The emblematic Peñón de Ifach, clean sandy beaches and peaceful coves, valleys and mountains, sheer cliffs with a sea view, a privileged climate and warm-hearted people… Calpe is purely Mediterranean. Breath in the scent of the sea, feel the soft sand under your feet, discover the typical fishermen’s quarters or explore the majestic Ifach ‘Rock’. A traditional fishing village with a vivid history, cheerful and lively, colourful Calpe greets visitors with open arms.
Tradition and Modernity
The essence of the Mediterranean can be felt in every corner of this coastal town. Follow the footprints of ancient civilizations…archaeological sites, Iberians ruins, Baños de la Reina Roman ‘baths’, and the medieval Vila de Ifac. The picturesque Arrabal district – a maze of quaint streets that lead up to the typical church and historic Torreó de la Peça tower – strike a contrast to the modern Jaume Pastor i Fluixà Cultural Centre or the geometric tower blocks designed by renowned architect Ricardo Bofill. Stroll through Calpe old quarters, enjoy the seafaring traditions, the slow moving pace, and discover the culture of a town which has welcomed visitors for centuries.
The Peñón de Ifach Nature Park is unique: a rock massif rising from the sea, not quite a mountain or an island, the massive ‘Rock’ divides the bay of Calpe. Follow the nature trails to see the variety of native vegetation and fauna – over 80 species of bird nest across the cliffs. Walk along the eco promenade ‘Paseo Ecológico Príncesa de Asturias’ at the foot of the Peñon or climb the steep path to the summit.
Las Salinas salt lakes is just round the corner, another protected nature zone, the most scenic setting graced with flamingos and other water birds.
The Voramar route is a pleasant signposted walk that leads northwards from Calpe along the rugged coastline.
La Sierra de Oltá mountainside overlooks the town and surrounding landscapes, affording panoramic views towards the sea and the Sierra Helada ridge near Benidorm, or inland to the Puig Campana, Sierra Bernia and Montgó mountains. A circular route starts at the camping area, suitable for walkers and mountain bikes. The Morro de Toix ridge juts out into the sea to the south of Calpe. Take the path up to the lookout point for the glorious views.
Sunshine and Blue Sea
More than 2,800 hours of annual sun shines down on the small coves and sandy beaches, and transparent blue sea. Over 13 kilometres of coastline feature a variety of water sports (scuba diving, windsurfing, sailing, kitesurfing, etc.) and three leisure harbours with marine services and moorings.
Levante Beach (La Fossa) is located just north of Peñón de Ifach – fine golden sands almost a kilometre in length and all the usual amenities. The elegant seafront promenade is lined with pubs, restaurants and an assortment of shops.
Several coves – Penyal, Calaga, Mallorquí and Bassetes – are perfect for diving or those just in search of tranquillity.
Arenal-Bol is the beach to the south of Peñón de Ifach. Some 1,200 metres long, it’s a paradise of fine sands dotted with palm trees, and crystal clear sea. The popular seafront promenade runs parallel to the shoreline, from just above the port along to the centre of town, where there numerous restaurants, cafés and all kinds of amenities.
Racó Cove at the foot of the Peñón, Cantal Roig Beach and Morelló Cove are nearby. Manzanera Cove and Puerto Blanco Beach are to the south, and Les Urques, Gasparet and El Collao coves which can only be reached from the sea.
Both Levante and Arenal-bol beaches are equipped with the best facilities and have been awarded the top Tourism Quality, Blue Flag and ISO 9001/14001 certificates.
Calpe is a paradise for lovers of water sports, with its comprehensive range of facilities for competitions and leisure pursuits. Three marinas, each with a yacht club and a total of 456 berths, offer the chance to practice numerous nautical activities.
The sheltered area between the Peñón de Ifach and Les Bassetes point serves as a natural sea sports arena, an excellent place for beginners wanting to learn how to scuba dive, sail or windsurf.
Countless water activities are available throughout the year – scuba diving, rowing, yachting, windsurf, motorboats, jet-ski, parasailing, waterskiing, hiring of leisure craft, underwater photography – with introduction or advanced courses, certificates and other complementary services available.
The town has two sports pavilions for practicing indoor basketball, mini-basket, futsal, badminton, volleyball, gymnastics and archery, etc. There are outdoor courts for playing basketball, five-a-side football, fronton and handball, as well as a full size football pitch.
Calpe’s friendly character makes people feel at home. Visitors can enjoy the wide range of cultural and leisure activities on offer – from interesting museums to arts and crafts markets, there’s something for everyone. Join in the fun at local festivities taking place each year: Moors and Christians, Traditional Fiestas, Beer Festival, Andalusian Fair…
Dine on Seafood
The term ‘traditional Mediterranean cuisine’ best defines the gastronomic culture of the town. Typical dishes such as ‘putxero de polp’, ‘putxero amb pilotes’, or ‘fideuà’ are featured on local menus along with more sophisticated recipes equally appreciated by the diner. Don’t leave Calpe without trying the ‘Llauna de Calp’ or ‘arròs del Senyoret’, and a bottle of magnificent Reserva Peñón de Ifach wine (Bodegas Mendoza) to accompany a perfect meal.
Calpe is renowned for its delicious rice dishes, specialities such as chicken and fish, Mediterranean seafood, rabbit and snails, pork and vegetables, ‘black’ rice with squid, tuna and prawns, or salted cod. The variety of restaurants is amazing and includes the popular restaurants down by the harbour where fresh seafood platters are a speciality.
Calpe fish auction is a main tourist attraction. There is a specially constructed viewing gallery in the fish market, and although the public can’t take part in the actual auction, fresh fish can later be purchased from the stall. Organised by Calpe Fishermen’s Association, the action is on weekdays Monday to Friday from 5pm, and usually lasts a couple of hours. It’s a marvellous opportunity to see how the local fishing industry works. Calpe’s fantastic seafood can be enjoyed in local restaurants or in neighbouring towns – look out for the official ‘Peix del Calp’ logo.
Reproduction of this article is permitted provided that the source and author are acknowledged: Costa Blanca News and Calpe Town Hall.