Churches to visit - Alicante Region
Churches to visit Alicante Region - Visit any village, town or city in the province and it is almost inevitable that the most imposing building will be the church or cathedral, most can be found in the main town squares (Plaza Mayor). Below is a list of our favourites and the more slightly unusual churches in the area that are well worth a visit.
What is the difference between a basilica and a cathedral?
A basilica is a church that has obtained the honorary title of Basilica from the Pope, therefore, only catholic churches can have the title of Basilica. A basilica is regarded as a "remarkable church", but there are no specific prerequisites or guidelines, and each decision is made on its merits. The majority of basilicas are given their title due to some sort of cultural significance, but the reasons are unique to each basilica, and once the title is given, it cannot be taken away.
For a church to be given the title of cathedral, it must be the principal building from where a bishop presides over his diocese (the geographic area he looks after and protects). It is therefore the main church on which the other churches of the region depend so they are generally more imposing and richly decorated buildings.
The Latin name of the bishop’s chair located inside these churches is a cathedral, which in Latin means seat, and must be present to give the title of the cathedral to a church.
Churches to visit Alicante region
*please note these hours may be different during Covid19 restrictions*
Basilica Santa Maria - Alicante
The Basilica of Santa Maria is the oldest active church in Alicante, and was built in Valencian Gothic style between the 14th and 16th centuries over the remains of a mosque.
The basilica had to be rebuilt following a fire in the 15th century. Its baroque facade is crowned by two assymetrical towers, one built in the 14th century and the other in the 18th century. Highlights include the doorway with its image of the Virgin Mary by sculptor Juan Bautista Borja.
Inside it has an 18th century rococo main altar and the Bautismo, Inmaculada and Comunión chapels. The chapterhouse contains an enormous baptismal font from the 16th century and a Valencian baroque organ from 1653.
Plaza Santa María s/n - Opening times - Monday to Sunday From 10:00 to 13:00 and 06.00 to 19:30. Opening hours may change depending on the religious services. FREE
San Nicholas de Bari Cathedral - Alicante
This church was built between 1613 and 1662 replacing a building that had stood their previously. It is built in the Herrerian renaissance style and is located in the heart of the city.
The floor plan is in the shape of a Latin cross, with an interior that boasts notable features such as the 15th century cloister with two baroque doors, the altar and the blue cupula (dome) is 45 metres high. Below the cupola is the Capilla de la Comunión communion chapel, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Spanish baroque.
Despite its rather bare exterior, the interior of San Nicolas is something to behold. In addition to the quiet chapels, you will find a raised pipe organ and quiet cloisters and well-tended gardens.
The interior has recently been restored to mark the celebration of the La Luz de las Imágenes exhibition (The Light of Images) in Alicante, which aims to recuperate and promote the Region of Valencia’s artistic heritage.
Plaza del Abad Penalva 2 - Opening hours: From Monday to Saturday From 11.30 am to 12.30 am From 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm
Churches to visit Alicante region
Iglesia Arciprestal de Santa Maria (Basilica) - Alcoy
Building began in the eighteenth century, in front of the Convent of San Agustín (13th century). In 1936, with the outbreak of the Civil War, the "Revolutionary Committee" agreed to the demolition of the temple, carried out in 1937, losing almost all the pictorial heritage of its walls. The reconstruction began in 1940 and in 1955 the new church was blessed, on the site where the old temple was built using the remains of the previous church.
Nuestra Senora de Consuela Church - Altea
This impressive church (Nuestra Señora del Consuelo) overlooks whitewashed buildings and a bustling square, filled with quality restaurants and cafes that encourage you to linger over lunch. Inside the church is flooded with light through the glorious stained glass windows and the murals and sculptures on display are equally beautiful.
When outside look at the bell towers and you'll notice that one of the three, destroyed in the Spanish civil war, has been left as a symbolic reminder of the destruction that conflict causes.
Church of Saint Michael the Archangel ((San Miguel Arcangel) - Altea
Between Altea and Calpe on the N332 is where you will find the first Russian Orthodox church in Spain. The church of Saint Michael the Archangel was opened in 2007
The church was funded by a Russian entrepreneur who has business interests in both Altea and Calpe and was built with the co-operation of the local Roman Catholic clergy. It is an exact replica of a 17th century Orthodox temple in Russia and building materials for the church were flown in from the Urals and specialist craftsmen from Russia were drafted in for the construction work.
The church is open from 10am to 2pm Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 8pm on Saturdays and 8am to 6pm on Sundays.
San Jaime Church - Benidorm
The church of “Saint James is dedicated to the patron saint of the town, is set at the very top of the Old Town on Canfali hill. It is a Neoclassical building, built in the 18th Century with the typical blue Mediterranean tiled dome.
Inside you´ll find a statue of the Virgen del Sufragio, the well-loved patron saint of Benidorm. The Virgin has her own small chapel containing the little wood sculpture which, as the story goes, was found on a boat adrift on the high seas.
The legend of the Virgin says that in 1740 the residents of Benidorm were surprised by the arrival of a ship who had sailed there without crew. It was thought that perhaps the cause of the disappearance of the crew was the plague and this instilled dread in the local villagers. The authorities decided to burn the boat to keep people safe. It was burned without removing anything. When the flames were extinguished, the children searched amongst the remains and found “intact and shining” an image of the Virgin with the Child Jesus in her arms. The Fiesta day of the Virgen del Sufragio is always held on the second Sunday of November.
The church is open for Mass at 10am until 13.00 and then is closed until the evening Mass is at 7pm then one at 8pm, On Sunday various Masses are celebrated throughout the day and the church is open until after the last Mass. Beautiful music is piped during the day throughout the building and it really is a stunning church well worth seeing whilst in Benidorm.
