FANTASTIC Things To Do in Peñiscola On A Day Trip

Wondering what to do in Peñiscola Spain on a day trip? The charming walled town is perfect to explore for a day with a lovely old town and a hilltop castle.

There are also many Game of Thrones filming locations around the walled town and even if you’re not a GOT fan, it’s a great indication of a stupefying medieval town.

We recently visited Peñiscola while campervanning in Spain and completely fell in love with it. While it is a great stop on any road trip, it’s also one of the best day trips from Valencia even though it’s a bit of a drive.

In this post, I’ll share the best things to do in Peñiscola in one day so that you can start planning your itinerary. Get ready for one of the most charming coastal towns in Spain!

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How to get to Peñiscola

Peñiscola is about an hour and a half’s drive from Valencia and Tarragona, and 2 hours and 20 minutes drive from Barcelona.

There’s parking close to the walled town including a parking house we saw not far from the Peñiscola sign.

We opted for a free area where it’s possible to stay the night with campervans, a 10-15 minute walk from the old town. We found it with the app Park4Night.

Alternatively, you can travel by bus from Valencia. There are no buses to Peñiscola, though, so you must either go to Benicarló or Vinaròs, which are both around a 20-minute drive outside Peñiscola. The bus ride takes around 3 hours.

The closest train station is Benicarló-Peñíscola Station, about 7 kilometers from the town. There are regular buses from the train station, especially in the summer.

If you plan on staying the night, I recommend booking a transfer from either the bus station in the neighboring towns or from the train station to take you directly to the hotel.

Perking house in Peñiscola Valencia, near the old town.

Where to stay in Peñiscola

If you’re staying the night, whether you’re on a road trip through Spain or arrive the night before your day in Peñiscola, you won’t be disappointed.

There are plenty of fantastic hotels in Peñiscola for all budgets, whether you want to stay near the castle or in a more relaxed neighborhood. Here are my top picks for every budget.

LUXURY: RH Don Carlos & SpaPerfect for you if you want max comfort, a pool, sea views, and relaxing in the spa.
MID-RANGE: Hotel Boutique La Mar – A lovely adults-only boutique hotel with 14 exclusively designed rooms and a sea view, right next to the old city walls.
BUDGET: Chiki Set in the heart of the old town, the hotel offers sweeping views and a nice restaurant making it a great budget option.

Me walking down a street with pot plants in the Old Town in Peñiscola Spain.

Best time to visit Peñiscola

Peñiscola can easily be visited all year round. However, the winter months are usually more rainy and being by the sea and offering such incredible views, it would be nice with sun, right?

If you want to spend some time at the beach, summer until September and sometimes even October are great months to visit.

We were there in October and it was rainy and cloudy, but the days before and after were nice, so it really comes down to the weather Gods when you visit. July to mid-September are usually always sunny.

Me walking through teh Old city walls in Peñiscola.


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Things to do in Peñiscola in one day

Stroll along the promenade

When you arrive in Peñiscola, you won’t arrive straight in the old town, so it’s a great opportunity to go for a stroll along the promenade and see the peninsula where the walled town is from the beach.

We had a bit of a crappy weather situation, but it was still a stunning walk.

Me walking along a promenade with views of a castle on top of a small peninsula, which is among the top things to do in Peñiscola.

Take a picture with the Peñiscola sign

On the promenade, you also find the Peñiscola sign. Which you either love or hate, so if you love it, now you know there’s one there and you can take a picture with it!

I used to hate it but lately, for some reason, we’ve found ourselves always taking pictures with them. very touristy!

Mohammed and me posing by the Peñiscola sign.

Keep your eyes peeled for street art

If you’re a street art lover, I recommend walking in the side streets of the promenade before hitting the walled town.

We found some pretty cool pieces of art when walking around, like the one pictured below of a kid playing on the beach.

Street art of a boy playin gon the beach in Peñiscola Spain.

Explore the Castle Garden

The Jardins del Castell are the castle gardens and you’ll reach them before the castle. They join the medieval and Renaissance walls and offer stunning views of the Bay of Peñiscola.

There are still pieces of artillery, like canons, in the gardens as a reminder of their once-strategic use. You also find the secret Pope’s Stairs (Escales del Papa Luna) which are only visible from the sea. Legend says that Pope Luna built them in only a night.

Peñiscola Castle Gardens

Visit Peñiscola Castle

Peñiscola Castle is undoubtedly the main attraction in Peñiscola Old Town. It was built in the late 13th century and early 14th century on the remains of a Moorish castle by the Knights Templar.

It was not only the home of Pope Benedict XIII, but has been featured in several movies throughout the years.

October 16 to Palm Sunday: 10:30-17:30
Palm Sunday to October 15: 09:30-21:30
Closed on the following days: January 1 and 6, September 9, October 9, and December 25

Me posing with a statue of the pope outside Peñiscola Castle.

Stroll around the old town

After visiting the castle, take your time strolling around the old town, it’s so cute with plenty of photo opportunities. It’s also a great place to look for a place to have lunch.

I loved the narrow alleys, all the pot plants coloring the town and every little detail from the locals chatting in busy small squares to small decorations around windows and doors.

There are also a whole lot of Game of Thrones filming locations around the old town which are well marked with information about what scenes were filmed etc.

Stepped restaurants in Peñiscola Old Town.

Shop for local goods

There are some cute shops throughout the old town which are perfect for shopping local goods, from food and wine to clothing.

You’ll have plenty of time to peek into small boutique shops while strolling around the old town and secure your vacation shopping.

Shop filled with wines, liquors, and olive oil bottles in Peñiscola.

Take a picture of the shell house

When walking around the old town, make sure you see the Shell House. It’s completely covered in shells and super cute.

Apparently, the couple that lived there were tour guides and they started collecting shells and covered their house walls slowly until the building was completely covered.

With beautiful Arabic-style windows, it’s turned into one of the top things to see in Peñiscola, and I must agree, it’s a super cool house!

Me standing in front of Peñiscola Shell House.

Take in the views

Stunning viewpoints surround Peñiscola’s walled town and as you walk around, make sure you explore them all.

You can even walk the city walls in some places and there are some epic photo opportunities with old watch towers.

Me looking out at the beach from a viewpoint in Peñiscola Spain.

Reflections on what to do in Peñiscola Spain

Summing up, Peñiscola is one of the most charming coastal towns I’ve visited in Spain, together with Tossa de Mar where we presently spent a few days before driving up to Italy through France.

There aren’t a whole lot of things to do in Peñiscola Spain unless you want to spend some relaxing days on the beach (we had pretty crappy weather, so it wasn’t an option for us to stay longer), so a day trip is perfect to see the city.

Happy travels!