It is not difficult to
understand why Altea became a Bohemian centre for musicians, artists and
writers from all over Europe when they first discovered its delights
back in the late 1950's. Although the town has since adapted to meet the
demands of the modern day tourist it still retains its "Bohemian air".
You'll find a plethora of tiny shops offering wonderful local crafts,
paintings and gifts. There are also numerous excellent restaurants where
you can enjoy both local and international cuisine.
If you never set foot outside Altea during your holiday you won't run
short of sights to see, places to visit and things to do. And if you're
keen to venture further, the Costa Blanca and its hinterland offers a
wealth of major attractions, both natural and man made, within easy
Altea's peacefulness and tranquillity have made it a paradise for
artists and craftsmen and their shops and stalls are scattered
throughout the Old Town Centre. Start by exploring the town itself. Set
off from the Plaza del Convento and follow the Pont de Moncau which
leads you to the Vellaguarda. From here you'll wend your way through the
narrow medieval cobble stoned streets with balconies and small glorietas
(circular intersections), which wind steadily upwards to the plaza in
the old quarter. Make the blue domed parish church of the Virgin del
Consuelo (Our Lady of Solace) your goal. But be prepared for many
distractions along the way. The streets themselves are a delight with
their whitewashed buildings adorned with jasmine and geraniums. Private
homes, shops and restaurants sit comfortably side by side in a jumble of
buildings which are full of character with their intricately carved
wooden doors, balconies and metal grilles.
your time. Partly because the climb to the top through these stepped and
cobbled streets is
quite demanding. But mostly because you'll want to stop and explore the
many gifts shops, art and craft galleries and tempting back streets
along the way.
the top you'll be rewarded with a magnificent view over Altea Bay with
the Sierra Bernia mountain range providing an impressive backdrop. Make
sure you've got your camera or camcorder with you!
here for a drink or a meal in one of the bars and restaurants which
circle the cobbled plaza. It's a perfect place to sit and relax, never
too noisy and never too "touristy".
Visit the Virgin del Consuelo (Our Lady of Solace) church, built at the
turn of the century and quite as elaborate inside as out. Its slender
bell tower and huge blue dome beautifully decorated with blue and white
glazed ceramic tiles make it one of the Costa Blanca's major milestones
(a postcard favourite).
Enjoy the town's many wonderful restaurants during your stay - you'll
find top quality local and international cuisine at very reasonable
prices. And in the summer months, the cobbled streets of the old quarter
with their street terraces are a perfect place to people watch while you
pioneers of all things culinary, there are some unusual local Valencian
specialities including caragols amb įeba (snails with onion), cruet de
peix (fish stew), sea urchins, coca a la lluma (a kind of pasty) and a
wide variety of rice dishes.
Visit the town's museum, Museo Navarro Ramon, its Casa de Cultura
(cultural centre) and its magnificent new arts and music centre, the
Palau de las Artes. Ask at the tourist information centre, located on
the seafront esplanade, for details of exhibitions, cultural activities
and entertainment on offer during your stay. The seafront promenade is
also the venue for Altea's famous Tuesday market. It is one of the
biggest of its kind on the Costa Blanca and is the place to pick up some
great bargains along with some highly suspect "designer" watches and
For day trips and excursions, head inland into the magnificent Sierra
Bernia mountain range - a magnet for walkers, climbers and sightseers.
Visit the nearby Cactuslandia with its 1,000 varieties of cactus and
the train from Altea up the coast to the cosmopolitan town of Denia, or
head south to Benidorm and Alicante.
Visit the Moorish mountain fortress at Guadalest, marvel at the
stalagmites and stalactites in the incredible Cova del Rull in the Ebo
Valley and the Peņon de Ifach at Calpe (a Gibraltar-style rock which is
a protected reserve for sea life, flora and fauna).
a family day out there are some top major attractions a short drive down
the road at Benidorm - Spain's biggest theme park, Terra Mitica, the
water world at Aqualandia and the exotic bird and marine life centre
wealth of bars, street cafes and excellent restaurants mean you will
never be short of somewhere to go in the evenings. The bars stay open
until the early hours in the summer months, or until the last person is
ready to leave. No stringent licensing laws here! You'll often find live
entertainment in the bars, especially during high season so check for
details in the local English language paper, the Costa Blanca News, and
look out for advertising posters around the town.
