The town of Peñíscola is a Valencian municipality set within a privileged part of the Spanish Mediterranean that blends history and culture with stunning beaches. During a recent trip to the area, I was blown away as I stood on Playa del Norte and saw Peñíscola’s dramatic medieval fortifications, charming old town and beautiful castle, all of which give this resort town a unique historical edge. The medieval fortress town stands atop a rocky crag that rises sixty-four meters above the blue sea. It is a very dramatic sight when viewed from a distance. Joined to the mainland via a sandy isthmus with the Mediterranean pervading its every nook and cranny, Peñíscola has been described as looking like a boat stranded at sea. The narrow winding streets of white houses seemingly slide down to the sea restrained only by the solid city walls.
As I entered the old city, I immediately lost myself in the winding streets that led me to several viewpoints with unbeatable vistas and eventually to the highest part of the town. Despite the sizzling heat, I enjoyed a close look at the old quarters of Peñíscola and discovered one of the most visited monuments in Spain, Pope Luna’s Castle. Inside, the castle has been carefully preserved making it possible for visitors to appreciate the many details of this fortress. The best way to learn more about the old quarters of Peñíscola is to follow the established routes that lead to places such as the Porteta, Portal Fosc, Saint Pere’s Gate, the Bufador and the Church of Our Lady the Virgin of La Ermitana.
At dusk, the streets began to bustle and swarm with people coming and going amongst the white facades of the old town with their slender balconies and colorful pots of flowers. While walking through the old town, I gazed at many interesting restaurants and shops until I discovered the area around Calle Mayor. This is an ideal spot to sit back and have a drink while soaking up the unique vibe of Peñíscola.