Calpe (Valencian: Calp) is a town in the Costa Blanca region of Alicante, Spain. It is a very popular tourist resort, especially with British and German tourists, and also has a large expat community.
The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and the first permanent dwellings were built by the Iberians. Subsequently the Romans, Visigoths, and Arabs controlled the area, until the arrival of the Christian reconquista in the 13th century. From the 15th to 18th centuries the town and nearby coastal areas were ravaged by Barbary pirates; in a particularly egregious event in 1637 a large portion of the town's population was kidnapped by pirates and held hostage in Algiers for five years.
Mass tourism began in the 1970s, leading to the rampant development of tracts of holiday homes, with high-rise apartment buildings built right on the main beaches. Since the financial crisis of 2008 the building boom has largely ceased.
- 1 Tourist Information Calp Penyal, Avda Ejercitos Españoles, 44, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. M-Sa 09:00-20:00.
Alicante has the nearest international airport.
- 1 Estación del TRAM (Tram Station), Partida Estación II, ☏ . Tram Alicante (el Trenet) operates a light rail train connecting all major settlements along the coast between Dénia and Alicante, with the exception of Xábia. The travel time from Alicante, which is easily reached from the rest of Spain by high-speed Renfe trains, is about 90 minutes, with a changeover in Benidorm. For travelers with smartphones, there is a helpful official app (iPhone and Android) with a route planner and timetables. A single journey costs €1.35-7.15, depending on distance. Guide dogs and small pets in carriers are permitted. Although Calpe station is not that far from the city center, it is too dangerous to walk there. It is safer to take a bus or a taxi.
- 2 Estación de Autobuses (Bus Station). Within the region, Alsa operates a route connecting all major coastal settlements between Valencia and Alicante, including Cullera, Gandía, Oliva, Dénia, Calpe, Altea, Benidorm, and Villajoyosa.
From motorway AP-7, which connects Valencia with Alicante, take Exit 63 onto N-332 toward Calpe.
- 3 [dead link] Mundo Marino, Puerto Pesquero, s/n, ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-19:30. From May through September they operate a catamaran/ferry route [dead link] to Altea; in May, June, and September departures are twice daily on Wednesdays, while in July and August departures are twice daily on Wednesdays and Sundays. A round-trip ticket costs €15, and the journey lasts 50 minutes.
- 4 Autobuses Ifach, Partida Corralet, 3C (Office), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-21:00 (office hours). Operates three lines with regular service, but they're not always punctual. Timetables can be viewed and downloaded here. €1.20.
- 1 Parc Natural del Penyal d'Ifac (Parque Natural del Peñón de Ifach), Avda Isla de Formentera, s/n (Visitor Centre), ☏ . A large rock which juts straight out from the sea. The rock is a designated nature reserve, but it is possible to climb to the top via a tunnel, bored steeply through the middle of the rock.
- 2 Torreó de la Peça (Torreón de la Peca / Tower of Peca). The only remaining portion of the medieval fortress once located here, this includes a preserved tower, section of two walls, and a gate.
- 3 La Església Antigua (La Iglesia Antigua / The Old Church) (entry through the Church of Mare de Déu de les Neus). The only Gothic-Mudéjar church remaining in the Valencian Autonomous Region, this was built in the 15th century into the side of the old city walls, and is now directly attached to the very modern parish church from the 20th century. Especially noteworthy inside is a 15th-century altarpiece depicting San Antonio Abad, San Cosme, and San Damian.
- 4 Museu de Història i Arqueologia (Museo de Historia y Arqueología / History and Archaeology Museum), C/ Santísimo Cristo, 7, ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10:00-13:00, 16:30-19:30. This former residence now displays a range of artifacts from the region, which date from the Bronze Age to the medieval period.
- 5 Museu del Colleccionisme (Museo de Coleccionismo / Museum of Collections), Plaza de la Villa, 16 (Torreó de la Peça), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10:00-13:00, 16:30-19:30. This is a venue for temporary exhibits, located in the walls of a former fortress.
- 6 Banys de la Reina (Baños de la Reina / Queen's Baths). The ruined structures here were used in Roman times for farming fish, salt production, and salting fish. Finds from the archaeological site can be viewed at the Museu de Història i Arqueologia (listed above). Today parts of the area are fenced off to prevent vandalism, but it is still possible to appreciate the ruins from behind a fence.
- 7 Torre del Castellet. These ruins are the remains of a late 16th-century watchtower built in defense against Barbary pirates. The site is the location of the former 12th-century Castell de Calp, demolished centuries ago. Although there is very little remaining besides the tower base, foundations, and some rock-cut cisterns, hikers are rewarded with an excellent view of the Penyal d'Ifac and the surrounding area.
- 8 Lonja de Pescado (fish auction), Av del Port, 15. M-F 17:00-19:00. Where the daily catch is unloaded and auctioned off. There are also a number of immediately adjacent restaurants.
Festivals and cultural events
- Moros i Cristians (Moros y Cristianos / Moors and Christians). 17-22 October. One of the many regional Moors and Christians festivals which celebrate the Christian reconquista. Free.
- Oktoberfest Calpe (Fiesta de la Cerveza), venues vary yearly, ☏ , email@example.com. End of October / beginning of November. Organised by a club of German residents, the festival has been growing in popularity since its first installment in 1988, now attracting more than 10,000 participants. On offer are of course German beer, food (including roast chicken, pork knuckles and sausage), and music.
