Calpe is a small seaside town on the Costa Blanca, located between Altea and Javea, it has a wonderful mixture of old Valencian culture and modern tourist facilities. Since the dawn of time has been dominated by the mighty rock outcrop of the Peñón de Ifach. It is a great base from which to explore the local area or to enjoy the local beaches. Calpe has three of the most beautiful sandy beaches on the coast.At the heart of the Costa Blanca, Calpe is a town rich in history and culture and its strategic position on the coast has attracted many voyagers and settlers throughout history. Before it became a major tourist destination, Calpe used to be a fishing village. Its shores have seen the likes of Iberian tribes, Roman conquerors, Moorish settlers, and pirates. Remains of Iberian tribes have been found around the town. Now transformed into a tourist magnet, the town sits in an ideal location, easily accessed by the A7 motorway and the N332 that runs from Valencia to Alicante; its approximately one hour drive from the airport at Alicante.One of Spain’s most visited tourist destinations, Calpe is an ocean side resort town full of interesting things to see and do. If you like walks along miles of beach side promenade, sitting at fashionable cafes watching the crowds walk by, wandering around interesting fishing harbours or shopping at traditional street markets, you’ll like staying in Calpe. The first thing you will probably notice in Calpe is its massive rock. Standing at around 332 meters high (0.20 miles or 1,089 feet), this volcanic rock formation is truly a sight to behold. This natural wonder has its own charm with people coming from all over the world to see and climb it.The main attraction in Calpe is defiantly the beautiful blue flag beaches with the golden sand and crystal clear sea water. The entire resort of Calpe is dominated by the huge Peñon de Ifach which separates the two prime beach areas of the Playa la Fossa and the Playa Bol. Eleven kilometres of beaches and coves, a marina and a beautiful natural environment are part of the immense appeal of the town. Including, of course, its astounding gastronomy, an authentic showcase of Alicante's cuisine.With its ideal location, near perfect climate and many other attractions, Calpe has proved to be a magnet for foreign tourists and homeowners as well. Thousands of British and German visitors have come here for a short visit and never returned back to their native land.
ClimateCalpe enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with cool sea breezes in summer and protection by surrounding mountains against the cold North winds in winter. The area averages nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and the average temperature easily exceeds 20 degrees. In 1986 the World Health Organisation recommended the climate of the area as one of the most equitable in the world - neither too hot in the summer nor too cold in the winter. On average it can boast 325 sunny days each year making it an ideal all year round destination.
Calpe Old Town
Make sure you also spend some time exploring the old streets of the centre of town. The Old Town features some lovely historic sights including the old walls of the town and also the Iglesia Vieja Curch, which boasts Mudejar-Gothic architecture.When it comes to sightseeing, the ancient town centre, next to the Moorish quarter is a good place to start. The old town walls and the church known as Iglesia Vieja are well worth visiting. This church is the only remaining example of Mudejar-Gothic architecture within Valencia. At the top of the main shopping street, simply take any of the small side streets on the left hand side, and you’ll soon find yourself in an area of winding cobblestone lanes, beautiful churches, tiny museums and side walk cafes and bodegas.In Calpe’s Old Town, don’t miss the beautiful painted and tiled murals located on walls and houses all over town and take photos of some of the pretty lanes lined with potted plants and colorful flowers. Have a glass of Sangria, the delicious Spanish wine-mix, at a traditional bodega and don’t miss ordering a plate of the Spanish national dish, paella.Calpe’s old town is filled with winding cobblestone streets and magnificent Moorish-European architecture. Visitors to the old town are greeted by the Torreon de la Peca, a centuries-old wall built to protect the town from North African pirates. Take a nice stroll and pass through sidewalk cafes, bodegas, museums, and churches like the beautiful Iglesia Antigua - a fine example of Gothic-Mudejar architecture.A few steps from the old town is the Ermita de San Salvador, a Gothic-style 18th-century hermitage built to commemorate the re-conquest of Calpe on San Salvador’s feast day. The hermitage is also a great vantage point, offering fantastic panoramic views of Calpe.Further up from the town is the Ermita de San Juan de la Cometa, a hermitage built during the late 17th to early 18th-century. Every June 24, it becomes a venue for the feast of St. John.The historic quarter of Calpe is bordered by the old walls, erected in the 15th century to defend the city against pirate attacks. Next to the Moorish quarter of El Arrabal, part of the medieval walled precinct is preserved, some fronts and the large Tower of Peça. Nearby, the parish church devoted to the Virgin of the Snow, dating back to the 15th century, is the only Gothic-Mudejar temple in the Region of Valencia. Two beautiful examples of religious architecture are also found in Calpe: the hermitages of La Cometa and San Salvador, both from the 17th century.The rural tradition of this town is present in its outskirts. Hillsides covered with vineyards alternate with beautiful examples of local architecture, like Casa Nova, a typical farm with the appearance of a fortressand Pou Salat, the old water supply.Calpe is almost three thousand years old and in this area it still retains a sense of history and tradition. The earliest archaeological findings, at the time of the Iberians were found at the Ifach cliffs. Later the Romans established a wealthy colony at the coast whose main activity was the trade of dried and salted fish.In the Middle Ages, Calpe’s local population developed agriculture. Christians and Muslims lived here peacefully together, despite the many attacks from pirates between the 14th and 17th century. In the 18th century this threat was removed and Calpe enjoyed an economic upswing which continues to the day.
