Hiking Penyal d’Ifac, the Gibraltar of Costa Blanca — Connecting the Dots

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From everything I’ve ever seen, there is only one place like legendary Gibraltar. Take away the strategic importance with its historical significance from Gibraltar, and add remote beauty of the wild nature, you get Penyal d’Ifac. Located on the tip of Calp City, it is separating the urban area’s beaches into two. Having in mind the Les Salines, a salt lagoon located in the middle of Calp City, the beauty of views from the top of Penyal d’Ifac is somewhat iconic on Instagram.

Difficulty

Experienced people: Intermediate — Could be marked as easy, depending on your experience.

Duration

Experienced people: 2–3h

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Penyal d’Ifac

Penyal d’Ifac is also a nesting site for many birds and for that reason it has some path restrictions from 1st April to 30th June. Even though you can meet some of the semi-domesticated cats in the park, during the mating season, it is the sea birds which will drive you crazy with their catlike sounds for seducing a partner. No matter how many tourists come here, there are more seagulls than anybody else. It is their rock, respect that.

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History of Penyal d’Ifac

From 4th to 3rd century BC, the rock was a place for Iberian settlement as it proved to be an outstanding strategic place to observe the shores of the surrounding areas and spot approaching pirates. But as technology advanced, the attacks from the sea became unbearable. Villagers had to move deeper into the land, somewhere where the modern Calp is.

For more than a century, the area of Penyal d’Ifac has been privately owned and only in 1987 it was declared a public regional park after the Generalitat Valenciana Authority bought it.

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Getting to Penyal d’Ifac, Calp

By bus

By car — N-332 or AP-7 roads

Calp can be also reached by the Autopista del Mediterráneo, also known as AP-7, a tolled motorway running along the Mediterranean coast of Spain. If you approaching Calp from the South, exit AP-7 road to N-332 near Altea, or to Bonaire if you are coming from the North.

Parking at the Natural Park of Penyal d’Ifac

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Is it hard to hike to Penyal d’Ifac?

The road quality, from the information center of the park to the rock, won’t change a bit. It is easy to walk and has plenty of places to take your breath and enjoy the amazing views. There are no steps just an uphill stone-grounded path.

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Both parts of the hike are separated by a tunnel, which gives you a good taste of what is ahead in a safe manner. You’ll get to taste how good are your shoes for slippery stones and how comfortable you are holding onto the chains. Please note that there is no light in the tunnel. If you are afraid of the dark, I am sorry, but if you are afraid of the heights, enjoy while you can. Once you reach the light at the end of the tunnel, the steep cliffs down to the ocean won’t leave your sight for a second. From here on, the road up to Penyal d’Ifac will turn into a tough challenge for any regular person without any major experience in rock hiking.

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The hard part of the hike

  • High hiking shoes with a deep sole are really useful here;
  • Always look where to put your feet;
  • Enjoy the views only when standing still;
  • Leave enough time to climb down before it gets dark or take a headlight.
  • Where the road is narrow, let incoming people pass it first;
  • Don’t go alone.
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If you will continue walking with a hope that the road will get any easier — DON’T. The hike to the top of Penyal d’Ifac will remain challenging right up to the peak. And it won’t be a pleasant walk. You have to remain conscious of the high probability that any miss-step might result in bye-bye-your-life all the time.

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The problem of modern selfie-photography hiking

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Of course, the real tragedy is the loss of life which could be avoided if the people get informed correctly in front. Instead, there is not much official information to be found in English, which is substituted by some random comments on TripAdvisor. Something like “The hike was challenging but totally worth it”, could mean many things, one of them is that somebody after reading a comment like this won’t get home. Better safe than sorry, right? That is the reason for my description being so harsh. In short — be smart, take that Instagram selfie before the tunnel, and get back home in one piece.

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View from the top of Penyal d’Ifac
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View from the tunnel

Facilities by Penyal d’Ifac

There is a tap for water at the start of the hike, but I don’t recommend drinking from it. It is mainly to clean your hands after the walk, as you’ll definitely get your hands dirty during this one. If you are reading a guide for the hike, you’ll probably going to take at least 3 hours to complete it. Be sure to take your own water and snacks as the hike up will be exhausting and energy consuming.

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Is it worth to visit Penyal d’Ifac

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My impressions of visiting the Penyal d’Ifac

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the hike, the views are amazing, and the road is very interesting. Attached chains will help you to keep safe, but the rocks are really easy to hold on as well. Rock climbing enthusiasts will be as pleased just as I was. Overall, if you’ll stay careful with the tourists wandering around, tolerate the birds who occupy the rock, you will appreciate what this unsung hike has to offer.

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Originally published at ctdots.eu on April 9, 2019.

Travel Blogger, Web Designer & AMP Developer | Travel & History Journal: https://www.ctdots.eu | AMP Development & Web Design Tutorials: https://ampire.city

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