The Torrevieja Carnival (el Carnaval de Torrevieja) was first held in 1986 and since then has become a highlight in the city’s calendar, enjoying increasing numbers of attendees each year. Last year the carnival was recognised as a ‘Provincial Festivity of Interest to Tourists’ by the Council of Tourism and Culture, which is an official way of saying ‘a very good party indeed’. This year the festivities begin on the 18th of January and last until the 8th of February. Within those three weeks, the town plays host to parades, balls and contests, with thousands of Euros in prizes given away.
The carnival gets underway with an opening speech in the Local Theatre and the crowning of the carnival’s queen for the year.
Both young and old get involved with the celebrations. There is both a junior and a senior ball held at Centro Municipal de Ocio on the 22nd and 24th of January respectively.
Having crowned the carnival queen, attention shifts to another kind of queen on the 1st of February. The result of the National Drag Queen Contest is decided; with the winner taking home 1,000 Euros.
The highlight of Torrevieja Carnival is the parades. There’s a real party atmosphere; performers in elaborate costumes dance along the confetti-strewn streets, music blares and kids hand out sweets to the crowd. There are two parades, one on Sunday the 3rd of February and another on the 8th, the last day of the carnival.
The first parade is the Carnival Contest Parade. Here, around 30 troupes compete for prizes in various categories. Contestants go all out with their costumes, with last year seeing Ramón Gallud Street invaded by birds of paradise, centaurs and 50’s gangsters, among others.
The second parade, on the final day of Carnival, is a more informal affair with local residents and families taking centre stage as they bid farewell to the carnival for another year.
Both parades follow the same route between Patricio Pérez Street and María Asunción Square along Ramón Gallud Street, but travel in opposite directions (see map here). There are sure to be big crowds so arrive early to ensure a parking spot for your hire car and a good vantage point along the parade route.
For more information on all the events and parades for 2013, see here.
Torrevieja is around 45 minutes drive from Alicante Airport and Drivalia Car Rental.