Calpe Old Church
Originally constructed in the early 15th century, the site of the old church of Calpe is on top of the site of an old chapel which was present during the Christian conquest.The fortified Mudéjar Gothic building had the dual purpose of being both for religious worship, as well as for defensive purposes. It served as a place of refuge when the community was under attack.Inside is a panel painting of great artistic value, in tempera, that dates to the 15th century. It depicts St. Cosmas, St. Anthony the Abbot, and St. Damian, and is the creation of Master Perea’s workshop. Other works are also housed inside that are dedicated to the municipality’s patron saint, Cristo del Sudor, St. Sepulcro and the patron saint of sailors, the Virgin Carmen.Stretching for around one kilometer (0.62 miles) between Avenida del Norte and Avenida Puerto de Santa María, visitors can shop to their heart’s content at the Saturday market. With half of the market is dedicated to fresh produce, the other half has absolutely everything one could possibly want to bring home. There are around 250 stalls that visitors can browse for clothes, shoes, furniture, and knickknacks.From Monday to Friday, La Lonja de Calpe (Calpe Fish Market) hosts a fish auction that starts from dusk and runs to the evening. Although it is quite fun to watch, only restaurants and wholesalers like supermarkets can take part in the bidding. Some of the food items being sold are shellfish, octopus, squid, whiting, red mullet, mackerel, grouper, and gilthead. Viewers can witness the fast-paced battle of bidders at the viewing gallery. There is also a public fishmonger counter where visitors can buy the same fish being auctioned, except that they are already cleaned out. Make sure you visit the local market selling fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other locally-made goods and produce – market day in Calpe is on a Saturday.
Cafes and Restaurants
There are many international restaurants close by offering a wide choice of different cuisines from around the world. Cuisine from the Costa Blanca combines delicacies from both land and the Mediterranean Sea. Many civilizations have lived in this area (Celts, Iberians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims), all of which have all left their mark on the gastronomy. The diet is a typically, healthy Mediterranean one; the Costa Blanca is rich in fish, vegetables, olive-oil, rice and fruit and the ingredients which are all used to prepare delicious, healthy dishes, such as Paella Valenciana, Visit the Nightly Fish Auction and Eat Dinner at a Fish Restaurant – After the fishing boats come back at the end of the day, that day’s catch is taken to the Calpe Auction House down by the harbour and auctioned off to the numerous restaurants and hotels around Calpe. Anyone can go to the auction house and settle in to watch the fish being hauled in, hurriedly auctioned off to the highest bidder, then hauled off again.It’s fun, it’s fast and it’s exciting and you won’t have a clue what’s going on, but you’ll have a great time. After the auction, head out to the one of the many fish restaurants close to the harbour and order some of the freshest fish you’ll ever eat. Aside from its many seafood restaurants, Calpe is also known for a variety of Mediterranean dishes and Spanish staples like tapas, paella, and sangria. There are also local homemade pastries and deserts like the Jijona ice-cream made from Alicante almonds.Calpe's traditional gastronomy is mainly based on rice and fish. In addition to the famous Arròs del Senyoret, there are other rice dishes with beans and turnip, which are baked or served with Swiss chard. Also typical are dishes like the octopus casserole and Llauna de Calpe (fish stew). The wines with the label Designation of Origin - Alicante should accompany any of these delicacies.
