Is Calpe worth visiting? Of course it is! This is one of the most beautiful coastal towns on the popular Costa Blanca. From pristine, sandy beaches with turquoise aqua to a charming old town, there are several reasons to go there. So, why not make Calpe your next holiday destination?
Calpe is a relatively small municipality in the province of Alicante on the Mediterranean coast. It’s a popular holiday spot for British and German tourists, but it hasn’t seen as much overdevelopment as, say, nearby Benidorm. The city is also home to an iconic limestone rock that juts out of the sea in Penyal d’Ifac Natural Park. You can hike there to enjoy panoramic vistas over the Med, or just look at it from all the beaches in the area.
This guide will try to answer the question is Calpe worth visiting by giving you seven convincing reasons to spend your holiday in these parts. We’ll take a look at what makes this place stand out from the crowd, and we’ll talk you through the best attractions the city has to offer. You will also learn about the nightlife, and food scenes, and a whole load more. Let’s go…
Is Calpe worth visiting for the beaches? Certainly! This is probably the number one reason why people decide to holiday in this sunny part of the shimmering Costa Blanca. There is no shortage of pristine, soft sands in the area, many of which are just a short stroll from the center. That means that you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a lovely spot for a beach day. That said, Calpe is hardly a secret destination, so the slight downside is that the beaches here often get busy in the summer. However, it still feels like a breath of fresh air when compared with nearby Benidorm.
The good thing is that you don’t need to travel out of town to find beautiful and clean beaches. Each side of the impressive limestone rock that rises high here has long stretches of golden sands. Those are La Fossa beach and Arenal-Bol. Whether you choose one or the other, you will enjoy fantastic vistas over the Penyal d’Ifac natural reserve and have azure waters right in front of you.
The eastern extension of Arenal-Bol, known as Playa de Cantal Roig, is also a spacious stretch with fantastic views. And there is a small, rocky inlet on the headland itself – Cala el Racó. That’s a great spot for snorkeling.
If you’re willing to travel a little further afield, you’ll be rewarded with tranquil and secluded bays that you could have almost to yourself. Calm, azure aqua at Cala del Moraig, backed by limestone clifftops, is only about 40 minutes’ drive. You could also stop by the turquoise waters of Cala el Portet along the way.
Calpe isn’t only one of the prettiest towns on the Costa Blanca, but also one of the best nightlife spots out there. You might not get the same crazy mega clubs filled with people as in Benidorm, but there is still plenty to do after the sun goes down. Generally, the best time to visit for partying is between July and August, when you’ll see the most people and the biggest array of live music events.
The old town is a good place to find small, local tapas bars, so take a stroll there if you’re after casual drinks. The new town north of Arenal-Bol beach is where the nightlife is in abundance. There you’ll find all sorts of places, from glitzy cocktail joints to lively Irish pubs. We recommend heading to Suitopia Skybar for the best views in town. It’s a terrace on the 29th floor of a hotel with panoramic vistas over the Med, especially breathtaking at sunset. If you want to dance, there are a couple of nightclubs closer to Playa de La Fossa.
The sights and attractions
If you’re wondering if Calpe is worth visiting, then you probably want to know what is there to do and see. It’s actually one of the most enchanting spots to visit in the whole of the Costa Blanca region, so you can rest assured that sights and attractions are aplenty.
For starters, the jagged rock formation in the Parc Natural del Penyal d’Ifac is one of the most iconic headlands in the area. It’s a steep limestone cliff that juts straight into the sea. You can even hike to the top if you feel up to it, to be rewarded with vistas of turquoise water and mountainous landscapes in the backdrop. If you’re not up for the trek, you can take a stroll along the promenade or laze on one of the pristine beaches (see above).
You can also hike up to a viewpoint known as Mirador Monte Toix, which is a relatively easy but rewarding walk around 15 minutes’ drive from the town. You should also be sure to see the old town, which is located around 2km away from the coast. Take a walk around the narrow, winding alleyways that are lined with stone houses there, finding small squares with unpretentious tapas bars and climbing colorful steps cut into the sierras. We’d say it’s one of the most charming areas in the Alicante region.
