Altea is one of the prettiest towns on Spain's Costa Blanca. This quiet resort, which has managed to retain its unique charm, is in complete contrast to its near neighbour, Benidorm. During the 1960's, Altea was a popular destination amongst musicians, writers and artists. Even today, this town at the mouth of the River Algar still has a relaxed 'Bohemian' feel.
Altea's old quarter has narrow, cobbled streets that lead up to the church of Nuestra Senora del Consuelo. Built in the early 20th century, this church is notable for its distinctive blue and white tiled dome. Inside there are some fine murals and beautiful stained-glass windows. During the summer months, there is an art market here every evening. The old quarter is also home to numerous craft shops, cafes and restaurants.
Altea has around 3 miles (5km) of coastline, although the beaches tend to be of shingle rather than sand. However, this does mean the resort has not been developed as much as many others on the Costa Blanca. Altea's main beach, Playa de la Roda, is situated close to the old town. There are spectacular views from here towards the Penon de Ifach rock at Calpe. Other beaches include Playa de Cap Blanch to the south, and the Playa de Cap Negret which has black pebbles.
Altea is not renowned for its nightlife, although there are plenty of bars that stay open late, especially during the summer months. If you are looking for something a bit livelier, there is a train and bus service into nearby Benidorm. The recently opened Palau de las Artes often hosts cultural events, including concerts and flamenco shows. Ask at the local tourist office in Carrer Sant Pere for an events programme. There are several good restaurants along the seafront. Many of these serve the local speciality, Arroz a la Banda, which consists of squid, rice, onion and garlic.
Altea hosts several colourful fiestas throughout the year, with the highlight being the famous Christians and Moors festival at the end of September. Other important events include the Fiesta de San Lorenzo in early August, which is marked by a spectacular firework display on the seafront. The Fiesta de San Antonio at Cap Blanch in mid-June, and the Fiesta de Santa Ana in Altea la Vella the following months are also very popular.
Altea has two marinas; Port d'Altea, situated near the town centre, and Port Esportiu Luis de Campomanes a few miles to the northeast. Both offer a range of water sports, including diving, sailing and windsurfing. A short distance inland there is a 9-hole golf course, Club de Golf Don Cayo, which also has a small driving range.
Altea is situated about 40 miles (64km) north of Alicante and 7 miles (11km) from Benidorm. There is a regular train service from Altea to both these towns. The frequent number 10 bus also runs along the coast from Altea to Benidorm and the neighbouring resort of Albir, 2 miles (3km) to the south.