Peñíscola, Spain: Things to Do & Best Beaches!
Peniscola, the picturesque coastal town in Spain, is located on the Costa del Azahar and is an absolute highlight of the Valencia region. On a visit you can expect, in addition to the long beautiful beaches, many wonderful things to do and attractions. The heart of Peniscola is the charming old town and the magnificent castle, which is the landmark of Peniscola. During a stroll through the beautiful coastal town, the typical white houses, the many blue details and the magnificent view of the turquoise sea enchant. But also nature lovers will get their money’s worth in Peniscola and are guaranteed to find their personal paradise in the nearby Serra d’Irta Natural Park.
In this travel guide, we give you all the important tips and information about Peniscola in Spain. In addition, we show you great pictures, reveal the most beautiful beaches and attractions, and where to find the best places to stay.
General information about Peniscola
Peniscola is located on the approximately 200-kilometer-long Costa del Azahar, in the Valencia region, and is a very popular beach destination in Spain. The resort has a population of around 8,000, and the summer months, such as July and August, are the busiest with 150,000 visitors. A visit in the off-season is especially recommended, because then the resort shows its most beautiful side, you enjoy a lot of peace and an extremely picturesque ambience. With around 300 days of sunshine per year, Peniscola is considered one of the sunniest places on the Spanish coast. Perfect for those who want to combine sun, beach and sea, with sightseeing and activities.
The most important attraction, the old town of Peniscola, is located on a 64-meter-high rock and inspires not only with its mighty castle, but also with many other interesting attractions. For example, the beautiful castle garden, the so-called Artillery Park, in which film scenes of the hit series Game of Thrones were shot. A real highlight are the many beautiful long sandy beaches of the popular seaside resort, but also the picturesque bays in the surrounding area are worth a visit!
Things to do in Peniscola
On a visit to Peniscola, there are a variety of terrific attractions to discover. The best highlights, which are located directly in the village, are the white old town, the picturesque waterfront and of course the long coastline with the fantastic sandy beaches. But also the surrounding area of this resort is beautiful and invites to unforgettable excursions!
Probably one of the best things to do in Peniscola is a visit to the imposing castle, the so-called Temple Castle Castillo de Peñíscola, which is located on a rock about 64 meters above the sea and forms the heart of the old town. It was built in 1307 by Knights Templar on a former Moorish fortress and later rededicated as a papal palace by Benedict XIII, known as Pope Papa Luna. A visit to the castle is absolutely worthwhile and should therefore not be missed on any trip.
During a tour of the beautifully renovated castle area, you can explore this historic fortress on your own, and enjoy a magnificent view of Peniscola, the white houses of the old town, the deep blue sea and the beaches of the city from the many viewing platforms.
The Old Town
The snow-white old town is definitely unique for this region. On a city tour through the picturesque alleys, you will experience Peniscola from its most beautiful side. The white townhouses glow in the sun and pretty cafés, tapas bars and restaurants invite to linger. Don’t miss the Calle San Roque, one of the most beautiful streets in the city center. Also worth seeing is the mighty city wall, which gives access to the old town with three gates.
Really lovely are the many small museums, such as the Maritime Museum Museu de la Mar, which is dedicated to the preservation of the Peniscola marine heritage. Or the Magic Museum Yunke, a bizarre museum about the history of magic.
El Faro Lighthouse
The lighthouse El Faro is one of the most beautiful places to see of Peniscola. It is located in a picturesque location about 56 meters above the sea and particularly striking is the 11-meter-high, octagonal tower. Already put into operation in 1899, the big tower and the lantern kept their original appearance until today. This attraction is also located in the old town, right next to the castle, and a detour there is absolutely worthwhile.
Playa del Norte Beach
Playa del Norte, better known as North Beach, is definitely the most popular beach in Peniscola. Here even flies the Blue Flag, an award for best sea quality and facilities. The approximately 5 kilometers long, velvety sandy beach runs along a promenade and connects the center with the somewhat quieter north of the resort. Thanks to its length, the bay offers plenty of space for sunbathing, building sandcastles and relaxing. While splashing around, you can also enjoy a picturesque view of the old town, which gives this dream beach an absolute picture-book setting.
