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A trip to Altea

Altea is located on the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante on the bay of Altea. The city has its name from the Moorish word "Althaya" which means "Health for all". During Moorish times, the city and surroundings were part of the emirate of Denia and there were several farms here, such as d'Albalat and Benasquer.

Picture by Harry Fabel

The Arabs provided the irrigation systems that still exist, which greatly improved the opportunities for agriculture and fruit growing. In 1244, James I of Aragón reconquered the Iberian Peninsula on the Moors. This Reconquista and the fight against the Moorish pirates is still celebrated in Altea every year in September during the Moros y Cristianos celebrations.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Gradually the area was repopulated with Christians and the city was fortified and walled. This part is now known as the old city or the Casco Antiguo de Altea. At the highest point here is the Església de la Mare de Déu del Consol d'Altea, whose blue domes nowadays are Altea's 'calling card'.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Altea also received city rights in 1729. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, around 5,000 people lived there, mainly engaged in agriculture and fishing. Only with the start of mass tourism from the fifties of the twentieth century did the population increase considerably and only then did the land stretch between the old city and the sea.

Picture by Harry Fabel

The coast consists largely of sandy and pebble beaches. Altea's coastline is approximately 6 km long. Including cliffs, small bays, and long stretches of flat beach. These are the beaches and where you can find them:
  • Playa de la Roda beach near the old city center.
  • The largest beach in Altea is Cap Blanch, a little further south of the center, which borders on the beach of Albir, which belongs to the municipality of Alfaz del Pi.
  • North of the center is the pebble beach Playa de Cap Negret.
  • A little further north lies the beach of L'Olla opposite the island of the same name.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Altea became a meeting place for all kinds of artists, painters, and writers in the fifties and sixties of the twentieth century, giving it the name of an artist's city. The city is still considered an important cultural place and is the Cultural Capital of the Valencia region. In 2001 the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH) was established here. The Palau de Altea is a music and congress center with 859 places.

Picture by Harry Fabel

The most recommended sights in Altea are:
  • The Casco antiguo de Altea with the Església de la Mare de Déu del Consol d'Altea.
  • The Torre de la Galera and the Torre de Bellaguerda.
  • The village of Altea la Vella.
  • The Russian Orthodox Church (Iglesia Ortodoxa Rusa) at Altea Hills.
  • The Sierra de Bernia mountain range.

Altea is about 10 km from Benidorm. You can get there by taking bus 10 in the direction of Altea. A ticket will cost you 1.5 euros and the trip will take you about 45 minutes.


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