September is the best month to visit Albacete. The weather is warm and the calendar is full of festivals. The most interesting is the Feria de Albacete, held from September 7–17 in honour of the Virgin of Los Llanos. The city’s population quadruples for the ten days of games, fireworks, dancing and bullfighting. Other noteworthy events are the International Circus Festival, plus various film, theatre and performing arts festivals that often come to town in September.
Albaceteños like to party all year round. The city is famous for its nightlife and whole areas, such as La Zona, El Campus and Los Titis, are packed full of bars and clubs. The outdoor market of Los Invasores, held every Tuesday, is another highlight.
Albacete’s most famous building is the cathedral, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Various architectural styles were used in the 400 years in took to construct, making it a fascinating piece of architecture as well as an important landmark. Part of the building is now a museum, which is more interesting than you might expect, telling the stories of some apparently miraculous items.
The city’s traditional houses are also worth a look; they are characterised by a layout of rooms centred on a pretty courtyard, and some are adorned with coats of arms. You can find the best examples around Calle Tejares (Tejares Street). Even the tourist office is an interesting piece of architecture, housed inside the Posada del Rosario, which has a mix of gothic, mudejar and renaissance architecture.
In the area around Calle Ancha (Ancha Street) you’ll find shopping centres full of local and international brands, plus smaller boutiques and craft shops. You’ll notice a lot of places selling nothing but cutlery, knives and even swords, which the region is famous for producing. Check out the Pasaje de Lodares (Lodares Passage), built at the beginning of the 20th century to showcase the area’s prosperity; shops are separated by iron and glass structures and renaissance columns.
Streaky bacon, pork loins and all types of pork products are loved in Albacete, and this is also one of the best places in Spain to sample some caracols, or snails. These delicacies are traditionally eaten during the September festivities, but you can often find them year-round in tapas bars such as those around Plaza de Altozano.
If all the partying gets too much, take some time out in one of the city parks. Albacete has plenty of green spaces, and you’re sure to find a quiet spot under the shady trees of the Abelardo Sánchez Park or the Fiesta del Árbol Park, where you can watch the locals playing a game of bochas, similar to pétanque.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle after a few days in the city, Albacete is a great starting point for trips to nearby hiking spots at Montes de Chinchilla, Lagunas de Ruidera nature reserve and Sierra de Alcaraz. To the north, you can find the pretty Jucar Valley, dotted with traditional villages, oak trees and green pastures.