HOME TO THE FAMOUS PENON DE IFACH
At the heart of the Costa Blanca, within the region of Valencia lies the ancient fishing village of Calpe. Calpe has a wonderful mixture of old Valencian culture and modern tourist facilities. It is a great base from which to explore the local area or enjoy the many local beaches. Calpe alone has three of the most beautiful sandy beaches on the coast.
Calpe is dominated by the towering rock of Ifach which reaches an impressive 332m, rising almost sheer above the sea and it is a nature reserve. 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. Be warned that the path above the tunnel has almost no safety features and is not recommended for anybody with a fear of heights, the very young, or the remotely unfit. It is a genuinely tough and dangerous climb. From the top, magnificent panoramic views can be seen. On a clear day, the island of Ibiza is visible.
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.
Alongside the modern Paseo Maritimo are the recently discovered remains of a Roman villa, once forming part of the Roman fish factory, known as the Banys de la Reina (Queens Bath). Overlooking the Mascarat ravine are the ruins of the Moorish Castle of Calpe and all over the local countryside are the typical rui-rau country houses, with arched porticos for raisin drying. The town centre is also home to the Museum of Archeology and the Fiestas Museum.
Calpe 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.
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.
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.
The Ifach golf course is situated in Moraira (Benissa) 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.
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), and all have left their mark on the gastronomy.
If you have a sweet tooth then you will enjoy the local homemade pastries and deserts that the area is famous for. Or Jijona ice-cream (Nougat), which is made with the almonds of the region.