Altea (Alicante) is without doubt one of the prettiest towns in the Community of Valencia. It’s one of the places I always recommend to anyone visiting the area for the first time. It’s also a great option for a day trip if you’re staying in the city of Valencia itself. Its Mediterranean charm, the beaches and its old town are hugely appealing to all visitors.
What to see in Altea (Alicante)
Here’s what you can’t afford to miss on your visit to Altea:
Altea’s old town
The jewel in the crown of Altea is its old town. Already from a distance, you can see its church overlooking the town and surrounded by white houses, and that’s why it’s known as both “the Pearl of the Costa Blanca” and “the Dome of the Mediterranean”.
The best way to explore Altea’s old town is to simply wander around at leisure. But there are some parts that you shouldn’t miss. The most photographed spot, and rightly so, can be found by walking along Calle San Miguel and looking towards the church, for a picture-postcard image of Altea!
Equally, the Plaza de la Iglesia, the former site of the castle, is an ideal place to stop for a drink and soak up the atmosphere and beauty of Altea. Other charming spots are the Portal Vell and the Portal Nou, the two remaining city gates, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries respectively.
By the way, it’s worth noting that the streets of Altea’s old town are cobbled and often on a slope, so comfortable footwear is recommended; your feet will thank you for it!
Within the old town you’ll find a spot with stunning views of the town of Altea and the sea: the Mirador de los Cronistas de España. This viewpoint is next to the Plaza de la Iglesia and is the most popular. But my favourite viewpoint is the Glorieta del Maño, which also looks out to sea, and you can see the imposing outcrop of Peñón de Ifach from there.
Another point in the old town with breathtaking sea views is the Mirador Blanco, next to Calle Santa Bárbara. Alongside the beach is the Mirador del Paseo Marítimo, in the centre of the promenade, the Paseo del Mediterráneo.
If, on the other hand, you’d prefer some wilder views, you can venture out of town a bit and go to the Mirador de los Acantilados de Toix or, further up, the Mirador del Morro de Toix, now in the Municipality of Calpe.
Altea’s best beaches
In and around Altea you’ll find beaches to suit all tastes. The main one is La Roda Beach, and a couple of smaller ones away from the centre are Cap Negret and l’Olla. If you want to go snorkelling, among the spots recommended by Visit Altea are Cala del Mascarat and La Solsida. And if you have your dog with you, you can go to the Playa de Mar y Montaña.
By the way, I should point out that the beaches in Altea are pebbled, rather than sandy, so water shoes may be a good idea.
If you’re interested in more unmissable beaches in the Community of Valencia, take a look at our article on the best beaches near Valencia.
How to get to Altea
There are various ways of getting to Altea. Here are some of the options if you’re coming from Alicante or Valencia:
How to get there from Alicante
The quickest way of getting to Altea from the city of Alicante is by car. Take the AP-7 and you’ll be there in just 50 minutes.
But there are various ways of getting to Altea from Alicante by public transport. Firstly, you can take the Alicante Tram, which runs along a stretch of the coast in the province.
If you choose this option, take Line 1 to Benidorm and then change to Line 9. You’ll arrive in Calle de la Mar, around 650 metres from the Plaza de la Iglesia. The whole journey takes just under two hours. You can also use the Alsa bus service, which takes around an hour and a half.
How to get there from Valencia
Are you flying to Valencia and want to visit Altea? Well, you have various options. Firstly, you can hire a car and drive there. If you take the AP-7, you’ll be there in an hour and a half.
You can also go by public transport. Specifically, by using the Alsa bus service that stops at other towns along the way, such as Gandia, Oliva and Dénia. The journey takes between three and a half hours and just over four hours.
Where to park in Altea
If you’re looking for free parking close to Altea’s old town, you can use the Basseta Centre car park, which takes 500 cars, so this is where I usually go. The only thing to bear in mind is that you can’t park there on Tuesdays from 00:00 until 17:00, as it’s used for the market on Tuesday mornings.
Another option is the Parking Foietes car park, which is also free but has fewer spaces. Closer to the beach is the train station car park Aparcamiento Público de la Estación de Tren (free). Close to El Bol Beach is this other car park, which is a ‘blue zone’ car park, meaning that it’s ticketed and has a time restriction.
If all of these are full, you can go to the area of Palau Altea or Universidad Miguel Hernández, where there are various places to park.
Where to eat in Altea
There’s no shortage of restaurants in Altea where you can enjoy a delicious rice dish or share some tapas. One of my absolute favourites is Restaurante La Capella, firstly due to its location, in the heart of the old town, and secondly because of its terrace, which is right next to the rear of the church.
But those aren’t the only reasons. I also love it because of how delicious the food is and the good service you tend to receive. If you decide to go there, I’d recommend you book in advance.
Another place to eat in Altea, which is also recommended by the Michelin Guide, is Restaurante Ostau. It’s renowned for its signature dishes, inspired by French cuisine. It also has a pretty terrace.
Also, if you have a sweet tooth like me, I recommend a patisserie right in the heart of Altea’s old town: De Sabors. They sell ice cream, cakes, macarons… the problem is what to choose!
In and around Altea: what to see near Altea
There are also places worth visiting on the outskirts of Altea. One of these is Altea La Vella (Valencian for Altea The Old), a hamlet just 4km from Altea. Medieval in origin, it also has peaceful streets and a special charm.
Another place that I think is lovely is the Orthodox Church of San Miguel Arcángel. This can be found around 6km from the centre of Altea and is the first Russian Orthodox church to have been built in Spain.
I hope I’ve convinced you to visit Altea (Alicante) and to be bowled over by its charm, its beaches and its delicious food. Get your camera ready, because you’re going to need it!