Walking in Costa Blanca

£10.00

Landscapes of the COSTA BLANCA: walks and car tours

by John and Christine Oldfield

This guide book can turn an ordinary holiday into a fantastic adventure. (GP, Amazon)

I am just back from a very good fortnight in Spain, much enhanced by a lot of use of your book. Many thanks for all you put into it. (MS, London)

Without your excellent contribution to the Landscapes Series, walking in the Costa Blanca hinterland would, for me, not have been possible. The quality of the printed volume is also much appreciated, especially the sewn binding. (RE, Sheffield)

Click below to read walker’s reviews and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.co.uk (RRP £12.99)

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Description

Costa BlancaThe Costa Blanca is ideal for countryside exploration all year round. Travel only a short distance inland, and the bustle of the resorts is left far behind. You find yourself surrounded by market gardens, orchards and orange groves, while the dark rugged silhouettes of the sierras beckon you close. Wild flowers — from the humble daisy to the most exotic orchid — abound; the air is filled with the scent of fragrant herbs; birdsong drifts along on the breeze; mountain peaks dominate the skyline. The weather-beaten faces of villagers in the fields break into smiles as you pass by. All these images combine to create an ambience you will find irresistible.

Explore the Costa Blanca by car: the drives lead through fertile valleys smothered in blossom or sweet-scented fruit to delightful inland villages. Windmills, waterfalls and ‘snow wells’ feature among the picnic settings. But the rugged silhouettes of the area’s many sierras dominate this landscape — an irresistable attraction for walkers.

Best months for walking: The best time for walking is March to May and September/October, but regular visitors enjoy walks throughout the winter as well.

Where to stay

If you will be relying on public transport, Benidorm is the best option, but if you hire a car you can stay in Denia or any of the coastal resorts. It’s also possible to base yourselves in the mountains, staying in pensiones, hostales or private homes offering b&b — ask in local bars for information on what is available.

Edition/contents etc

5 car tours, 50 long and short walks, 32 picnic suggestions
136 pages + touring map; plans of Benidorm, Alicante, Denia; large-scale (1:50,000) topo maps
4th ed, 2009; ISBN 978-1-85691-364-5; UK retail price £12.99 / USA retail price $17.99

Table of contents:

Preface 5
Acknowledgements 6
Language, place names and glossary 6
Snow wells 6
Getting about 8
Plans of Alicante, Benidorm and Denia 8
Picnicking 10
A country code for walkers, motorists
and picnickers 11
Picnic suggestions 12

TOURING
1 Costa Blanca New and Old 18
2 NORTHERN VALLEYS – The Cherry Route 24
3 CENTRAL VALLEYS – The Almond Route 27
4 SOUTHERN VALLEYS AND WESTERN HIGHLANDS 30
5 EL CID COUNTRY 36

WALKING 39
Grading and timing 40
Waymarking and maps 40
Where to stay 41
Weather 41
What to take 42
Nuisances 43
Organisation of the walks 43

WALKS ON THE COASTAL STRIP: DENIA TO BENIDORM
1 Montgó 45
2 Short walks around Jávea and Calpe 47
3 Vuelta de Oltá (Oltá circuit) 51
4 The four faces of Puig Campana 54
5 Sierra Helada: from Benidorm to Albir 56

WALKS IN THE SERPIS AND GALLINERA VALLEYS
6 Serpis Gorge 59 7 Sierra de Safor 62
8 Pont de les Calderes · Barranco de la Encantada · Ermita de Santo Cristo · Pont de les Calderes 65
9 L’Atzubia · Castell de Gallinera · Almiserá · L’Atzubia 68

WALKS IN THE LAGUART AND JALON VALLEYS
10 Sierra de la Carrasca and the Mozarabic trails 73
11 Vuelta del Somo (Somo circuit) 77
12 Fonts de l’Algar · Sierra de Bernia · Barranco de
Vinarreal · Fonts de l’Algar 80

WALKS IN THE GUADALEST, ALGAR AND SELLA VALLEYS
13 Valleys of the Sierra de Aitana 85
14 Penya Sella 88
15 Embalse de Guadalest 90
16 Guadalest River: Circuit from Callosa d’En Sarriá 93

WALKS IN THE ALCOI AREA
17 Camí de l’Escaleta and the old road: circuit from Bocairent 96
18 Alcoi · Barranc del Sinc · Coll Sabata · Montcabrer · Racó Llobet · Muro de Alcoi 99
19 The cavas: circuit from Agres 105
20 Font Mariola · Ermita de San Tomás · El Portín · Alt de la Cova · Cova de Bolumini · Font Mariola 109
21 Parque Natural de Font Roja 112
22 Penáguila Castle 117

