The Greenway (Via Verde)

Hiking in Altea: Exploring Natural Beauty and Charming Trails

Nestled along the picturesque Costa Blanca in Spain, Altea offers more than just its well-known pebbly beaches and historic old town adorned with whitewashed houses. This small town is a hidden gem for hiking enthusiasts, boasting a variety of trails that promise breathtaking views and serene nature escapes. Whether you are a seasoned hiker looking for challenging routes or a casual walker in search of scenic strolls, Altea provides a perfect backdrop for an outdoor adventure.

The Allure of Altea’s Landscape

Altea's landscape is a diverse palette that features rugged mountains, rolling hills, lush valleys, and a stunning coastline, making it an ideal spot for different types of hikes. The Mediterranean climate ensures pleasant weather for most of the year, though spring and autumn are particularly delightful seasons to explore the outdoors when the temperatures are mild and the natural scenery is at its most vibrant.

Popular Hiking Trails in Altea

Sierra de Bernia: For those seeking a challenging hike, Sierra de Bernia offers a rewarding experience. This mountain range forms a natural barrier between the Marina Baixa and Marina Alta districts. The trail circles around the Sierra de Bernia, reaching an altitude of about 1,100 meters, providing panoramic views of the coastline and the interior landscapes. The hike includes a visit to the Fort de Bernia, a 16th-century fortress built to ward off pirate attacks, which is a highlight of the route.

The Altea Hills Walk: This is a more relaxed hike suitable for all skill levels and is particularly enjoyable for those who appreciate breathtaking sea views. The trail meanders through luxurious residential areas and natural settings, offering a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle along with expansive views of the Bay of Altea and the distant skyline of Benidorm.

Mascarat Gorge: Perfect for nature lovers, the Mascarat Gorge trail allows hikers to explore the rugged terrain between limestone cliffs. This route features a series of tunnels and bridges that were part of an old railway line, adding an element of historical intrigue to the scenic walk. The gorge is also a popular spot for rock climbing, appealing to those looking for an adrenaline boost.

The Greenway (Via Verde): This route is particularly suited for families and casual hikers. Originally a mining train route, this greenway has been transformed into a walking and cycling path. It stretches from Altea to Callosa d’En Sarrià and is lined with Mediterranean flora. The gentle inclines and well-maintained paths make it accessible for all ages and fitness levels

What to Expect and Prepare for

When planning a hike in Altea, it’s important to be well-prepared. Even though the trails are generally well-marked, carrying a map or using a GPS device can help prevent getting lost. Suitable hiking gear is crucial; sturdy shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and sufficient water are must-haves. Checking the weather forecast before heading out is also advisable, as conditions can change rapidly.

Local Insights and Cultural Integration

Hiking in Altea also offers a cultural component. The region is steeped in history, and many trails pass by or lead to significant historical sites like old watchtowers, abandoned mines, and ancient fortresses. Local villages along the routes provide opportunities to engage with traditional Spanish culture, offering charming cafes and markets where you can sample local delicacies such as tapas and seafood.

Conservation Efforts

Altea is committed to preserving its natural and cultural heritage. Hikers are encouraged to follow the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles to minimize their impact on the environment. This includes sticking to the trails, disposing of waste properly, and not disturbing wildlife.

Concluding Thoughts

Hiking in Altea allows adventurers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and historical richness of this unique region. The trails cater to all levels and interests, providing options for vigorous mountain hikes or leisurely coastal walks. Each path offers a different perspective of Altea, from high mountain vistas to intimate encounters with local flora and fauna, making it a must-visit destination for every hiking enthusiast. As you lace up your boots and set out on the trails, you’re not just taking a hike; you’re embarking on a journey through the heart of Spain’s breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural tapestry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The best time to hike in Altea is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is mild and the natural scenery is vibrant

Yes, Altea offers several trails suitable for beginners, including The Greenway (Via Verde), which features gentle inclines and scenic paths ideal for families and casual hikers.

Essential items include sturdy hiking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, plenty of water, and a map or GPS device. It’s also advisable to check the weather forecast before your hike

Yes, there are local guides and tour companies in Altea that offer guided hikes, which can enhance your experience by providing insights into the local flora, fauna, and history

Many trails in Altea lead to or pass historical sites like the Fort de Bernia, old watchtowers, and ancient fortresses, offering a blend of natural beauty and historical exploration

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