We give you the best tips to make the most of your visit to "the home of the sea" in one, two or more days.
Updated: June 2023
Altea is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful towns in Alicante. A village that has been enchanting artists and travelers for decades. A place where the blue of the Mediterranean merges with the sky and where the iconic dome of its church stands out above the network of cobblestone streets and white houses.
I’m from Alicante and in this article I tell you the must-see places in the old town of Altea, as well as other places and the best plans to enjoy in the surroundings of Altea. Let’s get going!
What to see in Altea old town
I propose you a tour to discover the must-see in Altea starting at its promenade, newly renovated for the 2023 season. If you want to know more about the beaches of Altea, I leave the info at the end of this article. Wherever you park, stroll along the sea until you reach the next point of interest:
2. Plaça del Convent
The charming Plaza del Convento is the place where we turn away from Playa de la Roda to head towards the “Fornet”, the historic center of Altea. This is an ideal place to relax and rest among its olive trees and cypresses before starting the climb up…
3. Costera Mestre de la Música
The climb to the Dome of the Mediterranean begins! From the square, follow Calle Pont del Montcau and you will soon reach one of the most beautiful streets to see in Altea: the Costera del Mestre de la Música, a stepped alley where you are sure to see many tourists immortalizing the beautiful scenery.
4. Bellaguarda Mill
On the way up, make a stop at the old Bellaguarda Mill and the cisterns that supplied water to the population. A footbridge next to the mill provides access to the Water Park.
5. New Portal
When you finish climbing the stairs, continue along Carrer Sol and Carrer Bonavista to Portal Nou. You are in one of the old access roads to the walled area: The Renaissance Bastion and Enclosure of Altea (declared BIC in 2013).
The Portal Nou is located in a beautiful square dedicated to the writer Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas, author of the famous work “Matèria de Bretanya”. A precious detail in this square are the powerful trellises of the white houses, which remind us of the risk posed by pirate attacks during the Middle Ages.
6. Francesc Martínez i Martínez Square
Popularly known as“El Mirador Blanco“, this beautiful little square with a view is dedicated to the memory of the Alteano historian, who dedicated many years of his life to studying the work of Miguel de Cervantes, writing a Catalan translation of Don Quixote.
7. Santa Barbara Street
From the viewpoint, take the beautiful Calle Santa Bàrbara. In this ascending alley you can admire the Cervantes House, from the 20th century, where the Alteano historian lived.
At the end of the street you will reach the Plaza de la Iglesia in the most beautiful way possible, as you will come face to face with the Parish Church of Nuestra Señora del Consuelo, which gives Altea the nickname of “The Dome of the Mediterranean”.
8. Church Square
You have arrived at the nerve center of Altea. You will see that there are plenty of restaurants with terraces around the square. It is an ideal place to have a vermouth and recharge your batteries before continuing with the visit. If you plan to eat in Altea, do not miss our gastronomic recommendations at the end of this article. We continue!
9. Mirador de los Cronistas de España
A must-see in Altea is the famous Mirador de los Cronistas de España, a balcony overlooking the beautiful clear blue Mediterranean Sea with the port of Altea and the Serra Gelada Natural Park as a backdrop. I warn you that it is usually a very popular place to immortalize memories of the visit.
10. San Miguel Street
From the Plaza de la Iglesia I recommend a stroll along Calle San Miguel, lined with clothing and accessory stores, as well as artists’ studios. Then return to the square to continue.
Alternative to the visit: Although in my opinion it has less charm, if you want to visit the old town of Altea without climbing stairs you can park next to the Palau Altea and access the Plaza de la Iglesia following this street. On the map below you will see the parking icon.
11. Carrer Major and Portal Vell
To return we will go down one of the most popular and crowded streets of Altea: The Carrer Major. This street lined with restaurants and ice cream parlors will take you to the Portal Vell (Old Portal), the second of the access roads to the old walled enclosure of Altea.
