Cocentaina is a town of 11,500 people (2018) in Alicante. It is known primarily for its textile industry, and tourists flock to experience its two festivals, both of them originating in the Middle Ages and declared 'Festivals of National Tourist Interest'.
Cocentaina (from Iberian: Contestani – the name of the regional Iberian tribe) has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, as attested by nearby cave paintings. Under Moorish rule Qustantaniya was an important enclave; the castle foundations, street layout, and numerous alquerias (fortified farmhouses) survive from that period.
- 1 Tourist Info, Plaça del Pla, s/n (in the Capella de Sant Antoni, by the Palau Comtal), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-F 10:00-13:00 17:00-19:00, Sa 10:00-13:00.
- 1 Estación de Tren, Carrer Pujada a Santa Bàrbara, 27. Renfe runs four trains daily between Valencia and Alcoy, with stops in Xàtiva, Ontinyent, and Cocentaina. From Valencia the trip takes about two hours and costs €9; from Alcoy the trip takes just five minutes and costs €2.
Autocares Travicoi (☏ ) runs several buses daily, including on weekends, between Valencia and Alcoy. From Alcoy, Subus (☏ ) runs buses multiple times daily; a summer schedule is available for download here and a winter schedule is available here. Travicoi and Subus buses stop at 2 Avda del País Valencià in Cocentaina.
Cocentaina lies on the highway N-340 which connects to the A-7, running from Alicante to Alcoy and further on to Valencia.
Cocentaina is quite small, and easily navigable by foot.
- 1 Palau Comtal (Palacio de los Condes / Palace of the Counts), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-F 11:00-13:00, 18:00-20:00; Sa 11:00-13:00, 17:00-20:00. A former fortress from the late 13th and early 14th centuries, built atop an earlier Muslim structure from the 12th century; it was altered in the 16th and 17th centuries. Notable architectural features include the Capilla de San Antonio Abad (Chapel of St. Anthony the Great) and the Sala Daurada, or Gilded Room. The building now houses the Museu Municipal (Museo Municipal), an art gallery with some valuable works including two Gothic altarpieces and a 15th-century bible.
- 2 Castell de Cocentaina (Castillo de Cocentaina / Cocentaina Castle) (Penyeta Blanca). The Gothic watchtower overlooking the town was built between the late 13th and early 14th centuries atop possible earlier Iberian and Moorish remains; it has been restored. It is generally closed, but the 2 Ajuntament (ayuntamiento / town hall) will lend out keys on request (ID required). There are two possible access routes: one from the south via a steep footpath which starts near the train station, and the other via car from the north, with the last 200 m by foot.
- 3 Museu Arqueològic i Etnològic del Comtat (Casa-Museu del Comtat / Casa-Museo del Comtat), Carrer Major, 3, ☏ (opening hrs only). M-F 16:00-19:00. The 18th-century building is now home to the local archaeological and ethnological museum, which has on display some interesting archaeological artifacts found in the area.
- 4 Ermita de Santa Bàrbara (Ermita de Santa Bárbara / St. Barbara Hermitage) (on a small hill above the train station). The simple 13th-century chapel is of the so-called 'reconquista' style.
- 5 Castell de Penella (Castillo de Penella / Penella Castle) (about 7km S in Penella). The ruined 13th-century fortress offers some great views of the area. The structure is also generally closed, but the town hall will lend out keys on request.
- Moros i Cristians (Moros y Cristianos / Moors and Christians), 2nd weekend in Aug. Cocentaina's Moors and Christians celebration has been declared a 'Festival of National Tourist Interest', and has been celebrated since the 15th century. Fourteen 'brotherhoods', six Christian and eight Moorish, take part in parades and mock battles in the historic centre.
- Fira de Tots Sants (Feria de Todos los Santos / All Saints' Day Fair), Plaça la Vila, 1 (office) (historic centre), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. During the week of 1 Nov, or All Saints' Day. This enormous trade fair is the second longest-running fair in Spain and has been held annually since 1346, with a few interruptions for epidemics and war. It has been designated by the Spanish government as a 'Festival of National Tourist Interest'. In addition to typical trade fair exhibits of agricultural and construction machinery, large sections of the fair are devoted to arts and crafts as well as to local food products, including artisanal cheeses, sausages, wines, dried fruits, and olive oils. Additionally on some days there are equestrian competitions and demonstrations, games of raspall (a local variant of the traditional Valencian handball game pilota), and traditional dance performances. As this event attracts up to 500,000 people during the week, drivers should note that parking is limited to lots outside the town centre. It is best to arrive and leave early to avoid severe traffic congestion. Free.
- 1 Serra Mariola Natural Park (Parque Natural de la Sierra de Mariola). The mountain park offers good opportunities for hiking, with trail difficulty ranging from easy to difficult. The park can be accessed from Alcoy as well as Cocentaina, and has several sights of historic and natural interest. The park administration maintains an online list of nine hiking trails with maps and trail descriptions (in Spanish).
- 2 Montcabrer. At 1,390 m this is the highest peak of the Serra Mariola range. The hiking trail to the top is most easily accessed from Cocentaina; a trail map and description (in Spanish) can be downloaded here.
- 7 Cava Gran (Cava Arquejada). A 15th-century snow and ice cellar, which remained in use until 1906. A trail map and description (in Spanish) can be downloaded here.
- 1 Mercadillo (street market), Plaça del Plá. Th mornings. A weekly street market for local produce and other goods.
- 1 Restaurante La Montaña, Partida els Algars, 139, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M W-F 13:30-16:30; Sa 13:30-16:30, 20:30-23:00; Su 11:00-16:30. Traditional cuisine in a rustic setting, with excellent views.
- 2 Restaurante L'Escaleta, Pujada Estació Nord, 204, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu W 13:00-16:00; Th-Sa 13:00-16:00, 21:00-23:00; Su 13:00-16:00. Operated by star chef Kiko Moya, the restaurant has two Michelin stars and focuses on creative Mediterranean cuisine using locally-sourced products.
Cocentaina, along with nearby Alcoy, 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.
There are just a couple hotels and a handful of holiday apartments in Cocentaina; more options are available in nearby Alcoy.
- 1 Hotel Nou Hostalet, Avinguda de Xàtiva, 4, ☏ . The nonsmoking hotel has an onsite restaurant, free parking and Wi-Fi. Pets are permitted on request for no extra charge. Doubles €45.
- 2 Hotel Odón, Av del País Valencià, 145, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The hotel has nonsmoking rooms, an onsite restaurant, free parking, and free Wi-Fi. Doubles €47+, breakfast €4.