Altea is a resort town in the North of the Costa Blanca, a real pearl of the Mediterranean, located on the shores of the warm sea, at the foot of the picturesque mountain range Sierra de Bernia.
Altea is a cozy sensoramic town with a bohemian charm: there are a variety of art galleries and many cultural events throughout the year, which attract tourists from all over the world.
Today we are going to talk about the tourist attractions of Altea, which can be roughly divided into three categories:
- natural (sea and mountain views, pebble beaches, natural parks);
- architectural (traditional white-azure narrow streets, majestic churches, watchtowers, ancient ruins of the castle);
- gastronomic (Michelin-starred restaurants and authentic Mediterranean cuisine);
- cultural (museums, art galleries, souvenir shops, fests and festivals).
Attractions of Altea: nature
Among the most prominent natural beauties of Altea is a «petrified dragon» or the long low mountain range of Sierra Bernia that separates Altea and Calpe. The «dragon» is especially beautiful at night, covered with golden lights of lanterns like magic scales.
Those who like outdoor activities would better go to one of the many hiking routes on the mountains of Sierra de Bernia, which are well equipped with directional signage, that cannot afford to get lost even though you are an inexperienced tourist. And for the toughest people there is a quite long, but fascinating route, leading to ruins of the Fort Castillo de Bernia, built in the XVI century during the reign of King Philip II, in order to save and protect the inhabitants of Altea from pirate attacks and the Mauritanian rebellion. Another interesting route leads to mysterious ancient cave paintings with the age of more than five thousand years.
Сoming down from the slopes of the Sierra de Bernia, that’s easy to reach Altea-la-Vella, a charming little village and enjoy its rustic flavor: there are aroma of fruit plantations and rose bushes, cozy whitewashed houses and a pastoral atmosphere of complete calm and serenity. There is a natural spring not far from here, which is a great place to refresh, hiding from summer heat.
Things to see in Altea: architecture
The Old Town
The introduction to the architecture of Altea should start with the Old Town (Casco Antiguo), located on a hill. It offers stunning views of winding snow-white streets of the town, surrounded by roses and geraniums, amazing mountain scenery and the beachfront of the Costa Blanca.
For hundreds of years, an unique appearance of the historical center has attracted creative persons, especially artists and musicians, because spiritual potency of these places disposes to creativity. Altea is replete with art studios and pottery workshops, art-exhibitions and classical music concerts regularly take place here.
The town is littered with gift shops and local stores with art works. Here it is possible to get a real aesthetic pleasure from exquisite paintings, ceramic figurines in the Moorish style, pottery and vases, handmade tablecloths, fine jewelry and leather goods of local craftsmen. Street artists of Altea have no difficulty in sketching you, and musicians will masterfully get you in the mood with light and relaxing music: you’ll wish to stay in Altea forever!
Walking through the Old Town, you will see the medieval towers of Torre de la Bellaguarda of the XVI century and Torre de la Galera of the XVII century, which performed a protective function in the olden days and sheltered the villigers of Altea from Berber’s incursions and pirate attacks throughout their rich history.
El Mirador de Cronistas
There are several observation decks in the town, prominent among which is El Mirador de Cronistas. From its height one may admire the amazing views, allowing to contemplate both the scattering of miniature houses of Altea and the spectacular high-rise buildings of the neighboring Benidorm – «Spanish Las Vegas», as well as the famous cliff of Calpe − Peñon de Ifach. It is no wonder that this viewing platform of Altea is always full of life: tourists are enjoying the views, taking unforgettable pictures and buying cute trinkets to keep in mind this fabulous place.
La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Consuelo
In the heart of the Old City rises one of the most beautiful sights of Altea – The Church of the Blessed Mother Consuelo (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Consuelo). This delightful cultural monument of the XVII century is surmounted by azure-white domes, which are visible from any point of the town. It is not surprising that those are exactly a decoration of local souvenirs – postcards, music boxes, magnets and much more.
For hundreds of years, this beautiful church has witnessed wars and earthquakes, sometimes leading to significant destruction. So in the XIX century that required to be rebuilt virtually anew, and extensive renovations have been carried out more than twenty years ago. Today La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Consuelo has regained its majestic and unique appearance and is ready to open its doors to all believers and those who appreciate the architectural heritage.
Particular attention should be paid to the wonderful 3-kilometre Promenade (El Paseo Marítimo), that let you enjoy seafront walks. That way you can get to a beautiful beach, a cozy coastal cafe or pizzeria, or just enjoy with an elegant appearance of El Paseo Marítimo with its ornate stairs, decorated gazebos and lush green islets.
Attractions of Altea: ports
Marina Greenwich is a small port in Altea, where you should certainly take a walk to admire the boats lined up, among them both ordinary fishing vessel and luxury snow-white yachts. Here you can rent a boat or go to an exciting boat trip to the nearby towns such as Benidorm, Calpe, Alicante, etc.
