Calpe

Calpe

Calpe is a beautiful village in the Costa Blanca. Back in the thirties writers such as Hemingway spent their summers in Calpe. Calpe´s first hotel was established next to the Peñón Rock: the Ifach Parador. The Morro del Toix and the Peñón de Ifach mark the extremities of Calpe´s bay. The Peñón de Ifach (Ifach means north in Phoenician) is the symbol of Calpe and, by extension, of the Costa Blanca. It is the highest rock in the entire Mediterranean and divides Calpe´s shoreline in two. The limestone mass is 332 metres high and penetrates 1 kilometre into the sea, forming a first-rate geological feature.

Since 1987, a Natural Park has preserved its unique ecological treasures such as the Ifach carnation. The summit of the rock can be visited in organized groups and in the Nature Auditorium the rich fauna and flora of the park is explained. There is also one of the best views of the Costa Blanca from the top of the rock. Prehistoric, Iberian, Phoenician and Roman remains have been found immediately next to the Peñón and on the isthmus which links it to the coast. At the foot of the Peñón are the ´Baños de la Reina´ (literally, The Queen´s Baths) that, in reality, was the site of a Roman ´factory´ for the drying and salting of fish. The Peñón was also an extremely good watchtower for the people that lived at its base.

The Morro de Toix was another place used to watch over the Barranc del Mascarat, which provided access to the coast. During the course of the centuries, the village retreated more inland for greater protection and, following an attack by pirates, protective walls were built around the village in the 15th century. The only sections of these walls remaining are the Peça Tower next to which is found the only church built in a Mudejar-Gothic style in the entire Valencian Region. Between Les Bassetes and the Morro de Toix Calpe there are 11 kilometres of sandy beaches - for instance the Levante and Arenal beaches - and coves like the one at La Manzanera where there are three buildings designed by Ricardo Bofill, and the Les Urques cove where scuba diving and fishing are possible. The Cueva dels Coloms, in the Morro de Toix, which faces towards Altea, is a freshwater cave that is only accessible from the sea.

The nature of Calpe can be appreciated through nautical excursions and walks. The Peñón de Ifach is renowned by climbers for its difficulties and unique features, and it can be climbed by a number of routes of varying difficulty. Potholing is possible on the steep banks and peaks of the Monte Oltá and the Barranc del Mascarat. Calpe´s attractions have made the village a tourist destination of note for both national and international visitors, who live together all year round in peace and harmony.

Calpe