Altea is a town in Alicante with lots of charm, mountains, and sea, and the best part is the historic old town and its square. To reach the Plaza de Altea, the best bet is to head up the “cuesta de las narices,” a hard 25-minute hike or a rather stress-free five-minute car ride. Unsurprisingly, I recommend going up in car. You can park in the free parking lot in Palau, but the ascent is worth it.
You can access the plaza through different streets, all of which invariably lead to the square. You can see the church dome from a mile away. The charming part begins in the streets themselves: they’re pedestrian-only, cobblestoned, and have a selection of stores offering clothing, jewellery, art, and the “balconadas,” art exhibits put on by local students of the prestigious Altea Fine Arts School.
Once you’re in the plaza, you can enjoy the artisan booths, artists, and various viewpoints where you can see the entire town of Altea: the seawalk, the port, the Albir and Olla beaches, and above all enjoy a wonderful sunset which turns the entire sea spectacular colours. In other words, it’s amazing. Once you’ve seen the square, the best thing is to head down one of the streets on the other side of the church and end up eating in one of my many good restaurants you’ll find there
If you want to finish the day up right, you can also stop and have a drink in one of the bars on the square. During summer, the square is always full of life but I’d recommend going in June when it’s less full of people. It’s one of my favourite places in the entire Costa Blanca.
Altea is one of those places that’s more amazing every time you go. You arrive there and it’s like you’re in a place completely different from the rest of Alicante. You can sense happiness and excitement in the air and Altea gives off an atmosphere of peace and serenity: the hippie stores, the charming restaurants with their terraces, and the winding, cobblestone streets.
An amazing concept. It is half Dutch and half Argentine and it has opened the doors of its incredible botanical garden (and house) to the public. It is exquisitely decorated and full of magical places to chat, think, read .. with small waterfalls, tropical and native plants, rivers, bridges, hammocks, candles and incense everywhere. There are 2 rooms in the small cottage. One is suitable for a family and one has two bedrooms with a shared bathroom. I think it costs around € 100 a couple with breakfast. You will find it good value for money and you will love it.
We had a lovely visit to this town on the coast of Alicante on a very sunny day, with a walk through the old town which was amazing with its quiet, narrow streets, whitewashed houses, breathtaking views of the coast and in the distance the rock of Ifach. There is a beautiful and very well maintained church with blue domes like almost every other church in the area of Alicante. An extraordinary experience.
Altea is not a perfect place for beach purists. It’s beaches are covered in both sand and rocks. But, this had its advantage, as the beach isn’t overly crowded. You can find some peace, even in August.
I think it was a great decision to maintain the beaches of Altea in their natural state, with rocks. They were talking about brining sand from other beaches, but it would have been a huge mistake. Just look at the two closest cities: Benidorm and Calpe. Those beaches are more stressful than relaxing.
Cap Negret beach is next to La Olla beach and Mascarat beach. Those three are my favorite beaches. It’s an open beach, about 2 kilometers long and goes about 10 meters in from the shores. The water is normally clean and there aren’t too many people. The only inconvenience is that if you’re staying in Altea, you’ll have to take your car to get to the beach. If you want to spend the whole day there, there are food and beverage stands on the beach with good-enough offerings. The specialty there is paella (in all of Altea you can find great paella).
For beach-lovers, Altea isn’t the best place in the world because the beaches are made of both sand and pebble. But even then, I’ve developed a taste for the beaches in Altea because they’re not crowded and you can find a little peace there, even in August.
I think it was a great idea keeping the Altea beaches made of pebbles. For a while, they were considering making them out of sand, but that would’ve been a grand error. All you have to do is look at the two closest cities, Benidorm and Calpe, where going to the beach is more stressful than fun.
The Cap Negret beach, together with beaches of Olla and Mascarat, are my favorites. It’s an open beach about 2km long and around 10m wide, with clean water and a low concentration of people. The only inconvenience is if you stay in Altea you need a car to get there. If you want to spend the whole day, there’s a chiringuito (beach bar) that specializes in paella. Altea, after all, serves some of the best paella in all of Spain.
Every time I go to Calpe, I go to visit this Orthodox Church, which is beautiful and inspires a lot of peace within me. I always stop to admire it, it is a place that I just can't stop looking at. The materials were brought from the Ural region, on a plot donated by the city where a Russian developer constructed this building, which resembles the temples of the seventeenth century. The Temple of Archangel Michael is an exact replica of a Russian Orthodox church XVII, as it was made with materials brought from the Ural region.
This is the main church of Altea and it is best known for its two domes of glazed ceramic blue tiles. The domes are the emblem of Altea and are known throughout the Costa Blanca as "The Dome of the Mediterranean". The Plaza is located in what is also one of the busiest areas of the Old Town.
The Sierra de Bernia is most well-known by those that live in the Marina Baixa region. It's a collection of mountains that extend perpendicularly towards the sea are specifically located between Altea, Callosa d´En Sarrià, Calpe, Benisa and Jalón.
