just under two hours. From Alicante, Subus runs buses multiple times daily, with a full schedule available here.
Subus Alcoi operates six routes in Alcoy. A single journey costs €.85, payable in cash to the driver on entry. If you plan to use the bus frequently it may be worth purchasing a Tarjeta Multiviaje card, which will give you ten journeys for €5 – these can be purchased at a number of convenience shops, shown on an interactive map here.
Despite the antiquity of the street layout, most buildings in the historic centre are Modernist in style and date from the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, when the city was completely modernised during the Industrial Revolution.
- 1 Castell de Barxell (Castillo de Barchell / Barchell Castle). A 12th-century castle of likely Muslim origin. It has a rectangular keep and a court with rainwater tank.
- 2 Torre de Na Valora, Carrer Verge María, s/n, ☎ . The 13th-century Gothic tower was once part of Alcoy's defensive network, and fully restored in 2002. Today it offers some excellent views of the city.
- 3 Església de Santa Maria (Iglesia arciprestal de Santa María / St. Mary's Church). A 20th-century reconstruction of a previous church destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. It is worth peeking inside to see the 15th-century Gothic painting by Jacomart tucked away in a side chapel, along with works by the late-Renaissance painter Cristóbal Llorens.
- 4 Ermita de Sant Antoni Abat d'Alcoi (Ermita de San Antonio Abad / Hermitage of St. Anthony the Abbot). A complex of two conjoined buildings from the 14th and 18th centuries.
- 5 Plaça de Dins (Plaza de Dins / De Dins Square). Formerly a monastic cloister, the neoclassical square was created in the mid-19th century.
- 6 Llotja de Sant Jordi (Llonja de Sant Jordi), Plaça d'Espanya, s/n, ☎ . During exhibits: Tu-Sa 11:30-13:30 17:30-20:30, Su 11:30-13:30; if there is no exhibit visits can be made at 13:00 by prior reservation. This venue for special exhibitions and cultural events was designed by Valencian star architect Santiago Calatrava and built between 1992-1995.
- 7 Museu Alcoià De La Festa (Museo de la Fiesta / MAF), Carrer Sant Miquel, 60-62, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sep-Jul: Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 16:00-19:00, Su and holidays 11:00-14:00; Aug: Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00, Su and holidays 11:00-14:00; closed 22, 25, 26 Dec and 1, 5, and 6 Jan. Has on display costumes and other material from the three-day Moros i Cristians festival. €3 (adults), €1.50 (seniors/students/children).
- 8 Museu Arqueològic Municipal Camil Visedo Moltó (Museo Arqueologico), Placeta del Carbó, s/n, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 09:00-14:00, Sa Su and holidays 11:00-14:00; closed 25 Dec - 01 Jan and during the Moros i Cristians festival. Housed in a building from the Valencian Gothic and Renaissance periods, the museum as a large collection of ceramics from the Iberian period.
- 9 Refugi de Cervantes (Refugio-Museo de Cervantes / Cervantes Air Raid Shelter), Carrer Els Alçamora, s/n (by Parque de Cervantes), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu Th 10:00-14:00, W F 16:00-18:30, Sa 10:30-14:00, Su and holidays 11:00-14:00; closed 25 Dec - 01 Jan and during the Moros i Cristians festival. One of more than 25 air raid shelters used by Alcoy residents during the Spanish Civil War, it is more than 100m long and has on display a number of photographs as well as audiovisual presentations.
- 10 MuBoma (Museo de Bomberos / Firefighters Museum of Alcoy), Carrer Algezares, 26, ☎ , fax: . M-F 10:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-14:00, Su and holidays 11:00-14:00. The former factory is now a museum, with two floors dedicated to the history of firefighting in Alicante province. €3 (adults), €1.50 (seniors/students/children), free (children under 7); €1 for everyone on Su.
- 11 Cementeri d'Alcoi (Cementerio de San Antonio Abad / Alcoy Cemetery), Ctra Font Roja, 25, ☎ . Daily 07:30-18:00. This 19th-century cemetery is considered to be one of the most interesting in the Valencian Community, due to its unusual architecture and excellent examples of period funerary sculpture. It is listed on the European Cemeteries Route, a cultural itinerary established by the Council of Europe.
