It’s the picture-perfect white village perched on a hill overlooking the coast. And with its blue-domed church and sweeping beaches, Altea is a holiday favourite in the Alicante region, th southernmost part of the Valencian Community.
If you’re looking for a beach town near Valencia and Alicante, this spot packs in history, fantastic restaurants and an incredible art scene. It is named after the Moors who inhabited the area centuries ago, translating to Althaya, or ‘health to all’.
Indeed, wandering the cobbled streets and looking out across the azure sea, it’s easy to understand the name.
Beaches of brilliant white stone and iridescent waters are a short walk away, you can explore nearby hidden coves and the long coastline is dotted with pretty bars and restaurants looking out to sea. In the hills behind, you’ll find some of the most exclusive properties in the region, while the town itself is considered one of the places to stay in Alicante both during peak summer months and out of season.
One of the most beautiful towns in Spain?
Beloved by Spanish locals and international tourists alike, Altea combines a beach getaway with the charm of a quaint hilltop town. The streets are dotted with artisan stores and boutiques. And as the sun sets on warm evenings, the main square by the Nostra Senyora del Consol church is the perfect spot for a nightcap. And a stroll through the Old Town will take you through buzzing streets and whitewashed plazas simmering with activity.
From the Old Town, with its patio restaurants illuminated with fairy lights and pretty shops and galleries, it’s a short walk to the bay of white stones and rippling turquoise waters where some of the province’s finest eateries serve up fresh seafood dishes.
Hidden hotel gems
If you’re looking for places to stay in Alicante province, consider Altea for its wonderful variety of boutique and luxury hotel options.
A charming, family-owned hotel in the heart of Altea, housed in a former 18th-century bakery. Hotel Abaco prides itself on being part of the living history of the town, committed to customer satisfaction and quality in every aspect.
This five-star beauty is set right on the coast, just north of Altea. Promising a lagoon-like pool and palm-dotted gardens, as well as direct access to the beach, it also comes with a Thalasso Spa Centre.
Slip away from it all and head inland to the hilltop village of Guadalest to this unique countryside spot. Rooms are set in individual glass-fronted boxes so you can wake to mountain vistas, then follow woodland trails to the pool and panoramic restaurant.
Located near the Old Town gateway of Portal Nou dating back to 1743, Porta Nova Suites are within a stone’s throw of the Old Town plaza and restaurants. Choose from a variety of relaxing suites, each with captivating views of the Mediterranean.
A short stroll from this boutique hotel takes you to the bustling La Plaza de la Iglesia square at Altea’s heart, but in such tranquil surroundings, you’d hardly believe it. Discover a spa, swimming pool and 11 stylish rooms all on-site.
Step into these spacious apartments with a full daily breakfast laid on and terraces offering unbeatable sea views. Ideal for a private and peaceful getaway, Maison Condesa offers space and premium home comforts.
A haven of art and design
Altea has had a thriving arts scene at its heart for many years, with artists and hippies drawn to the town for creative inspiration since the 1970s. You can find hand-crafted, tailor-made items that are truly unique.
Many of these line the street of Carrer Sant Miguel, a hub of activity with the blue mosaic dome of Nostra Senyora del Consol church providing a gleaming backdrop. Stop at the Titi Borrás art studio for ceramics crafted with skill and dedication or the bohemian fashion items at Good Juanita.
Victoria de Talhora offers the finest silk and cashmere, or you can seek out hidden gems in The Antik Attic antiques shop.
Also there is a variety of colourful art galleries to browse, from the Galeria Casa del Pajaro to the wonderful workshop of Rico & Nuno.
A culinary star
Thanks to the fishing tradition of Altea, the town’s delicious specialities are based on a diet of fresh fish, shellfish and locally sourced vegetables from the surrounding countryside. Many locals carry the knowledge of well-loved recipes, carried down through their families for generations.
These regional favourites, such as arròs amb fessols (rice with kidney beans), many varieties of paella and cocas a la llumà (focaccia-style bread with sausage, pork, anchovy and tomato) can be found on the menus of many of Altea’s restaurants.
