25 Nov Altea, a discovery in the Spanish Mediterranean
The tourist that you will usually find in Altea are quite different than what you think. Many of the Spanish painters, writers and show business people take shelter there because of its tranquility. These usually stay in the old neighbourhood near the church, the typical restaurants with either international cuisine or good home cooking and the quite sinnuous streets. There is a more modern part to the town at the foot of the hill, but still respecting the architecture of old.
A spin around Altea
The best way to get a close up look is to go on foot. Start at the Mestre La Musica Street, which looks like a long stone stairway leading you past small stone homes at uneven levels through a doorway into the walled town. From there upwards to the Mayor Street where you will lay your eyes on the simple church, centre of all cultural activities. The bohemian feeling and setting of the crafts market set up from Easter time to September by the local group of craftsmen characterizes this square. The most outstanding monument is the church called the Church of the Virgen of the Consolation, constructed in 1910 on top of a very old and primitive parish. The interior is very ornately decorated and the blue tiles on its dome make it very mediterranean: each one of the tiles were hand painted. There used to be a castle next to it but there are hardly any remains left.
If you want to see an entertaining and colourful show without paying or reserving a seat, go down to the docks to the public fish exchange market around six in the afternoon. That is when the typical fishing boats come in with their capture and the bargaining begins for the restaurants and bars. But the most curious aspect is that it is done in Valencian, the local language and “ at high speed”!
What’s to eat in Altea
Thanks to the fantastic weather, every meal almost all year round can be had on the terraces overlooking the sea in the modern part along the Altea promenade. Do not miss the Bodegon de Pepe, originally decorated and serving great portions of mussels. For a nice dinner, the old area is quaint and relaxing, having menus for everyone’s budget.
And if you are looking for more excitement, then move onto Torrevieja for watersports or to Benidorm for a moving nightlife and shopping galore. But first come into contact with your inner self at Altea.