- Moros i Cristians (Moros y Cristianos / Moors and Christians). Usually 21-24 April; dates may vary depending on Easter. Alcoy hosts the largest and possibly the most elaborate of the annual Moors and Christians festivals, listed as a festival of 'International Tourist Interest'. Celebrated since the early 16th century, it reenacts the Battle of Alcoy of 1276 during the Muslim insurrection against the Christian reconquista. According to legend, St. George appeared on a horse on the city walls during the battle and thereby turned the tide against the rebels, resulting in the death of the Moorish commander Al-Azraq.
The celebration commences with a marching band parade on the evening of the 21st. The Día de las Entradas ('Day of Entrances') is devoted to parades, starting with the Christian parade in the morning and the Moorish parade in the late afternoon. The following day, Día de San Jorge ('St. George's Day') is more solemn, with a morning religious procession, high mass, and an evening parade. The battle takes place on the final day, the Día de Alardo ('Alardo's Day'), first with a verbal exchange between the Moorish and Christian ambassadors, and then with arquebuses (muskets), each side retaking in turn the castle in the 1 Plaça d'Espanya. The appearance of St. George in the evening brings the battle to a close.
A full schedule and parade route map is available for download from the tourist office.
- Cavalcada de Reis (Cabalgata de Reyes Magos / Three Kings' Parade). 5 January. Believed to be the oldest Three Kings' Day parade in Spain, it was first documented in the mid-19th century and is listed by the Spanish government as a festival of 'National Tourist Interest'. Thousands of residents turn out at 18:30 to watch the three wise men proceed on camel to the Plaça d'Espanya, where they arrive at about 20:00 to a grand display of fireworks. The fiesta ends at 22:00 in the 2 Església de Sant Roc i Sant Sebastià.
Hiking and biking
- Parc Natural de la Serra Mariola (Parque Natural de la Sierra de Mariola / Serra Mariola Natural Park). The mountain park offers good opportunities for hiking, with trail difficulty ranging from easy to difficult. The park can be accessed from Cocentaina as well as Alcoy, and has several sights of historic and natural interest. Many trail heads are located right on the outskirts of Alcoy, and trails range in difficulty from easy short hikes to challenging 8 hour treks. The tourist office has a handy map with basic trail descriptions available for download. To explore further reaches of the mountain range, the park administration maintains an online list of nine hiking trails with maps and trail descriptions (in Spanish).
- Parc Natural de la Font Roja (Parque Natural de la Fuente Roja / Font Roja Natural Park) (9 km SW of the city). This smaller, heavily-forested mountain park has some good hiking trails, ranging in difficulty from easy three-hour to challenging eight-hour hikes. The park administration has an online list of five hiking trails with maps and trail descriptions (in Spanish).
- 3 Centre d'Informació (Centro de Información / Information Centre), Ctra Font Roja, s/n (by the Santuari de la Font Roja), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 09:30-14:00. Located in a former religious complex, the centre has brochures about natural and historic sights in the park, a small botanical garden, and displays. Other facilities include toilets and a café, as well a nearby campground with 20 campsites. To camp prior approval is required at least two days in advance; details (in Spanish) are available here. Free.
- 1 Mercat de Sant Roc (Mercado de San Roque / San Roque Market), Carrer Espronceda, 2, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 07:00-15:00. The town's main market is a good place to pick up fresh fish, produce, and meat, and also has a supermarket. On W and Sa mornings there is also a general 2 street market outside the main entrance on Carrer Espronceda.
- 3 Mercat de Sant Mateu, Carrer Sant Mateu, 20, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 07:00-15:00, Sa 07:15-14:00. Another covered market hall good for all sorts of produce, fish, and meat, with an onsite bar and bakery. Every Sa from 13:00-15:00 every market stall also sells tapas. On Tu and F mornings there is also a general 4 street market located behind the building at Plaça Ramón y Cajal.
- 5 Mercadillo Zona Norte, Carrer Ausiàs March (across from the Centro Comercial Eroski Alcoy). W and Sa mornings. The semi-weekly street market is good for picking up fresh produce and various odds and ends.
- 6 Centro Comercial Alzamora, Carrer els Alzamora, 44, ☎ . Shops: M-Sa 10:00-22:00; restaurants: M-Th 12:00-24:00, F Sa and holidays 12:00-02:00. The shopping centre has the usual brand name shops as well as a Supercor supermarket.
