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Res. Orquideas - Altea Hills (Alicante) SPAIN
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Altea and Surroundings

Throughout the year in Altea a variety of highly popular traditional festivities are held. In February or March comes the Carnival, followed by Holy Week in March or April, which is one of the cultural and religious feasts enjoying the largest following in the town.

On June 24, the Feast Day of St John, the town borough called Barrio del Fornet in the old town centre stages the so-called Plantá de l'Arbre, a feast during which bachelors from the town plant a tree as a symbol of an ancient tradition.

Another important celebration is the Virgen del Carmen, on July 16, the day on which the image of the Virgin is paraded by boat around the Bay of Altea in a beautiful display of fisherman's pageantry.
In the nearby village of La Olla, the third Saturday of August marks the celebration of the Castell de L'Olla, a fireworks festivity on land and sea that enjoys well-deserved international fame.

During the last week of September, Altea holds its traditional Moors and Christians, which are high feasts in honour of the Holy Christ of the Sacrarium and St Blaise. During these festivities there are typical processions of masqueraded Moors and Christians, filling the town with music and the smell of gunpowder.

Held each summer in Altea is the so-called Mostra de Artesanía, or handicrafts fair, specialised in creative handmade goods. Year after year this street market occupies a magnificent location, in the church square called Plaza de la Iglesia del Consuelo, one of the most emblematic sites on the Costa Blanca.

Yet another special attraction of Altea is its cuisine, based on products from the sea and the local market gardens. Among the typical dishes of the area are arroz a banda, or rice cooked in fish broth, accompanied by alioli sauce, and the caldero, a dish made from fish stock.

Also worth trying are arroz al horno, or oven-baked rice with chicken, pork ribs, potatoes and chickpeas, or arroz empedrat, a rice dish with baby broadbeans and cod, both forming part of traditional Altea fare. Other succulent dishes that can be tried in typical restaurants in the area are snails in onion sauce, "creut de peix" (a fish stew), urchins and a delicious flat sponge cake called "coca a la lluma".


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