Peñon de Ifach (Calpe Rock)Spain News | Peñon de Ifach (Calpe Rock)

Wed 5 June 2024

Spain News | Peñon de Ifach (Calpe Rock)

The Peñon de Ifach, or Calpe Rock.

Here on the Costa Blanca, the Peñon de Ifach, or Calpe Rock, is an iconic sight that can be seen from any viewing point along the coastline. It looks, for all the world, like it rose up from the seabed only yesterday. This magnificent, limestone landmark stands 332 metres high and covers 53 hectares of hillside, steep inclines and sheer rock faces.

Playa, Mar, Peñón De Ifach, Edificios

In mythology, the story goes, that the God Jupiter, incensed at the giants for trying to climb Mount Olympus, threw a boulder down to Earth in punishment. The boulder landed in the sea and gave us this magnificent Peñon.

In fact, the Rock, has gone through millions of years of geological processes to look the way it does today. 100 million years ago the whole of Calpe was submerged under shallow sea. Over time, corals and shells formed layers which compacted and formed layers of limestone. The movement of the continents caused a tectonic shift which pushed the rock up and over. Then, in the ages that followed, erosion, caused by the elements, gave the Rock its distinctive, dramatic shape.

The Peñon became an important reference point for mariners and navigators and was used as a defensive fortification and look out, to warn of approaching marauding pirates and invaders. At the end of the 19th century, the Rock was sold off and privately owned and the new owners carved out a tunnel with dynamite. This tunnel is part of the ´Red Route´ today, a walking trail that leads to the summit.

Throughout the ages, the Rock has been inhabited, with signs of an Iberian settlement from the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C. Furthermore, the site of the medieval village of Ifach is a site of great archaeological interest, which you will see at the start of the walking route.

The Rock was inhabited still, until 1987, when it was declared a ´Protected Natural Park´. The access is free to the centre, however, you MUST reserve a place on the walking trail. There is a maximum number of 300 walkers per day, in order to protect the environment and wildlife.

The Peñon de Ifach is home to over 400 species of Mediterranean plants, some very rare. It attracts scuba divers from all over the world, on account of the exceptional marine flora and crystal clear water. In addition, there are over 60 species of birds including the Pale Swift, the Peregrine Falcon and the Kestrel.

Kestrel, Ave, Ave De Rapiña, Naturaleza

For those who want to walk up to the top, you can park near the access gates at the visitors centre. The walking trail up to the tunnel is relatively easy and anyone can do it. However, stage 2 of the walk, which starts at the tunnel and ascends to the summit, is strictly for over 18´s and the advice is, to be aware that it is tricky in places. Correct footwear is essential and it is not recommended for those with vertigo.

The walk takes an approximate 2.5 hours, but longer if you take it easy, and the views from the top are spectacular. You can see the whole of the coastline, as far as Ibiza and Formentera, and the mountain ranges inland.

 

To reserve your place to walk, up to 10 days in advance, click on the link; https://parquesnaturales.gva.es/es/web/pn-penyal-d-ifac

Plan your trip!

The Peñon de Ifach is a remarkable landmark and it is well worth a day trip, but we would urge you to plan your walk carefully. Get there early and maybe, choose to go out of season. It is just to hot and too busy, in the height of summer, to really appreciate it. Make a check list of things to put in your back pack, like sunscreen and water. Afterwards, why not book a table at one of the excellent fish restaurants in Calpe Port and eat fish freshly caught that morning?

 

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