Nov 18 Calpe

After an overnight stop on an Aire near Gandia, we had another attempt at finding some reasonable weather and headed for Calpe.  It is another place we missed last year and which people often recommend.  It was a very scenic drive with some stunning views down to the coast.  We decided to see if they had any space on the ACSI site, Calpemar Camping for a bit of luxury.  We were in luck, although it was pretty full and was booked up for most of December.  We only wanted to be there for 3 nights so it was not a problem.  The showers are fabulous and I really enjoyed all that hot water.

The seafront is a short walk from the campsite so we went for an evening stroll and admired the view of the Penon del Ifach rock.  There is a natural park around the rock and it is possible to climb to the top.  It was shrouded in mist on the day we went to have a closer look and rock climbing is not really for us.  We are happy to look and marvel!

Penon del Ifach

The next day was dedicated to visiting the historic old town.  We managed to find the tourist information office and collected a map with brief descriptions of the main attractions.

Between the 13th and 14th centuries, the rural community of Calpe was walled to protect it from Moorish attacks.  Part of the wall is still there with a gateway through to the rear of the church Iglesia Antigua.

City wall and historic gateway, El Portalet
City wall and historic gateway

The church Iglesia Antigua dates from the 15th century, and is the only Gothic-Mudejar example in the Comunidad Valencia.  It was built on an old chapel from the Christian Conquest.  What really impressed us was the modern parish church of the Virgen de las Nieves, built in the 1970s and adjoining the old church.  The interior is colourful and modern, and is a complete contrast to the Gothic style of the old church.

Exterior of Virgen de las Nieves
Striking interior
Modern alter
Fabulous stained glass
Striking colours

Close to the church and the historic gateway to the city, is the contemporary art gallery.  When we visited, there was an exhibition of two local artists work.  One of the artists was there greeting visitors and happy to chat about her work.  We were very impressed with the way her works had captured the light that is so evocative of the region.

Contemporary Art Gallery

This old city is full of artistic murals and decorations.

Decorated house in the Placa Mariners

The Carrer Puchalt is characterised by it’s colourful steps and is one of the most easily recognised features of the old city.

Eyecatching steps of Carrer Puchalt

As ever, the old city is on a hill and the streets wind up and down making every turn a photo opportunity.

View of the street down from the art gallery

We had not expected to find such a lovely old town in Calpe.  The beach is an attraction and the old port at the rock end is also worth a visit.  Sadly, on the day we visited, the weather was very poor and we were rained on.  The port was grey and the rock was wearing a cloudy bonnet.  There is also a large lagoon with flamingoes on the way to the port, but they were huddled together on the far side when we went to have a look.

Port and rock in the cloud

Back in the modern town, we found a very nice restaurant in a supermarket and had coffee and cake.  It was a bit more upmarket than Morrisons in Gosport with a charming waiter!  The view over the bay was also rather pleasant.

We would certainly recommend Calpe for a few days visit.  There is plenty to see and all within walking distance of more than one campsite.

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