Old Town of Altea

Old Town of Altea: A Gem on the Costa Blanca

Perched on a hill along Spain's Costa Blanca, the Old Town of Altea offers a picturesque retreat with its cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its historical significance and artistic vibe, Altea's Old Town is not just a destination but an experience, steeped in culture, art, and Spanish charm.

The Historical Significance of Altea

Altea's history is a rich tapestry that dates back to the Iberian period. The town has seen the influence of various civilizations including the Romans and Moors, each leaving a distinct mark on its cultural and architectural landscape. The Old Town, locally known as "El Fornet," includes remnants of the ancient walls that once fortified the city. This area serves as a living museum, offering a glimpse into the past with every step on its meandering streets.

The pivotal landmark of Altea's Old Town is the Church of La Mare de Déu del Consol ("Our Lady of Solace"). Easily recognizable by its picturesque blue and white tiled dome, this church not only stands as a beacon of religious heritage but also as a symbol of Altea's enduring beauty. Built in the early 20th century on the foundations of a former mosque, the church exemplifies the historical layers that define this town.

The Charm of the Streets

Exploring the Old Town of Altea is akin to walking through a labyrinth of history and beauty. The narrow, winding streets are flanked by traditional Spanish houses, each adorned with flowering bougainvillea, vibrant ceramics, and wrought-iron balconies. The streets occasionally open up to small squares which often house charming cafes and artisan shops. The meticulous preservation of these historical elements makes the Old Town a delightful snapshot of Mediterranean aesthetics.

Art plays a central role in the Old Town's allure. Altea has long been a haven for artists, attracted by its luminous light and serene environment. Numerous galleries and studios dot the area, showcasing everything from traditional Spanish crafts to contemporary art. This artistic influence is palpable as one strolls through the streets, where the fusion of past and present creates a captivating cultural scene.

The View from Above

One of the most breathtaking aspects of Altea's Old Town is its panoramic views. As you ascend the cobbled paths, the vista expands to reveal the expansive blue of the Mediterranean against the backdrop of the rugged Sierra de Bernia mountains. The viewpoint from the Plaza de la Iglesia, the square surrounding the church, offers an especially spectacular sight, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists to gather and soak in the beauty of the sunrise or sunset.

Culinary Delights and Local Crafts

The Old Town is not only a feast for the eyes but also for the palate. The culinary scene in Altea is robust, with an emphasis on Mediterranean flavors and locally sourced ingredients. Restaurants and tapas bars offer dishes like "arroces" (rice dishes), fresh seafood, and "tapas" that reflect the gastronomic traditions of the region. Dining in Altea provides an authentic taste of Spanish cuisine, complemented by local wines and spirits that are as rich in flavor as the town's history.

Moreover, Altea's market days are a cultural event in themselves. Local artisans and farmers bring their goods to the heart of the Old Town, where one can find everything from hand-painted ceramics and handmade jewelry to fresh produce and regional specialties. These markets not only support the local economy but also help preserve the artisanal traditions that are integral to Altea's charm.

Sustainable Tourism in Altea

As tourism continues to be a significant part of Altea's economy, sustainable practices have become increasingly important. Efforts to preserve the integrity of the Old Town while accommodating visitors include regulating vehicular traffic, maintaining the historic architecture, and promoting local businesses that practice ethical and sustainable methods. These initiatives ensure that the unique character and beauty of Altea's Old Town are preserved for future generations.


The Old Town of Altea is more than just a travel destination; it is a vibrant community rich in history, art, and culture. For those seeking a blend of historical exploration, artistic inspiration, and Mediterranean charm, Altea offers an unforgettable experience. Whether wandering through its ancient streets, enjoying the local cuisine, or simply basking in the stunning seaside views, Altea's Old Town is a testament to the enduring allure of Spain's cultural heritage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The main attractions include the Church of La Mare de Déu del Consol with its iconic dome, the cobblestone streets, local art galleries, and the panoramic views from the Plaza de la Iglesia

Yes, the Old Town of Altea is family-friendly, offering scenic walks, cultural sites, and casual dining options that cater to all ages

Altea's Old Town is home to numerous art galleries and studios featuring traditional Spanish crafts, contemporary art, and regular exhibitions by local and international artists

Local cuisine in Altea's Old Town can be enjoyed at various restaurants and tapas bars that serve traditional Mediterranean dishes, especially fresh seafood and rice dishes

Altea promotes sustainable tourism by regulating traffic, preserving historic architecture, and supporting local businesses that adopt ethical and sustainable practices

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