Alcoy and the surrounding region has a number of distinct dishes.
- Embotits. Sausages from Alcoy and nearby Cocentaina, in many varieties, are famous throughout the Valencian Community.
- Olleta de músic. Also known as olleta alcoyana, a variant of the Valencian one-pot stew olleta d'arròs. Traditionally it is stewed for several hours and consists of vegetables, beans, meat and sausages, bones, and pumpkin, and omits the rice included in other versions.
- Pericana. A sauce of olive oil, dried peppers, sometimes dried tomatoes and garlic or chives, and salted cod, usually served on toast or as a garnish for fish or green beans.
- Bajoques farcides. Oven-roasted peppers stuffed with tomatoes, rice, and meat or sometimes tuna.
- Aceitunas rellenas de anchoa. Olives stuffed with anchovies, invented in Alcoy and made in a local factory.
- Borreta. A stew of cod, potatoes, spinach, and beaten eggs.
- 1 Lolo Restaurante, Partida Rambla Alta, 98 (SW outskirts), ☎ . Tu-Su 13:00-16:00. The restaurant serves traditional Alcoy dishes in a former farmhouse with great mountain views. Set menu €12, mains €14-24.
- 2 Restaurante Casa Juliet, Carrer Anselm Aracil, 21, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 13:00-16:00, F Sa 13:00-16:00 20:30-22:00. Serves Mediterranean and traditional cuisine with a modern touch, in a comfortable setting with antique furniture. Set menu €15-27, drinks extra.
- 3 Restaurante La Gruta Gastronómica (Círculo Industrial), Carrer Sant Nicolau, 19, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 13:00-17:00. The Modernist building itself, a 19th-century social club, is worth visiting. The restaurant is located in the basement, in a faux grotto built in 1896, with stalagmites, stalagtites, and a pond. The food is modern and creative. Dressy attire and reservations are essential. Set menu €30, drinks extra.
Alcoy, along with nearby Cocentaina, is known for its café licor ('coffee liquor'), not to be confused with the sweeter licor café in Murcia and Galicia. The drink is known to date to the early 13th century, and grew in popularity during the industrial revolution when factory workers would add it to their coffee thermoses. Today it has the Spanish denomination of origin of Bebidas Espirituosas Tradicionales ('Traditional Spirits'), and is consumed alone or mixed with other ingredients, such as orxata (Spanish: horchata), soda water, or lemon water.
Cervesa Spigha, the local craft beer, comes in three varieties: American pale ale, brown ale, and blonde ale.
- 1 Residencial Alcoy, Carrer Sant Joan de Ribera, 70, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00-20:00, check-out: 11:00. The fully-furnished apartments are nonsmoking. Free Wi-Fi, parking €8/day. Doubles €48.
- 2 Casa Bons Aires, Partida Llacunes, 6 (8km W of Alcoy), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 13:00-22:00, check-out: 12:00. The entire facility is nonsmoking, and has a pool, onsite restaurant, Doubles €83-100, including breakfast.
- 3 Hotel Reconquista, Avda Pont de Sant Jordi, 1, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 11:00-24:00, check-out: 12:00. A comfortable hotel with an onsite restaurant, fitness centre, nonsmoking rooms, and free Wi-Fi. Doubles €59-96, including breakfast.
- 4 Sercotel Hotel Ciutat D'Alcoi, Carrer Colón, 1, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Has an onsite bar and fitness centre. Free Wi-Fi, parking €12/day. Doubles €66-74, including breakfast.
- 12 Pinturas Rupestres de la Sarga (La Sarga Pictographs) (La Sarga), ☎ (information), e-mail: email@example.com. Mar-Nov: guided tours on the 1st and 3rd Su of the month at 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30. Discovered by hikers in 1951, the set of three rock shelters has prehistoric pictographs dating from the 7th to the 2nd millenium BCE. It is one of over 700 sites that have collectively been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as 'Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula'. Guided visits must be arranged through the Alcoy Museum of Archaeology; the museum has available for download a basic guide (Spanish/Valencian) and a more detailed guide (Spanish/Valencian).
- 1 Safari Aitana, Ctra CV-785, Km 20 (Penàguila), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11:00-18:00, guided tours 11:00 and 15:00. The Valencian Community's only drive-in safari park cares for rescued large animals. €20 (adults), €16 (children 4-10).