Altea - artists' village
The old town of Altea is one of the best preserved original coastal towns in Spain. It is also considered one of the most beautiful. In the picturesque narrow streets you will find countless little cozy shops with arts and crafts. The church with the distinctive blue dome is a landmark.
Altea has been populated since 500 BC. In the 1600s a double fortress wall was established around the church and the buildings on the top as protection against pirate attacks. Today there are only leftovers of the powerful wall, but two of the city gates are well preserved.
In the old town, the streets are narrow and intimate. There is a rich selection of restaurants, art galleries and artisan shops.
Here you can buy art and crafts in all price ranges. The city has attracted artists from many countries. During the tourist season there are many Nordic voices to be heard in the streets.
Altea has a six-kilometer-long shoreline. The majority of it is available for swimming. The beaches mainly have a mixture of small round rocks and some sand.
From the beach you can see the Calpe cliff - el Peñón de Ifach - in the distance.
Sometimes the sky is filled with red desert sands from the Sahara. Afterwards there is a thin layer of fine sand everywhere.
The city is even more beautiful in the evenings when the lights are lit and the streets are filled with mystery. A nice time for shopping and art experiences, or just a romantic walk.
The evening is dining time. There are lots of restaurants to visit.
You should not leave the city without having visited the Casa Vital with its beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea. The restaurant is owned by Åge Folkestad who immigrated to Spain from Ålesund in Norway about 16 years ago.
Here you will get excellent food and drink, but you can also take part in cultural events. Regularly, musicians and dancers from the area perform their arts.
Åge has developed his own wines in collaboration with Bodegas Santa Margarita. One of the most exotic is blue wine. You can also sign up for a city walk (Thursdays) to learn more about the city's history, sign up for wine tasting venues, or even wine tours where you can take part in the harvest of grapes.
The picture above is of the original city gates. In the picture below you see the church and the church square in the city center. The church was built on the ruins of a temple that had replaced a small chapel that was erected in the sixteenth century.
The local priest Joan Bautista Cremades established in 1901 a board of the city's leading men to put up the "Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Consuelo de Altea". Ten years later, it was opened.
It was built and financed solely by the city's own population of about 5,600 inhabitants. Those who had money, covered the costs, those who could not pay, contributed with manual work. The adornment inside is magnificent and worth a view.
More excursions: www.turideer.com
Excursion of the week: The old town of Altea
Get there: Follow N-332 north along the coast from Alicante. Altea is a few kilometers north of Benidorm, about forty minutes drive from Alicante. Park in the parking lot by the beach or drive up to the back of the old town and park in the large parking lot there.
Suitable for: Everybody. It is nice place for having dinner in the evening, taking a stroll, getting new impressions and feeling the atmosphere of old Spain.