Altea, lying on the Costa Blanca, is one of those places that if you haven’t visited yet on your travels to the Costa Blanca, you really ought to. I know some people might say it’s a stereotype to say that meandering around the town of Altea will appease your senses with the sounds of guitars strumming and tapas cooking on an open fire, but, it’s the truth. Altea is a stereotype and we love it for it.
Picturesque white adorned with blooming flowers, it’s no surprise that it’s renowned as one of the most charming towns on the coastline. Separated by the old and the new town, there are different things to see and views to admire from both parts.
Separated from Benidorm only by the rock of the Sierra Helada, Altea is a laid back and relaxed town filled with Spanish history. The way of life is generally much slower than most European countries, but the wonderful thing about Altea is that it’s even more relaxed and laid back, within a relaxed country. But, don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s empty and quiet. The road into Altea is one of the busiest in the area and queuing in traffic is almost guaranteed.
Time Zone: GMT + 1
Plug Socket: European
Language: Spanish and Valencian. English very widely spoken.
Climate: A comfortable and welcoming year round temperature. Very hot in July, August and September. Low rainfall. October is the wettest month.
How long a stay: If you’re planning to head on holiday to Benidorm or Alicante, it’s very easy to see Altea in a half day or full day trip, depending on what you want to do there. If you’re wanting to go on holiday to Altea, 7 nights allows you to see different places in the area as well as relax at the beach and the pool.
What to pack: With a pleasing climate all year round, it’s easy to pack lightly for Altea. I managed to pack everything from my Spring LookBook into my American Tourister Spinner luggage. If you’re travelling in the summer months, you’ll definitely need a stock up of swimwear, shorts and light clothing. If you’re heading out in the winter months, be sure to pack a few jumpers and have a jacket, just in case. In the sun, you can bask in 20 degree temperatures during the winter months, but once the sun drops and the temperature dips you can feel lows of 5 at night.
I’d recommend getting your hands on the American Tourister Spinner, it’s the perfect sized luggage for a recommended two day trip – although I managed to fit two weeks worth into my cabin luggage! (And a pair of car front view mirrors!). The luggage simply glides across the floor and feels weightless. One thing is for sure, it certainly lives up to its name, Spinner. It can be pushed, pulled in any direction and it will spin along with you. Effortless airport gliding. It’s lightweight, meaning you can pack more, and fits perfectly into the Ryanair sizer, although I checked mine in so I could take full sized liquids. The elastic cross ribbons kept everything in place and secure. It also comes fully equipped with a padlock fitted into the case, which is ideal for both convenience and peace of mind whilst travelling.
Getting to Altea
Many people head to Altea for a holiday in its own right, without ever stepping foot into Benidorm or its neighbouring towns. Others opt for a getaway to Benidorm and spend a day in Altea. Personally, I prefer Altea as a day trip, somewhere for a change of pace and scenery.
To get to Altea, your best bet is flying into Alicante Airport. You can then take a local bus into Altea from the airport or use one of the transfer services. If you are staying on the Costa Blanca, Altea has good ALSA and Llorente bus connections and its own tram station which is conveniently placed in the centre of the town, a short 5 minute walk from the tram station will bring you to the seafront. The Altea Tram is on L9 which you take towards Denia. Alternatively, if you’re driving, it’s a mere 15-20 minutes away.
Where to stay in Altea
Altea is blessed to have so many beautiful hotels and you’re not short of 5 star hotels to choose from. Driving past Altea many a times has definitely left me wanting to visit one or two of them, they look like the perfect escape. With a 20 minute drive away, it feels like you’re somewhere completely different, even though ultimately, it’s the same view as what I get at home. It’s nice for a change though, right?
SH Villa Gadea: This upscale Mediterranean-style 5 star hotel offers multiple restaurants, a luxe spa, outdoor pools, one which is heated in spring and autumn, and a swim-up bar. It’s just a three minute walk from the beach. The staff are lovely and it has a stunning bar area with a chilled out atmosphere. The bar comes equipped with a gin bar and a whole range of cocktails and wines, not accounting the piano bar upstairs. The SH Villa Gadea is such a stunning hotel, both to look at and its practicality. A definite top recommendation for Altea. Average cost: 100€ per night.
