Altea Church

10 Things You Did Not Know About Altea

Nestled along the sun-kissed Costa Blanca in Spain, Altea is a hidden gem with a rich tapestry of culture, history, and stunning landscapes. Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors like Benidorm and Alicante, Altea offers a tranquil escape and a unique charm that can captivate any visitor. Here are ten intriguing facts about Altea that you might not know.

1. The Dome of the Mediterranean

One of Altea's most iconic symbols is the blue-tiled dome of the Church of Our Lady of Consolation (Virgen del Consuelo), which is often referred to as "the Dome of the Mediterranean." This striking blue and white tiled dome is not only a focal point in Altea’s skyline but also serves as a beacon to those navigating the nearby sea. Its radiant blue tiles mirror the azure hues of the Mediterranean, blending seamlessly with the sky on a clear day.

2. A Haven for Artists

Since the 1950s, Altea has been a magnet for artists, writers, and musicians, drawn by its serene environment and the radiant light of the coast. This influx has imbued the town with a bohemian flair, evident in the numerous galleries, craft shops, and boutiques that line its cobblestone streets. The Old Town, in particular, is a vibrant canvas, displaying murals and sculptures that reflect its artistic soul.

3. The Old Town’s Historical Maze

The Old Town of Altea is a delightful maze of narrow winding streets crowned by the aforementioned Church of Our Lady of Consolation. This part of the town, with its whitewashed houses adorned with colorful bougainvillea, offers a step back in time. The labyrinthine streets hold a quiet charm and lead to viewpoints offering breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean.

4. The Moros y Cristianos Festival

Altea celebrates its history with the annual Moros y Cristianos festival, a vibrant and dramatic event commemorating the 16th-century battles between Moors and Christians in the region. This festival is a spectacle of elaborate costumes, mock battles on the beaches, and parades through the town, all culminating in a stunning fireworks display.

5. Unique Gastronomy

Altea’s culinary scene is as diverse as its culture. The town's gastronomy features a mix of traditional Spanish dishes infused with flavors from the sea. Signature dishes include "paella alteana," which incorporates rice with a variety of seafood, and "calamares rellenos de Altea," squid stuffed with a savory filling. The local cuisine is complemented by the sweet "mistela," a wine made from muscat grapes grown in the surrounding region.

6. A Microclimate Paradise

Thanks to its geographical position shielded by mountains and influenced by the sea, Altea enjoys a unique microclimate. Temperatures are moderate throughout the year, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a milder climate. This microclimate also fosters a rich biodiversity, especially in the nearby natural park of Sierra Helada.

7. The Greenway of Altea

For nature and sports enthusiasts, Altea offers the "Greenway," a route that follows the old railway track from Altea to Calpe. This path, ideal for hiking and cycling, provides stunning views of the coastline and the lush landscape. It’s a favorite for both locals and tourists looking to explore the natural beauty of the area.

8. An International Hub

Altea’s allure attracts a cosmopolitan crowd and expatriates from all over Europe and beyond, making it a melting pot of cultures. This international influence is evident in the town's cultural festivals, culinary offerings, and the languages heard on its streets. It’s not uncommon to find art exhibitions, music concerts, and culinary events celebrating this diversity.

9. The Altea Craft Market

The craft market in Altea is a treasure trove of local crafts and products, operating especially during the summer months along the bustling promenade. Here, artisans sell handmade jewelry, traditional ceramics, and other artisanal goods that reflect the town’s artistic heritage. The market is not just a place to shop but also a cultural experience, providing insights into the local craftsmanship.

10. A Commitment to Sustainability

Altea is committed to preserving its natural and cultural heritage through various sustainability initiatives. These include strict building regulations that prevent high-rise developments along the coast, preserving the panoramic views and the town's skyline. Additionally, Altea promotes sustainable tourism practices that encourage visitors to respect and protect its environment and cultural sites.


Altea, with its blend of historical richness, cultural diversity, and natural beauty, offers a unique experience on the Costa Blanca. Whether you are an art enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking to relax by the sea, Altea provides a serene and enriching getaway. These ten lesser-known facts only scratch the surface of what this charming town has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Altea is famous for its iconic blue-tiled dome of the Church of Our Lady of Consolation, its artistic community, and its charming old town with winding cobblestone streets

Yes, Altea's unique microclimate, which features mild temperatures year-round, makes it a great destination in any season

When in Altea, try the "paella alteana" for a local twist on the traditional paella, and "calamares rellenos de Altea," which are delicious stuffed squid

The Moros y Cristianos festival in Altea is an annual event celebrating the historical battles between Moors and Christians with parades, mock battles, and fireworks

Altea offers several activities for nature lovers, including the Greenway, a scenic route ideal for hiking and cycling that provides beautiful views of the coastline and landscape

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