THE DOME OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
Altea is known as the capital of the Costa Blanca, the Dome of the Mediterranean, and has received this recognition for multiple reasons. From its beaches and coves with clean waters, to its typical artistic streets of the old town, wherever you look, Altea will surprise you with its special and unsurpassed magical corners.
Beaches of Altea
Altea has more than 8 km of coastline, which alternate areas of cliffs and small coves to enjoy the sun, take a bath, read a good book or explore the seabed. We have the Playa de la Olla, with a small islet that emerges 500m from the beach, the Mascarat under the magnificent Sierra de Bernia where we will also find the Campomanes Sports Port where you can find all kinds of water sports to rent jet skis, kayaks , paddle surfing and a long etcetera. The quiet beach of Cap Negret, gravel beach and clean waters among others. And if you are an animal lover, Altea also has several beaches where dogs are allowed and you can enjoy with your four-legged companion.
Old Town of Altea
The old town of Altea is a visual delight with a charming atmosphere that breathes the magic of the Mediterranean, with its white facades and sidewalks made of stone seems that time stands still. It is easy to want to get lost in these streets where we will find different charming squares, restaurants with unbeatable views, craft stores, viewpoints with breathtaking views and of course the emblematic Church of Consuelo famous for its distinctive white and blue tiled dome that can be seen from several neighboring villages.
Golf Courses in Altea
A few minutes from the center of Altea we have the opportunity to enjoy high quality golf courses that if you are a golf lover you cannot miss, open all year round, with very flexible schedules adapting to their customers. All of them have meticulous care to get the most out of every play. In addition, all of them offer restaurants with local cuisine and have tracks where the beauty of the views of both the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea can be highlighted. Do not miss the opportunity to play golf in one of the areas with the best climate!
When we talk about Altea, its varied and delicious cuisine based on the Mediterranean diet certainly comes to mind. The gastronomy in Altea is very rich and the town hall organizes several gastronomic routes all year around in which various restaurants participate to highlight the typical and seasonal dishes and products. Rice, fish and products from the garden are the basis of Altea's gastronomy, the result of work and affection for its lands and its sea. If you ask us where to eat in Altea, the suggestions are endless. There are many quality restaurants in Altea where you can enjoy exquisite and tasty dishes in an incomparable setting, such as the promenade, the old town or the Plaza de la Iglesia, among others.
Fiestas of Altea
Here you can enjoy its festivals throughout the year, although most are concentrated in summer, among many others we have the Moros i Cristianos or for example those of San Lorenzo which are held between 10 and 13 August, that includes the night of the Castillo de la Olla, which manages to attract more than 50,000 spectators to delight them with a burst of light and gunpowder, an unforgettable party where the bay of Altea is the protagonist.
Altea la Vella and Altea in general are usually tranquil and peaceful, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get a chance to party. All year round, there are enough festivities to keep the spirits high.
Castell de l’Olla
Altea is probably most famous for a marvel of a festival that is Castell de l’Olla, which you can witness nowhere but here. It takes place on the Saturday closest to the day of San Lorenzo, August 10, and is a worldwide famous pyro-musical event which consists of a “castle” (hence the name – Castell) of fireworks being launched out into the sea, resulting in a stunning combination of light (its beauty doubled by the reflection in the water), gunpowder, and music. The show often includes a golden palm tree rising into the night sky. Over 50 thousand people come to watch it unfold every year, some of them sitting on the beach, some floating in rented boats for a better view. The event has very wholesome roots. It started out as a tribute to the local pyrotechnic Blas Aznar, “uncle Blai, the rocket”, who passed away over 30 years ago. The castle of fireworks is a gesture of utmost respect to this man, a way to honor his memory – and regale all spectators with miraculous beauty. The display is so famous, in fact, that people from all over Valencia, Spain, even Europe, come specifically to see it, and since the small town of Altea cannot house them all, special trains run that night from other cities close by, so that everyone can enjoy the party.
When Easter comes, the inhabitants of Altea hold solemn, somewhat macabre processions throughout the town during the Holy Week, which have a vivid dramatic flair to them. There is also a carnival beforehand, traditionally and symbolically representing the last chance to have some fun before Lent begins.
The pig festival (Sant Antoni del Porquet)
Speaking of Lent (or rather what we can permit ourselves in its absence), Altea has a special festival dedicated to pork. It shouldn’t be all that surprising, given how heavily pork features in Spanish cuisine, with the traditional hams hanging on hooks from bar-room ceilings, suckling pigs being the main course for celebratory meals and pigs’ tails or trotters being used to make hearty stew. Nothing goes to waste, every part of the animal is made good use of. The party takes place mid-February, and involves a parade through the old town at midday, after which everyone shares a hearty rice dish, sings folk songs and dances, and, finally, gets to taste delicious roast pork, the ultimate star of the show, so to say.
From 15th to 20th May, an amazing possibility to get more intimately familiar with Spanish culture presents itself in the form of the Oral Narration Festival, Encontes, a celebration of the ancestral art of storytelling. There are dozens of events arranged, entertaining the lucky visitors with tales and songs. Anyone, kids and adults alike, will find something that satisfies their taste.
Moros y cristianos
Now, here is probably the most spectacular festival of them all.
Every year, many Spanish towns participate in a symbolic war between the Moors and the Christians to commemorate the 500-year Moor rule over much of the territory that nowadays constitutes Spain and its end in the 15th century in the course of the Reconquista. The Reconquista consisted of a series of campaigns by Christian kingdoms to recapture the territories they once lost to the Moors. The word Moors was used by Europeans in the Middle Ages to refer to the Muslims inhabiting the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta. The festival lasts several days, and is supposed to represent the city falling into the hands of the Moors only to be won back. The fourth weekend of September, on Friday, the festival begins with a peal of bells and a cannon fire. The townsfolk are divided into groups, “cosplaying”, if you will, as the two sides of the conflict, and enact running battles in the old town and on the beach. Other than fights, the festival features parades with pompous costumes loosely inspired by Medieval fashion. Those who play the Christians ride on horses and wear fur, metallic helmets, and armor. They have arquebuses at their disposal, which they fire loudly and proudly. Conversely, those who became Moors for the weekend ride camels or elephants and wear ancient Arab costumes. It is truly something incredible and captivating to behold.