Peñíscola

An impassable castle and pontifical seat

This rocky peninsula, birthplace of King Wolf, was occupied by all the former civilizations that ruled over the Mediterranean. Its fortress was home to two schismatic popes. The festival devoted to the patron saint of the locality, the Parish Virgin, is held every year since the 17th century.

Plan your stay in Peñíscola

Things to do in Peñíscola often involve its beach and observing the town’s magnificent architecture from the middle ages. You must not miss the Templar castle, the basilica and the walls surrounding the old town (a visit that can take you a day to complete). One of the main tourist attractions is the Irta Mountain Range and some options to practice active tourism. Among the surrounding areas, we recommend paying a visit to Catí, San Mateu and Benicarló.

We start our visit in the Templar Castle, built between the years 1294 and 1307 upon the remains of and old Muslim fortress. Pope Benedicto XIII turned into one of his Palaces, and during the kingdom of Felipe II, it was adapted to hold some artillery on its walls. It holds inside the interesting Body Guard and the Basilica, where Pope Luna was buried.

The old town is surrounded by walls divided into three main areas, highlighting the ones built by Antonelli in 1578. He also built the inextinguishable Font of the Petxina. The fortress was accessed by three main entries: the Portal Fosc (dark door), Renaissance style, almohad decoration, made by Juan de Herrera; Santa María’s Door, ordered by King Fernando VI in 1754 to connect it with the famous Santa María Plaza; and Sant Pere’s door, built to order by Pope Luna during the 15th century.

In this area we also highlight the Santa Ana Chapel (1827) and Font of Dins, the main water resource during the sieges of the town. The Santa María Church Parish (1234) has Gothic elements; it also hides treasures such as the cross for processions, Clemente VIII’s reliquary, and Pope Luna’s goblet, and the famous image devoted to the Parish Virgin granted by King Jaime I. the Ermitori of the Mare of Dèu d’Ermitana was built to hold the image between the years 1708 and 1714. Another interesting sight is the Weapons Plaza, where folk dances are still practiced during the processions on the second week of September.

If you want to see an original natural piece, you had better visit the Bufador: a seven-meter height natural erosion open to the sea. If you place yourself in the corner the wall indicates, you will be able to discover all the secrets this spot hides.

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Aereal view from the Papa Luna Castle

We recommend the balconies full of flowers at Conchas House, framed by the white and blue houses. The old fishing port La Porteta was modernized between the years 1922 and 1925. There you can take the embarkations called ‘golondrinas’ (swallows) to enjoy a view of the coast. The lighthouse built in 1892 and its light reached 35 miles (65 km). The Sea Museum explains the history, archeology, fishing and marine life, with exhibitions of mockups of ships, graphics, videos, fishing material and three aquifers with Mediterranean marine species.

Irta Mountain Range blends with the cliffs and deserted bays. In this area you should visit the Ermitorio of San Antonio and the medieval watchtower.

Must-see...

Practical data

Coordinates

40° 20′ 57.56″ N, 0° 21′ 40.21″ E

Distances

Castellón de la Plana 74 km, Madrid 491

Altitude

46 m

Inhabitants

8 214 (2012)

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