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Peniscola is in the province of Castellon in the Valencia and Murcia region of Spain. Pensicola's location on a rocky promontory which juts out into the sea is superb. Add to this its historic fortifications and great beaches and it is easy to see why it is such a popular tourist choice.
Peniscola is a very popular town in the summer. With its superb position surrounded by sea on three sides, its castle, its medieval walls and its winding streets lined by white houses, it is a lovely town to visit.
The old town is entered through one of two gateways through the medieval walls. The Fosch Gate is by the Plaza del Caudillo and was the main entrance into the city until the 18th century. The Porteta Gate leads to the old town from the harbour. Look out also for the Saint Peter's Gate leading from the sea to the castle.
The castle is Peniscola's main sight. It was built in the 13th century by the Knights Templar on the foundations of an Arab fortress. It was used for the 1961 filming of El Cid. In fact the highest battlements were added on specifically for the film! On the door of the castle is a cross carved by the Knights Templar. The castle is cheap to visit and offers great views over the town and sea and a visit to the enormous guards quarters.
The castle was lived in by Pope Benedict XIII (Papa Luna) for 6 years when he was deposed from the papacy. His name lives on today in a cavern called the Bufador de Papa Luna where sea water is thrown up in clouds of spray.
The Spanish tourist information office offers a selection of walks throughout the town and the harbour highlighting the main historic sites.
Outside of the medieval walls is the modern town of Peniscola which is a popular beach resort. The beaches are good, the best being the north beach which has lifeguards, the blue flag for cleanliness and a palm-tree lined promenade.
To the south the coast is rockier and you can discover quiet little coves and inlets. Also if you drive down the coast a bit you can sunbathe with views of the sea and Peniscola on its rocky outcrop - amazing.
If you are looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy a drink then the restaurants along the South Beach offer great views over the harbour whilst those along the North Beach offer views of the walled city. For lunch or dinner there is an excellent choice in the newly developed parts of town - these were developed with money from the filming of El Sid!
On a night the Calle Major is the area to head for for an excellent night time atmosphere. Also the bars along North Beach have a vibrant atmosphere.
Peniscola also hosts an annual comedy film festival.
Where to visit near to Peniscola?
There are a good selection of hiking trails into the Irta Mountains including walks to the Sant Antoni Hermitage or the Badum Tower.
The town of Morella which is built on a steep, rocky clifftop is nearby.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Valencia and Murcia guide.