All About ALTEA
Altea is without doubt one of the most charming towns on the Costa Blanca North. Its old town is packed full of character and the impressive church with its blue and white tiled dome roof has to be one of the most photographed landmarks of the area.
The N332 splits the town in half. On one side are the sandy and pebbly beaches which are backed by the long promenade and the marina. On the other side of the road is the old and new town. The tram station and busy Tuesday morning market are both to be found in the new town.
GETTING TO ALTEA FROM BENIDORM CATCH THE NO. 10 BUS. anywhere along the Avenida Mediterraneo COST 1.60€pp
Altea Tram Station - From here: there is only one platform which is used by the trams going North (Denia) and South (Alicante).
A taxi from Benidorm will be in the region of 18€ - 23€
Places of interest and ideas of things to do in Altea
Old Town: steep cobbled streets packed with character, restaurants and shops.
Market: large Tuesday morning.
Church: Nuestra Senora del Consuelo with famous blue and white tiled dome.
Beaches: sandy and shingle beaches.
Promenade: long beach front with great selection of bars and restaurants.
Photos by David Wyn Thomas
Marina: at southern end of town.
The 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.
Back 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.
A must see is the famous Mirador Cronistas de Espana, this is also known as the viewpoint of the Plaza de la Iglesia and from here you get the most amazing views of Altea the bay and port. a great photo opportunity day or night.
The cobbled streets, filled with wrought iron balconies overflowing with flowers, urge you to explore. Wander by the stylish shops selling handmade pottery, jewellery and other artifacts and you can see the old walled town has a unique charm.
There are many small art galleries which reflect that Altea was a haven for artists due to the fabulous light experienced here and along with the artisans, writers and musicians they give Altea a lovely bohemian feel.
The Old Town Square at Altea
Don't miss the opportunity of a photograph of the views. From the church square you can enjoy the vista of the sweeping bay, the mountains and a distant Benidorm with its high-rise buildings.
Ideas of places to twin Altea with day or night
Spend the morning in the hustle and bustle of the large street market, which is held every Tuesday near the new town. Then jump on the tram and visit Denia for a bit of lunch before enjoying the return journey back through the beautiful scenery of the Costa Blanca North.
Visit the tourist magnet that is the nearby Fonts del Algar waterfalls
Head to Allbir for a walk along the long beach front promenade and a filling menu del dia at any of the lovely restaurants which line it.
Parking: is in the car park and is free
From here: walk down to the port, turn left and walk away from the boats for the sandy beach and promenade.
Altea Market - Tuesday Morning
Beaches in Altea
Cap Blanch Beach - Located south of Altea, and connects with the beach of Albir
Playa de la Roda - This is the most central beach, with very good access for people with reduced mobility.
Playa de l’Espigó -This is the “new” beach, and has good facilities such as toilets, changing rooms and life guard services, find plenty of shops, bars and restaurants in this area.
Playa del Riu - This sits at the mouth of the Algar River and is popular with surfers.
Cap Negret Beach - A small, but wide stony beach.
Playa del Portet (or Cala el Soio) - This is a beach characterised by its volcanic rocks. Ideal for snorkeling.
Playa de l’Olla - A small stony beach with a few popular bars/restaurants. This is a dog friendly Beach
Playa de la Solsida - A quiet, wild beach, perfect for getting away from the crowds, note this is classed as a Nudist Beach.
Campomanes Beach - Easily accessible via car here you will find a small port with plenty of water sports on offer.
Playa del Mascarat Norte- Just past the port of Campomanes is Mascarat beach, a quiet beach with crystal clear water, this is also classed as a Nudist Beach.
Cala del Corb: Inaccessible beach. You can only reach it by the sea. High walls of rock to climb and perfect for snorkeling.
Playa Mar y Montaña - Located close to the residential complexes of Altea Hills. This is a small and narrow shingle beach, Playa Mar y Montaña has no services, but there is parking nearby, this is a dog friendly beach.
Main Fiestas in Altea
June - Sant Antoni, San Juan
The famous Tree Festival this is generally held at the beginning of San Juan, the village men find a large poplar tree, drag it through the streets to the main square in the old town (to show their masculinity), once the tree is in the square it is then erected and tied to nearby buildings and the men take it in turns to climb the tree to see who can get the highest. A fun festival where looks of wine is drunk.
July - Sant Pere, Sant Jaume and Santa Anna,
August - Sant Roc, Sant Llorenç, Sant Isidre, Sant Lluís The fireworks of Castell de L’Olla,
September - Sant Tomàs, Moors and Christians - The Moors and Christians festivals are a spectacle of noise, colour and tradition, with spectacular costumes, marching processions, battle re-enactments and fireworks. It celebrates the centuries old battles between the Moorish invaders and the Christians and is a must see for visitors and residents alike.
Altea and the surrounding mountains
A short distance from Altea you will find the mountain area of Sierra de Bernia which reaches up to 1130 mt high, from that area you will have views of the Altea area and the coastline.
Like many of the fishing villages along this coast, Altea goes back many centuries. It has been settled by Iberians, Greeks, Romans and Muslims, and then eventually the Christians when it was captured in 1244 by James I of Aragon.
All these civilizations were especially drawn to Altea because it is where the mouth of the River Algar (which further inland feeds the popular Algar Waterfalls) meets the sea and this provided plenty of fresh water for sailors and fisherman, and the town prospered by producing dried salt fish.
Photo by David Wyn Thomas
But life was far from the idyllic town you see today; in the 17th century, increased pirate attacks caused a decline in the population and economy. Furthermore, its privileged position so close to the sea meant that for centuries whenever there was bad weather the waves crashed into the front line buildings and the inhabitants literally had to leave the doors open and let the waves crash through their homes. This was eventually solved quite recently in the 1970’s by the building of a dyke. But, although this protected the buildings it took away the town’s beach – and even worse, over the years the lake ‘el charco’, (the puddle) created on the inside of the dyke generated bad smells and was generally considered unhealthy, in 2016 the external dyke was removed, the lake dredged and the whole area replaced with an artificial beach. This acts as a break water so the buildings are still protected, but is far more useful for the locals and this new attraction has also done wonders for tourism.