Two of its main attraction are:
El Fuerte de Bernia: a building built to prevent the uprising of the Moors and defend the coast from the frequent Barbary pirate attacks.
El Forat: a small thirty-meter natural tunnel that connects the south slope with the north. You can go through the tunnel, but you must crouch.
The paths surround the sierra that go through Fuerte y the Forta are well indicated with the typical yellow and white lines. We got confused one time but we quickly spotted the markers and realized we were about to head off the beaten path.
Following the trail takes about four hours (with a relaxed pace).
As some of my fellow travelers have commented already, the beautiful hilltop village of Altea is not a great place to go if you're looking for the wide beaches of golden sand which for which Spain's Costa Blanca is famous. In fact, Altea has been spared the mass-tourism of many other coastal towns for that exact reason.
The closest thing you'll find to a beach in Altea is Playa de la Roda, a palm-lined pebble beach which runs along the seaside promenade. The beach is made up of (rather large) pebbles and stones though there are sandy spots as you move further back away from the water. If you're going to spend some time at Playa de la Roda, I'd suggest bringing shoes or sandals to make walking more comfortable and, if you can, a deck chair or lounge to save your poor vertebrae from the uncomfortable stones. In any case, if you're looking for a larger and more comfortable pebble beach, the wonderful Playa del Albir is only a short walk down the coast in Alfaz del Pi.
Would I recommend visiting Playa de la Roda? Well, that depends on what you're looking for and the time that you have available. If you really just want to sit in the sun and read then
Quite a few streets lead away from the Plaza de la Iglesia. The most special, surely, is Calle Mayor. It is a very short street. But why would you want more? If you go down a few stairs you'll come across, in a few meters, some of the best restaurants in the area, with a few unique craft stores and some impressive balconies.
This is a typical street that, whenever you pass through Altea, you will want to return. Because it has something special. Because it leaves a mark on you. It is one of those places that you'll love at first sight. And what can you do against those odds?
All summer in the church square we can find the Muestra de Artesanía (handicraft market). What makes this market different from others is that everything is truly handmade. To be able to get a stand you have to show that what you’re planning on selling is really handmade.
It’s fabulous to pass through the old quarters during the afternoon or at night and come across this craftwork market filling the streets with the colors of its various products.
This little place is in the old town plaza. It's the ideal place for having your first drink drink of the night. Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. it's always lively, in the winter and summer. You can spend the evening with someone you met there that night. The bar also has a permanent display of masks from all over the world, well ok, not all over the world.
The Club Nautico de Altea is a classic for those who have lived in this area. Besides managing private boats that are moored in port, during the summer next to City Hall it organizes various children's activities: swimming, sailing and rowing. It also has a sailing school that organizes five-day intensive courses (for 110 €) to teach a basic understanding.
This week we had the luck to enjoy the Tram, the train traveling from Alicante to Denia along the coast, which stops at the towns along the coast. Spectacular price, very cheap, well organized spectacular, and also spectacular trip down the coast and the lovely views ...
Not as popular as chroniclers of Spain, but better, much better: fewer people and with much greater presence of the sea. There are days where the evening light leaves the sea silver, one pass. I recommend going just after sunset.
This cafe-bar is the best one in Altea. Its location right in the town square is excellent, the service is delightful and the environment at any time of day or night is second to none. Here you can come and have your morning cup of coffee on the terrace to get a little sun on your face. You can also come for your after lunch cup of coffee, or have the liqueur that comes immediately afterwards. And, of course, at night a little bit of dancing and talking to new people before going out and doing something else is always nice. This is the ideal place for networking and meeting people to help you move around the Altea nightlife. That, incidentally is very interesting.
Are you organizing your trip and are unsure what to do in Altea? No worries, there are so many things to do in Altea you will be spoiled for choice! The city is located in the province of Alicante on the beautiful Costa Blanca on the Mediterranean Sea. It is north of Benidorm and south of Calpe and has about 25,000 inhabitants.
Of all the places to visit in Altea, the beaches are famously beautiful spots to relax in the sun and bask in the Mediterranean climate. Altea has more than 6 km of coastline, made up of alternating cliffs and small bays. Of all the things to see in Altea, the beaches of La Olla, Cap Negret, Mascarat, la Roda, and Cap Blanch are the most recommended.
Some of the top stuff to do in Altea proper includes the Torre de la Galera and Bellaguarda. The monastery of the Carmelites Descalzas and the Palau de Altea are other popular Altea attractions. The local cuisine is based on traditional fish, seafood, rice, and fresh garden vegetables. In fact, the restaurants in town are some of the main attractions in Altea! Art lovers can also visit the range of museums in Altea while night owls can enjoy the thriving nightlife of this Mediterranean city.
Altea is cheerful and full of life. The are plenty of fun Altea activities throughout the year and the city is home to many festivals like the Moros y Cristianos festival, the Fishing Festival in July, and the Fiesta de San Roque in August. You're sure to have a blast any time of year!