Churches to visit Alicante region
Purissima Xiqueta Church - Benissa
"La Catedral de la Marina" this is one of the largest churches in the region, construction began in 1902 and was completed in 1929. It is 35 metres high and neo-Gothic in style and is just beautiful inside.
This church has three naves and a beautiful central lantern tower – a skylight within the church, at the centre of the crossing – and its altar, with a painted image of the Puríssima Xiqueta.
Well worth a visit, if only for its size and the grandeur of its architecture.
C/ Fray Humilde Soria, 3. Opening times - Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m - 12.00 p.m.
Santa Barbara Basilica - Elche
The second church was larger and was completed in 1556, but collapsed because of very heavy rains in 1672. Work on the present church began in 1672 and was finished in 1784.
Plaza Santa Maria, 2, Opening hours Monday to Sunday from Mornings: 07:30 to 12:30 Afternoons: 18:00 to 20:30
You can climb to the top of the tower for some spectacular views for a small fee - Tower Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday: 10:30 to 15:00. June, July, August and September: from 11:00 to 19:00, 12th and 13th August: closed.
Saint Bartholomew - Javea Old town
The church of San Bartolemé in the town centre is an example of late gothic architecture with a defensive character. The "Soler Blasco" Archaeological Museum is close by in the narrow streets and offers a wealth of information about Iberian history.
This historic church can be found in the Plaza de la Iglesia and the oldest parts dates back to 1304, the bell tower which is 30 meters high and stands at 86m above sea level was also used as a watchtower to defend the town from the seafaring Berber pirates.
This building is of Elizabethan Gothic style. It has a large Gothic nave with three chapels on each side that are framed by buttresses.
This building is considered one of the best models of ogival art (an arch with a pointed apex) in the Valencian Community.
Opening Hours - Monday to Friday 10.30 - 12-30 and in the afternoons, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays it is open 30 minutes before Mass
Mass times - September 1st to June 30th, working days at 08:00 Tuesday to Friday 19:30 p.m., and holidays at 10:00 a.m, 12:00 p.m. and 19:00 p.m. July 1st to August 31st working days 08:00 am; Tuesday to Friday at 20:00 p.m., eve at 19:30 p.m. and holidays at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 19:00 p.m.
Our Lady of Loreto Church Javea Port
Dominating the fishing port of Javea is the modern silhouette of the church of Nuestra Señora de Loreto, with its roof depicting a ships hull. The Iglesia de la Virgen de Loreto (church) built in 1967 this is one of the most modern churches you’ll ever see, with fantastic avant-garde design which is based on a single ship with an oval plan this design is very unusual. The 12 slender pillars outside are an allegory to the 12 apostles. This is such a rare design for a religious building,
Address: Calle Pío X, 9, 03730 Jávea, Alicante, Spain, (situated in the district of Duanes de la Mar)
Opening Hours: 9:00 am until 8:00 pm, throughout the year, extended until 9:00 pm. during the summer months.
Churches to visit Alicante region
Santuario Santa Magdalena - Novelda
Situated 3 km from Novelda, on the hill of La Mola, next to the Almohade fortress
This is a magical religious building which was designed by José Sala Sala, and was obviously heavily influenced by Antonio Gaudí as this building does bear a resemblance to the Roman Catholic minor basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Construction started in 1918 and required three phases to finish the work in 1946.
On the main facade stand two side towers of 25m high culminated by a stone cross, which is also located in the dome and on the upper arches of the facade, pebbles from the Vinalopó River, polychrome tiles, bricks, reddish masonry, ceramics, etc, have all be used on the exterior of the building, giving it a unique look.
The interior consists of a rectangular central nave with two side spaces tied, that is, an original base shaped like an ointment vessel, (a vessel with which according to the Christian tradition Mary Magdalene anointed the feet of Jesus Christ). In the background, in the apse, is the chamber of Saint Mary Magdalene, behind the altar there is a beautiful painting attributed to Gastón Castelló.
Opening hours - From 1 October to 30 April: EVERY DAY from 10 to 14 h and from 16 to 19 h.
From 1 May to 30 September: EVERY DAY from 10 to 14 h and from 17 to 20 h. August, Closed Monday, Tuesday and Sunday. Open Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat 10:00 to 13:00 h. and from 18:00 to 20:00 h.
El Salvador Cathedral - Orihuela
The Cathedral was built above a pre-existing Muslim mosque as a simple parish church and was later converted into main church by order of King Alfonso X of Castile in 1281. In 1413, pope Benedict XIII elevated it to the rank of collegiate, until it became a cathedral in 1510.
Construction was begun in the late 13th century in Valencian Gothic style, with a Latin cross plan including a nave and two aisles, an ambulatory and chapels within buttresses. The crossing, the late-Gothic great chapel, and the ambulatory are 15th century-early 16th century additions, including the removal of two pillars of the nave to obtain a taller vault at the crossing, after a design by Pere Compte.
The interior receives little light due to the small size of the windows. There are three entrances: the Puerta de las Cadenas (Portal of the Chains, 14th century) is in Islamic style, the Puerta de Loreto (mid-15th century) is Gothic, and Gate of the Annunciation (at the north, built in 1588 by Juan Inglés), in Renaissance-style triumphal arch-shape. Other Renaissance elements include the stalls and the grills of the choir, and the cloister (originally from 1377, but rebuilt until 1560). The oldest part is the bell tower, which dates from late 12th-mid 14th centuries.
It has four floors covered by groin vaults.
Annexed to the church is a museum of Sacred Art, housing works by Diego Velázquez (Temptation of St. Thomas), Vicente López Portaña, José de Ribera, Juan de Juanes, Francisco Salzillo and other artists.
Visiting Hours: Monday through Friday, Saturday mornings. 10.30am-2pm and 6pm-6.30pm