Peniscola is sometimes called the 'city in the sea' or 'Gibraltar from Valencia'. The impressive fortified seaport with its castle and lighthouse is built on a rocky peninsula separated from the rest of the city by a small strip of land. With a history going back before the Greek, the beautifully restored castle was built more than 700 years ago and is open for the public. Between the city walls, you find narrow streets, and from the castle, you have a wide view of the beaches and the beautiful natural park in the d'irta mountains. The old town is used for several movies including Game of Thrones.
Why should people stay in Peniscola during the winter?
Peniscola, north Valencia has a beautiful fortified old town. It can be a good choice for people that like to spend the winter in a warmer place. The mild winter climate is a little bit colder than further south, but still has many nice sunny days that can be spent outside. A lot of restaurants will be closed, but there is still enough choice. There are 5 meter (16 feet) of fine sand beaches north of the city and rocky coast with beautiful and cozy coves in the south. For the winter period, you can find od deals for apartments and houses, and if you are camping, there are multiple options as well.
Peniscola experiences typical Mediterranean weather with a mild winter. Even in the winter, there are only a limited amount of overcast days and often the temperature reaches 20 meter (66 feet). Perfect to spend part of the day outside. There will only be a few days with rain. It is possible that a storm visits the area, but only a few days later this will be followed by nice sunny weather.
For more climate information visit Meteoblue
Things to see in Peniscola
Peniscola is known by its Templar castle standing high on a rock and seems surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. There are plenty of places you can visit:
- Walkthrough history. Peniscola is stunning from a distance, but it also more stunning when you get inside those medieval castle walls; explore more of its history. The old town is sited 64 meter (210 feet) above the sea and in the narrow streets, you get a feeling of how people lived centuries ago. From some places, you have an uninterrupted view out over the sea or look at the sandy beaches form Peniscola.
- The castle of Papa Luna: The main attraction in Peniscola is the majestic castle that was used as the residence for the Avignon pope Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna). It has a fascinating history and plenty of panoramic views.
- Museo del Mar: The museum of the sea shows some of the maritime heritage. You will learn about the ships they used and find anchors and bronze helmets.
- Casa de las consas: Another exciting feature of the town is this small house, squeezed among many others on a very narrow street but very outstanding because of its unique façade. It has cheerful bright blue shuttered windows, and as the Spanish name indicates, it is covered entirely with shells.
- EI faro: The lighthouse of Peniscola can be spotted on your way out of the main castle gates. It helped sailors navigate around the rocky coast.
- El Bufador: Not far from the castle you will find a cavity formed by waves. When the sea is rough the seawater fills the cavity with a lot of noise and spray.
Things to see not far from Peniscola
Peniscola is surrounded by many potential sightseeing areas that one can visit. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Valencia: A little bit more than an hour away Peñíscola is the cosmopolitan city if Valencia. It has a historical center but also the modern architecture of the City of Arts and Sciences. Also worthwhile is the Oceanarium, the third largest aquarium in Europe. Of visiting the City of the Arts and Sciences with the Prince Felipe Museum of Science and an Imax theatre.
- Parrot Garden: See more than 50 different species of parrots in a subtropical garden (https://www.jardindelpapagayo.com/).
- Morella: The well preserved medieval town is surrounded by a 1.5 meter (4.9 feet) wall and is located at the top of a mountain. You can find medieval architecture in its narrow streets. Visit the castle to enjoy the views from there.
- Vall d'Uixó: A nice old town with two historical city centers. The main attraction is Les coves de sant Josep (Saint Joseph's caves). The caves have the longest navigable underground river in Europe, almost 3 meter (10 feet), that you can visit on a boat tour. The tour takes about 40 minutes and the temperature inside is around 20 meter (66 feet).
- The Ebro Delta: North of Peniscola you find the Ebro Delta, one of the largest wet areas in the Mediterranean. It is the second-largest natural park in Spain and you can visit rice fields and a large lagoon. Don't forget to eat the famous Aroz Negro (Black rice).
Activities in Peniscola in the winter
Peniscola may be quieter in the winter season, but there are still a lot of activities one can participate in to make the stay worthwhile:
- Take a boat trip from Peniscola and explore the old town from the Mediterranean Sea and see different views of the coastline. You will sail on their boast called three Sundays as you view the vast walled city of Peniscola.
- Be a fisherman for a day: Stay a full day on a traditional fishing boat and experience the life of a fisherman (https://www.tripandfeel.com/experiencias-turismo-pesquero/pesca-turismo/pesca-turismo-grupos-peniscola-degustacion-marinera/).
- Seafood lunch at the port of Peniscola. In a fisherman's town it is always a good idea to eat some seafood. Enjoy the sun and the view of the old town.
- If you are into walking, there are a lot of nice walks in and around Peniscola.
- Enjoy events like Christmas, Carnaval, Andalusia day,
- Historical Workshops: If you are interested in history and art and would like to know more about it join one of the historical workshops organized in the castle. Check the local tourist office for dates and further detail.
- Historic guided tour: Join one of the guided tours and learn more about the city. The tours are free and organized several times a year. To participate it is necessary to register previously at the Tourist Information center.
