My Altea: Insider Tips

One of the best ways to enjoy Altea is simply getting lost in the small, cobbled, pedestrian streets of Altea’s Old Town; however, if time is short or you want to know the best of immediately, take a look at the tips below. After living here for years, I’ve had the joy of getting to know Altea inside and out. I’ve learned the fastest routes to Mercadona or the train station, I’ve scouted out the best places to eat or just grab a bite, and I’ve had the joy to get to know some of the people who add charm and character to Altea. So if you’re here for a week or just a couple of days, be sure to check out my insider tips so that you can catch the best that Altea has to offer. If you have any questions once you arrive, be sure to let me know. You can stop by AlteArte or contact me through the Contact Form on my About page.
Where to Eat:

Hotel San Miguel: Looking for a great paella in an authentic Spanish setting? Look no further than Hotel San Miguel. Located on the promenade, Hotel San Miguel may seem like just another touristy hotel, but, in this case, looks are definitely deceiving. The hotel and adjoining restaurant are run by a family from Altea and has been around for decades. The husband makes the paellas, the wife can often be found greeting people on the main floor, and the two sons serve the dishes with a smile. Priced at about 10 euros per person, the paellas are sure to not disappoint – in flavor or in value!

*To ensure that you have an amazing experience, try to get a table on the second floor near the windows. The view is amazing.

*Great option for vegetarians! They offer a 100 percent vegetarian paella with artichoke, red bell peppers, and white beans.

*The place can get packed with locals so you may want to call ahead to make a reservation.

The best paella in Altea is made here!

The best paella in Altea is made here!

Xef Pirata: Founded in 2009 by an Argentinian, Xef Pirata offers high-end tapas in a trendy setting. Located just on the outskirts of the Old Town, it’s easy to bypass this cozy little gastrobar, but you can’t experience the best of Altea without eating here. The tapas are not only original and all homemade but the presentation is innovative and picture-worthy. This little tapas bar became so popular among the locals and tourists that the owner added on a second floor in 2012 which is equally, if not more charming, than the first floor.

*Although the tapas are amazing, Xef Pirata has also become known for its hamburgers.

*For outside dining, you may want to come early or make a reservation The terrace is tiny and limited to about 4 tables.

The perfect place for tapas in Altea's Old Town.

The perfect place for tapas in Altea’s Old Town.

Casa del Mar: Also open since 2009, Casa del Mar adds a cool, chill-out vibe to the promenade. Just doors up from Hotel San Miguel, Casa del Mar offers a nice selection of tapas in a nice, laid back atmosphere. Offering primarily outdoor seating, it’s great for admiring the sea over a drink or a meal. A popular hangout among locals, it’s open during the day and night.

This cool bar has a nice beach vibe and offers a nice selection of tapas.

This cool bar has a nice beach vibe and offers a nice selection of tapas.

Restaurante Juan Ting Sushi y Maki: For a refreshing alternative from all of the Italian restaurants in Altea’s Old Town, check out this Japanese restaurant centrally located on Calle Mayor. The Sushi is amazing, the service is good and the owner is super friendly.
– Vegetarian options are available and they can even make sushi with fresh vegetables or fruits in place of fish.

– On a nice day, make sure you head straight to the top. The terrace offers one of the most impressive views. From the top, you can see the back of Altea’s church, the sea and the mountains.

** Note: the Japanese restaurant has now moved down to the promenade, so if you feel like sushi by the water, you can’t find better. An Indian restaurant, Crown of India, has taken its place on Calle Mayor and is highly recommended.

The view from the terrace is amazing!

The view from the terrace is amazing!

Qvo Helado Artesano Altea: For dessert, you can’t miss out on the best ice cream in Altea! Located just inside the arch, to the right, this ice cream shop is super small but packed with sweetness! Offering a variety of unique and interesting flavors that change regularly, you’ll have to go back repeatedly.

*It’s only open seasonally from about April/May to September/October.

