I was once told the name means Health for All derived from ancient greek. It is not surprising, it is placed in one of the healthiest climates in Europe.
Artists flock here for the crisp clarity of colour. Azul dominates and deepens, whispers of green foliage and pink and white bougainvillea petals drape over anything white.
I was lucky enough to live here for five years. I reminisce about happy times with my children. Every school morning my son would catch a bus to Alicante and I would hold hands with my three-year-old daughter as we walked back home along the white-pebbled beach to watch the sunrise. We were never alone, there was always a crowd to witness the splendor of the occasion. It happened every day and every sunrise was unique.
We would enjoy walking up the hill through the old town towards the Iglesia de Arriba” The church, built 100 years ago with money collected from 5,690 residents. I remember entering that church for the first time and experiencing an emotion that brought tears to my eyes. It was truly spectacular.
During my time in Altea we spent a lot of time in the square sipping coffee or a glass of wine and watching the people. I told my children we could look over Altea and out to sea. ‘Check for pirates’ I would tell them, for up here we could see everything. News Years Eve, the square is where you want to be watching the fireworks and immersed in celebration.
A portrait artist would perch on the wall balancing his easel waiting to paint the giggling and flirtatious tourists. Down the steps, we could venture into the little gift shops before having a pizza or some tapas.
But Altea is not just a quaint old town. It has a vibrant and bustling coastline that stretches all the way to the next small town of Albir. This is the place to promenade in the evening amongst the twinkling lights and the cane seating of enticing restaurants welcoming you with some good cooking aromas.
The harbour area is a wonderful place to visit and meander. This coastline has been much improved in the last few years, It is very clean and easy to walk.
We visited the restaurant Opera and ate apple strudel, not so Spanish but then Altea caters to all nationalities. It is a cosmopolitan place which gives it immense variety. I followed along the coast counting 16.000 steps and walking off the delicious dessert which I truly deserved.
If you visit Altea, please take some art back with you. One of my favourite artists is Luis Rincon. He catches the true ambiance of Altea and lives there with his wife and two children. Altea is a place of creative abundance, it is there to be shared and taken home. Just in case you never return, you will never forget.
Please check out these other artists too that come from Altea.