- 1 Casa de Cultura 'Jaume Pastor i Fluixà' ('Jaume Pastor i Fluixà' Cultural Centre), Avda de Masnou, 1, ☏ (main office), (ticket office), firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 08:30-14:00 (main office); 1½ hrs before events onward (ticket office). Calpe's primary venue for concerts and the performing arts, as well as for workshops and special courses. Tickets can be purchased online.
Beaches and water sport
Calpe has two urban beaches. 2 Platja de l'Arenal-Bol (Playa del Arenal-Bol), to the west of the Penyal d'Ifach, is characterised by over a kilometre of fine sand and is has a pleasant tree-lined promenade. 3 Platja de la Fossa (Playa de Levante / Playa La Fossa), to the northwest, is somewhat smaller, also with a promenade. In the summer both beaches have lifeguards, first-aid stations, showers, toilets, and disabled access, loungers and umbrellas (for rent), and a range of shops and restaurants.
Further west is the smaller and quieter 4 Platja del Port Blanc (Playa Puerto Blanco), with pebbles and coarse sand. Facilities here include toilets, foot washing stations, and lifeguards, as well as a nearby dive centre.
- 5 Underwater world (Port). Every hour. 45 min boat trip around the Peñón de Ifach, with underwater view. €13.50.
- 1 Librería Europa, Carrer Oscar Espla, 2, ☏ , email@example.com. M-F 10:00-14:00 17:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-14:00. The largest bookshop between Alicante and Valencia. The shop sells new and used books in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian and Russian, in all subjects, and carries regional and hiking maps as well as books of local interest. The multilingual owner can also order new and used books, which take about a week to arrive.
- 2 Rastro (flea market), Avda Pais Valencià and Avda Esport (next to the football stadium). Every W in summer. Mostly tat but there are one or two bargains to be found.
- 3 Mercadillo de fruta (fruit and veg street market), Avda Mas Nou. Sa morning. A good place to pick up local produce.
- 4 Mercadillo de ropa (clothing street market), Avda del Norte. Sa morning. Quite large but crowded. Some good bargains.
The main concentrations of restaurants are around the junctions of C/ Pintor Sorolla and C/ Blasco Ibanez in the town centre; at the harbour (to the east of the rock); and along the beachfront (to the north of the rock).
- 1 [dead link] El Bodegón, C/ Delfín, 8, ☏ . Traditional Spanish cuisine.
- 2 Restaurante Antica Roma, C/ Pintor Sorolla, 4 (Edf Apolo IV), ☏ . Daily 16:00-. Good value Italian restaurant. Plenty of tables on the outside terrace. Friendly staff.
- 3 Restaurante La Casa, C/ del Mar, 23, ☏ . Swiss cuisine.
- 4 Restaurant Oscar, Urb el Tosal, 28 (Urbanisatio Maryvilla), ☏ . W-M 13:00-15:30, 18:30-22:30. A large long-established restaurant. Reservations can be made online [formerly dead link]}. Lunch menu €25.
- 5 [formerly dead link] Restaurante Rich House, C/ L'Esport, 4 (opposite the football stadium), ☏ . Friendly, family-run Chinese restaurant. Good range of traditional dishes and also a sushi selection.
- 6 El Roble de Calpe, C/ Blasco Ibanez, 4, ☏ . Great little traditional tapas bar. Slightly 'school canteen' feel to it but the food and service are both excellent and it is great value.
- 7 Steakhouse El Santo, C/ Torreones, 3, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 19:00-24:00. Argentine and Italian cuisine.
There are some bars and discos at Calpe's La Fossa-Levante beach, which are well frequented by tourists during summer season.
- 1 AR Diamante Beach Spa Hotel, Avda Juan Carlos I, 48, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00-18:00, check-out: before 12:00. New hotel, just off the beach. Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, fitness centre, airport shuttle (surcharge). Doubles €69+.
- 2 AR Imperial Park Spa Resort, Partida Tosal de la Cometa, s/n, ☏ . Check-in: 16:00-24:00, check-out: before 12:00. Nice and rather large resort. Quite far from the beach though. Parking €6/day, free Wi-Fi in public areas. Bungalows €100+, including all meals.
- 3 Hotel SH Ifach, Avinguda Juan Carlos I, s/n, ☏ . Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centre, three onsite restaurants, airport shuttle, and free Wi-Fi. Doubles €200+, including breakfast.
- 4 Port Europa, Avinguda Europa, 21, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Has an onsite restaurant, outdoor pool, and free Wi-Fi. Parking €12/day. Doubles €179+, including breakfast.
- 5 Camping Calp Mar, C/ Eslovenia, 3, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: Summer 08:00-23:00, winter 08:00-21:30. Can accommodate tents, campervans, and caravans, and also has three bungalows available for rent. Facilities include self-service laundry, an onsite bar-restaurant, pool, toilets and shower, pre-paid Wi-Fi. Pets permitted.
- 6 Camping Sol de Calpe Austral, C/ Estonia, 3-5, ☏ . Can accommodate campervans and caravans. Has toilets and showers, pool, laundry, Wi-Fi, and onsite restaurant-café. Pets under 20kg accepted.
Dénia, Altea, Benidorm and Alicante can all be reached via the Tram, which clings to the coast for most of its picturesque journey. You usually have to change in Benidorm if you're continuing to Alicante.
It's also possible to take a boat from the harbour to Dénia, Altea and Benidorm.