Walk the Length of the Promenades – One of the most beautiful parts of Calpe are the long tiled promenades, which stretch along the beach from one side of the town to the other. There are many beautiful beaches in Calpe also, so you won’t be short of sandy space where you can soak up the sizzling Spanish sun. Levante beach and Arenal-Bol beach are the two main beaches near the town and not only are they very large but they consist of soft golden sand. Walk along the promenades, from one end to the other, and you’ll get a workout that will last several kilometers. While walking, check out the lovely beach side cafes you pass, watch the sand artists creating sand sculptures of enormous crocodiles, beautiful mermaids and exotic castles, and take photographs of the stunning ocean views and Calpe Rock from every angle.Sitting at a beach side cafe in Calpe is the perfect way to see the world go by without moving yourself. On an average day, in just an hour’s time, you’ll see thousands of people from all over the world casually ambling by on the promenade, cycling, rollerblading, speed walking, walking dogs, pushing wheelchairs as well as the beach vendors selling their wares.Playa de Levante La Fossa Fine golden sand, crystal clear waters, Levante o La Fossa beach has everything to tempt beach lovers right from the start. In addition, there are all the facilities you need for a great day out on the beach.The cherry on the cake - the view is stunningly beautiful. You can admire the less famous side of the Rock of Ifach with its vegetation sliding down to the edge of the beach.All along the well maintained promenade which backs onto the beach, there are lots of restaurants and shops.On each side of the rock are two fantastic sandy Calpe beaches and this is the reason why most people come on holiday to Calpe – the beaches are of a very high quality sand and the waters are clean.The beaches are so long and wide that unlike the nearby town of Benidorm, you can always find a spot on the beach. The facilities on the beaches are excellent with many play areas for the children right on the beach itself.The Calpe beaches are superb and always hold a blue flag which means they are certified as being clean by the European Foundation for Environmental Education. They are surrounded by dozens of restaurants, bars and clubs offering a wide variety of food, drink and entertainment.Cantal-Roig Beach. Near the fishing port and Peñón de Ifach is the small and peaceful Cantal-Roig Beach. Despite being located near many seafood restaurants, it still manages to be a calm haven in the bustling city. Also near the rock is La Fossa or Levante Beach located near a wide promenade and a variety of bars and cafes. Arenal Bol, the most popular and largest beach, is perfect for those seeking lots of activity and vibrancy. In the vicinity are many shops and dining establishments as well as a great view to beat.This beach is probably the best choice for families, as it is situated just by the fishing port and the mighty rock. At the end of the day you can watch the fishing boats arrive, and then head off to the fish options. There are plenty of restaurants here, and the beach has been awarded the blue flag stashes. It’s a fine sandy beach of around 200 metres in length, with calm waters.Arenal Bol BeachThe biggest and busiest beach features around a kilometre of clear calm waters and fine golden sand. Little palm trees are dotted here and there, which add to its charm. During the high season there is a special service to help those with limited mobility to swim. There’s a buzzing promenading with heaps of services, including shops of all types, ice cream shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.Puerto Blanco BeachLocated at the northern end of the Puerto Blanco marina, this small beach of 100 metres length, has a mixture of coarse sand and pebbles. The water is calm, but has some seagrass. For those who are into diving, there’s a good dive centre here.
The nature lovers that you are will be able to discover these 45 hectares of protected space. From a size point of view, the park is one of Europe’s smallest, but it’s not the least interesting! Its bioclimatic characteristics, its position and its orientation allow the development of a unique and diverse flora. It’s for this reason that the park is one of the most visited in the Valence region....
Parque Natural de Peñon d’IlfachEven if you’ve never been to Calpe as yet, the likelihood is that you may have seen photos of its most famous landmark – the Rock Peñon d’Ilfach. The natural park area of Peñon d’Ilfach is, in fact, the result of a landslide of the nearby Sierra de Oltà, and it’s certainly a most unique and interesting land form.This natural park is one of the most-visited parks located in the Valencian Community. Connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, it is also known as a meeting spot for scuba divers, climbers and hikers.There are excellent views at the top, but you need a head for heights and walking boots or shoes, but it’s well worth the climb. If you have a dreamy head full of beautiful views after the experience, be sure to take extra care on the walk down, as the path can be quite slippery.