WALKS IN THE SIERRAS OF CARRASQUETA AND MAIGMO
23 La Carrasqueta: Puerto de la Carrasqueta · Pou del Surdo · Mas de la Cova · Puerto de la Carrasqueta 119
24 Elda · L’Arenal · Caprala · Rambla dels Molins · Petrer · Elda 122
25 Castalla · Fermosas Plateau · Pantanet Gorge · Catí · Despeñador · Castalla 126
26 Sierra del Fraile and Camí de San Juan 131

Bus and train timetables 133
Index (of geographical names) 135
Touring map inside back cover

Guidebook index

Abdet 28
Agres 14, 32, 100-1, 105, 108
Aigües de Busot 35
Albir 18, 56, 57, 133
Alcalá de la Jovada 24, 25
Alcalalí 29
Alcassar 19
Alcoi 14, 30, 31, 43, 99, 100-1, 104, 133, 134
Alfafara 32
Alicante 4, 36, 133, 13
town plan 9
Alpatró 26
Altea la Vella 16-7, 18, 27
L’Atzubia 24, 26, 68, 70-1, 72
Barchell 33
Barranc del Sinc 14, 31, 99, 100-1, 102, 103
Barranco de la Encantada 25, 65, 66, 67
Barranco de las Zorras 112, 114, 115
Barranco de Vinarreal 80, 81, 82, 84
Barranco del Infierno 70-1, 76
Bassetes, Ses 50
Benasau 28
Beniardá 14, 28, 87
Beniarrés 24, 25, 66
Benidorm 18, 30, 35, 43, 56, 57, 133, 134
Playa Levante 8, 12, 18, 56, 57
town plan 8

Benimantell 28, 86
Benimaurell 70-1, 74
Benitachell 19
Bocairent 30, 32, 33, 96, 97, 134
Bolulla 23, 77, 78
Busot 35
Cala Calalga 12, 19, 47, 49, 50, 133
Cala Fustera 50
Cala Pinet 50
Cala Sardinera 12, 50
Callosa d’En Sarriá 23, 27, 93, 94, 133
Calpe 12, 18, 19, 27, 47, 49, 50-1, 52, 53, 133
Camí de l’Escaleta 96, 97, 98
Camí de San Juan 15, 131, 132, TM
Campbell 22
Cap de la Nau 18, 20, 49
Cap de Sant Antoni 18, 20, 47, 48
Cap Prim 11, 20, 47, 49
Caprala 2, 122, 123, TM
Casa de Angel 126, 128, TM
Casa Foiaderetes 112, 114
Casa Tancat 13, 78, 79
Casas de Bijauca 77, 78
Castalla 15, 36, 37, 126, 127, 131, 134, TM
Castell de Castells 27, 29
Cocentaina 14, 30, 31, 99, 100-1, 134
Coll de Rates 22
Coll Sabata 99, 100-1, 102
Confrides 27, 28
Cova de Bolumini 100-1, 109, 111
Cova de l’Aigua 45, 46
Cova del Camell 45, 46
Cova del Rull 24
Cova Tallada 48
Covetes de los Moros 32, 96, 97, 98
Coyao, El 116, 117, 118
Cueva de las Calaveras 18, 21
Cuevas de Canalobre 30, 35
Denia 18, 20, 24, 46, 133
town plan 9
Ebo River 13, 75, 76
Elda 36, 122, 126, 134, TM
Ermita de Catí 15, 38, 126, 129, TM
Ermita de la Mare de Deu (Agres) 14, 32, 105, 108, 100-1
Ermita de Santo Cristo (Planes) 65, 67
Ermita de San Tomás (Sierra de Mariola) 100-1, 109
Facheca 29
Famorca 29
Fermosas (plateau) 126, 128, TM
Finca Bijauca 13, 77, 78
Fleix 12, 13, 18, 22, 70-1, 73, 74
Font dels Olbits 60-1, 62, 64
Font Grota 26, 60-1, 62
Font Mariola 14, 33, 100-1, 109
Font Molí 13, 85, 86
Font Roja (and Parque Natural) 14, 30, 31, 112, 113, 114
Font Xili 13, 70-1
Fonts de L’Algar 13, 18, 23, 80, 81
Fuente de Partagás (spring) 86, 87, cover
Gallinera (castle) 26, 68, 69, 70-1
Vall de Gallinera 24, 26, 70-1
Gines 93
Gorga 27, 28
Guadalest 13, 27, 28, 85, 86, 92, 134
Embalse de Guadalest 14, 28, 90, 92
Guadalest River 23, 86, 91, 92, 93

