CALPE. 10 Must-Do Plans next to Peñón de Ifach

A journey through the history, culture, nature and gastronomy of Calp.

calpe-see-alicante-costa-blanca
Calpe, Peñon de Ifach

Today we visit Calpe: a tourist town in the Marina Alta, north of the province of Alicante, famous for its emblematic Peñón de Ifach: a huge rock over 300 meters high declared a natural park in 1987.

Known mainly as a “sun and beach” destination, in this article, however, we will discover that Calp (official name in Valencian) has many other natural and cultural attractions that are worth knowing… Will you join us? Keep reading!

10 Must-Do Plans in Calp / Calpe

10 Must-Do Plans in Calp / Calpe

1. Bathing in a Roman Site

Calpe has exceptional beaches of fine golden sand, such as Playa de la Fossa and Arenal-Bol, as well as rocky coves and boulders that are difficult to access, such as Cala del Racó del Corb, shared with neighboring Altea.

But, probably, the most special beach in Calpe is the one known as “Calpe Beach”.The Queen’s Baths“: a complex and fascinating 2,000-year-old Roman site which consists of 3 parts: a Roman villa, a thermal complex and fish farms excavated in the rock in which today we can swim or snorkel, emulating the “Moorish queen” that the popular legend places in these rafts interconnected by various channels.

2. Visiting the old town of Calp / Calpe

Calpe old town cultural route
Calpe Old Town

Although the protagonists of Calpe’s coastal facade are -with the permission of the Peñón de Ifach- the huge skyscrapers that emulate the nearby Benidorm, if we move a little away from the coast, a visit to the old town of Calpe is a must: perched on top of a hill, it preserves medieval elements of great attraction such as the walls or the Torreó de la Peça.

To discover the interesting history of the various monuments, we recommend a guided tour. An excellent option is to book this free-tour where we decide how much to pay (although the code of the good tourist tells us that it is advisable to contribute around 10 euros per person).

3. Eating at a Michelin Star Restaurant

Orobianco Restaurant © Cédric Pascal Photography
Orobianco Restaurant © Cédric Pascal Photography

Calpe holds the prestigious “Michelin Star” award in three of its restaurants. Getting a table at any of them is no easy task, so if you plan to enjoy Calpina’s gastronomy during your visit, don’t forget to book in advance.

Orobianco

The only Italian restaurant with a Michelin Star in Spain offers 2 tasting menus that reinterpret Italian cuisine with local produce as a base.

Beat

Beat is the restaurant of the prestigious accommodation The Cookbook Gastro Boutique Hotel & Spa. A restaurant where the Valencian chef José Manuel Miguel delights us with a fascinating symbiosis between Mediterranean cuisine and contemporary French cuisine.

Audrey’s by Rafa Soler

Chef Rafa Soler offers two tasting menus to surprise us with a Valencian cuisine elevated to the maximum creativity and where local products shine with their own light.

4. Look out over the Mediterranean from the Serra d'Oltà.

Oltà Mountain Range Route
Views of the Peñón de Ifach (Calpe) from Serra d'Oltà

In addition to the well-known Penyal d’Ifac, Calpe has other natural areas of great beauty and environmental relevance. One of them is the Oltà mountain range One of them is the Sierra de Oltà, an excellent vantage point from which to look out over the Costa Blanca and from where, on clear days, the outline of the island of Ibiza can be seen towering above the horizon.

To enjoy Oltà we can take the complete hiking route or simply walk from the Oltamar park to the Ermita Vella or Ermita de Sant Francesc, from where you can see a magnificent panoramic view of the coastal town and its eternal watchman.

If you prefer, you can book a 2.5 hour guided tour where, accompanied by expert guides, you will discover all the charms of this modest but charming coastal mountain range.

5. Sailing next to the Peñón de Ifach

paseo-catamaran-calpe

As a Mediterranean town, Calpe’s history has been intimately linked to the “Mare Nostrum” for centuries (remember the Roman fish farms in the first point of this article?).

Thus, a day of sailing in the bay of Calpe is an experience not to be missed. Book now this pleasant catamaran excursion around the rock, where you will be able to contemplate its “hidden face” and have the opportunity to swim surrounded by crystal clear waters and overlooking the great rock.

6. See the fish auction at the fish market, fishing port of Calpe.

lonja-pescado-calpe
Fish auction, photo © Calpe.es

We stayed in the port of Calpe to know one of the aspects that give personality to the town of Alicante: its deep-rooted seafaring tradition.

