The stunning fortified town of Peñíscola

The bus screeched to a halt, hurtling me out of my dreamy state. I looked out the window and saw a wide arc of glistening white sand and the gorgeous blue Mediterranean sea. I wondered where we were and my question was soon answered as I noticed a board near the traffic lights. It read: Peñíscola. I rubbed my sleepy eyes. “Penis-Cola?”, I queried out loud. My friends burst out laughing and corrected me: “It’s ‘Peh-niscola’!”. Oh right…yes, we’re in Spain!


Peñíscola (map) is a stunning medieval town built on a rocky peninsula, complete with a lighthouse, ancient fortress, pebblestone alleys and panoramic views of the Costa Azahar, just north of Valencia. I later discovered that the name Peñíscola stems from the Latin word for ‘peninsula’. The peninsula was inhabited in ancient times by the Iberians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and later the Arabs, who ruled the area from the 8th to the 13th centuries AD. In the 13th-14th centuries, the Templar knights built the castle on the rocky headland.

Today, the town is a popular seaside resort for both locals and tourists, with the palm-fringed beaches and the fortified town being the biggest attractions. On a recent blogger trip to the region of Valencia, we spent a memorable afternoon strolling around Peñíscola. I absolutely loved the gorgeous whitewashed buildings with splashes of colour to frame windows or walls, and the beautiful vistas of the beaches and the sea.

A balcony in Peñíscola

The cliffwalls of Peñíscola

There was a great variety of cafés and restaurants to sit at, quaint shops to explore and decks where we could enjoy the panoramic views. We entered the castle and climbed up to the top where we were treated to amazing views of the town’s step-like rooftops and the coast.

A colourful lounge right next to a blowhole

A typical street in Peñíscola

A gorgeous building with Moorish arches

The Peñíscola lighthouse

The belltower of the Hermitage of the Virgin

The Plaza de Armas

The step-like rooftops of Peñíscola

The Hermitage of the Virgin of the Hermit

Peñíscola is a perfect day-trip from Valencia but is also a destination on its own. Visitors can spend several days wandering the town’s lovely alleys and absorbing the medieval atmosphere, and combine this with a lazy beach holiday full of sunshine, golden sands, paella and sangria! 🙂

Read other Velvet Escape posts on the region of Valencia:

Share or Save this post:



Follow Velvet Escape on:

6 Responses to “The stunning fortified town of Peñíscola”

  1. Charles 19/10/2010 1:06 pm

    Thanks, I’ve gone off drinking Coke now..!

    The pictures are amazing and the location looks stunning – I haven’t been to Spain for a few I’m getting the urge 😉

  2. Kelseu 31/08/2010 5:47 pm

    What a beautiful place!

  3. Melvin 31/08/2010 5:00 pm

    Very nice photos & a good joke!

    That old town just lies perfect and is definitely worth to explore…

  4. velvet 31/08/2010 2:01 pm

    Glad you liked the joke! That wasn’t the end of the story as you can imagine! There were soooo many Peniscola jokes. Haha! 🙂
    Thanks for your comment Simon!


  5. simon 31/08/2010 1:43 pm

    Gosh, Keith….. Penis-Cola? I’m still laughing!!! 🙂

    Apart form the wonderful joke, I loved you post. Especially because I just spend a long, amazing weekend in Spain!
    How comes everytime I go to Spain I fell happy??? 🙂


  1. Reasons I love Spain in 45 photos - 01/06/2017

    […] Read about my visit to Peniscola. […]

Leave a Reply