If you were to visit only one town in looking for a property for sale in Costa del Azahar, this one would have to be Peñíscola. When you arrive to Peñíscola (7,000 inhabitants) and take a good look at the old town from the Playa del Norte, you will be amazed at how unique and elegantly integrated with nature the original village is. The old town is but a handful of beautifully whitewashed houses filling a rocky outcrop of land on top of which Peñíscola’s castle remains proudly vigilant. This would be in fact and island-village, were it not for the short isthmus of land that connects it to the mainland. Peñíscola is, thereby, a peninsula-village, although in the old times the isthmus would often be flooded by the low tide and the town would seem to become an island. Sadly, this does not happen anymore since the construction of a parking lot and several buildings in the isthmus are now preventing the flooding.
You do not need to be a military genius to understand what a solid defensive outpost you could make out of this privileged environment. Every single ancient civilization that has arrived to Spain through the Mediterranean took notice of this and settled in Peñíscola. The first were the Phoenicians, and to these followed the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, until the land was conquered by the Aragonese kings in the 13th century. Only recently, the more modern civilization of European expats is timidly following suit by looking for a property for sale in Peñíscola. They are mostly led by the Brits and the French. But if we have to talk about one single inhabitant of Peñíscola, this would be the Papa Luna (Pope claimant Benedict XIII), whose image you will see all around town, and who inhabited Peñíscola’s magnificent castle at the beginning of the 15th century. At that time, a serious fight occurred within the Catholic church as to which claimant was the valid Pope. This conflict resulted with three different Popes claiming to be the true one, with Papa Luna being one of them. Although only some countries backed his claim, Papa Luna lived his life in Peñíscola’s castle ceremoniously acting like the head of the Church. He claimed he was the one and only one Pope until the end of his days. If this town is the perfect place to serve as residence of a Pope, then there can be no reason why you would not look for a property for sale in Peñíscola. This is a town with a one of a kind beauty, a real treat for the professional photographer. It is no wonder that Peñíscola’s environment has been featured in many Spanish and international films, such as 1961’s El Cid, with Charlton Heston. Just recently, Peñíscola was transformed into the Free City of Mereen during the shooting of HBO’s sixth season of Game of Thrones. If you want to live in a beautiful white washed Spanish village with traces of history in every corner, then for sure you should look into the old town. This may be even more important if you need easy access to Peñíscola’s cultural events that are programmed all year long, such as a Ancient Music Festival, a Jazz Festival or a Classic Theatre Festival, which takes place every year right inside the Castle. Also, although the old town may look like a slow paced family oriented village, it transforms itself at night displaying a vibrant nightlife. However, the real estate offer will be much more varied in the many urbanizations, villas and apartment buildings that are located along the 5 km long Playa del Norte, just north of the old town. For sure, these are more conventional properties targeting the sun and beach lover. Yet, besides access to an excellent Blue Flag beach, and a good supply of restaurants and bars, only here you can have the privilege of sipping a Margarita while you watch the amazing sight of sunset over Peñíscola’s peninsula. Life is short. What are you waiting for?