AlteArte: I may be biased since I am the co-owner, but you can’t call a visit to Altea complete without a stop at AlteArte. Sip on a Mojito or Nojito (without alcohol) – dare I say it, but it might be the best you’ll ever have – while soaking up the ambiance. Take a seat inside where you can enjoy artwork done by local artists as well as the charm of a building that was once a stable or outside at one of the tables that line the street leading up to the church square. Delicious drinks, great ambiance and excellent service. 😉 If you stop by, be sure to let us know!

Easy Day Trips from Altea:

Guadalest: Although Guadalest is small and might be too touristy for some, it’s worth seeing at least once. A tiny village perched on a mountaintop, Guadalest offers spectacular views from the top and lots of small shops and cafes. Entrance to the Castle is worth the 3 euros (1.5 for kids) as it offers access to nice vantage points and a look inside the actual castle.

*One of the best parts of visiting Guadalest is the drive up through the mountain villages and past groves and groves of nisperos!

Fonts de Algars or Fuentes de Algars: En route to Guadalest, you’ll pass Callosa d’en Sarria. Just 3 km from there are the Algar Waterfalls. It offers a refreshing way to cool off on a hot day although there is a 5 euro entrance fee during high season.

Jalon or Xalon: Visit Jalon on a Saturday morning between 9 am to 2 pm and you won’t be disappointed by the huge antique market that they set up every week. Outdoor markets are common in Spain as each village, large or small, has one, but the market in Jalon is unique and worth checking out. After the market, which will take hours in an of itself, enjoy a mystela (a sweet wine) at one of the bodegas.

Moraira: Although in my opinion, nothing tops Altea in terms of charm and beauty, Moraira is just up the coast and also offers gorgeous views of the Mediterranean. A bit more upscale, the stores are more posh and the overall atmosphere of the town is more foreign.

El Castillo de Alicante: If you’re flying in or out of Alicante and have some extra time, visit the Castle of Alicante. One of the most impressive in terms of size and dominance in the region, this Castle is what you imagine when you think of a castle. You can drive up or walk up (takes about 1.5 – 2 hours) but the views of Alicante along the way and from the top are worth it.

Valencia: If you have the time to visit Valencia, do so. The third largest city in Spain after Barcelona and Madrid, Valencia is worth seeing, but it has many, many dimensions to it which you might miss at first glance. Of course the old town with its lively restaurants and stores are nice, but also make sure to visit the Carmen district with its cute pedestrian streets and small, hidden cafe as well as the beaches which are 10 – 15 km away. Don’t miss Little Venice or Port Saplaya, just near Alboraya beach, a charming harbor that was initially set up as a village for fisherman and their families. For a more modern feel, check out the Arts and Sciences area with architecture designed by Santiago Calatrava.

More Physical Activities:

Peñón de Ifach: A natural park and bird reserve, this rock juts out of the water in Calpe, the neighboring town to the North, and offers a nice hike to the top. Although it’s a fairly easy climb, the second half is a little more precarious. It takes about 1 hour to hike to the top. If you go in the Spring, watch out for baby seagulls. You can spot them by their protective mothers who stand in the path and aren’t aggressive but will stand at attention until you have passed. The view from the top is worth the hike up.

El Faro: Meaning lighthouse in Spanish, El Faro in Albir, the town just to the South, is more than just a beacon of light for lost seafarers. Take advantage of a nice, sunny day to enjoy the winding walk out to the tip. Only about a 45 minute to 1 hour walk each way, the path is well paved and fairly flat. Go prepared with a picnic and a camera as there are nice areas at the final destination to eat and enjoy the view.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, I might be able to help. Visit this page for some options. 


29 responses to “My Altea: Insider Tips

  1. All great tips and I’ve certainly used them to find my way around when visiting Altea.

  2. Having just eaten a fabulous paella at hotel San Miguel, I’d like to thank you for the great tip and happy to recommend to others!

