It is a natural reserve in its own right since 1987 giving shelter to a great number of rare plants and over 300 species of animals, including some endangered species. It is also a nestling site for many colonies of sea birds. Besides a varied flora and fauna, you will find the remains of an Iberian villagedating back to the 4th century BC and the “Windblown pines”, i.e. trees growing in unusual shapes. This magnificent mountain was a standpoint against pirates’ attacks and Barbary raider. A surveillance point called the Northern Rock by the Phoenicians to distinguish it from Rock of Gibraltar, its southern counterpart.
It splits Calpe’s coastline into two different parts. Fine sandy beaches, unspoilt coves and hills stretch on both sides of El Peñón. Thus, at the foot of El Peñón you will find Arenal-Bol beach, Los Baños de la Reina, the Royal Nautical Club and the fishing port at right and impressive hills and Levante or La Fossa Beach at left.
There are different hiking trails to walk up El Peñón. From the red route for walkers to sport routes of a variety of grades for climbers. Therefore, you do not need to be an expert to hike up Calpe’s Peñón, as the red route is a relatively easy walk. It is a paved path perfect for those who have just taken up hiking. Pets are allowed as long as you keep them on a lead. There are different lookout platforms along the path boasting jaw-dropping views over the sea, San Antonio cape and the neighbouring towns and villages. You can even get to see Ibiza on clear days. Expert climbers or the most daring ones can take the most direct route to be found on the southern face of the rock.
“Even if you are not a hiking enthusiast, a trip to the peak is a rewarding and priceless experience.”
When planning the route, there are some things you need to take into account. As the rocks are slightly slippery, you will need a proper pair of hiking boots or trainers and comfortable clothing. Carrying some cooling drinks and snacks is also recommended, but pack light! since the round-walking takes 2 hours. Do not forget to take your camera to portrait the awe-inspiring views. And last but not least, wear sunscreen, if you do not want to end up looking like a lobster 😉 Once you have shined up the path to the peak, you will benefit from the best views on Costa Blanca.
As you come down the mountain, you will hear a welcoming canticle of seagulls and in order to get your strength back, what could be better than having a delicious Arroz overseeing Calpe? Sonneil recommends sampling the mouth-watering culinary delights of the Mediterranean cuisine at any of the local restaurants to be found along the seafront promenade with the sea as a backdrop picture.
All in all, El Peñón de Ifach is by far one the most beautiful natural gems to be found on Costa Blanca. Even if you are not a hiking enthusiast, a trip to the peak is a rewarding and priceless experience. It is not just a rock, there is something else going on that will make you fall in love. Not for nothing, it attracts approximately 100,000 visitors every year!
See you on the mountaintop! 🙂