At the heart of the Costa Blanca, within the region of Valencia lies the ancient fishing village of Calpe. Now transformed into a tourist magnet, the town sits in an ideal location, easily accessed by the A7 motorway and the N332 that runs from Valencia to Alicante. It's approximately 45 mins drive from both international Airports and is a popular holiday destination for international visitors.
Calpe has a wonderful mixture of old Valencian culture and modern tourist facilities. It is a great base from which to explore the local area or enjoy the many local beaches and is very popular with Spanish in the summer.
Calpe boasts of some of the best sandy beaches of the area, with special mention being given to the "Playa de la Fossa" and "Playa de Levante" more than a kilometre long. Running alongside the beaches is an extensive promenade, with a wealth of bars, restaurants and shops. Soak up the atmosphere in the evenings with a relaxing walk along the promenade.
Calpe is blessed with having two marinas
The popular open-air market is held each Saturday with a good variety of seasonal fresh produce, along with stalls selling their wares of clothing, shoes, leather handbags, scarves and much more.
Summer is the time for the fantastically entertaining and historical festivals of the Moors and Christians festival. The locals wear their brightly coloured costumes with pride as they parade along the streets to the music of the local Spanish pipe and drum bands. Calpe generally has a week of festivals and families are encouraged to engage in most of the activities.
Calpe is a town rich in history and culture and its strategic position on the coast has attracted many voyagers and settlers throughout history. Remains of Iberian tribes have been found around the town. Later, the Romans founded Calpe as a prosperous colony, whose main activity was drying and salting fish.
Christians and Moors lived peacefully for a time but were subjected to attacks by pirates during the 14th-17th centuries.
The peace of the 18th century enabled Calpe to regenerate and form the current tourist location.
Calpe is dominated by the towering rock of Ifach which reaches an impressive 332m, rising almost sheer above the sea and is a nature reserve. The summit of the rock is reached after a tough climb up a footpath, by means of a short tunnel through the upper part of the rock. Be warned the path above the tunnel has almost no safety features and is not recommended for anybody with a fear of heights, the very young, or the remotely unfit.
It is a genuinely tough and dangerous climb with rewarding magnificent panoramic views at the top. On a clear day, the island of Ibiza is visible.
The old town walls and the Church known as Iglesia Vieja are well worth visiting. This Church is the only remaining example of Mudejar-Gothic architecture within Valencia.
Alongside the modern Paseo Maritimo are the recently discovered remains of a Roman Villa, once forming part of the Roman fish factory, known as the Banys de la Reina (Queens Bath).
Overlooking the Mascarat ravine are the ruins of the Moorish Castle of Calpe and all over the local countryside are the typical rui-rau country houses, with arched porticos for raisin drying.
The town centre is also home to the Museum of Archeology and the Fiestas Museum.