Tip: The Hotel Boutique La Mar is ideally located between Playa del Norte and the old town. Guests love the brilliant view of the sea and the delicious breakfast.
Papa Luna Statue
In front of the castle is another popular Peniscola attraction, the life-size statue of Papa Luna, Pope Benedict XIII, who inhabited Peniscola Castle for about 20 years in the early 15th century. This imposing bronze statue, which was inaugurated only in November 2007, is the work of Sergio Blanco Rivas and a popular photo motif for tourists. Just across the street, souvenir stores line the street, and the castle entrance is also nearby.
Església de l’Ermitana
Beautiful and absolutely worth seeing is the church Església de l’Ermitana, the church of the Virgin Eremitana from the year 1717. It is one of the most important churches in the old town, because the “Lady of the Hermitage” is the patron saint of Peniscola. The church building is located right next to the castle and is almost impossible to miss when walking around the city.
House of Shells
A really nice attraction of Peniscola, and certainly a sight that not everyone knows, is the unique house of shells in the old town, the Casa de las Conchas. The house was built more than 50 years ago by the first local guide of the town. The special feature is the original facade, which was completely decorated with native shells and is now a popular photo motif of the old town.
The Bufador is an attraction that should not be missed on any tour of the city. This is a large hole that is located under the old town and is also directly connected to the sea. As you walk past, you can listen to the sounds of the ocean and when the sea is strong, the waves even rush like a fountain through this unusual sea opening.
Gardens of the Peñíscola Castle
The Artillery Park of Peniscola Castle is another jewel of the city. Because of its extraordinary beauty, but also because of the many ramps, tunnels and trenches, it served as the setting of Meereen of the famous series of Game of Thrones. The park is located directly under the castle and can be visited on a tour for a small fee.
Playa del Sur Beach
Playa del Sur borders the southern end of the old town and is a true beach paradise for families with children. The crystal-clear sea slopes particularly shallowly along this section of the coast and thus invites you to splash around and play. The ambience with the old town in the background is also really beautiful, which together with the blue sea colors conjure up a true postcard panorama. In the high season, there are also sunbeds and umbrellas for rent, and entertainment such as pedal boats and kayaks are also provided.
Tip: There are several great accommodations near the beach, such as the Mirador44 apartment with a large balcony and great views of Playa Sur and the old town.
Parc Natural de la Serra d’Irta
The Parc Natural de la Serra d’Irta is an absolute must see in Peniscola. Picturesque hiking trails lead through this nature park. You will pass rocks and walk through pine forests, past dunes and find small beaches. The landscape around the Torre Badum, the Badum tower, from which you can enjoy an overwhelming view of the coast, is also worth seeing. An Insiders tip is the Ermita de Sant Antoni, a monastery inside the national park. Up there you will enjoy marvelous views of Peniscola. The monastery can be reached by car on a dirt road or by a beautiful hike.
Where to Stay in Pensicola
The wide range of wonderful accommodations and hotels in Peniscola makes a holiday just perfect. Most of the accommodations are located directly in the historic old town or in the area along Playa del Norte. Here are the top recommendations for the most beautiful accommodations for an unforgettable stay in Peniscola…It’s worth a look!
- Beautiful B&B: The Dios Esta Bien is a nice B&B with lots of attention to detail. It’s picturesquely located in the old town, just 50 meters from Papa Luna Castle and 300 meters from the beach in Peñíscola.
- Apartment: Really recommended is the Apartamento En Primera Linea De Playa near the beach, which offers private parking. From the terrace you can enjoy a wonderful view of the wide beautiful beach.
- Boutique-Hotel: The Hotel Boutique La Mar – Adults Only is one of the best places to stay in Peniscola. Guests love the top location right on the castle walls, the beautiful rooms and the amazing sea view.
- Hotel with Pool: The RH Don Carlos is located 200 m from the Playa del Norte beach. The best thing is that they have a pool on the roof terrace and also a fantastic breakfast.
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