NATURAL ROUTS

CALPE : HISTORY

In Calpe you can see remnants of different civilizations while exploring its typical seaside streets.

Look at archaeological artifacts from the Bronze Age and Iberian era in the Museo de Historia de Calpe and learn more about the Roman civilization at Baños de la Reina, one of the most important archaeological sites of its kind in all of Roman Hispania. Due to its importance and wealth, the Pobla Medieval de Ifach also has a special representation within the museum.

In the old town, you can view the remnants of the wall that protected Calpe from Moorish attacks, as well as the Torreó de la Peça, a tower that once contained an artillery piece and now houses the Museo del Coleccionismo. Don’t forget to visit the Iglesia Antigua, an old Gothic- and Mudejar-style church that was constructed in the 15th century atop an old chapel from the Christian conquest.

Forat de la Mar, a breach in the wall that opened when the pirate threat ceased, the outskirts of town, the Hermitage of San Salvador, and the panoramic view of the architectural site designed by famous Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill at the end of the 20th century are other sites you cannot miss.

The old town hall, now used as an exposition hall, stands near the site occupied by the historic gate, an old entrance to the walled enclosure, popularly known as El Portalet.

Duration: Half-day | Included: transport, guide| Price: 20€ per person

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SALT FLATS

Calpe’s salt flats occupy a depression filled with Quaternary alluvial deposits. The position of the Peñón de Ifach is an important factor in the formation of this interesting humid area. It is a lagoon of tombolic origin produced by the development of a double sandbar.

The excavated pools of the “Baños de la Reina” fish farm are located on the sandbar in the area of Calpe’s bay.

Salt was a necessity for food preservation, which Calpe used to market their catch. This shows that the exploitation of Calpe’s salt flats began long ago. During the Roman era, its salt production was combined with the fish farm, achieving its greatest splendor in the 2nd century AD. The salt flats acquired great importance throughout history, eventually supplying over 40 municipalities. Their decline began to be evident at the end of the 18th century, when they became the focus of infections that caused fevers among the population. Later there were various attempts to make them operational again, including by Vicente Buigues, (My great grand father) , known as “Ti Marguí”, who started the modern exploitation of the salt flats, which ended in the late 1980s. In 1993 they were declared a maritime-terrestrial zone.
I can tell you the real history!

In the salt flats you can see various birds, one of the most striking being the flamingo, as well as vegetation unique to this peculiar ecosystem.

Duration: Half-day | Included: transport, guide| Price: 20€ per person

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THE PEÑÓN DE IFACH

The Peñón de Ifach, a symbol of the Costa Blanca, is a 50,000 m2 limestone rock that rises 332 m above the sea and is a kilometer long. Connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, it is the result of a landslide of the nearby Sierra de Oltà, and is one of the most unique and beautiful landforms on the entire Mediterranean coast.

It is one of the most visited natural parks in the Valencian Community, and a meeting place for scuba divers, climbers and hikers.

Various cultures have been established on the Peñón de Ifach since ancient times. On the western slope there is evidence of an Iberian settlement, which was abandoned during the Roman era and moved to the bottom of the isthmus. There are also indications that the slopes were occupied during the Middle Ages until the inhabitants descended to the town and created a new walled defense system due to attacks by sea. The Peñón de Ifach was also owned by various individuals until 1987, when it finally became the property of the Generalitat Valenciana, which declared it a Natural Park.

The 2.5-hour signposted route starts from the Visitor Center, which has an interpretive center, an exhibition hall, and a parking area.

The first stretch reaches an approximately 30 m tunnel excavated into the rock in 1918, and runs along a path where you will find the lovely views of the Poniente and Botánico Cavanilles overlooks, and the remains of the Iberian settlement (4th century BC). After going through the tunnel, on the Levante side, between the esparto, rosemary, and junipers, the path narrows and a more complicated stretch begins on the slope that leads up to the peak. It’s worth the effort for the sensation of touching the sky with your hand and enjoying the spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean, which on clear days reach as far as the island of Ibiza.

Duration: Half-day | Included: transport, guide| Price: 20€ per person

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SIERRA DE OLTÀ

The Sierra de Oltá is a small mountainous elevation in the vicinity of Calpe which provides an excellent vantage point of the La Marina coast from Serra Gelada to Montgó, as well as the nearby Sierra de Bèrnia.

It has a camping area and a circular route formed by signposted paths and trails that allow you to climb up to its 586 m high summit after a journey of 10 km that takes about 4 hours.

Duration: Half-day | Included: transport, guide| Price: 20€ per person

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