Are you going to spend a vacation in Spain and are you planning to visit Altea during your stay? You are making an excellent choice: the old town of Altea is absolutely beautiful, a real treat to visit.
The white walls and blue shutters of its houses give the impression of being in a village somewhere lost in the Greek islands. Its steep, cobbled streets are a real pleasure to stroll through. And here and there, you can discover great views of the sea, the beach and the surroundings of the Costa Blanca.
For my part, I had a real crush on the old town of Altea, in Spain. And I really encourage you to visit it either during a day trip from one of the neighboring cities (Alicante, Benidorm, Valencia, …), or even spend a few days there to enjoy its sweet life.
Visit Altea, Spain: 9 things to do and see there
I have presented it briefly above, now let’s go into the details of things to visit in Altea.
Visit the old town of Altea and its cobbled streets
Altea is a fairly large seaside town, but it is its historic heart that makes it so interesting to tourists from all over the world.
You will discover it yourself: the old town of Altea is a real gem. Perched on a small hill set back from the beach, you’ll have to work your calves off to visit it. But your efforts will be amply rewarded. With its white facades and its blue shutters, its paved alleys sometimes decorated with flowers, one travels in time and space: one imagines oneself in Greece, in a calm, soothing and quiet place.
For my part, I started my walk by the very pretty Calle de l’Empedrat, an alley which takes the perpendicular of the beach and which goes up directly towards the heights of the old town of Altea. The slope is steep at times, and we use stairs to make the ascent. The cobblestones can be slippery at times, even in dry weather, so be careful.
Other alleys that charmed me were the orange tree plaza at the end of Calle Concepcion, or Calle Carreta and Calle Pescadores, to name a few. But don’t feel pressured to find them: wander around as you please, take the little passages, let your steps carry you. You will find your own little wonders, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Visit the church of Nuestra Señora del Consuelo in Altea
At the very top of the old town, after wandering through the alleys in all directions, you will come to a larger square where you will find the beautiful Nuestra Señora del Consuelo church.
It was built in the 19th and 20th centuries on the remains of a 17th century church, so lovers of old stones may be slightly disappointed on a purely historical level, but its architecture, both inside and out, is well worth a look. Come in: it’s free.
Around the church, in the main square of Altea’s old town, there are several cafés and restaurants: I’ll come back to the nice places in Altea a little bit further down in this article.
Admire the view from the Mirador de los Cronistas de España
To the left of the church when you face its entrance, about 50 meters away, is the Mirador de Los Cronistas de España, the most famous viewpoint in Altea, and an absolute must on your visit to the old town.
From here, you will of course discover the whole southwestern part of Altea that will stretch out at your feet. And if you are attentive, you will even be able to see on the horizon, on your right, the “skyline” formed by the skyscrapers of Benidorm. It is impressive.
Admire the roofs of Altea from the Mirador Blanco
The Mirador Blanco is the first viewpoint I discovered in Altea during my visit, and I was immediately won over by the place. We are really at the level of the roofs so the perspective is very nice, with the blue sea in background everywhere we look. And I liked very much to settle down in the small flowery park which is just there.
Also, there are far fewer people at this viewpoint than at the one near the church, so it’s easier to enjoy the place in peace. To find it easily, walk up Carrer Bonavista to the end. The view is breathtaking!
Admire the Costa Blanca from the Mirador del Portal Viejo
Another point of view! It must be said that the old town of Altea is so steep that, inevitably, one discovers “miradors” at every corner or almost every street.
The viewpoint of the Portal Viejo is, in my opinion, the one that offers the most beautiful panorama on Altea, its immediate surroundings, its bay, the blue sea, and especially on the reliefs of the Costa Blanca up to kilometers away. We can admire, in the distance on our left, the immense rock of Ifac, a sort of “Gibraltar bis”, which has grown on the seashore, just next to the town of Calpe, about fifteen kilometers away.
At this viewpoint, as at the one of the Cronistas de España I mentioned earlier, you can also discover a strange sculpture in wrought iron. This one is a bit peculiar, I’ll let you be surprised when you get there.
To find this viewpoint, go down Carrer Fondo, it is located at the intersection with Carrer Salamanca.
Stroll along the promenade of Altea along the sea
Once you’ve seen all of the above, you’ll really have a complete tour of the old town of Altea. You can then go down or back down to the seafront and enjoy its long promenade, lined on one side by cafes and restaurants, and on the other by huge pebble beaches, palm trees and turquoise water.
The promenade has been recently landscaped and it shows: everything is clean, well optimized to separate pedestrians from cyclists/joggers (of which there can be many).
Admire the bay of Altea from the Mirador Paseo Maritimo
The epicenter of the walk along the sea in Altea is the Mirador Paseo Maritimo. From here, you have a 180-degree view of the bay of Altea, with the Ifac rock on your left and the Serra Gelada natural park on your right, also in relief and rising elegantly into the sea.
In short, if you feel like having a break or a rest while strolling along Altea’s seafront, this is certainly the best spot!
See the Greenwich Marina
At the southwestern end of Altea, you’ll come across its marina and its pretty little white sailboats. As such, the marina is not particularly interesting apart from being a pleasant place to stroll around, but what is original is that it is located right on the line of the “zero” meridian, the Greenwich meridian, from which time is given all over the world. In other words, when you are on this marina, you will be at the most accurate time in our time zone, to the second. It’s anecdotal, but it’s pretty funny anyway!
Enjoy the beach in Altea
I should even say THE beaches of Altea, because there are several. The most famous is the one in the heart of the city, Playa de la Roda, but it’s not the only one where you can sunbathe or take a dip in its clear waters.
If you go down the promenade until you pass the Greenwich Marina, heading southwest, you’ll see a small area on the side, which the locals call the “mini beach”: it’s not the best spot for swimming (there’s a small river that runs right through there, and you’re still very close to the harbor), but it’s quiet and there’s a small café on the waterfront (the Tsunami).
If you go further down, you will discover the pretty beach of Cap Blanc, whose part closest to Altea is the most quiet (it is relatively far from the various villages that are around here). The further away from Altea you get, the more cafes, bars, restaurants and entertainment there are, but it’s really starting to feel like a long way from Altea now.
Now let’s go back to the other side of Altea. If you walk northeast from the tourist office, you will soon come across the beach of L’Espigo, then on the other side of the mouth of the Rio Algar the very small beach of Cap Negret. Finally, even further away (but the same as before, it starts to be a long way from the center), the beach of L’Olla, also very small, and accessible by streetcar if you don’t want to walk the 3 km that separate it from the heart of the city.
What you need to know about the beaches of Altea is that unlike many beaches in Spain where you can find fine sand, they are made of big white pebbles, not necessarily ideal for walking or lying down. If you can, I recommend renting deck chairs or bringing your own.