Calpe, The City of Concrete

Some of the buildings at Calpe, the concrete city.


The town of Calpe and its awful concrete spires, hotels, beach front apartments and nightclubs is the ying to its beach’s yang. From afar you can see Penon de Ifach, the majestic outcrop of rock that dominates the landscape and around its base the white towers stand like trash, completely insulting the natural beauty around it.

The post-Franco era saw a huge change in Spain and it became a holiday destination for the working class as it still is today.

Calpe lies on the Costa Blanca, not far from Alicante which serves as its entry to the country. We have the tourism boom to thank for the abortion that has taken place at many Costa Blanca resorts, for in all of Spain that I’ve seen, this particular region is far more over-developed with tatty buildings standing three or four streets deep, 10-15 stories high, than any other part of the country.

Calpe attracts the type of people who are looking for England or Germany with hot weather and tropical sandy beaches , the kind of thing they’ll never get at home.

They’re generally a rowdy rabble too, largely disrespectful to the locals and the resort as well as other holiday makers. Calpe does it bit to provide them with entertainment, alcohol and bad English/German food.

Sights such as the Penon de Ifach and hills to the south are largely wasted on the visitor who generally only care about Sky Sports, chicken in a basket, Sangria and making sure they go home with a tan.

While the visitors keep coming Spain will keep building these awful towns that do nothing to compliment the natural beauty of its coast lines. Not once have I seen nature do anything ugly but man’s ideas of augmentation are, frankly, abysmal.


Another concrete tower at Calpe, Costa Blanca

Another concrete tower at Calpe, Costa Blanca


Given the recession and austerity cuts it’s easy to see resorts like Calpe pushing their prices up, just as Greece did a few years back. This could price some people out of a holiday which will plunge the country into further problems; tourism being one of its main sources of income.

Why the Spanish can’t take their cue from the people and governments of Thailand who forbid the building of anything above two stories is beyond me, apart from the fact that they can cram in more peasants to fill the coffers and plunder the landscape.

Yes, I have a dim view of package holidays, their participants and the destinations generally on offer because they represent everything that is wrong about Spain and its otherwise beautiful land.

Calpe, were it not for the high rise hotels and apartment blocks, would be a beautiful place.

Read about the beach or take a look at our galleries of the concrete city and the contrasting beauty of the beach.

Despite my take on Calpe, if it appeals to you click here to book a hotel.

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