Peniscola is one of the coastal towns along the Mediterranean sea in the Castellon area of the Valencia province and a great choice of destination to dip our toes into traveling again. This travel guide shows you the best of the town.
Valencia To Peniscola Travel Guide
Now that travel is slowly coming back with more freedom of movement, this might be the perfect time to consider visiting Peniscola. Due to constantly changing rules, most people are unable to holiday in Spain from other countries without obstacles. Tourists that would have overrun all of these lovely beachy places are a bit scarce. This has meant that locals and immigrants like us can actually enjoy some of the trappings.
Peñiscola is also known as the “Gibraltar of Venice” or the “City in the Sea”. It has throughout its history being ruled at various times by the Iberians, Greeks, Phoenicians, and finally by the Carthaginians under the father of Hannibal himself. The crowning glory of Peniscola is the castle, named Castell del Papa Luna, after Pope Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) who lived there until his death in 1423.
Castle in show biz:
The glorious Papa Luna castle as it stands now was originally built by the Knight Templars. You might recognize it from movies such as El Cid. More recently, The Game of Thrones where it became “Meereen”. Needless to say that the popularity of that show has propelled Peniscola to a must-visit destination for fans of the series.
How to get from Valencia to Peniscola:
If you have a car, you can drive there in about 90 minutes. We chose to take the train from Valencia Estacion Nord to Benicarlo and then a bus to Peniscola. The cost is less than 20 dollars per person each way. A lot of hotels don’t have parking but there is one central one we saw close to the beach and was about €20 per day! The bus drops you right in the middle of the action and you can just walk to your hotel.
Where to stay in Peñiscola:
Since this is a seaside town, the seafront is just chock full of hotels in all price ranges. We stayed and recommend a small boutique hotel named Duna. I think the hotel has less than 20 rooms and it’s so quaint, plus their rooms are soundproof, something you need when your room faces the beach. No amount of soundproofing could mute the fireworks though on the weekends, you just gotta suck it up. The view is everything.
What to eat in Peniscola:
Seafood, paella, and more seafood. Since Peniscola is still part of Valencia, home of paella, expect to find many of the restaurants serving up this tasty regional dish. Pair with some delicious tinto de verano, wine, or beer, and you’re all set. One of the most memorable places was Restaurante PuertoMar.
There are also small cafes about to keep costs down. If you like Indian food, make sure you seek out this place called Restaurante Goa. The most mouth-watering Indian food we have had in ages.
What to see in Peñiscola:
As you might guess, this is mostly a sea, sun and fun place. Here are a few things you can also see and experience in the area:
For a €5 fee, you can tour the castle grounds, inside and outside. You can find information and events happening on this page. A treat for any GOT fans.
Close to the castle is the Peniscola lighthouse. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb to the top for even more stunning views of the town.
Stretching about 10 kilometers along the sea, you are spoiled for choice. Some of the best include Peñiscola Beach, Playa Nord, and Playa Sur (North and South beaches). Lots of activities to keep the kids engaged, puppet shows, beach soccer, etc. Some of the beaches are rocky, so be aware, and be prepared. The best part is the stunning view of the castle from wherever you’re at.
The Old Town:
Enter through one of the two main entrances, the Forsch Gate by the plaza del Caudillo or the Porteta Gate from the harbor side, and get lost wandering the cobble-stoned streets showcasing the white houses. It is a hike up to the castle, so if you have mobility problems, you want a hotel down below.
Is Peniscola worth visiting:
Yes, it most definitely is. The beaches are wonderful, the food is marvelous and it makes for a wonderful short break from Valencia.
Is Peñiscola good for living year-round?
Peñiscola is an amazing town and very much recommended for a getaway. It is a very active and popular place for summer, but it does shut down considerably during the other seasons and l believe most people would be bored, especially if you’re not fluent in Spanish. The normal population is only about 8,000, so yeah.. small. It does remind me of Cullera in some ways.
Have you been to Peñiscola? What did you think?