The sunny days that so characterize spring on the Costa Blanca are the ideal time to carry out one of our favourite routes very close to Benidorm: the climb up the Peñón de Ifach in Calpe.
The Peñón de Ifach nauture reserve
In 1987, the Peñón de Ifach (Penyal d'Ifac in Valencian) was considered a nature reserve by the Generalitat Valenciana (Valencian government), being the first in the province of Alicante to obtain this recognition. And very well deserved! The Peñón de Ifach is an emblem of the Costa Blanca and its profile has become an icon of the Alicante coast.
This colossal rock formation that reaches 332 m in height that falls vertically over the sea, joins the land only by a narrow isthmus on the edge of the port of Calpe, in the Marina Alta region.
Its excellent environmental value does not only reside in the spectacular nature of the landscape. The Peñón de Ifach Nature Reserve has numerous endemic flora (exclusive plants that do not exist anywhere else in the world), as well as being an important sanctuary for birds. Therefore, during your visit, avoid leaving the paths that have been laid out and thus protect so many living beings that make up this magnificent ecosystem.
Route up the Peñón de Ifach
Despite being one of the smallest nature reserves in Europe with only 53.3 hectares, the route up to the top of the Peñón de Ifach, indicated as "red route" can be classified into two well differentiated sections suitable for different types of public:
First part: route for the whole family
The first part of the "red route" has a low difficulty and is perfectly suitable for all types of the public, making it an ideal plan to do with children or even with your dog. This first section includes the path from the base of the Rock, at the site of the Medieval Village of Ifach and next to the Interpretation Center of the nature reserve, to the viewpoint at the end of the tunnel that crosses the heart of the rock. It is very easy and will allow you to get an idea of the landscape and enjoy its views.
The path, protected at all times by wooden railings, zigzags up in the shade of the pines and crosses countless small viewpoints over the sea until it reaches the tunnel: the main protagonist of this route that delights the little ones! A whole corridor equipped with ropes on the walls only illuminated by the beam of light that enters from the ends. But do not worry, although it is advisable to be extremely careful since the ground is slippery, crossing it is an experience that no one should miss.
Second part: route only suitable for experienced adventurers
After crossing the tunnel, the path becomes a route of high difficulty aided by chains in some sections. A few meters from starting it, there is a fork where you can take the direction to the Mirador de Carabineros, at the deepest part hanging over the sea, or to the highest point of the top of the Peñón de Ifach.
The limestone of which the Rock is composed is highly polished by erosion and is very slippery, so it is essential to wear suitable footwear to walk through this area. As a reward for this feat, you will probably find the best panoramic views of the Mediterranean. Take advantage of the last rays of day light and save this unforgettable memory in your retina.
Whichever option you choose, don't forget to book your appointment (as we will indicate in detail later) to go up to the Peñón de Ifach by the “red route”. Ensuring the avoidance of large crowds, so as to enjoy the nature reserve more comfortably and protect the ecosystem with a much more sustainable visit.
Rock Climbing on the Peñón de Ifach
The Peñón de Ifach is a rock-climbing paradise. The huge vertical walls of this wonder of nature are in equal parts a challenge and a dream, even for the most experienced climbers.
The Pany (240 m, IV +) and the Valencianos (230 m, V +) are the easiest climbing routes on the Peñón de Ifach. On the other hand, the Diedro UBSA (250 m, VI +) and the Costa Blanca (250 m, VIII) are the most popular.
For the uninitiated in this sport, this information will sound like Chinese, but the Roman numerals that follow the vertical height of each of the routes refer, according to the UIAA (Central European) scale, to the difficulty of the same, being I the value that refers to the least possible difficulty and XI + to the most difficult routes.
Information of interest and recommendations
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your excursion to the Peñón de Ifach:
How to book your place
Access to the Peñón de Ifach nature reserve is free and to carry it out, a prior reservation must be made on its website, since there is a daily limitation of 300 people. This simple procedure is necessary for either of the two available routes.
It is allowed to climb the Peñón de Ifach at any time of the day, the only requirement being that there is sunlight, since it is forbidden to ascend the Peñón at night.
Climbing the Peñón de Ifach with children
The first section of the "red route" of the Peñón de Ifach, up to the tunnel, is an ideal plan to do with children. From this point and following the regulations of the Nature Reserve, access is prohibited to persons under 18 years of age due to the dangerousness of the journey.
Climbing the Peñón de Ifach with dogs
It is a great idea to do with your pet, as long as it is on a lead at all times to prevent dangerous situations from occurring or damaging the local fauna and flora.
Where is the Peñón de Ifach?
If you are wondering how to get to the Peñón de Ifach from Benidorm, you will like to know that it is only 25 minutes from the city centre, in the neighbouring town of Calpe (Calp). After taking the AP-7 or the N-332, once you arrive at this beautiful fishing town, you will have to head in the direction of the port, since the Rock is located in it. When you approach its surroundings, you will see that there are many indications to the Penyal d'Ifac Nature Reserve.
At the starting point of the “red route” up to the Peñón de Ifach there is a free unmanned parking area, and a little further on, next to the interpretation centre, there is also a parking area for people with reduced mobility
Enjoy your visit and tell us about your experience!