Calpe Salt Flats
The location of the Peñon d’Ilfach has an influence in the formation of this fascinating humid area. It’s a lagoon of tombolic source generated by the evolution of a double sandbar. The salt flats inhabit a depression full of Quaternary alluvial deposits.Of course salt was essential for food preservation, so Calpe was able to take advantage of the salt mines in order to promote the local fish. Historically the salt mines have been of great importance, that can be traced back as far as the 2nd century AD, at which time the Roman civilisations there combined the salt pans with the fish farm. At one stage the salt mines were providing salt to around 40 municipalities. It was towards the latter part of the 18th century, that they went into decline, due to infections that were causing fevers in the local people.In 1993 they were declared to be a Maritime Terrestrial zone. At the salt flats you can see different birds, probably the most outstanding being the flamingo, as well as plant life that is distinctive to this peculiar ecosystem.
The town's most famous feature would be the Peñon de Ifach (the Calpe Rock). The huge rock rises 332 meters out of the Mediterranean, reminiscent of the rock of Gibraltar. The Peñon was declared a nature reserve in 1987 and now provides a safe place for a variety of birds and unusual flora and fauna.Climbers range from hobbyists to the highly experienced, but those who have health problems and/or a serious fear of heights are not advised to make the climb. The path above the tunnel is quite hard to traverse. However, the view from the top makes the nearly two-hour hike simply worth it. On clear days, even Ibiza can be seen.Aside from being Calpe’s most distinguishable landmark, Peñón de Ifach also has its own natural park and conservation area teeming with local plant life and more than 300 species of animals. Every year, migratory sea birds use it as a nest site. The Calpe Salt Mines, a Maritime Terrestrial Zone, is also in the vicinity. Different species of birds, including the flamingo, can be seen on these defunct salt flats.The Calpe Rock is a Natural Park which is the symbol of the whole Costa Blanca. The summit of the rock is reached after a tough climb up a footpath, by means of a short tunnel through the upper part of the rock. From the top, magnificent panoramic views can be had. On a clear day, the island of Ibiza is visible. Calpe is easily recognised thanks to the stunning Penon de Ifach (the Rock of Ifach), which reaches a height of 332m and is a protected nature reserve. You can hike to the top of this stunning feature with a clear path marking the way with the most breathtaking views. Three-quarters of the way up you reach a tunnel carved through the rock, which is fun to walk through. Don;t worry there’s a rope on the side of the walls to help you through. Once past the tunnel there is a further climb to reach the summit, but this is recommend for only experience hikers and mountaineers. Make sure you’re fit and wearing appropriate footwear.It’s well worth doing, as you will be rewarded with outstanding panoramic views in all directions and you may even be able to see the island of Ibiza, which is pretty impressive. The rock also features more than three hundred types of flora adding to the natural beauty and it’s a haven for birds too with species including the swift and silver seagulls. These are a few photos one of our Sunmaster team took of her recent adventure here:One of the best things about this city is how some of its ancient ruins have remained intact. With remnants of the past dating back to the Roman conquest still present today, Calpe is indeed an archaeological treasure as well as a scenic party town.The flour mill is one of the many mills that once existed in the costa blanca region. Originally it was a watch tower to protect the coastline from pirate attacks. Later in the middle of the 19th century a flour mill was built on top of the original foundations of the watch tower.The Algar waterfalls are located just outside of the town of Callosa de Ensarria. Here you can see some beautiful waterfalls and a natural pool, where you can have a swim during summer season.Truly a sight to behold, the Baños de la Reina (Roman Baths) is a coastal enclave near the Playa Arenal Bol and Calpe History and Archeology Museum. Believed to be the baths of a Moorish queen, it is comprised of three parts: the Roman Vicus, Muntanyeta Thermal Complex, and Roman Fish Farms. Excavations have revealed that the ruins once had magnificent architecture and housed fine art. So far, around 25% of the surface has been excavated revealing the ancient past of a luxurious villa fit for a queen.The Torre Moli del Morello, an 18th-century flour mill and watchtower, is located at the western end of the Roman Baths. With its strategic location by the seaside, it was once used to protect the city from pirates. Located at the foot of the Peñon de Ifach, the Pobla d’Ifach is a medieval town built in the 1300s which housed around 90 burial sites.Another architectural marvel is the Calpe Castle, a late 16th-century watchtower built to defend against Berber pirates. It can be accessed by a short climb on the mountain side of Calpe. The remains of a Roman villa can be seen next to the promenade and the fascinating ruins of the Moorish Castle of Calpe can be seen overlooking the Mascarat ravine. Mirador Monte Toix has one of the most beautiful views on the Costa Blanca. You can admire the Rock of Ifach, the towns of Calp and Altea as well as the mountains behind Benidorm. The deep blue Mediterranean is also a wonder to behold. A stunningly beautiful view, where you can appreciate both the natural character of the region and the way it has been developed.
