Altea A Beachside Town on the Costa Blanca
Altea in the province of Alicante, Spain, is on the Costa Blanca area of the Mediterranean coast.
Aparantly Altea is nicknamed the “Santorini of Spain,” and while I've never been to Santorini its hard not to know about its white washed homes that crawl up the hills. I can see why Altea has this nickname as the homes in the old town reflect the same white walls and blue awnings that you see in Santorini.
The actual surrounding city is quite large however the adorable village with the white washed homes in among the winding labyrinth of streets is quite condensed and cute. Parking is of course a challenge, however despite that I would recommend staying in the village rather than along the foreshore.
The foreshore does have a lot of the restaurants and is a nice place for your afternoon cocktail, however most of the accommodation along there consists of large hotels. While I'm sure they are perfectly fine, staying in accommodation in the warren of laneways in the old town is definitely the way to go.
You could wander around the cobbled streets for hours and the access down to the beach is easy to find and a very nice walk. Of course that means that you have to come back up. We loved the tiny winding steps but if you have elderly family, a taxi might be your best bet.
We spent a lovely few days wandering the village, checking out the historic features and of course eating our way through the local seafood delights. The main promenade is very touristy and focused around the British holiday makers however despite that the village has managed to maintain its very quaint feel. There are a few lovely spots for a sunset cocktail. We spent a nice afternoon at La Taberna Roja sipping wine cocktails and chatting to locals and tourists alike.
The Virgin Of The Console Church
The Virgin of the Consol Church is centered in a plaza at the top of the village, pretty much smack bang in the middle. There are restaurants surrounding the church and its a great spot for the sunset listening to the church bells. Spider webbing off from the church are a plethora of little streets that house village artisans, pastry shops and chocolate cafe's. It is a lovely place to wander and get lost.
The church itself has these stunningly tiles blue and white domes that make it feel quite Moroccan.
It is very strange for us as Australian's to spend time on beaches that aren't sand, however I fully understand the whole “beach umbrella and chair” thing that you see on the Italian beaches and others across Europe. There is no way you could lay on these pebbles on your towel without ending up bruised. It was October so past the summer season, however we bit the bullet and swam in our sandals and the water was divine. Cool, but divine.
The beach is really just one long stretch however it is broken up into three beaches. Cap Negret Beach on the north side of the centre of town, La Roda Beach which is directly under the old town and Cap Blanc at the south end.
The Promenade lines the coast for the entire length of the beach. It's a great place to walk or ride your pushbike and is lined a lot of the way with small bars, restaurants and tapas places. Like most things in the area, the promenade restaurants do cater to tourists and while we did enjoy afternoon drinks at the bars most afternoons, I found the restaurants up in and around the old town to be on the whole more suited to our tastes. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the restaurants along the foreshore, and we had a few nice meals there, however there was lots of western items on the menu and we always prefer local food when we travel.
Where to Stay In Altea
At the time I had been in Spain for around 8 weeks and had another 4 to go so I was very much budget conscious with regard to accommodation in particular. Our Aussie dollar is never great against the Euro but at the time I think we were around 58 cents so it was particularly tough.
We stayed at Hostal Fornet Altea and while it was great it is reasonably basic. The people were very accommodating and the location can't be faulted however its not a 5 star hotel so please take that into account. It is right up the back of the old town which enabled us to get a free car park with not far to walk as well.
Some Accommodation Options In Altea
Rooms from around $65 AUD per night and with a great rating of 8.3 on Booking.com.
This home looks lovely and starts at around $140 AUD per night on Booking.com
This adults only boutique hotel will set you back between $250 & $420 AUD per night on Booking.com. It does look worth it though…
Enjoying a few days in Altea
Altea has that great combination of good beaches, nice swimming, restaurants and an old town without having to cope with the crowds of tourists. Yes it does get popular but its is a great option for spending a few days on Spain's east coast without the headache of 20,000 other tourists doing the same thing.