12. Glorieta del Maño
We finish this tour of the must-see in Altea in one of its most beautiful viewpoints (my favorite). The Glorieta del Maño or Baluarte de la Casa de la Señoría is another of the viewpoints of Altea that you can not miss. In this case, it has views to the north, towards the Morro de Toix and the Peñón de Ifach.
Map Points of Interest in Altea
Track paseo Altea
With views of the sea on one side and the imposing Sierra de Bérnia on the other, strolling through Altea is an experience worth enjoying calmly. Despite the usual hustle and bustle of tourists, it exudes that bohemian atmosphere that has captivated so many artists over the years.
Do not be afraid of getting lost and wandering aimlessly: you will surely find charming corners that do not appear in any guide. And if you don’t mind walking, you can walk down to Platja de la Roda , the most urban in the municipality, and from there walk to the port of Altea , where you can still see the traditional fishing boats that auction their catches every day in the fish market If you prefer to play it safe, you can follow this track.
Routes in Altea and surroundings
In Altea and surroundings you can enjoy some of the best hiking tra ils in the Valencian Community. I will tell you all the details in an article dedicated exclusively to these excursions:
Activities to do in Altea
Beaches in Altea and surroundings
It is important to mention that the beaches of Altea are not sandy, but pebble beaches. Most people need a pair of booties to swim comfortably on this type of beach. The positive aspect is that the level of occupation is usually low, being quiet beaches.
I tell you which are the main beaches of Altea and surroundings:
Roda Beach / L’Espigó
Playa de la Roda is the beach par excellence of Altea, next to its promenade and, therefore, urban beach. Its continuation is the Platja del ‘Espigó. It is adapted for people with reduced mobility. Along the promenade you will find plenty of restaurants of different styles, as well as cafes and bars.
One of the best beaches very close to Altea is Platja de l’Albir, belonging to the neighboring town of l’Alfàs del Pi. Here you will find a “walk of fame” in the purest Hollywood style, which commemorates the different editions of its film festival. From this beach you can start the beautiful route of the Faro de l’Albir.
Soio Cove and Cap Negret
Did you know that there is an outcrop of volcanic rocks in Altea? Since 2020 it has been declared a Natural Monument for its geological, scientific and cultural interest. You have more info here. The surrounding area is also very picturesque and interesting, and if you keep walking you will reach the next point of interest:
Platja de l’Olla
One of the most beloved of Altea. From the area of Villa Gadea to the Portet de l’Olla, this beach allows us a relaxed walk along the sea, being part of it conditioned with benches and protected by the shade of large pine trees. From this beach a popular fireworks display is launched every August: the Castell de l’Olla.
If you go on vacation with your pet, there is a Dog Beach in Altea: it is a stretch of the Platja de l’Olla, we tell you about it in our article with the best beaches for dogs in Alicante.
Although somewhat far from the city center, the truth is that Altea boasts some of the most beautiful coves in the province of Alicante. Among my favorites are the following:
Racó del Corb cove. Cove of difficult access, located in the shelter of the impressive cliffs of Morro de Toix. Read more:
Racó del Corb Cove
Barra Grande Cove. Protected by the Punta del Mascarat (a rocky outcrop), this cove of boulders and difficult access is one of the most beautiful in the area. Discover it here: Barra Grande Cove.
Near Altea: what to see
Mouth of the Algar river
The well-known tourist attraction of Les Fonts d’Algar, in the nearby town of Callosa d’En Sarrià, forms a protected wetland at its mouth in the bay of Altea, included in the catalog of wetlands of the Valencian Community. This is a fantastic place to practice birdwatching, or just take a walk. Interested? Discover here more wetlands of Alicante.
Altea La Vella
Altea la Vieja, as its name indicates, is the origin of the current Altea. This small and charming hamlet is surrounded by nature and it is worth walking along this route, which is part of “Camins d’Altea” and of which we tell you more here.
Orthodox Church of Altea
I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of this place. It is a beautiful temple built in wood and with gilded finishes. It is worth visiting the exterior and interior. This is the official website.
