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la olla beachThe coastline is littered with beaches and hidden coves and if you like exploring and getting away from the mainstream, then head to La Olla in Altea - past the main Altea strip and towards Altea Hills. The easiest way is by car, just drive along the N332 and it will take about 15 minutes, unless you choose a Tuesday when the market is on – the number 10 bus only goes as far as Altea centre and it´s quite a walk from there. Alternatively, take the tram to Olla de Altea then walk down towards the sea.


pink sky over la ollaHead to the huge hotel called "Villa Gadea" – behind the hotel you will find a parking area and at the far end, walk down the steps (there are quite a lot) onto the beach. This stretch is littered with chiringito´s- traditional beach bars, unique to the Spanish coastline.

 

chiringito bar on beachThey are wooden or metal "shacks" selling drinks and serving food - there are no posh tablecloths and the menu is whatever the cook has rustled up! Usually its a family run business, with the adults - mum, dad, aunts and uncles cooking, whilst the children - cousins, nieces and nephews are taking orders and serving.


boats at la ollaIt is probably what Spain was like before it was commercialized and tourists hit the Costas and wonderful to still see up and running. Altea Town Hall in particular encouraged the opening of these chiringitos along its beaches over the Summer, but they close up at the end of the season. Be warned, the beach is pebbly here so don´t bring your bucket and spade!


rocky shorelineIt is so peaceful and tranquil that you forget quite how close to Benidorm you are, it´s the total opposite to the vibrant energetic Levante beach. It is predominantly locals that go here, probably because the tourists don´t know about them. On Sunday´s it is particularly busy with Spanish families going out for lunch, digging into gambas and paella. You can smell the garlic wafting through the air....


FireworksThe biggest firework display you are likely to witness takes place on Saturday 8th August at La Olla in Altea. The fireworks are let off at midnight from floating pontoons and thousands flock to watch them - last year an estimated 50,000 went, travelling from across the whole of Spain. If you are here it is certainly worth going to, but get there early - many take a picnic and head out in the evening.

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