Castle and beach
First of all, the Peñíscola Palace Castle (Castellón, Valencian Community, Spain), also called Papa Luna Castle, is located on the highest part of the rock that dominates the city, reaching a height of 64 m above sea level. . Its perimeter is about 230 m and it has an average height of 20 m. The Templars built this Romanesque work on the remains of the old Arab citadel between 1294 and 1307.
Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor, who was named Pope by the obedience of Avignon under the name of Benedict XIII of Avignon, the so-called Pope Luna, turned the castle into his pontifical seat in the long dispute over his legitimacy. The tenacious fight that Pope Luna maintained against his enemies served to give rise to the popular phrase of “holding his ground” in reference to Benedict XIII’s refusal to renounce his position as pope.
Pope Luna, Benedict XIII of Avignon, one of the most universally known and at the same time controversial Hispanic figures, moved to Peñíscola in 1411, turning his castle into a pontifical palace and library. From the walls and dependencies of this fortress radiate ideas, feelings and prejudices about a man of integrity, honest and virtuous who had the audacity to persevere in his conviction that he was the true Pope of the Catholic Church in a time marked by wars, ambitions, greed and corruption. that even affected the high dignities of the Church, whose spiritual power had to surrender to political and civil power.
The sobriety and solidity of its construction stands out throughout the complex, both in the Templar rooms and in the strategic and intricate pontifical rooms that Benedict XIII would later build (among which one of the best libraries in the world was installed). But, perhaps, the greatest architectural interest of the castle is found in the vaulted solution of the Cuerpo de Guardia and in the austerity and severe proportion of the Basilica of the Templars.
Secondly, Playa Norte de Peñíscola is the closest beach to the old part of the town. A large and attractive beach in a spectacular setting with the Castle of Papa Luna in the background. Five kilometers of fine sand that make it the main beach in the municipality.
One of the main characteristics of the beach is its excellent care and the quality of its waters, due to the presence of surveillance and rescue teams and signs along its five kilometers. It is also equipped with access walkways, infrastructures for people with reduced mobility, telephone, cleaning service, litter bins, rental of sunbeds and umbrellas.
On the wide promenade that borders the beach, lined with palm trees, you can enjoy charming walks contemplating the figure of the Templar Castle crowning the City in the Sea. In addition, on the North Beach of Peñíscola you can enjoy the sport of sailing, canoes, skates watercraft or jet skis.
Thanks to the equipment that the beach has, it has been granted the certifications: Blue flag, “Q” flag, from the Institute for Quality for Tourism of Spain, the “green” from the certification company AENOR and the “Qualitur” flag. » of the Valencian Tourism Agency, which confirm the quality, management and good service present in the North Beach of Peñíscola.
At the foot of the walls and next to the fishing port, we find the secluded Playa Sur, sheltered from storms. The South Beach is characterized by the fine sand that makes up its nearly 300 m length and 35 m width.
Enjoying a tour of the southern promenade while the boats arrive at the port with the catch of the day is one of the magnificent views that you can enjoy in this location. Likewise, you will be able to enjoy magnificent views of the Castle while you tan on the beach.
It has a surveillance and rescue service and basic services such as showers and facilities with children’s games and beach volleyball. The presence of the Benicarló-Peñíscola Nautical Station allows all visitors to practice light sailing, scuba diving, windsurfing or canoeing with the different companies related to associated water sports.