Santa Faz Pilgrimage Festival

Santa Faz or Holy Face Pilgrimage -or Romería de Santa Faz in Spanish- is a walk between Alicante‘s Cathedral and Santa Faz’s Cathedral to visit a Christian relinquishment. Despite the religious origin, it is a festivity for all to enjoy.

Santa Faz Monastery on Santa Faz Day

The peregrination between Alicante’s Cathedral and Santa Faz Cathedral -7km or 4.3 mi- happens every year on the second Thursday of Easter after Holy Week, it will be on Thursday 11th of April in 2024 and it is a bank holiday in Alicante city. The vibe is festive and entire families and groups of friends share the walk.

The pilgrimage is well organised by Alicante’s city hall which gives each peregrine a bamboo stick with rosemary and closes the road to Santa Faz to the cars.

Santa Faz Pilgrimage

Each year after Easter, thousands of Alicantinians walk from Alicante San Nicolas Concathidral to Santa Faz monastery.

In 2024, the Santa Faz Pilgrimage is on Thursday 11th of April. It is a bank holiday for Adults and Children at schools.

The walk starts early in the morning with the political and Catholic authorities that stop at each of the Stations of the Cross set along the way. A float is also carried.

Santa Faz Float

For most people, Santa Faz peregrination is just a tradition and not a religious expression, similar to what happens with easter.

At the start of San Nicolas Concathidral, the city hall awards the early birds with a bamboo stick with rosemary. The stick can be used as a walking stick that would make the way easier for the less fit people.

On the way, it is traditional to make a short stop and enjoy rosquillas (in Spanish), anis and mistela.

Anis Drink

There is also music and little marking present that some companies will award with to the peregrines.

Youngsters dancing at Ser Radio Stand. Santa Faz is for people of all ages and families.

Upon arrival at Santa Faz monastery, there are traditional craft stalls where to buy food, crafts, different utensils and toys. For the bravest (or for children and teenagers) there is a funfair with different rides such as bumping cars and a Ferris wheel.

Funfair at Santa Faz in Alicante

It is traditional for Alicantinians to have home-prepared lunch around the Santa Faz Monastery or go to San Juan Beach to enjoy the good weather in April.

For your come back to Alicante’s city centre, there are bus services for the peregrines from Santa Faz.

Bus Fron Santa Faz to Alicante on Santa Faz day

Traditional Clothing

Traditional Santa Faz clothing for men and women is a black smock and a white and blue scarf, the colours of Alicante.

Pilgrims dressing in traditional clothes for Santa Faz while parading the Virgin Mary

When is Santa Faz?

Santa Faz is always the second Thursday after Maundy Thursday in Easter.

YearEaster ThursdaySanta Faz Pilgrimage
202428th March11th April
202517th April1st May
20262nd April16th April
202725th March8th April
202813th April27th April
202929th March12th April
203018th April2nd May
Santa Faz Pilgrimage Dates for the following years

From 7 am you can pick up the bamboo stick with rosemary from San Nicolas Cathedral and the peregrination starts and 8 am with the city hall mayor and other officials.

From 8 am to approximately noon you can start the walk from San Nicolas to reach Santa Faz.

Santa Faz Route

The route usually follows these streets: Miguel Soler, San Nicolás, Calle Mayor, Santa Faz, Villavieja and Virgen del Socorro.

From Avenida de Denia it follows the route on the Alicante-Valencia N-332 to Santa Faz.

Approximate walking route from Alicante to Santa Faz

Normal traffic is restricted on the road so peregrines walk using the car roads.

Cars road with pilgrims on their way to Santa Faz

Santa Faz Bus

On the 11th, 13th and 14th of April 2024, there will be a special bus service to take people to the Santa Faz monastery and back.

The bus runs every 5 min on Santa Faz Day -11th Thursday- and every 20 minutes on the weekend -13th and 14th.

The trip can be paid with cash, card or contactless -which costs 1.45€- or by the travel bono Mobilis, just as any other bus trip.

The bus route is from Puerta del Mar to the roundabout in Santa Faz:

Bus service on Santa Faz 2024. Source Alicante Turismo

The History of Santa Faz

The origin, story, legends and traditions of Santa Faz are fascinating. It is a festivity with more than 500 years of story and 250k people walking every year.

The Christian tradition says Alicante has one of the 3 Holy Visages -also called the Veil of Veronica– recognised by the Holy See.

The Holy Visage is a Christian relic consisting of a piece of cloth with an image of the Holy Face of Jesus imprinted. It was taken by Saint Veronica during the Passion of Jesus -the events happening near his death-.

There are 3 copies and one of them ended up in Alicante in 1489 when the veil was given in Rome to a Spanish priest.