Nestled between the mountains and the sea, Altea is a charming coastal town in Alicante, Spain, known for its beautiful streets, breathtaking beaches, and serene atmosphere. This picturesque town on the Costa Blanca has become a popular holiday destination for British tourists seeking a taste of the Mediterranean lifestyle. With a rich history, stunning landscapes, and a wide range of activities to enjoy, Altea offers a perfect summer holiday experience for British holidaymakers.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best things to see and do in Altea, the top restaurants where you can indulge in local gastronomy, the vibrant nightlife scene, and the best time to visit this enchanting town.
A Glimpse into the History of Altea
Altea’s name could have originated from the Greek word Althaea, meaning “I cure”, or the Arabic word Attalaya, which comes from the Valencian word “Talaia.” The town has a rich history that dates back to ancient times, with influences from various cultures, such as the Romans, Phoenicians, and Moors. These influences are evident in the town’s architecture, traditions, and cuisine.
What to See and Do in Altea
Explore the Historic Centre
Altea can be divided into two main areas: the seaside district and the historic centre. The historic centre of Altea is a maze of narrow, cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses adorned with colourful flowers. As you wander through the old town, you’ll come across the iconic Nuestra Señora del Consuelo church, with its striking blue dome, a symbol of the Costa Blanca.
The historic centre is a testament to Altea’s Muslim past, with its labyrinthine streets, charming squares, and stunning viewpoints. It’s the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll, soak in the atmosphere, and discover hidden gems around every corner.
Relax on Altea’s Stunning Beaches
Altea’s coastline stretches for over 6 km, offering a mix of traditional beaches, secluded coves, and impressive cliffs. Some of the most popular beaches in Altea include L’Olla, Solsida, Cap Negret, Albir, Cala del Mascarat, and La Roda. These beaches boast pebbly shores rather than sandy ones and provide a tranquil setting for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean.
For a unique experience, try kayaking to the Isla de la Olla, a small island that’s part of the Serra Gelada Natural Park and home to archaeological remains dating back to the Roman period. The island is also a popular spot for snorkelling and diving, thanks to its clear waters and abundant marine life.
Discover the Natural Landscapes
Altea is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, offering a wealth of outdoor activities for nature lovers. The Sierra de Bernia mountain range, located close to Altea, is a great spot for hiking and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. There are several scenic walking trails to choose from, such as the Ruta de los Arcos and Ruta del Forat de Bernia.
Another must-visit natural attraction is the Serra Gelada Natural Park, which features a network of walking trails that showcase the best of the region’s flora and fauna. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual walker, the park offers a variety of trails to suit all fitness levels.
Indulge in Altea’s Gastronomy
Altea’s cuisine is influenced by the various cultures that have shaped the town’s history. The local gastronomy is a delightful blend of fresh seafood caught in the Mediterranean and produce grown in the nearby Huerta or vegetable gardens. Some traditional dishes to try include arroz a banda, paella con boquerones, and arroz del senyoret.
There are numerous restaurants in Altea where you can sample these delicious dishes, as well as other Mediterranean and international cuisines. In the next section, we’ll highlight some of the top restaurants in the town.
Restaurants in Altea: A Culinary Journey
El Bodegon de Pepe
Located on Paseo Mediterraneo, El Bodegon de Pepe is a popular restaurant in Altea known for its Mediterranean cuisine and attention to detail. The menu features a variety of rice dishes, fresh seafood, and succulent meats, all prepared with the finest local ingredients. With friendly service and reasonable prices, El Bodegon de Pepe is a must-visit for food lovers.
Housed in a 100-year-old building in Parque del Agua, La Costera offers a unique dining experience that combines French cuisine with a creative twist. Beautiful gardens surround the restaurant, and often hosts classical music concerts in the summer, providing the perfect ambience for a memorable meal. With its innovative menu and elegant setting, La Costera is an excellent choice for a special night out in Altea.
Other Notable Restaurants
Aside from El Bodegon de Pepe and La Costera, there are several other fantastic restaurants in Altea that cater to a variety of tastes and budgets. Some recommendations include the following:
- La Bruschetta: A cosy Italian restaurant known for its delicious homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas.
- El Perro Negro: A stylish tapas bar offering a modern twist on traditional Spanish dishes.
- Sabor: A fusion restaurant that combines Mediterranean and Asian flavours for a unique dining experience.
Nightlife in Altea: Experience the Vibrant Scene
While Altea is not known for its wild nightlife, the town offers a range of bars, clubs, and live music venues where you can enjoy a night out on the town. Some popular nightlife spots in Altea include:
- Macao Lounge Bar: A trendy cocktail bar with a chic atmosphere and a great selection of drinks.
- Kubo’s Music Bar: A lively music bar featuring live bands, DJ sets, and a dance floor.
- La Llum de la Vila: A stylish wine bar offering an extensive selection of local and international wines.
Whether you prefer sipping cocktails, dancing the night away, or enjoying live music, Altea’s nightlife scene has something for everyone.
Best Time to Visit Altea: Enjoy the Perfect Summer Holiday
The best time to visit Altea for a summer holiday is between June and September when the weather is warm and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C. During this time, you can enjoy long days on the beach, explore the historic centre, or take part in one of the many local festivals and events that take place throughout the summer months.
However, if you prefer to avoid the peak tourist season, the months of April, May, and October also offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time to explore the town at a more leisurely pace.
Altea is a charming coastal town that offers a perfect summer holiday destination for British tourists seeking an authentic Mediterranean experience. With its historic streets, stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, and vibrant nightlife, Altea has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, Altea is a destination you’ll cherish in your heart for years to come. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in this enchanting Spanish town.