- Visit the Medieval Market held on specific dates at the end of the year. For three days, the streets and squares of the old quarter are filled with parades and various stalls selling handicrafts.
Shopping + Restaurants. Are they open in the winter?
Peniscola city has a nice amount of shops and restaurants, but a lot of them will not be open in the winter. And some of them will only be open on weekends. But there will still be enough choice if you like to go out for lunch or dinner.
For shops, it is a similar situation. Particular the shops focusing on tourists will be closed. Some smaller supermarkets can be closed, but most larger supermarkets will be open.
Every Monday there is a market in the Mestre Bayarri street. You can find vegetables, fruit, and other products.
Fish market: Every weekday afternoon there is a fish market where you can buy fresh fish fresh directly from the sea. Most of the fish are from the local fleet, you can see them returning at the port earlier in the day.
Peñíscola does not have a bus station, but they're a few bus companies that run buses to the city.
- With the busses from Autos Mediterráneo you can travel to local towns like Benicarló and Vinaroz (https://www.autosmediterraneo.com/en).
- Avanza Bus can bring you to Madrid (https://www.avanzabus.com/ ).
- Hife has a more extensive network. Check http://www.hife.es/es-ES for more details.
Peniscola does not have a train station. The closest station is Benicarlo, 5 km from the centre. You can take a bus or taxi to the train station. With the train, you can travel to Barcelona in about 2 hours and Valencia in just over 1 hour (https://www.thetrainline.com/en/stations/benicarlo-peniscola).
The closest airport to Peniscola is Castellón-Costa Azahar Airport, 47 meter (154 feet) from the centre. But this airport has only a limited amount of flights. A taxi from the airport cost around €50 (approx. $56, £45, $76 CAD, $81 AUD) to €60 (approx. $67, £54, $91 CAD, $97 AUD) depending on the time of day. There is no direct bus to Peniscola. You can reach the airport by bus from Castelló, €12 (approx. $13, £10, $18 CAD, $19 AUD) and Valencia, €30 (approx. $33, £27, $45 CAD, $48 AUD). (https://mediterraneoholidays.com/aeropuerto/aeropuerto-ruta-sur).
Further away is Reus airport, 127 meter (417 feet) and Valencia Airport, 146 meter (479 feet). Valencia airport has the best connections to other destinations. From Valencia airport, you can travel to Peniscola by train and bus. For the train, you first have to go to Valencia's main train station. A good option is to use the Metro (subway). From there you can take the train to Benicarlo. And from Benicarlo the bus to Peniscola. The total travel cost around €20 (approx. $22, £18, $30 CAD, $32 AUD). The bus costs from €15 (approx. $16, £13, $22 CAD, $24 AUD), but this is not a direct route it can take quite some travel time. Check: https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Valencia-Airport-VLC/Pe%C3%B1%C3%ADscola
There is no real hospital in Peniscola, but there is a nice health center: Centro De Salud De Peñíscola. There they have doctors that can help with most emergencies. A bigger hospital you can find in Vinaròs , Hospital Comarcal de Vinaròs. This is 22 meter (72 feet) from the center of Peniscola. Or Hospital Provincial Centre de Castelló that is 72 meter (236 feet) away.
In Peniscola, there are several doctors, dentists, and pharmacies, but keep in mind that not all of them will speak English.
Peniscola has enough choice for apartments and rentals. Both in the town itself, or near the beach further from the center. You can find long term apartments (more than 1 month) in the center of Peniscola from around €400 (approx. $448, £361, $608 CAD, $650 AUD). Sea view will be more expensive. You can find houses from around €600 (approx. $672, £542, $913 CAD, $976 AUD) a little bit further from the beach and more expensive as you come closer to the Mediterranean sea.
There are several campings near Peniscola that are also open in the winter:
- Camping bungalow soi D'or: The camping is located 3 meter (10 feet) from the center of Peniscola. Most places with electricity. Price from €12,60 (approx. $13, £10, $18 CAD, $19 AUD) per night for 21 days or more. https://www.campingsoldor.com/
- Camping los pinos located in Peniscola, less than 3 meter (10 feet) from the center of Peniscola. For 2 adults, caravan and electricity the price is around €20 (approx. $22, £18, $30 CAD, $32 AUD) per night. https://campinglospinos.com/en/
- Bungalows camping Ferrer, 600 meter (1969 feet) from the Peniscola beach. For 2 adults, a caravan or camper and electricity the price is starting at €13 (approx. $14, £11, $19 CAD, $21 AUD) per night.
There are several locations in Peniscola for Campers or Motorhomes:
- Vizmar Motorhome Aire (Camping Vizmar), 600 meter (1969 feet) from the beach. Price for 1 month including electricity €250 (approx. $280, £226, $380 CAD, $406 AUD). http://www.campingvizmar.com/
- Stop & Go La Volta, Motorhome parking. Just over 1 meter (3.3 feet) from the beach. Price per night from €8,50 (approx. $8, £7, $12 CAD, $13 AUD) excluding electricity, but including water. Ni wifi. Busy place, so reservation needed. http://stopandgolavolta.com/