Altea is one of my favorite towns on the Costa Blanca. And ever since my friend Nicci decided to move to Altea, I’ve been able to visit this cute town on a regular basis. Although I’m sure we’ll both agree not regularly enough! 😉
In this interview Nicci shares her personal experiences and practical tips for anyone thinking about moving to and living in Altea.
This interview is part of the Ask an Expat series. In this series, I interview people living all over the world but outside of their home country. I try to help paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of life abroad, share tips about moving to the place the expat now calls home, and information about what to see and do here.
Expat Life in Altea, Spain
Home town: Porthcawl, UK
”I grew up in a small town in South Wales and had a quiet, very normal childhood.
I loved going on vacation and discovering new places and cultures. And I always dreamt of living somewhere warm and sunny so I decided to do my degree in French and Spanish. I hoped that this would provide me with opportunities to live and work abroad.
So, at 18 I moved to Cardiff, to begin my degree at Cardiff University. As part of my degree I spent some time living and studying in France and Spain and that really made me realize that I wanted to live abroad for at least a few years.
After finishing my degree and a PGCE in teaching, I found a job as a teacher in an international school in Valencia, and that’s how I moved abroad.”
Why Did You Move to Altea?
”I loved living in Valencia and I stayed there for four years but then felt it was time for a change and so I began applying for other teaching jobs.
I got one in a school near Altea. That prompted a move to Altea and I have now been living and working here for 4 years.”
What Do You Like About Living in Altea?
”I love Altea’s proximity to the beach and the relaxed vibe that this creates.
There is a great mix of Spaniards and international people living in Altea and although it is a relatively small town, there is always something to do.
There are some great bars and restaurants and I love the chiringuitos (beach bars) that get put up on the beaches during the summer months.”
What Do You Dislike About Living in Altea?
”There’s not much to dislike but if I had to choose something it’s the vast quantity of tourists that visit Altea during July and August.”
Is Altea Safe as a Place to Live?
”Altea is a very safe place to live.
I feel safe at all times of day and night and, apart from the odd pick-pocketing incident, you don’t hear of any crime taking place in the town.”
What Is Your Favorite Thing to Do in Altea?
”My favorite thing to do in Altea is to go to the beach.
I love the beaches around the Cap Negret area as they are less crowded and have some great chiringuitos. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboards there in summer which is a fun way to pass an hour or two.”
What Is Your Favorite Place to Hang Out in Altea?
”My favorite spot is a bar in the old town called Altearte. It is the heart of the International community in Altea and is loved by locals too.
There is always something going on there: art exhibitions, language exchanges, book club, and they do a great mojito too!”
What Is the Expat / International Community Like in Altea?
”Altea has a big international community made up of mainly Europeans and South Americans.
Most Europeans who choose to live in Altea made a big effort to learn Spanish and integrate themselves into the Spanish way of life.”
Any Tips for Moving to / Living in Altea?
”If you are thinking of moving to Altea then learning Spanish at least to a conversational standard is a must.
Paperwork in Spain can be time-consuming and complicated so I recommend getting some professional advice on exactly what you need to do.”
Any Resources You Found Useful During the Process of Moving to and/or Building a New Life in Altea?
Although it might sound strange, I would make Altearte bar my first stop if I were moving to Altea. The owners have really worked hard to create a community for expats and internationals so it’s a great place to make new friends, get advice, and practice your Spanish. And they even have a section on their facebook page to help people who are looking to rent a house.”
Is There Something You Just Have to See or Do When You Are in Altea?
”I love the Castell de L’Olla. It is a huge firework display that takes place every year in August.
The fireworks are let off on L’Olla beach in Altea and about 50,000 people go to Altea to watch it every year because it is one of the biggest and best firework displays in Spain. Lots of people take picnics and cava down to the beach and have parties there before the fireworks begin. There’s a great atmosphere!”
Altea is a small, charming, and most of the year quite lively town.
It is located north of Alicante on the section of Mediterranean coast called the Costa Blanca.
The economy of Altea is based on tourism, which started to grow in the 1950s because of its good weather, beaches, and the labyrinthine streets with whitewashed house-fronts that characterize the old town. Its seafront esplanade is lined with palm trees.
Altea is protected on the north by the bluffs of the Serra de Bèrnia, creating an especially mild microclimate.
If You Are Interested in Moving to This Part of Spain, Also Read:
- Interview With an Expat About Living in Denia, Costa Blanca
- Interview With an Expat About Living in Moraira, Costa Blanca
- Interview With an Expat About Living in Alicante
- Interview With an Expat About Living in Valencia
- Moving to Spain as an American: What I Wish I knew
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