Calpe is a fishing town-turned-tourist spot that is approximately ½ way between Alicante and Valencia along the coast. This is a pretty place that still has a small town feel. There are a few highrises and larger hotels, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been taken over by tourists, yet.
What to do in Calpe
Rock of Ifach
The Rock, Penon of Ifach dominates the landscape in Calpe. At 332m it is almost sheer rock towering above the town. The rock itself is a nature reserve that you can walk up. The first part of the climb is on a trail; with good shoes and a bottle of water almost anyone can make it up. About ¾ of the way up you climb through a cave-like tunnel and come across to the other side of the rock. The view is impressive as you are overlooking the town and the coast. The trail on the far side of the tunnel is no longer for Sunday strollers, as it is much narrower and rather dangerous. If you have small children, are scared of heights or not used to clambering around on (sometimes slippery) rocks, this is a good place to turn around.
If you like the look of the rock but aren’t much for going straight up, you can opt for a seaside walkway that takes you around the west side of the rock. This starts at the yacht club and meanders around the rock. You will see hundreds of birds, mostly seagulls, rock climbers hanging on the cliffs above, and you will have a stunning view of the coast.
If on the other hand, climbing is more your style, the rock offers numerous challenging faces to scale. Whenever we have gone to Calpe and walked around or near the Ifach we have seen climbers.
When my husband first told me about the fish market I have to admit I wasn’t excited to add it to my list of things to do. I like eating fresh fish, but have never been much of fisherman myself and never get excited about the thought of seeing—and smelling—fresh fish. Having said that, I found the fish market extremely interesting, so I can imagine anyone who really does like to fish or knows anything about fishing boats would find this fascinating. It is actually a large warehouse where the fishermen bring their daily catch to sell. You can watch as boxes of every fish imaginable go along a conveyor belt and people begin to shout out their buying or selling price. I would have never known that watching a fish auction could be so interesting.
Where: At the marina. It isn’t well indicated, but it is fairly obvious as it is the long building in the marina where all the fishing boats are parked.
Get on the water
This is a coastal town so has all the perks that one expects on the water. If want to do more than sit on the beach or go for the odd dip, there is a nautical club and facilities for yachting, windsurfing and water-skiing. There are also boat excursions along the coast.
CEMAS offers excursions throughout the year of almost every water adventure you could imagine. Diving, caving, climbing, waterskiing and snorkeling.
Mundo Marino offers tours on a Catamaran—either sunset tours, day trips to swim in hidden beaches, or simply an alternative to taking your car to the next beach town.
Rent a boat
If you would rather be the captain and decide where you want to stop, you can rent a motorboat from Calpe Diem
Where to eat:
Blau Mar seems to offer it all: water views, friendly helpful staff and excellent quality food at a very reasonable price. The menu of the day is only 12 Euros and includes a drink and dessert with the meal. The speciality here is the Paella—and remember that the Paella was created in Valencia so what you get here is the real deal. There is also every type of seafood and fish available as well as serve a variety of local tapas. And if you are missing your beef, you can even get yourself a steak. (I personally never advise getting steak in a restaurant right on the coast as it isn’t their speciality—but I see the reviews from other people that have ordered steak and were happy with their choice.)
Where: Calle Gran Bretana, Building Oceanic, 1B
Telephone: 865 68 63 71
This is a seafood restaurant as well, but the atmosphere is a little nicer and with that comes a bit of a higher price tag. Capri has a large patio area where you are overlooking the beach and the water, a lovely atmosphere for an evening meal. The food is fresh, imaginative and artfully presented.
Address: Avda. Gabriel Miró, 40
Telephone: 96 583 06 14
I normally stick only with Spanish style food as I firmly believe that if you are in Spain, part of learning the culture is trying the gastronomy. I will make an exception here as I have yet to find anyone who can say anything negative about this restaurant. Not only that, I happen to love Indian food and I know it is extremely difficult to get good quality Indian cuisine in Spain. (don’t even bother in Madrid) It is usually “spiced down” to serve the Spanish palate. This restaurant, however, offers you appetizers before you order so you can tell them how your spice palate is. So, if you have been in Spain for a while and you would like to have one non-Spanish meal, then this may just fit the bill.
Address: Calle la Nina 15
Telephone: 965 50 04 169