  3. Im going tomorrow so will be back to let you know how we fared. It looks exciting and so useful to have your tips to start.. Margaret OD

  4. Hi there,a good little site and can’t wait to try The San Miguel ! We will definitely stop by for a drink sometime

  5. Thank you for sharing these recommendations, Sara. Great to have some inside knowledge! I will be staying in Altea in a couple of weeks’ time with my 20-month-old son. Any suggestions for restaurants that are child-friendly (e.g. have highchairs) would be very welcome.

    • I’m glad that you found the tips useful. I think your best bets for child friendly restaurants in Altea would be El Castell (great pizzas but they also have tapas and pizzas) in the Casco Antiguo and Hotel San Miguel (excellent paella). However, I’m sure many more would be prepared as many families travel through Altea. I hope you have a great time and stop by AlteArte if you’d like!

  6. hi there, great blog, hope you can help me, my wife and I will be in Altea again for 3 months, but as we are in our late 70’s the carrying of water is too heavy for us, do they bring water at home? do you know,kindest regards, Joop & Ans

    • Hi Joop and Ans,

      Thanks for your comment. The main supermarkets do home delivery. Mercadona charges about 4 euros for the service but they’re very good and reliable. I haven’t tried out other supermarkets but I’ve heard that consum offers free delivery perhaps with a minimum purchase. Hope you’ll stop by and say hi while you’re in Altea!

  7. Thanks Sara for your quick response, we will definitely come and visit you..and have one of your great meals…

  8. I’m looking forward to sampling some of your great looking recommendations when my partner and I move nearby this winter! I’ll certainly drop by and see you guys as I am a writer/artist and have you on my radar! :0)

  9. Pauline Knights

    Hi Sara, Sorry to hear about the reduction of terraces, on some businesses. Your tips are very informative. We always come to AlteArte for Mojitas.See you again in May. Pauline

  10. Hi Sara my family and i (12 OF us) are traveling to Altea for a family birthday in September so we have thoroughly enjoyed your tips and will definitely swing by for a mojita ……or 2!

    • That’s awesome that you’ll all be traveling to altea. I’m so glad that my tips have been helpful. Please let me know if I can do anything further to help and when you come to AlteArte, please introduce yourself! I look forward to meeting you and your family (all 12 of you)! 🙂

  11. HI Sara

    My wife has been in contact with you and we will be visiting your establishments in September 2017. Can you tell me of the old school Tapas places where you get a tapas with your first drink and count the total tapas by toothpicks.09’10’ there were 2 places next to one another on corner of a road which were great.

    • Hi Anthony! I believe you’re referring to Lizzaran and Fronton Playa. Lizzaran is known for their toothpick system. Unfortunately, the altea location closed down about a year ago. However, it is a franchise, so there are other locations (although not in Altea). Fronton Playa is still going strong but moved a couple of doors down to a bigger location. Hope that helps! See you in September!

  12. Hi, very informative site thank you. Enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to visiting your bar for a mojito or three in June 2017.Thanks,Carl

  13. Hi Sara, fantastic recommendations, great blog!
    We are visiting Altea on Sunday for 12 days, we love a Mojito! See you next week,
    Francine x

    • Hi Francine! Thanks for your nice comment. I am actually not in altea at the moment but will return next Friday, so I hope you stop by after I get back and before you leave.

  14. Hello Sara
    Your blog is truly very special; wise and reflected ! (Your writing 01.02.15 was so recognizable to me) I have not yet been to your favourite place(s), although having frequent holidays in Altea / Albir since 2009. The reason is as simple as I have not discovered your blog before now, and that the number of restaurants and bars in this cosy area are countless, so your relatively few recommendations has just not yet appeared in my spanish life ! But now I will definitively try out your places, starting next holiday, in last week of October. You may guess which place is on top of my list.

  15. Excellent descriptions of relevant and interesting things. Thanks so much, ill be visiting just about everything: )

  16. Hi Sara,
    I work for a television company called Frielkean films and we are planning on coming out to film in the Costa Blanca area next week. One of the sections of the show is ‘Live like a local’ and I’d love to pick your brain on a few things if possible as you seem like an expert? My email address is

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Many thanks,


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