is not disco land but if the bright city lights and a walk on the wild
side are what you (or your teenagers) are after then big, brash
Benidorm is only a 10-minute drive down the road. Benidorm has
everything when it comes to night life, from ballroom dancing to
raunchy sex shows. Here you'll find discos which accommodate thousands
and throb all night long, many of them have stunning laser shows and
a good family night out try the Benidorm Palace, there are topless
dancers but it's all in good taste. You get a first class international
cabaret show here, accompanied by a very decent dinner, all for an
extremely reasonable price. Local agents in Altea will arrange tickets
Another excellent family night out is the Castillo de Conde de Alfaz,
just down the road at Alfas del Pi. Here you'll be treated to a stunning
display of horsemanship and medieval jousting accompanied by a
"medieval" meal (I.E. no knives and forks). Round off the evening with a
visit to the terrifying "mad monks" dungeon beneath the castle.
impressive new Palau de Altea offers a variety of cultural evenings and
entertainment. Check either there or with the tourist information office
(on the seafront promenade) for details of concerts, ballet, opera,
flamenco and other shows.
tourist office will also be able to provide you with details of any
fiestas taking place during your visit. Altea has regular fiestas
throughout the year, one of the biggest being the Moors and Christian
parades at the end of September. This is a fiesta honouring the
Christian battles against the Moorish invaders whose legacy is still
very much in evidence throughout this region of Spain. The streets
become a riot of colour, bands, processions, parades and, most of all,
you're visiting in high season, the summer fiestas to look out for are:
· The feast of San Antonio which takes places from June 11th-13th at Cap
· The San Juan fiesta on June 24th at El Fornet
· The feast of San Pedro and la Virgen del Carmen in Calle St Pere
· The feast of San Jaime at Cap Blanch
· The feast of Santa Anna held in July in Altea la Vella
· The feast of San Lorenzo from August 1st-15th at Castell de l'Olla.
If it all sounds a bit too sombre and religious for a holiday, worry
not. The Spanish really know how to give their saints a great birthday
Beaches and Water sports:
Altea has six kilometres of pebble beaches interspersed with coves and
cliffs (including a popular naturist beach). At the foot of the old town
on the hill you'll find the main shopping street of Avenida del Rey
Jaime I which runs parallel to the attractive palm fringed seafront
esplanade, the Passeig Maritimo.
these areas are a hive of activity. The avenida, which forms part of the
national road between
Alicante and Valencia, has some excellent clothes, shoe, furniture and
leather shops. The esplanade is a great place to buy your English
national daily newspapers (now printed daily in Madrid) and settle down
with a "café con leche". Enjoy the views over the bay and just people
is a particularly attractive seafront promenade with plenty of bars and
restaurants yet it never becomes over run with tourists (unlike the
neighbouring resort of Benidorm).
Adjacent to the old town you'll find one of the two main beaches Playa
la Roda which is a mixture of sand and pebbles. The most popular beach (also sand and pebbles) is Playa de Cap Blanch, located to the south of
the town and stretching to the next resort of Alfas del Pi.
Playa de Cap Negret, to the north of the town, is a shingled beach
ending in a small cove called the 'Cala del Soio', distinctive for its
black pebbles. L'Olla is another popular pebble beach opposite a small
island of the same name.
northern end of Altea Bay is at 'Mascarat point' where you'll find the
shingled coves of La Barreta, La Solsida and La Galera. The southernmost
point is the port's breakwater that marks the boundary with of Alfās del
Pi at Bombarda point.
Altea has two high quality water sports centres, EL Club Nautico de
Altea and El Puerto Deportivo Luis Campomanes (also known as Greenwich
Marina). Activities on offer here include diving, sailing, windsurfing,
fishing, water skiing and local boat cruises.
Luis Campomanes harbour is home to some of the most magnificent cruisers
and yachts you've ever laid eyes on. There are plans to expand this
already impressive harbour into what the locals hope will be one of the
best sports marinas in the Mediterranean.
Altea is the start and finish point for one of the Mediterranean's most
important sailing events, The Two Hundred Milles A2 which takes place in
the winter and involves a round trip to the island of Ibiza and back.
The local waters also provide a treasure trove of marine life and rock
formations to delight divers of all abilities. The sea is clean and
visibility often exceeds 20 metres. Dive from a boat near the Luis
Campomanes marina and you'll discover an intricate maze of shallow water
grottoes, winding tunnels, narrow crevices and caves.
dive of between nine to 17 metres will reveal an underwater world
bursting with life; Walls of sea anemones, gorgonians, octopus and an
infinite variety of fish. This dive site is perfect for beginners and
qualified divers alike because of its accessibility and depth.