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Altea, Alicante - The Cultural Capital of the Valencian region
Altea is located a ten minute drive North of Benidorm (ca.10 km), about 1 hour from Alicante along the N-332 and is one of the most memorable coastal towns of the Costa Blanca, retaining its own unique Spanish charm in spite of its increasing tourism and popularity. It lies directly by the sea in the midst of a beautiful bay and is surrounding by rugged mountains - really picturesque! The name comes from the Moorish 'Althaya' which means 'health to all'.
Situated on a steep hillside a short walk from the sea, with stunning views over the Bay of Altea, it is a town steeped in history and has long been a popular retreat for artists, sculptors and writers. With the recent addition of the University of Culture and Fine Arts and a new concert hall Altea has been bestowed the official title of the 'Cultural Capital of the Valencian region'.
The city centre is a treasure trove of shops, craft galleries, restaurants and little white-washed buildings adorned with flowers - all waiting to be discovered in the winding and cobbled medieval lanes, look for the famous blue-domed church of the Virgin de Consuelo at the top of these lanes; it is well worth the walk, the views from the top overlooking the bay of Altea with the mountain backdrop are nothing short of spectacular!
To reach the Church, simply continue walking upwards towards the blue domes (or follow the signs to the 'Poble Antic'). At the top you will find yourself in a delight little square, lined with cafés and restaurants - just perfect for a 'tapas' or a chilled 'vino blanco'. It is a very popular spot with the locals too with plenty of Spanish flair.
The Church itself is a 'must-see' - spectacular murals, sculptures and stained glass windows - as beautiful inside as out.
Down at the seaside there is a very clean new Promenade which stretches along the town down to the little port. You'll find plenty of cafés along the way, oh... and bring some bread for the ducks!
The beaches at Altea are mostly pebbles, the best of these is just South of Altea, the Playa de Albir, the beach of the increasingly popular town Albir (ca. 3 km South of Altea). The beach at Albir offers a wide range of leisure and pleasure activities.
Behind the beach is the thriving resort of Albir, with supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and bars and a lovely beach promenade. It has a golf driving range and putting green in the centre of town, and two children's playgrounds by the beach.
More about Albir
Sightseeing near Altea
Driving along the coast road from Altea to Calpe there are some excellent spots to stop the car and admire the view across the bay. You can see the skyscrapers of Benidorm in the distance, the Church of Altea, and the beach of Albir at the far end of the Bay - it brings into perspective how small and accessible the Costa Blanca is!
Cactuslandia Just North from Altea continuing along the N-332 is Cactuslandia, a private botanical garden specialising in cacti.
Golf near Altea
The Don Cayo Golf Club is very near Altea
Fiestas in Altea
Castell de L'Olla - 12th - 14th August
Celebrating the feast of San Lorenzo, this fiesta is an absolute must if you like fireworks, where thousands of fireworks are launched over the sea in a display said to be amongst the best in Spain.
Moros y Cristianos - the Moors and Christians Festival - Last week in September
Spectacular costumes, parades through the streets and the re-enactment of the defense of the town from the Moorish invaders. Culminates in an impressive firework display.
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