Top Things To Do And See In Calpe

Calpe is a coastal town in the north of the Costa Blanca, situated in between Moraira and Altea. With an interesting history which was coloured by the Iberians, the Romans and the Moors, it has developed into a tourist hotspot attracting people from all over the world. If you are staying in a villa in Calpe, to make sure you get the best out of your holiday on the Costa Blanca we have composed a guide with the best things to do and see in Calpe.

Hike up the Peñón de Ifach

Calpe with the Peñón de Ifach in the background

The views in Calpe and, by extension, in a lot of places on the Costa Blanca, are dominated by the impressive Peñón de Ifach rock, a limestone outcrop of 332 metres high. The rock and its surroundings were declared a national park in 1987 making it the smallest national park (45 ha) in Spain, boasting a number of rare local plants and 300 different species of animals. Moreover, many birds choose the Peñón de Ifach as a yearly nesting site making the flora and fauna of the rock one of its most interesting features. You can choose to hike up the rock with or without a guide via several paths that lead up to the summit. Here you will be amazed by the breathtaking views from the top which are well worth the exertion!

Relax on the beaches

Playa La Fossa

Calpe is the perfect destination for a beach break, it prides itself on being home to beautiful white, urban family beaches, as well as more intimate, rugged coves, where exploring the marine life, should be on your to-do list. One of the most famous beaches in Calpe is Playa de Levante or La Fossa. It is the perfect beach for families, boasting a wide range of amenities, great swimming conditions and crystal clear waters for which it has been awarded a Blue Flag. Other fantastic family beaches, also with a blue flag status are Playa del Arenal Bol and Playa del Cantal Roig - a smaller stretch situated close to the harbour and the Peñón de Ifach.

As well as family beaches, Calpe has several little coves with a calmer atmosphere where you can enjoy unbeatable views and they are the ideal locations to explore the marine life of this coast. Coves such as Cala de Racó, Cala Gasparet, Cala del Morrelló, Cala Calalga, Cala Manzanera, Cala Les Bassetes and Cala Del Mallorquí all are well worth a visit when you are renting a holiday home on the Costa Blanca.

Practise water sports


Water sports enthusiasts will love Calpe as it offers endless opportunities to get out onto the water. One of the best places is Cala Les Bassetes where you will find a little marina as well as Les Bassetes Dive Centre and Las Antipodas Water Sports Centre. In Cala Les Bassetes you can practice kayaking, sailing, diving, windsurfing and stand up paddleboarding. You can also follow underwater diving courses, hop aboard a catamaran or enjoy the sea on organised boat trips and snorkelling tours. Another place great for exploring underwater is Cala El Racó. This cove close to the Peñón de Ifach is the perfect place to snorkel amongst different species of fish. Playa La Fossa is also the place for jetski enthusiasts as there is a stand where you can rent one.

Go cycling

With a climate of more than 300 sunny days a year, an average annual temperature of around 19°C, a beautiful hilly landscape and unparalleled sea views, Calpe is an excellent cycling destination. The roads of Calpe attract amateurs and enthusiasts from around the world, as well as professional cycling teams who choose the town as the base of a training camp. Calpe and its surroundings often feature in the Vuelta de España, the biggest cycling race in Spain.

When you plan to go cycling in Calpe you can, of course, bring your own bike and equipment as many do. However, you can also rent a bike and the necessary accessories at one of the many local bike shops that you will find in Calpe.

Explore the old town

If you want to get away from the bustling beaches and the busier parts of Calpe, you can always seek refuge in its old town which is situated at the top of a hill. To reach the old town, follow the main shopping street and turn left at Plaza de la Constitución.

Originally a fishing village, Calpe's old town used to be walled to protect the residents against attacks of North-African pirates. Nowadays, you do not have to fear pirates, you can stroll around the historic centre freely, explore the small picturesque cobbled streets, the decorated stairs and enjoy local food in one of the many local restaurants such as Casa Mola Mola and El Posit Restaurant.

The best things to see include the Parish church of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, the Torreó de la Peça that has been converted into the Museo del Collecionismo, the Museo de Historia y Arqueología de Calpe and several mural paintings and mosaics by artist Gastón Castelló from Alicante. The mural displayed on the tourist office is particularly spectacular, reflecting Castelló's view of the Villa de Calpe. Market enthusiasts should head towards the old town every Sunday to the arts and crafts market where you can buy a bit of everything including books, second-hand items, organic foods and plants. 

Discover the salinas de Calpe

Salinas de Calpe

The salt flats of Calpe are situated in the town itself close to the Peñon de Ifach. They were of great importance during the Roman era as the salt was used to preserve food (fish and meat) and centuries later the flats remained of vital importance for the livelihood of a lot of families. The exploitation of the flats continued until 1988 before being declared a maritime zone and a protected natural area in 1993.

Nowadays, enjoy the beauty of the area thanks to a circular walking trail that will lead you around the flats. The salinas (Spanish for salt flats) developed into an area with an extremely varied flora and fauna welcoming flocks of migratory birds on a yearly basis amongst which the beautiful and elegant pink flamingos.

Attend a fish auction

Calpe's fish auction is a must-see when visiting the town. It is an emblematic event which reflects the longstanding local fishermen's tradition. The auction is organised at the fish market in the port every Monday through Friday at 17:00. 

Local fishing boats arrive at the port in an order decided by the Fisherman's Association. The fish brought in by these boats is put into boxes and onto conveyor belts to pass in front of interested buyers, who can read all sort of information about the products on screens. Even the name of the boat that caught it appears on these screens. Subsequently, buyers can express their interest by pressing a button on a remote control that was given to them. After a purchase, the fish is covered in ice and gets transported to its respective buyer. Nothing goes to waste after the fish auction, the fish that are not sold are purchased at a discounted price by the Fisherman's Association. Later you can head towards one of the many fish restaurants in the harbour of Calpe and feast on the fish from the auction.

As you can see, Calpe is a vibrant place full of things to do and see. Come and visit to discover for yourself why it is one the most popular holiday destinations on the Costa Blanca.