The All Saints' Fair of Cocentaina

It celebrates: From 1st November to 5th November
Place: Cocentaina (Alicante)
Category: Market
Popularity: (***) 3/5
Ideal for children
Organize: Cocentaina City Council
Known start date: Since 1346
Figure of protection: Festival of International Tourist Interest (since 2012)
Tags:
International Tourist InterestNational Tourist InterestMedievalThemed marketsUrban
Reading time: 4 minutes and a half

What is the All Saints Fair of Cocentaina

The All Saints Fair of Cocentaina, celebrated around November 1st in the picturesque town of Cocentaina in Alicante, constitutes a cultural celebration in honor of the privilege granted to this city during the Middle Ages.

A prominent event that encompasses a large medieval market, a lively Arab souk, and the traditional Valencian fair, hosting over 700 exhibitors. Furthermore, it offers a diverse range of attractions, an extensive commercial fair, a renowned gastronomic area, and an extensive repertoire of over 500 cultural activities. From exciting concerts and captivating theatrical performances to impressive equestrian and dressage displays, not to mention the livestock fair, stalls with typical products and toys, shooting and pulling competitions, as well as the opportunity to enjoy native sports such as Valencian pilota and dance, among many other options.

For those unfamiliar with its magnitude, the All Saints Fair of Cocentaina (Alicante) represents the most prominent commercial event in the Valencian Community. It enjoys recognition as a Festival of Autonomous Tourist Interest, National Tourist Interest Festival, Cultural Heritage, and International Tourist Interest Festival.

It is considered the most prominent and largest fair in the Valencian Community, and furthermore, it has the honor of being the second oldest fair in Spain. Its roots date back to the year 1346, thanks to the privilege granted by Pere el Cerimoniós (II of Valencia and IV of Aragó), a tradition that has endured over the centuries, thanks to the rootedness of traditions and the entrepreneurial spirit of the population of Cocentaina.

It was recognized as a Festival of National Tourist Interest in 2012, and in 2019, it was conferred the distinction of International Tourist Interest Festival.

A bit of history

The centenary All Saints Fair of Cocentaina, also known as Fira de Tots Sants, has its historical roots in the year 1346, when Peter II of Valencia and IV of Aragon, known as the Ceremonious, granted Cocentaina the precious "Privilege of the Fair."

Throughout its rich history, it experienced variations in its dates between the years 1671 and 1795. However, since 1795, it has maintained its character as the All Saints Fair, being celebrated in proximity to November 1st.

What to see in Cocentaina

With a rich history and stunning natural surroundings, it offers a wide variety of options for visitors interested in exploring its cultural heritage and enjoying the beauty of its surroundings. Here are some recommendations on what to see in Cocentaina:

  • Cocentaina Castle: Dominating the city's skyline, this medieval castle offers a panoramic view of Cocentaina and its surroundings. It is an imposing testimony to the region's history and a must-visit spot.
  • Counts of Cocentaina Palace (Palau Comtal): This Renaissance palace is an exceptional example of architecture from that era. It currently houses the Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Cocentaina, where you can explore the history and culture of the area.
  • Santa Maria Church: An architectural gem that combines Gothic and Renaissance styles. Its interior houses pieces of great artistic and religious value.
  • San Cristóbal Hermitage: A small hermitage located on the outskirts of the city that offers a spectacular panoramic view of Cocentaina and its surroundings.
  • Carrascal de la Font Roja Municipal Natural Area: A few kilometers from Cocentaina, you'll find this impressive protected natural area. It offers hiking trails and picnic areas in the midst of lush natural surroundings.
  • Cocentaina Festival Museum: Dedicated to local festivities and traditions, this museum offers a fascinating insight into the festive culture of the region.
  • Historic Center: Simply strolling through the cobbled streets of the old town is an enriching experience. You'll discover charming corners, historic facades, and cozy squares.
  • Our Lady of the Miracle Monastery: Located on the outskirts of Cocentaina, this monastery is a place of pilgrimage and features a beautiful church and natural surroundings.
  • Vinalopó Castles Route: If you have time, you can explore the Vinalopó Castles Route, which includes several medieval fortresses in the region, including Cocentaina Castle.

Every corner of this city breathes history and culture, making it a charming destination for heritage and nature enthusiasts.

What to eat in Cocentaina

Cocentaina, being located in the Valencian Community, offers a rich Mediterranean culinary tradition. Here are some local delights you should try on your visit:

  • Arroz a banda: A typical dish of the area, it is prepared with rice cooked in a fish and seafood broth. It is served separately from the fish and seafood, which are presented as a second course.
  • Fideuà: Similar to paella, but instead of rice, fine noodles are used. It is prepared with seafood and is often served with alioli (a garlic and olive oil sauce).
  • Olleta cocentaina: It is a traditional Cocentaina stew that includes meats, legumes, and vegetables cooked together, resulting in a tasty and comforting dish.
  • Local sausages: The area is known for its sausages, such as sobrasada (a seasoned pork sausage), fuet (a thin salami), and blood sausage.
  • Coca amb Tonyina: A kind of pie filled with tuna, tomato, and pepper, a local delight.
  • Paella Valenciana: Although Cocentaina is inland, in many local restaurants you can taste an authentic Valencian paella, made with chicken, rabbit, and vegetables.
  • Arroz con costra: A variation of baked rice, but with a crispy crust on top that gives it a special touch.
  • Turron: Although more common during the holiday season, Cocentaina is famous for its production of turron, a sweet made from almonds and honey.
  • Olive oil: The area is known for producing excellent extra virgin olive oils. Don't hesitate to try them on salads, bread, or as a seasoning.
  • Local desserts: In addition to turron, try other desserts like coca de llanda (a fluffy cake made of egg and sugar), and arnadí (a cake made of pumpkin, almond, and sugar).

Don't forget to accompany your meals with a good local wine, as the Valencian Community has a wide wine-making tradition. Enjoying the local cuisine is a fundamental part of the experience of visiting Cocentaina and the Valencian Community in general.

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