The Greenwich Prime Meridian passes through the port area, to which a special sign leads. Tourists especially like to take memorable photos at this place. Also, you will find a lot of inexpensive cafes in the port, where local people do not mind having a tasty breakfast or lunch; and fine restaurants where you can enjoy traditional cuisine with fresh seafood.
The prestigious yacht club «Luis Campomanes» is situated nearby, offering various marine services to its visitors. Here you can practice water sports such as sailing, surfing, diving, rowing, etc. It’s possible to head out to the open sea for your own catch and on the season to observe the international sailing competitions. Of course, in the port area you will also find fashionable restaurants, cocktail bars, boutiques, a swimming pool and a magnificent outdoor terrace with panoramic views and stunning cuisine, Mediterranean and international.
The Orthodox Church of The Archangel Michael
The Russian Orthodox Church (in Russian: Храм Святого Архангела Михаила; in Spanish: La Iglesia Ortodoxa Rusa San Miguel Arcangel) is one of the most unusual sights of the town of Altea. The unique feature of this temple is due to the fact that this is the first Orthodox Church created in the style of Russian wooden architecture, located on the territory of Spain and the Iberian Peninsula. La Iglesia Ortodoxa Rusa San Miguel Arcangel is the westernmost representation of the Russian Church on the continent of Eurasia, given its location the «Prime Meridian».
The history of the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Michael goes back to the 90s of the last century, the Fall of the «Iron Curtain» and the waves of emigration of the Russian-speaking population caused by the collapse of the USSR. Moving on to European countries and in particular to Spain, searching for a better life, these people were in urgent need of maintaining their ethical and spiritual values more than ever befor, which helped them to over come obstacles on their rocky path.
In 1996, the family Botsko from the Russian city of Rostov-on-the Don has purchased a small plot near Altea, where it was decided to found the Orthodox Church. It was a time-consuming process, because in addition to construction works, it required to get clearance and approval from the local authorities, this was not easy.
Despite all the difficulties of providing the permit documentation, on November 21, 2002, the first stone was laid and the cross was erected on the place of the future Orthodox Church; this date coincided with the Orthodox Christian fest. The design was based on an old Russian church of the XVII century in the city of Arkhangelsk, which was a wooden building in the form of a cross, with an octagonal bell tower and five domes. The founder of the Orthodox Church, Mikhail Botsko, was awarded the order of the Christian Saint Sergey Radonezhsky (the third degree) for his actions.
At present the territory of the church has the Saturday, Sunday and Art schools, and pilgrimage trips to the Holy Land are organized on a regular basis. All visitors note the beautiful well-groomed church grounds, surrounded by flowers, and its own cafe, which is nice and convenient to sit with children, and incredibly spiritual and clear atmosphere of this place.
Saint Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church on the map:
Museums in Altea
The Ramon Navarro Museum of Fine Arts in Altea (El Museo Navarro Ramón de Altea) is a place where not only paintings of the self-titled artist are presented, but there are constantly held exhibitions of works by contemporary artists.
- Address: 14, calle Pont de Montcau, 03590 Altea
- Phone: +34 965842853
The Museum of Musical Instruments Villa Gadea (El Museo Villa Gadea). This beautiful building was grounded in the end of the XIX century and served as a country villa of one noble family, and today it will be found a lot of old instruments from different eras here, which are used only during local themed carnivals.
- Address: urbanization Villa Gadea s/n, 03590 Altea
El Museo Casal del Fester. This museum presents luxurious costumes of the famous festival «Moors and Christians», which have taken place in the town over the past 35 years.
- Address: Casa de Cultura, Carrer Pont de Moncau 14, Altea
- Phone: +34 965842853
- Website: santblai.es
Fests and festivals of Altea
Among other things, the town constantly have many celebrations with the participation of both local residents and guests of Altea with great pleasure.
Early in the year, in February, this is a feast of the Holy Christ (del Cristo de la Salud), Altea, La Vella district.
The Holy Trinity (la Santísima Trinidad), the Patron Saints of Sant Antoni and Sant Joan are celebrated in June in grand style.
In July, there are funny fests in honor of the saint patron of sailors, Sant Pere and Virgen del Carmen, followed by the celebration of saints Sant Jaume in the Cap Blanche area and Santa Ana in the Altea La Vella area.
The festival in honor of Sant Roc begins in August, followed by Sant Llorenç; a celebration with breathtaking fireworks is Castell de L’olla, honoring the saints of Sant Isidre and Sant Luis.
In September the day of Sant Tomás is celebrated and four holidays in honor of the Holy Christ (al Cristo del Sagrario), and, of course, the favorite carnival is the Moors and Christians (Moros y Cristianos), which is traditionally celebrated luxuriously all along the Costa Blanca.
At year-end, in December, the holy patron of Santa Barbara is honored in the area of Sogay, and the Pure Virgin (la Purísima) is celebrated in Altea La Vella.
So, Altea is a beautiful town not only for recreation, but also for life. No wonder that many people consider it as a place to buy property. If you are looking for real estate in Altea, take a look at our catalogue – we have many options for every taste and budget. Our experts will be happy to answer your questions and help you choose the best housing in Altea, both on the secondary market and in new buildings.