ExcursionsCalpe has a wonderful modern marina that sits alongside the old fishing port; from here it is possible to take boat rides around the rock and to the nearby resort of Benidorm. The port has a nautical club and facilities for yachting, windsurfing and water skiing. If its dry-land sports you want then the rock of Ifach offers climbing facilities. We can also sit back and enjoy the more picturesque hidden corners of Calpe by horese drawn carriage or on the tourist train…From Calpe, many different excursions can be taken to other towns on the Costa Blanca. Denia and Jávea are located north of Cabo de la Nao (Nao Cape). These are tourist towns with an extensive coastline of beaches and coves. The visit may continue to the Montgó Nature Reserve, where the outline of the mountains dives down into the Mediterranean, creating spectacular cliffs. One of the best ways to enjoy the local coastline is by means of the narrow gauge railway that runs from Alicante to Denia, stopping at Calpe. To the north is the town of Teulada, famous for its muscatel vineyards. Altea is dominated by the blue dome of the church of Virgen del Consuelo. L’Alfàs del Pi is an inland town that meets the sea on the beach of Albir. Benidorm, with its excellent beaches, makes this region one of the most important tourist destinations in Alicante.Wild Life SanctuaryNoah’s Ark wildlife sanctuary between Guadalest and Benimantel is well worth a visit. It rescues mainly zoo animals or strange pets which have been mal treated and survives on charity. It’s quite a unique experience, being the middle of the Spanish countryside, on the side of a hill looking at lions, tigers, camels and bears.If one likes touring around, we have the picturesque town of Guadalest at a 40 minutes drive. The Jalón valley is beautiful to drive through, certainly in the coming weeks, when the almond trees start blossoming. Also near are Benissa, Moraira, Jávea and Denia, all of them with beautiful old town centres, worth a visit.Next to the town’s old fishing port is a stylish marina where you can book a boat ride along the coast. Head out onto the water enjoy the views from the sea or sail along the shore to visit one of the nearby resorts such as Benidorm.
Within one hour’s drive there are a good selection of golf courses. The Ifach golf course is situated in Moraira on a country estate. The challenging course offers magnificent views of the sea and mountains. It’s a nine holes course and although the holes are quite short, the terrain and the narrow fairways make them tricky and entertaining.The delightful climate invites you to try your skill at the man water sports offered by the specialist centers….snorkeling, diving, sailing, fishing, windsurfing, etc. You can also enjoy the sea in a more relaxed manner, sailing on a catamaran or other types of boat trips such as the famous glass bottom boats, where you get a wonderful look at the marine life. The mild climate and the peculiar geography of the area make this town the ideal destination for everyone, from those seeking beaches and sun to fans of outdoor sports.Refreshment kiosks and equipment-hiring stands that offer windsurfing boards and jet-skis are located all along the beaches of La Fossa and Arenal, which have a beautiful promenade and offer all kinds of services. Among the many quiet coves in the bay is Les Bassetes, famous for its beautiful seabed and crystal waters. This cove rivals others such as La Manzanera and Les Urques in beauty, perfect for sailing and scuba diving.Lovers of outdoor sports can climb the Rock of Ifach or go potholing in the Barranc del Mascarat and the Oltá Mountain. The magnificent mountain routes of yhe Peñón de Ifach and the Sierras de Oltá and Toix, provide the perfect backdrop for cycling, hiking and rock climbing. Other possibilities include the many excursions available by Jeep, quad bike, and guided cycling tours.
Calpe has cultural calendar filled with fiestas and leisure activities. From Carnival to Fallas de San José (March 19) and including the Bonfires of San Juan (June 24) and the festival of Moors and Christians (October). The local holidays, devoted to the Virgen de las Nieves (Virgin of the Snow), takes place on August 5.