Nice walk from Calpe
The hike goes to the top of Penyal d'Ifac (Parque Natural del Peñón de Ifach), a massive limestone rock of 332 meters high that emerges from the sea just before Calpe. Calpe (Calp) is located next to the Penyal d'Ifac Natural Park in the autonomous community of Valencia on the Costa Blanca in Spain. The nature park is freely accessible to make the walk from Calpe to the top. After that you can still go to the viewpoint “Mirador Puesto de Carabineros“. On a clear day you can see in the north beyond Moraira and on a very clear day Ibiza.
To the top of the rock of Calpe
The walk from the car park all the way to the top of “the rock of Calpe” and back takes between 2,5 hours and 3 hours, including a rest break. The walk to the top of “the rock of Calpe” is less difficult than for example the walk to the caves of Cova Tallada in Jávea, but also bring enough water here. Also don't forget to bring your sun cream and sunglasses. Note: You may cannot ride up or down the mountain with a bicycle. The park is freely accessible all year round, except in October and November (when it is rainy season). It is possible to climb the rock via various climbing routes. There are eleven routes on the south side and six on the north side. For us a walk from Calpe was more than sufficient.
You can (could) park right at the entrance!
You can park in the streets of Calpe, but there is (was?) a free parking lot right at the entrance that fills up quite quickly. Someone informed me that this parking is now closed. We arrived at 10:00 am and were just seated. There was a man in the parking lot who showed everyone where there was another parking space. I think he didn't work there for the car park, but was looking for an extra income from the tourists who want to give him a tip. At the parking lot you will see a white-blue gate in the direction of the rock that you can pass (entrance). On the right you will see the port of Calpe.
Penyal d'Ifac visitor center
The asphalted wide path runs past ancient Iberian ruins from the 4de century BC to the information and visitor center. Next to the center you can go to the toilet one last time before going through the gates that keep the count. Between 15 August and 31 August it can sometimes be busy and then the access can be limited. You must then register at the visitor center.
Opening hours visitor center Penyal d'Ifac: Open every day from 8.30am - 14.30pm (Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 9.30am - 14.30pm). When we were there at the end of August, the crowds were not too bad and access was not limited. The rock was also inhabited by the Romans until the Middle Ages. See the photos of the ruins above. Due to the countless attacks by pirates, the inhabitants moved to the safer mainland.
Fauna & Flora Penyal d'Ifac
The Natural Park of Penyal d'Ifac (Parc Natural del Penyal d'Ifac in Valencian) has a varied fauna & flora, including more than 300 species of flowers and plants that bloom especially in the spring. There are on the lime rock, spread throughout the year, 60 species of animals. You will find the Caspian gull, the Yellow-legged Gull and there are also wild rabbits on the peninsula. A bit odd, but on top of the Penyal d'Ifac we even saw a cat. The typical vegetation is among others the Mediterranean Buckthorn, the Mastic tree (Lentisk), Lavender and the carrasco pines formed by the sea wind.
Tunnel to the other side
After a whole series of hairpin bends you come to the first lookout point Mirador de Cavanilles. From that vantage point you have a wide view over Calpe and its harbor. After Mirador de Cavanilles it doesn't take long (5min) until you reach the tunnel. The tunnel was constructed in 1918 and is 50 meters long. You don't have to make the walk all the way to the top to also enjoy a beautiful view of Calpe and the harbor. If you can handle it physically, it is definitely worth the effort to walk through the tunnel to the top of Penyal d'Ifac.
Note: The tunnel is very slippery in some places, because the stones were polished by the many walkers. Along the walls are chains that you can hold on to. VAB cancellation insurance, combined with travel assistance insurance (holiday package).
Climbing to the top
Once through the tunnel you will soon arrive at a junction. On the right, the route goes all the way to the top of Penyal d'Ifac. Straight on (to the south) the path leads to a military lookout "Mirador Puesto de Carabineros". From the vantage point you have a beautiful view of the sea and you can distinguish the silhouette of Benidorm in good weather in the south. This part of the walk is dangerous for children in most places. Because there in most places no closures children must always be accompanied by an adult. It reminded us a bit of a walk that we made in Mallorca.
Beautiful view of Calpe
After a steep climb you arrive at the top of the rock after about 20 minutes, from where you have a beautiful view of the two sandy beaches of Calpe. Playa del Arenal is to the south and Playa de la Fossa to the north of the city. Behind the high apartment buildings and just between the two sandy beaches you see a salt lake (the wetlands). Usually you will see a colony of flamingos looking for food spread across Las Salinas de Calpe. The park was declared a nature park in 1987 and with an area of 45 hectares it is one of the most beautiful smallest nature parks in Europe.
Walk Calpe: Map
Video: Hike to the top of Penyal d'Ifac
Other walks in the Calpe area
We made several other beautiful walks in Jávea and surroundings, such as a short one walk to the watchtower of Torre Vigia de Cap d'Or in Moraira. The longer one too walk to the caves of Cova Tallada in Jávea is worth doing. In addition to a day at one of the most beautiful beaches in Moraira or in Jávea, there are other fun activities to do in the area of Benidorm for example. We made a day trip from Jávea to the waterfalls of Algar and visited the eagle's nest Guadalest. Afterwards, a visit to the shopping paradise Altea is definitely recommended!