Calpe (30,000 inhabitants) was a small town on the Costa Blanca until a few decades ago. Since then the municipality has experienced a huge building boom. About 15,000 Germans, Britons and other Northern Europeans have settled in the area. For example, there is a German club with several 100 members, a German carnival club and even a German-language weekly newspaper only for the Calpe region. In the summer several 100,000 thousand tourists come to Calpe. The place is characterized by the Penon de Ifach, a gigantic rock of 332 meters height beside the place. The mountain overlooks even the highest skyscrapers of Calpe by far. The Penon de Ifach is the landmark of the Costa Blanca. In the local language Valencian, the city is called Calp.
There’s not too much to see in Calpe. The old town is worth a walk. It is situated about 2,5 km from the harbour on a hill. In the Museo Festero (Museum of Festivals) one gets an interesting insight into the culture of the Costa Blanca.
The main beach of Calpe is located southwest of the harbour. The beach itself is excellent, but the typical Spanish skyscrapers directly behind the beach are not exactly the most beautiful sight. Along the beach promenade there are many restaurants and bars that are especially well filled in summer. The prices in Calpe are generally rather cheap.
Between the harbour and the beach there is an archaeological excavation place, the Baños de la Reina (Baths of the Queen). Presumably it is an ancient late Roman fish factory.
The port of Calpe is also interesting. In the fish hall (Lonja) there is still a fish auction almost every day in the late afternoon. Very popular are the fish taverns at the harbour of Calpe. Excellent fresh fish dishes are served here. Also the native Spaniards like to come here. On the other side of the rock there is also a large well-attended beach with some taverns and hotels.
Interesting is the big salt lake (Salinas) Saladar de Calpe in the middle of the city. The salt from the lake was an important source of income for Calpe in the Middle Ages. Today the Salinas is strictly protected. Especially the water birds make the lake interesting, especially the flamingos. Hobby birdwatchers with large camera lenses are often around the salt lake. Birds and nature are also worth seeing for walkers.
Hike to the Penon de Ifach: The rock can be climbed. It is perhaps the most popular hike on the Costa Blanca. In the summer the access must be even partly restricted due to the large request of hikers! The path starts in Calpe and is well signposted, an information centre explains the nature on and around the Penon de Ifach. The view from above is magnificent, sometimes one even sees up to the island Ibiza that is approximately 80 kilometres away.
The narrow-gauge railway Trenet connects Calpe with the city of Denia and the tourist stronghold Benidorm. In Benidorm you can change trains for Alicante. Of course, there are also very frequent buses to all neighbouring towns, as well as to Valencia and Alicante.
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