Cycling in Altea
If you are a lover of road cycling routes, you will be pleased to know that Altea has a catalog of 10 routes that start in the town. I tell you more details here: cycle touring in Altea.
Day trips from Altea
Les Fonts d’Algar
One of those places that makes you wonder if you are really still in Alicante. My advice: if you are not cold, avoid July and August, as they are the busiest months. Get your ticket in advance. Here I tell you more: Les Fonts d’Algar.
The fairytale village in the mountains of Alicante. You can visit it together with Les Fonts d’Algar on the same day. Here I tell you everything you need to know: Guadalest Guide.
More plans near Altea
Charming Hotels in Altea
Altea has a wide range of hotels, for all audiences and pockets, both apartments on the beachfront and luxurious villas further inland. We especially liked the following charming hotels in Altea:
Altea is a destination that can be enjoyed at any time of the year, thanks to the excellent climate of the Costa Blanca. Another place to book your accommodation is HundredRooms, a holiday apartment comparison site.
Where to eat in Altea
Marina Vega, journalist specialized in tourism and gastronomy, recommends us her favorite restaurants in Altea (where she lives, so she knows it very well). Marina writes for Condé Nast Traveler and Guía Repsol. Take note!
This Mediterranean chiringuito deceives at first glance: it is not a pretty place to have a drink in front of the sea, but it is one of the best restaurants in Altea. They have been betting on traditional seafood cuisine since 1982, with dishes such as salted fish, very typical of the area, or delicious rice dishes. In 2021, the Repsol Guide awarded them a Solete. A tip: book a few days before, especially in summer, because it is difficult to get a table.
Right next door, in high season, they themselves (Cranc Surf) rent Paddle surfboards and kayaks, organize excursions and give SUP Pilates classes.
The Trust Bar
Did you know that here you can find the best hamburger in the Valencian Community? And it’s not just us saying it: they won the award in 2019 with their Mucho Mu, a Galician beef burger seasoned with truffle oil and mixed with foie gras and cured ham, smoked Canarian goat cheese made with raw milk and served on brioche bread. French. This burger joint also has an extensive menu of craft beers.
Los Jasmines Restaurant
If you are looking for the best rice dishes in Altea, it is here. Our favorite is the octopus with artichokes, but the arroz a banda, the senyoret or the black rice are also safe bets. You can also order them to take away.
There are few places like Xef Pirata in Altea… to say the least! In an old house in the village, this tiny but cozy restaurant offers very creative dishes, much to the surprise of tourists. Do not miss the coca sardine, foie and apple. If you are overwhelmed by gastronomic curiosity and it is difficult for you to choose, they also offer a tasting menu (€29 per person). They do not have a terrace, but they do have a couple of tables with stools at the door, where you can have a snack or have a more informal dinner.
They say that it is one of the great temples of aged meat in Spain, along with other restaurants such as Etxebarri or El Capricho. It is surprising that it is precisely here, in Altea, by the sea, but Joan Abril has been able, with good product and technique, to position himself as one of those essential places for carnivores. It is also a recommended restaurant in the Repsol Guide.
The beautiful Altea overlooks the Mediterranean from the privileged balcony of its old town of cobbled streets and whitewashed houses. Despite being one of the tourist references of the Costa Blanca, Altea has managed to maintain its character, its memory and its Mediterranean essence. Proof of this are the streets and viewpoints dedicated, for example, to the Altea historian Francesc Martínez i Martínez or to his granddaughter Carmelina Sánchez-Cutillas.
As for the geographical setting, the town is located in a small paradise, in the valley of the river Algar, at the foot of the majestic Serra de Bèrnia. The waters of its bay are part of the maritime-terrestrial area of the Serra Gelada Natural Park, which extends to Benidorm and its island.
Beyond its charms, Altea transmits a unique feeling, a feeling of good vibes and positivity that does not leave indifferent those who visit it. Undoubtedly, one of the must-see places in the province of Alicante.
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