Altea road

Do You Need a Car in Altea?

Altea, a picturesque town on Spain's Costa Blanca, is known for its whitewashed houses, pebbled streets, and stunning views of the Mediterranean. This small town, characterized by its tranquil atmosphere and artistic vibe, attracts visitors and expatriates looking for a serene lifestyle. But if you're planning to move or travel to Altea, one question that might come up is whether you need a car to get around. This article explores the various factors to consider when deciding whether to own or rent a car in Altea.

Size and Layout of Altea

First, it's essential to understand the geography and size of Altea. The town is relatively small, with a population of around 24,000. The old town, known for its iconic church with a picturesque blue dome, is situated on a hilltop, while newer, more modern developments stretch towards the beach and along the coast. The compact nature of Altea means that many of its attractions, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance, especially if you're staying or living near the town center.

Public Transportation Options

Altea's public transportation system is limited compared to larger cities. However, it does offer some bus services that connect to nearby towns such as Benidorm and Calpe, and even long-distance routes to Alicante and Valencia. These services are reliable but infrequent, which could be a significant consideration if you need to commute daily or prefer spontaneous travel.

The tram, part of the Alicante Metropolitan TRAM system, also serves Altea. It runs along the coast, offering beautiful views and connections to larger cities like Alicante and smaller coastal towns. The tram is a scenic and practical option for day trips or exploring the broader region without the need for a car.

Accessibility and Mobility

If you are staying in the hilltop area of the old town, be prepared for steep streets and occasional staircases. For those with mobility issues or small children, this could pose a challenge. In such cases, having a car can be beneficial, especially for longer journeys or when carrying groceries and other essentials from the supermarkets, which are primarily located in the newer parts of town, away from the historical center.

Parking and Traffic

One of the significant drawbacks of having a car in Altea is parking. During the peak tourist season, finding a parking spot in the town center can be a challenge. Many areas have limited parking spaces, and during festivals or market days, these issues can escalate. Traffic is generally not a significant problem, as the town doesn't experience the high congestion seen in larger cities, but navigating narrow and winding streets in the old town can be difficult for inexperienced drivers.

Lifestyle and Convenience

Your lifestyle choices and the kind of convenience you seek can also impact your decision. If you plan on making regular trips to explore the rural landscapes around the Costa Blanca, or if you have children attending schools outside of walking distance, a car is almost essential. Additionally, for expatriates living permanently in Altea, a car allows for more flexibility in terms of shopping, accessing healthcare facilities, and participating in local activities that might be off the public transport grid.

Cost Considerations

Maintaining a car in Spain involves several costs: fuel, insurance, maintenance, and possibly a parking space rental if your accommodation does not include one. Compare these costs with your budget and the frequency of your car usage. For those staying temporarily or who plan minimal travel outside Altea, renting a car for specific days might be more economical than owning one.

Environmental Impact

Lastly, consider the environmental impact of driving a car. Altea, like many parts of the world, is feeling the effects of climate change. By opting for public transport, walking, or biking, you can reduce your carbon footprint. The town is conducive to walking, and cycling can be a delightful way to explore the scenic routes along the coast.


In conclusion, whether you need a car in Altea largely depends on your personal needs, lifestyle, and where in Altea you plan to stay. For those living or staying in central areas and mainly focused on local activities, not having a car is entirely feasible. However, for families, those living on the outskirts, or anyone planning frequent trips around the region, a car provides invaluable convenience and flexibility. Consider all these factors carefully to make the best choice for your circumstances in Altea.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes, Altea offers limited bus services to nearby towns and a tram that connects to Alicante and other coastal towns

Altea is walkable, especially in the town center. However, the old town is on a hill and has steep streets that may be challenging for some

Parking can be scarce in Altea, especially during peak tourist seasons and on market days, with limited spaces in the town center

A car is recommended if you live on the outskirts of Altea or plan frequent trips to surrounding areas for greater convenience and flexibility

Not having a car reduces your carbon footprint and eliminates the hassle of parking and navigating narrow streets, which is environmentally and often economically beneficial

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