Castillo de Peñíscola (Peñíscola Castle or the Castle of Papa Luna) can be visited for a small admission fee.
There are various exhibits throughout the castle relating to the history of the castle and town. A former cannon outpost is converted into a beautiful garden with spectacular views, the Parque de Artillería (Artillery Park).
The site also houses a basilica, and a 19th century lighthouse on la Plaza del Faro, with the best views of the castle. The most spectacular views of the surroundings are on the Castle’s rooftop.
The largest room of the castle on the first level of the papal palace must have been Pedro de Luna’s bedroom.
De Luna also had a vast library, one of the better ones in his days, spread over several rooms. His library was perhaps his most beloved possession. He gathered works from the most diverse disciplines: Art, Poetry, History, Mathematics, Architecture, Astronomy, Natural Sciences, Astrology, Magic, etc. Nothing escaped his curiosity and thirst for knowledge. His library was also, in his last days, a source of sorrow. Suffering from poverty, he had little choice but to sell many of his books in order to be pay for the expenses of the castle. Despite these difficulties, Benedict XIII is known to have been a prolific writer. He wrote papal bulls (about 25.000 of them; formal papal documents with a bulla or seal attached), correspondence, sermons, polemics, writings on ecclesiastic studies and law, etc.
There is an annex where de Luna’s workplace used to be and where he met with envoys.
The throne hall, also known as the commanders’ room, was used by the Templars and papal Curia for receptions, hearings, and rituals.
The church, which used to be the chapel of the Knights Templar, became the papal basilica.
Pedro de Luna was buried here between 1423 and 1430, until some of his relatives wanted to pay him a last tribute and moved his body to the palace of Illueca (near Zaragoza), where he was born.
Furthermore, you can visit the Conclave Hall, the gigantic vaulted guards’ quarters, the parade place, the stables, etc.
The North and South Beach
Peñíscola has the international blue flag (for cleanliness, hygiene, facilities, etc.) and offers a palm-tree lined promenade with an endless amount of shops, restaurants, ice cream parlours, bars, hotels, etc. At night, all kinds of artists, painters, and clowns entertain the audience and you can buy hand-made products along the promenade.
The city has a beach north and south of the castle. The beaches are good with fine white-gold sand and hide impressive coves along the shores.
The north beach is usually more crowded, is longer, and tends to get less crowded the further you go.
Located near the harbour, the south beach is smaller, also with fine sand and gets rockier further south, where you can discover quiet little coves and inlets. If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy a drink, then the restaurants along the South Beach offer great views over the harbour and the charm of the ships coming into the port. You can also enjoy this view from your terrace in one of our apartments: Calypso Azahar!
Nature Park of la Sierra de Irta
El Parque Natural de la Sierra de Irta (Valencian: Parc Natural de la Serra d’Irta)
The perfect opportunity to escape the summer crowds is to seek solitude in the Sierra de Irta, an 18.8 km long mountain range, running south from Peñíscola.
This Nature Park and protected area is best explored on foot or by mountain bike. Ask for a trail map at the tourist office. There are also signposts along the way.
The park offers spectacular pathways and vantage points, romantic coves, sensational views (including the views back towards Peñiscola). The mountain-sea combination makes it all the more sensational. The coves for swimming and snorkelling are ravishing. Spring is the best season for wild flowers. Some of the lower slopes facing inland are planted with olive, almond and carob trees.
Just outside the park are two impressive castles from Islamic times: Alcalà de Xivert and Santa Magdalena de Polpís (11th century). Inside the park, are watchtowers from the same era. The most important one is Torre Badum, which was used by the Muslims to warn the commanders in the citadel against arriving enemies, using smoke signals.
The maritime museum
Also located on the citadel, you can pay a visit to the Museo del Mar.
You can explore the town’s rich maritime history, from ancient seafaring to the fishing industry, and the area’s underwater fauna and flora. The museum exhibits various archaeological finds, including ancient anchors and old bronze diving helmets. It also has several aquariums filled with local underwater species.
Fiestas Patronales de Peñíscola
Like any other town or village in Spain, each year Peñíscola commemorates its patron saint. Around the second week of September, Peñíscola pays tribute to the Virgin of the Ermitana (la virgin de l’Ermitana, also la Mare de Déu de l’Ermitana). The Ermitana (remote chapel, or hermitage) symbolizes Peñiscola´s past.
Peñíscola indulges itself for an entire week in the fiestas or feasts, with traditional, age-old dances that evoke the city’s warrior and peasant traditions. There are fireworks, concerts, contests, running of young bulls, street entertainment with brass bands, a variety of rituals, etc. On the final days of the fiestas there are the colourful “Moors and Christians” parades. The spectacle comes to a close with the castell, a human tower.