Peñíscola: Holidays on the Costa del Azahar
Peniscola, the picturesque coastal town in Spain, is located on the Costa del Azahar and is an absolute highlight of the region. On a holiday, in addition to the long beautiful beaches, you can expect many wonderful sights and attractions. The most interesting place to visit here is the beautiful old town with the magnificent castle, which is the landmark of Peniscola. When strolling through the coastal town, the typical white houses, the many blue details and the wonderful view of the turquoise blue sea enchant everyone. But also nature enthusiasts will appreciate the area around Peniscola, where the Serra d’Irta Natural Park can be explored.
In this travel guide we will reveal the most beautiful attractions and beaches of Peniscola. Also, we will share some of our best pictures and provide helpful tips & information which will help you plan your trip.
General information about Peniscola
Peniscola is located on the approximately 200 km long Costa del Azahar in the Valencia region and is a very popular holiday destination in Spain. The town has around 8,000 inhabitants, with 150,000 visitors being the busiest in the summer months of July and August. A visit in the off-season is particularly recommended, because then you will enjoy a lot of peace and experience an extremely great atmosphere. With around 300 sunny days a year, Peniscola is one of the sunniest places on the Spanish coast. Perfect for those who want to combine sun, beach and sea with sightseeing.
Probably the most important attraction, the old town of Peniscola, is located on a 64-meter-high rock and enchants not only with its mighty castle, but also with many other interesting places to see, such as the beautiful castle gardens – the Artillery Park, in which even film scenes of the successful Game of Thrones series were filmed. Another highlight are the many beautiful long sandy beaches, but also the picturesque bays in the area around are impressive and worth visiting.
Things to do in Peniscola
During a visit to Peniscola you can discover many wonderful attractions. Here are the most beautiful things to do, that should not be missed on any trip!
The temple castle Castillo de Peñíscola, which lies on a rock about 64 meters above the sea, is the heart of the old town. It was built in 1307 by Knights Templar on a former Moorish fortress and was later renamed as a Pope Palace by Benedict XIII – known as Pope Papa Luna.
A visit to Papa Luna’s castle is absolutely worthwhile and should therefore be high up on any bucket list in Peniscola. On a tour through the beautifully renovated castle area, you can explore this historic fortress on your own, and from the many viewing platforms you will have a magnificent view of Peniscola, the white houses of the old town, the deep blue sea and the beaches of the city.
Papa Luna Statue
In front of the castle is the life-size statue of Papa Luna, the pope who lived in Peniscola for around 20 years. There are souvenir shops right across the street and the castle entrance is also nearby.
Explore 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 cafes, 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.
Also 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 El Faro lighthouse is one of the most beautiful attractions in Peniscola. It is located around 56 meters above sea level and the 11-meter octagonal tower is particularly striking. The El Faro Lighthouse is part of the old town, located right next to the castle, and a trip there is absolutely worthwhile.
Església de l’Ermitana
The church Església de l’Ermitana (Church of the Virgin Eremitana) built in 1717 is one of the most beautiful churches in the old town. It is right next to the castle and can hardly be missed on a city tour.
House of Shells
Another pretty attraction of Peniscola is the unique House of Shells, the Casa de las Conchas. Here, the entire facade was decorated with shells, which has become a popular photo motif of the old town.
The Bufador is a large hole between the rocks of the old town, which is 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 Peniscola Castle Gardens is another gem of the city. Due to its extraordinary beauty, but also due to the many ramps, tunnels and ditches, it served as the setting for Meereen in the successful series of Game of Thrones.
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.
Peniscola is known for its beautiful beaches. Particularly popular are the large city beaches. The most important one is the approximately 5 km long sandy beach Playa del Norte, from which you can enjoy a picturesque view of the peninsula with the old town. Another fantastic beach is the opposite Playa del Sur, a larger bay at the other end of the city.
The small natural bays in the Serra d’Irta Nature Parc are also picturesque and fantastic to spend a beach day. Here are the most beautiful beaches of Peniscola, summarized at a glance:
- Beach Playa del Norte (Playa de Peniscola)
- Beach Playa del Sur
- Beach Platja del Pebret
- Russo Beach
- Beach Platja d’Irta
- Nudist Beach Playa La Basseta
The nearest international airport (VLC) is in Valencia, around 122 kilometers from Peniscola. From there, many tourists take a rental car and take AP-7 road or N-340 road to their destination. Another possibility is to take the train from Valencia. Then you need to get off in the neighboring town of Benicarló. After that, continue by bus or taxi.
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:
- 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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