From Monday to Friday, at around 5 p.m., the fish auction takes place at the fish market, with the catches obtained during the day by the Calpe fishing fleet. A whole seafaring ritual of about 2 hours that is worth knowing during your stay on the Costa Blanca.

7. Visiting Benissa and the Marina Alta Cathedral

Muy cerca de Calpe, a unos 6 kilómetros tierra adentro, la preciosa población de Benissa sorprende por la belleza de su monumental casco antiguo así como por un litoral jalonado por preciosas calas, que se cuentan entre las más bonitas de Alicante.

Para conocer la rica historia y patrimonio cultural que atesora Benissa, merece la pena reservar una visita guiada.

En cuanto a sus preciosas calas, podemos recorrerlas por nuestra cuenta a través del paseo ecológico litoral o bien confiar en un guía experto y reservar este free tour que discurre por el tramo costero entre Calpe y Benissa.

Y si eres amante de las rutas de senderismo, desde Benissa puedes recorrer la carretera panorámica hasta la pedanía de Cases de Bèrnia (Xaló), punto de comienzo de una de las más espectaculares rutas de senderismo en Alicante: la del Forat de Bèrnia.

8. Observar flamencos en las Salinas

flamingos-salinas-calpe

Junto con el Peñón de Ifach, las Salinas de Calpe son uno de los espacios naturales más singulares de la población. Si eres una persona amante del birding, esto es, de la observación de aves, aquí vas a poder contemplar un buen número de especies, siendo el flamenco la más llamativa.

Las salinas, hoy en día en desuso, evidencian el pasado de Calpe en torno a la actividad pesquera. Y es que, gracias a la explotación de las salinas, ya en tiempo de los romanos, los alimentos podían conversarse usando el tradicional método de salmuera o salazón.

También en este caso te recomendamos contratar una visita guiada a fin de conocer la historia e importancia ambiental de esta zona húmeda del municipio.

9. Atravesar el Cañón del Mascarat, la antigua entrada a Calpe

Mascarat Ravine
In order: old bridge of the N-322, modern bridge and railway bridge.

Si llegas a Calpe desde el sur, por la carretera N-332, llamará tu atención en determinado punto una sucesión de túneles y puentes que salvan un espectacular accidente geográfico: el Barranc Salat o Cañón del Mascarat. 

Este singular enclave de la orografía alicantina supuso un grave escollo para las comunicaciones en la zona hasta que, ya a finales del siglo XIX y tras muchos años de retrasos, se concluyen las obras del vertiginoso puente de 60 metros de altura.

Pues bien, a día de hoy es posible adentrarse en el Cañón del Mascarat, un espectacular abismo de roca esculpido por la fuerza del agua. Un lugar sobrecogedor que se puede visitar realizando una sencilla ruta, apta para todos los públicos.

Para los más experimentados montañeros/as, también cabe la posibilidad de ascender hasta el Castellet de Calp, antigua torre vigía que custodiaba la entrada primitiva a la población.

Y si practicas escalada, en la Sierra de Toix se encuentran algunas de las vías más espectaculares de todo el Mediterráneo.

10. Conquistar la cima del Peñón de Ifach

The Rock of Ifach, Calpe
Aerial view of the Rock of Ifach, in Calpe

En esta selección de planes imprescindibles, hemos dejado para el final el “plato fuerte” de las actividades que se pueden disfrutar en Calpe. Ascender a la cima del Peñón de Ifach es posible y muy recomendable si quieres disfrutar de unas vistas excepcionales.

Para ello, tendrás que reservar con antelación, ya que el aforo diario está limitado. Te contamos todos los detalles de la ruta en este artículo.

Si, por contra, prefieres disfrutar del Peñón de una forma diferente y más relajada, te animamos a reservar esta visita guiada nocturna y apta para hacer con niños.

Hoteles con Encanto en Calpe

recommended-accommodation-calpe-residential-terra-de-mar
Photo: Residential Terra de Mar

✔️ Residencial Terra de Mar. Situado en pleno casco antiguo de Calp, ofrece un ambiente “zen” y relajado.

✔️ Hostel SEA&DREAMS Calpe. Ofrece habitaciones compartidas, habitaciones privadas y suites. Actividades para los huéspedes.

No te pierdas...

Good practices
Respect other people and private property.
Respect flora, fauna and environment. Enjoy in Silence.
Always follow the trails. Tackling damages the environment.
Respect the Cultural Heritage (ruins, stone margins, etc).
Do not leave a trace of your passage, nor organic remains.
Find out, Plan and Equip yourself well to enjoy to the fullest.
Thanks!

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