One of my first ventures outside Alicante city was to the little town of Altea, situated about an hours tram journey from Alicante’s city centre. I had researched a few places to visit at weekends that were within a reasonable journey distance, Altea was my first choice mainly due to photos I had seen of a beautiful Arabic style bell tower. So off my flatmate and I set one Saturday afternoon…
One of the best things about Alicante is it’s tram service, which runs from the central square, Luceros, all the way to Benidorm (just under an hour) which then connects to another tram line which takes you further up the coast to Denia (host to a ferry port, that connects ferries to the Balearic Islands). The stop before Benidorm is one of the Costa Blanca’s top attractions, Terra Mitica, which conveniently has a shuttle service bus which takes you to the park from the tram stop…very accessible!
Another advantage I discovered was the travel card that was available to buy, although registering for the card was a struggle with the slow Spanish pace of life, and I ended up going back and forth to the transport office about 3 times in a week before I got to the counter! However, once brought and delivered the card was very similar to that of the Oyster card in London, allowing you to travel by tram or bus with a swipe of your card, as long as you have money on it of course.
Now, back to Altea. The trick is to get off at the stop after the ‘Altea’ stop, named ‘Garganes’. This is because the Altea stop drops you off in the new area of the town which is fine, however the stop after drops you smack bang in the middle of the old quarter of the town. With a 5 minute walk to the beautiful beach front and explanadas which is lined with restaurants, cafes and bars. Another 15 minute walk in the other direction away from the beach will led you up quite a steep hill and round a few corners until eventually you reach the jackpot, an archway that is the entrance to a somewhat separate world. A little enclosed area with the cutest cobbled streets filled with boutique shops and shisha lounges. The streets lead to a square at the very top of the hill which is where you will find the stunning church and bell tower. The square is also surrounded by bars and cafes and there is a balcony that overlooks the beach and coastline… a perfect photo spot.