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Altea

Altea’s unusual light, vibrant turquoise sea and historic old town have been charming artists and photographers for decades now.

Altea appeals to people who appreciate natural beauty and a traditional Spanish way of life. It is a cosmopolitan, small resort in contrast to its bigger neighbours at Calpe and Benidorm.

Many people will recognise Altea from photographs showcasing the best of the Costa Blanca North. Images of the blue-and-white tiled dome of the church, narrow cobbled streets snaking up to the old town and whitewashed houses with window boxes overflowing with colourful geraniums can be seen in many guidebooks, postcards and calendars about the Costa Blanca.

It is a very cool, charming resort with two distinct areas – the beach and the old town. Altea enjoys eight kilometres of beautiful coastline ranging from sandy beaches to intimate coves and pebbly bays.

Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy snorkeling, diving, kayaking or sailing while enjoying gorgeous views of the hilltop old town, North Costa Blanca mountains or the impressive Ifach rock at Calpe.

Many chic restaurants and cafes line the pretty seafront promenade where you can enjoy views across the port and beaches. Diners have a wide choice of restaurants including seafood, Spanish, Italian, Indian, British French or Argentinian.

The next street from the beach is the main N332 road linking Altea with other beach resorts between Valencia and Alicante. Here are the main shops, hotels and more restaurants.

It’s a steep climb from here to the old town but there are a couple of resting places – or you can hail a taxi.

The picturesque Nuestra Senora del Consuelo church takes pride of place in the old town. It looks like a traditional Spanish church with its impressive tiled roof but it was only built about 100 years ago.

The old town is a delightful place to watch the world go by. Sitting in the main cobbled square and enjoying a coffee or meal in the up market restaurants before exploring the art galleries, shops and restaurants is a favourite pastime.

More active pursuits can also be enjoyed. As well as water sports, Altea has several golf courses and tennis courts nearby.

The Ifach rock to the North of Altea and Sierra Gelada mountain to the South are also great natural areas to explore. Walkers will be rewarded with fabulous sea views and may stumble across wildlife such as birds of prey, gulls and cormorants.

Altea is a quiet resort but each summer it hosts one of the biggest and best fireworks displays in the world. About 50,000 head for the resort for the fireworks fiesta which is held by the Castell de l’Olla at about midnight in August.

Culture lovers will find plenty of entertainment at the Altea Palau including live music, opera, plays and ballets.

Popular property for sale in Altea range from apartments with sea views to swanky millionaire’s villas in the Altea Hills resort. There is a fairly large Russian community in this area and the gateway to Altea Hills has a very impressive Russian Orthodox Church.

Altea has great road networks with the N332 running through the town and the AP7 toll road also providing fast links to Alicante and Valencia. Alicante international airport is about 45 minutes by road.

Altea is also served by the little train from Denia to Benidorm where you can enjoy a grand view of the north Costa Blanca coastline. It takes 13 minutes to get to the busy beach resort of Benidorm.

Altea has a population of about 24,300. Of these, nearly 15,000 are Spanish. The main expat groups are from Britain (1,400), Romania (1,100) and Germany (800).