La Serena Altea: A warming boutique hotel located just three minutes walk from the sea front offers spacious rooms, homemade breakfasts, onsite restaurant, terrace and pool. It’s definitely the kind of place you book if you want to live out the Mediterranean living making you feel at home. The luxe lifestyle for one night would do me nicely! Average cost: 120€ per night.
Hotel Tossal d’Altea: Nestled in a 300 year old olive oil mill, this relaxed hotel is a flashback into history and a taste of traditional Spanish living. Adorned with wood-beamed ceilings, this rustic-chic hotel is a 5 minute drive from the centre of Altea. Average cost: 85€ per night.
What to do and see in Altea
The most photographed location in Altea is the church, Nuestra Señora del Consuelo, which is recognisable by its iconic blue roof. Perched at the top of the hill, it is visible from almost everywhere in Altea.
Altea brings out the photographer in all of us. The inspiring thing about Altea is it really does awaken your creativity. There’s no place for writer’s block or lack of inspiration to paint or sing or just be. If you’re looking for a place to bring the spark back into your creativity and inspiration. Altea is that place.
The old town of Altea is located on the hillside where the streets are adorned with boutique shops, quaint cafés and white buildings. The narrow streets are filled with fruit trees and bursting with flowers. It’s not uncommon to pass traditional craft-men’s studios like potters, painters and designers. Usually, their door will be open whilst they’re working and you can take a peak inside as you’re walking past. You’ll find plenty of interesting plants, beautiful archways and undoubtably pretty photo spots as you’re heading up. Be sure to look all around.
The rise to the top of the hill, to reach the church and the café’s in the square can be fairly difficult. But, they say all that do what is difficult are later rewarded and rewarded you are. The almost endless cobbled streets wind and cross between one another to open up into the bustling church square. Altea comes alive.
Just past the square, you have a spectacular viewpoint where you’ll find clusters of people standing or sitting in awe of the view, just like you will be. The shimmering Mediterranean Sea waves from below as the glimpse of Benidorm feels like a far off memory standing here. The once towering buildings look almost like lego pieces below. I lose count the amount of times I feel on top of the world in Spain, both literally and figuratively.
Not to forget about the other side of Altea, down by the seafront you have more action in the town of Altea. Lined with bars, café’s and restaurants, there are plenty of gorgeous bars to soak up the Spanish sun whilst observing the calming Mediterranean Sea. There is a bar to suit everyone, with vintage bars, rustic bars, English bars, tapas bars and boho style bars. I usually find myself in the same boho bars with the comfy sofas and swinging chairs! They always have live music on too which creates such a welcoming and happening atmosphere.
One of my favourite places in Altea is the port of Greenwich Marina. If you have access to a car whilst you’re around, it’s definitely worth a visit. The port of Greenwich Marina, also known as Campomanes, is a beautiful port with plenty of bars with views of the yachts and sea. If you’re looking for a luxe area with yachts, fancy cars and high class bars then this is the place to go. In the summer, they have plenty of water sports happening on the port and a popup beach bar.
Orthodox Russian Church – San Miguel Arcangel, Altea
The Orthodox Russian church situated in Altea is an absolute marvel to look at and respectfully visit. Inside the luxury development of Altea Hills, you’ll find the first Russian Orthodox church in Spain. The San Miguel Arcangel, or Saint Michael the Archangel in English, opened its doors back in 2007.
The church itself was made thanks to a Russian entrepreneur whom had business interests in Altea, and was constructed alongside the local Roman Catholic clergy. The Orthodox church is a replica of a 17th century temple back in Russia and materials were flown in to build it.
The church adorned with gold is marvellous to view. It really is impressive. The surroundings of the church just add to the entire luxurious aspect of it. It really is stunning.
The church is open from 10am to 2pm Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 8pm on Saturdays and 8am to 6pm on Sundays.
If you love the idea of a typical Spanish town, then Altea is a must visit.