It’s natural to expect the biggest destinations to have the best attractions, but in Spain’s Costa Blanca region, the small town of Calpe is proving that less is more. Things to do in Calpe, Spain include dining at some of the tastiest (and cheapest) seafood restaurants in the country, climbing to the top of natural landmarks like Peñon De Ifach, and photographing cliffside architecture at La Manzanera. If that’s not enough to entice a person to Calpe, then maybe five miles of Blue Flag (super eco-friendly) beaches and tall tales of pirates will!
1. Visit Old Town Calpe
One of the best things about vacationing in a town with less than 30,000 people is that most all attractions are within walking distance – or a very short taxi ride – from each other. Calpe’s Old Town district is a great place to stretch your legs while exploring the city’s historic core, which maintains ancient cobblestone streets, colorful murals depicting times gone by and traditional restaurants which serve up dishes that reflect Calpe’s humble beginnings as a fishing village. What’s more, Calpe Old Town is situated on a small hill and offers views of the town as well as the coastline, an area famous for being attacked multiple times by pirates between the 14th and 17th centuries.
Spend half a day in Old Town Calpe
- Tour Parroquia Virgen De Las Nieves, one of the oldest parish churches in Alicante Province. The working church holds regular Sunday mass as well as other religious events throughout the year. Parroquia Virgen De Las Nieves is open to the public by 9:30 a.m. most days but has different closing hours, which vary between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. depending on the season.
- Visit Torreó de la Peça, comprised of the Museo del Collecionismo and several calles, or small streets, adorned with mural paintings and mosaics by Gastón Castelló from Alicante.
- Enjoy lunch or dinner at Restaurante Casa Mola Mola or El Posit Restaurant, both of which feature fresh seafood dishes prepared with local ingredients at affordable prices.
2. Explore Calpe Fish Market (Lonja de Calp)
Keeping Calpe’s history alive and well is the Calpe Fish Market, known as Lonja de Calp to locals. The market, located next to Calpe Port (Puerto Pesquero Calp), makes a perfect evening activity that includes watching local fishermen haul in their catch, a lively fish auction and a meal prepared from the catch of the day.
The fish auction takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and guests can get a close-up view of the action for a small fee. Local restaurant owners and wholesalers are the only patrons allowed to bid on the fish during the auction, but freshly-cleaned fish is available for purchase at a public counter.
Sightseers who want to get their fill of fresh seafood should explore Explanada del Puerto Pesquero, a neighboring area lined with affordable restaurants that serve fresh seafood dishes prepared with Calpe flavors.
5 best seafood restaurants near Lonja de Calp
- Restaurante El Camión
- Restaurante Playa
- Restaurante Andalucía
- Restaurante El Carro I
- Restaurante La Lonja
3. Lounge & swim at Blue Flag beaches in Calpe
Calpe’s coastline spans more than five miles, and most of the city’s beaches have earned Blue Flag status by being some of the eco-friendliest hang-outs in all of Europe. It’s not hard to explore all of Calpe’s beaches in one day, and many tourists find one perfectly suited for their holiday needs.
Find a beach in Calpe perfect for you
- Cantal-Roig Beach – located near Calpe Fishing Port, Cantal-Roig Beach is popular with families due to its proximity to restaurants and local shops.
La Fossa (Levante) Beach – with spectacular views of Peñon De Ifach and a promenade with playground equipment, this beach is another great choice for families and sightseers. Plenty of bars and cafes line the shoreline, so guests can arrive in the morning and stay all day.
Arenal-Bol – Calpe’s largest and busiest beach features activities from dusk ‘til dawn and a view that can’t be beat.
4. Climb the Peñon De Ifach
The outstanding feature within the Natural Park of Penyal d’Ifac is, obviously, the Peñon De Ifach, or Rock of Ifach. The massive crag protrudes 332 meters above sea level and is so large that it is considered a nature preserve by itself. Tourists who are somewhat physically fit can climb up the rock through a tunnel and narrow walkway, but even if a two-hour hike doesn’t sound enticing, sightseers are encouraged to take selfies and explore the park.
Things to do near Peñon De Ifach
- Pobla d’lfac – open-air archaeological museum featuring the remains of a walled, medieval city
- Pico de peñón de Ifach – hiking area offering views of the ocean and Calpe city
- Cala El Raco – public bath area with clear, blue, calm waters
- Paseo Ecológico Principe de Asturias – observation deck with sweeping views of the Alboran Sea
- Calpe Salt Mines (Salinas de Calpe) – walking trail with observation decks and views of Les Salinas (salt mines)
5. Explore Archaeological Sites
Calpe’s rich history provides several landmarks to explore, but two of the most popular sites are the medieval town of Pobla d’lfac and the Banys de la Reina, or public baths.
- Pobla d’lfac is located within the Natural Park of Penyal d’Ifac, next to Peñon De Ifach. The remnants of this ancient Roman city depict a settlement once occupied by Christians. Visitors can explore what is left of a complex system of homes, storehouses and even a church that once dominated the area in the 13th century.
Banys de la Reina can be found by walking down Paseo Maritimo Playa del Bol, a promenade that takes visitors along the coast of Calpe. This natural landmark was built between the 2nd and 4th centuries and is sometimes referred to as the Queen’s Baths. The site contains a thermal bath complex carved into natural rock. Visitors also can view the remains of a fish farm. The entire area is considered an archaeological museum and also features the Moli Del Morello, a 19th-century mill, and Cala Calpe, another public bath area.
6. Photograph Calpe’s distinct architecture
Visitors to Calpe can generate lots of likes on their Instagram pages by spending a few hours photographing the city’s unique architecture. The most stunning examples are found in the La Manzanera and Casanova districts.
- La Manzanera – this housing district on the southwest coast of Calpe contains Muralla Roja, an eye-popping red complex that sits prominently on the top of a cliff. Guests are welcome to take photos from afar or explore the winding corridors, staircases and bridges that connect the 50 apartments of the building.
- Edificio Xanadu is just a short walk from Muralla Roja. Originally designed around the concept of a castle, Edificio Xanadu was later modified to reflect the characteristics of Peñon de Ifach. Guests can walk along the coast via cobblestone stairways that combine medieval style with modern elements.
- Casanova – a sampling of traditional country homes awaits in northeastern Calpe. Visitors to this area can stroll through a neighborhood with working wine presses, olive mills and livestock stables.
7. Shop like a local in Calpe
Calpe is a haven for flea markets, especially on the weekends. The most popular markets are located just north of Calpe Old Town and offer everything from pre-loved clothing and vintage jewelry to local produce and yummy baked goods. The markets are within walking distance from each other, and two of them are open every Saturday, so guests could visit both in one go. A third market is open on Wednesdays.
3 Popular markets in Calpe
- Mercadillo De Calpe (No Alimentacion) – great place to find souvenirs, clothing and electronics from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday
- Mercadillo y Rastro Semanal-Miercoles – features second-hand goods as well as souvenirs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday
- Mercat/Mercadillo Sábados – a fresh produce market open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday
8. Stroll along the Calpe Promenade
Exploring the most popular things to do in Calpe will more than likely lead travelers to the city’s picturesque promenade. Located inside the Natural Park of Penyal d’Ifac, Paseo Ecológico Principe de Asturias is lined with cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as sand sculptures and local landmarks. This seaside walkway is a perfect place for romantic dinners at sunset, photographing yachts and sailboats on the sea and drooling over scenic mountains in the distance. Sightseers should start at Cala El Raco and head south toward the foot of Peñon De Ifach.
Check In to a hotel in Calpe
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