The day trip opportunities
One of the best things about staying in Calpe is that you can easily visit other wonderful locations in the area in just one day, even if you don’t have a car. The Costa Blanca is dotted with picture-perfect beaches and bustling towns, so there is no shortage of places to explore if you’ve grown a little tired of Calpe itself.
You can take advantage of convenient tram lines that connect Calpe to Benidorm. That’s a resort town famed for pretty beaches and bustling nightlife. Then there’s Dénia, a port town with an impressive castle. It takes a little over 30 minutes to get to the former and about an hour to the latter. You could also get a connecting tram from Benidorm all the way to Alicante, a vibrant Spanish city with an enchanting old quarter.
Having a car in Calpe is not necessary, but it will open up a lot more opportunities for one-day excursions. Nature enthusiasts will find lots of challenging but rewarding hiking trails in Sierra de Bernia, which is about 30 minutes’ driving from Calpe. You can also drive north to visit some lovely hill towns, such as Alcalalí or Parcent.
Calpe enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate, which means it’s a popular destination throughout the year. The best time to visit this lovely coastal town is during the summer months, though, from June until August. That’s when you can expect plenty of scorching sunshine with little to no rain. The days are long and the evenings are warm, so there is no need to pack sweaters or other thick clothes.
It might get pretty hot during the day in the summer, so it’s worth opting for a hotel with aircon. On the downside, this is when Calpe is at its busiest. If you’re not the type who likes the crowds, we recommend visiting Calpe in either September or May, when the weather is still very pleasant, but the beaches are nowhere near as busy.
Calpe is also a popular place to visit during the European winter. Although it might not be hot enough to laze on the beach, you can still expect plenty of sunshine and relatively warm air. You can often see temperatures in the mid to high teens, even in January and February. That means it’s a great season to visit this part of Costa Blanca if you want to do some hiking rather than sunbathing.
Calpe is a very popular summer holiday destination for European visitors, especially those coming from the UK and Germany. That means there are oodles of great accommodation options on offer, ranging from high-end suites to budget stays for families. You can also score great bargains if you visit Calpe during the colder months, such as January, February, or November.
One of the most unique stays in the area is La Muralla Roja ($$$) close to La Manzanera Beach. It’s an example of postmodern architecture designed by famous Spanish architect, Ricardo Bofill. Thought to be one of his finest pieces of work, it is a tall, red apartment block with a swimming pool and solariums on the roof terrace overlooking the azure Med. You can only access this place if you’re a resident, which means it’s worth forking out to see this impressive building.
There are also plenty of other luxury stays that offer great vistas over the water closer to the center. One of them is Gran Hotel Sol y Mar ($$$), which comes with an infinity pool overlooking the Peñon de Ifach Rock and the turquoise sea. If you don’t want to spend too much money on a place to stay, we recommend Galeon Boutique Hotel ($), which offers rooms at great rates in the middle of the old town.
Another reason to visit Calpe is the array of fantastic restaurants that you’ll find there. It’s actually a great choice of destination for connoisseurs of fine dining, since this town is home to two restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars. One of them is Audrey’s, which offers high-quality local cooking in a modern hotel restaurant. The second one is Beat, which specializes in contemporary international and Mediterranean cuisine.
If gourmet food is not your cup of tea, there are also oodles of other places to tempt. Lapsus Bistro is a yummy and inexpensive option for al fresco dining in the old town, and La Mar is a lovely restaurant near La Fossa beach that specializes in paella. There are also lots of international restaurants scattered across the city, from Indian to Italian and Mexican kitchens.
Is Calpe worth visiting – the conclusion.
Is Calpe worth visiting? We’d say certainly! It’s home to fantastic beaches that offer incredible views over the iconic Penyal d’Ifac rock. On top of that, this part of Spain enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, which means you’re almost guaranteed sunshine in the summer months. Moreover, Calpe has lots of awesome hotels and restaurants, but at the same time, it’s not as commercial as nearby Benidorm.