A stone’s throw from the beach, serving fine Mediterranean fare and mouthwatering meat dishes from the wood-fired grill. You can see the journey your food takes to the plate and be assured of its freshness and quality.
Classically Altean in appearance and cuisine. Whitewashed walls, serving charming al fresco fare like lobster, paella and stew, which you can enjoy while watching the world go by from your table.
The sea-facing terrace of L’Olleta, surrounded by pine trees, promises spectacular views. Savour the view and the food, which includes tapas, rice dishes & Mediterranean grills, in this family-run restaurant ready to win your favour.
Along the beachfront promenade at Playa La Roda, you find Ca Jaume’s delicious selection of tapas and succulent seafood favourites. The friendly staff are happy to offer tourist tips to explore the best of the local area.
A delicious selection of modern and traditional tapas are on the menu at the classy Asambra. This spacious, airy and modern restaurant offers a menu of familiar and local favourites based on the finest local ingredients. Their motto is ‘eat like you’re at home’ - so indulge!
Elegant French cuisine combined with warm hospitality. Add a superb location, the fresh coolness of a secluded, leafy garden overlooked by the famous blue dome of Nostra Senyora del Consol church, for an unmissable experience.
Altea’s long beaches and hidden coves of brilliant white pebbles and crystal-clear waters are the vision of a Mediterranean paradise. Here is a selection of the best beaches you can find on the Altean coast.
Playa de l'Espigo
The calm and shallow waters of this pretty stoney beach are ideal for gentle swimming, while the promenade behind has a wealth of restaurants and cafes. It’s easy to reach from the city centre, nothing more than a short walk.
Playa de la Roda
Easily accessible by the centre of Altea, La Roda is one of the longest beaches in town with plenty of amenities, with a mix of pebbles and sand. The water is deeper here, perfect for more advanced swimmers, but there are also plenty of places for the children to paddle.
Playa de Cap Blanch
Views of the rugged Sierra Helada provide a beautiful backdrop to this pebbly beach. There is the option to rent kayaks and windsurfs, and as Altea’s southernmost beach, it is an amazing find for sporty types.
Playa del Albir
Found in neighbouring L'Albir but close to Altea, this beach offers a great variety of watersports, including paddleboarding, while the boulevard has plenty of restaurants offering delicious local fare.
Cala de la Barra Grande
Altea’s most northern beach, this small and secluded cove is a nudist beach, meaning you can feel free and relaxed away from the city. The clear and calm waters are ideal for snorkelling, but it’s best accessed via car.
Cala del Metge
Like Cala de la Barra Grande, this quiet and peaceful cove is a popular choice for nudists. With the intimacy and privacy that you can enjoy here, it makes sense. It is a rocky beach but the waters are as clear as glass.
Cala del Soio
Unspoilt and tranquil, Cala del Soio still offers amenities like paddleboards and kayaks, with a charming chiringuito and harbour nearby. A beach that has the best of both worlds and is easily accessible by car or bike.
If your goal is to explore the region beyond this charming whitewashed town, then you’re in luck. There is plenty to see and do beyond the reach of Altea.
Serra de Bernia
Endless opportunities for hikers of all levels await on this mountain range. You are rewarded with spectacular rock formations, diverse plant life and rugged terrain. Some routes through Forat de Bernia will take you past breathtaking ancient cave art, maintained as a World Heritage Site.
Nestled in the mountains of the Alicante region, Guadalest is perched on a hilltop and offers amazing views and fascinating sites to explore. From the San Jose castle, built in the 11th century, to the 12th-century prison and a selection of unique museums, Guadalest is a charming and peaceful town that makes a perfect day trip from Altea.
A stay in Altea promises a classic Mediterranean break with the charms of whitewashed walls, delicious food, crystal-clear waters and luxury hotels. If you’re looking to unplug and wander serenely through an undisturbed, unspoilt slice of Spain, Altea will provide.
Looking for other Valencia beach holidays or short breaks?
Read our guide to Denia, another beach town favourite of the Valencians, to find out where to stay, eat and hit the sand.