Ibi 34, 112, 114
Isbert, Embalse de 70-1, 73
Jávea 12, 18, 20, 47, 46, 48, 50, 133
Jijona 34, 133
Lorcha see under L’Orxa
Margarida 25
Mariola (castle) 33, 100-1, 109; see also Font
Mas de Fontanerets 108, 111
Mas de la Cova 15, 34, 119, 120, 121
Mendivel, El 56, 57
Molinos, Los 47, 48
Montforte del Cid 36
Moraira 19, 133
Mountains, rock formations, etc
Aitana, Sierra de 16-7, 85, 86, 94
Aixorta, Sierra de 90
Almiserá 68, 69, 70-1
L’Arenal 122, 123, TM
Benicadell, Sierra de 4, 62, 64, 66
Bernia, Sierra de 29, 53, 80, 81
Caballo Verde, Sierra del 1, 22,
Campana 16-7, 54, 55, 94
Carrasca, Sierra de la 43, 70-1, 73-6
Despeñador 126, 130, TM
Fraile, Sierra del (near Biar) 131-2, TM
Fraile, Sierra del (between Castalla and Elda) 126, 127, TM
Helada, Sierra 12, 18, 56, 57, 58
Maigmó, Sierra de 34, TM
Montcabrer 62, 99, 100-1, 99, 104
Montgó 11, 20, 42, 45, 46; Parque Natural del 20-1, 42, 45, 46,
Oltá 19, 50
Peñón de Ifach 18, 19, 29
Penya Mulero 86
Penya Sella 88, 89
Ponoch 16-7, 94
Portín, El 100-1, 108, 109, 110
Safor 60-1, 62, 63
Somo, El 77, 78

Muro de Alcoi 99, 100-1, 104, 134
Novelda 36
Nucia, La 18, 23
Oltá 12, 19, 50
Ontinyent 134
Orba 18, 22
L’Orxa (Lorcha) 4, 13, 24, 25, 59, 60-1, 62, 63
Pantanet Gorge 38, 126, 129, TM
Parcent 22, 29
Paso de los Bandoleros 79, 82
Pego 24, 26, 70-1
Pedreguer 18, 21
Penáguila 14, 30, 31, 116, 117, 118
Perputxent, Castell de 25, 26, 59, 60-1, 63
Petrer 38, 122, TM
Planes de la Baronía 13, 24, 25, 66, 67
Polop 18, 23
Pont de les Calderes (bridge) 25, 65, 67
Portichol
Cruz del 12, 20, 47, 9
Playa 47, 9

Pou Clar (spring) 96, 97
Puerto de la Carrasqueta 14, 34, 119, 121, 133
Quatretondeta 27, 29
Racó Llobet 99, 100-1, 104
Rambla dels Molins 15, 38, 122, 124, 129, TM
Rincón de l’Oix 18
Sant Cristófol 14, 31, 100-1
Santuario de la Font Roja 31
Santuario de la Virgin de los Lirios 114, 115
Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles 12, 20, 48-9
Sarga, La 15, 34, 119, 120, 121
Sax 37, 131
Sella 30, 89
Serpis River 12, 13, 25, 59, 60-1
Sierras see Mountains
Snow wells (see pages 6-7)
Cava Arquejada 100-1, 105, 106, 108
Cava Canyo 112, 114, 116
Cava de l’Habitació 100-1, 105, 106
Cava Gran 100-1, 107, 109
Cava Simarro 114, 116
Caveta del Buitre 7, 100-1, 108
Pou de la Noguera 115
Pou del Surdo 34, 119, 121

Tárbena 13, 22, 29, 80-1
Vall d’Ebo 13, 24, 41, 70-1, 74, 75
Vall de Laguart 13, 43
Verger 26
Villajoyosa 35, 133
Viñalopó River 37, 122, TM
Xaló/Jalón 27, 29
Xara, La 21
Xorret de Catí 15, 126, 127, 130, TM

Current update

Costa Blanca, 4th ed (2009), updated 25/5/2015

Updates for walks and car tours (drives) in the Costa Blanca region given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

Guadalest: Below is information about a new museum that has opened in Guadalest, Costa

Blanca, which may be of use when you update your guide book. Guadalest is the second most visited tourist destination in Spain, after the Prado Museum in Madrid. Salt & Pepper Museum: Opened in May 2010, this is the only museum of its kind in Spain, and one of only two in the world, with 20,000 pairs of salt and pepper shakers on display. As we wander around the museum I find it hard to believe that the twenty-thousand pair display of fat chefs, ruby red tomatoes, guardsmen in bear skins, The Beatles, Santaís feet sticking out of a chimney, pistols and potatoes, a copy of the salt and pepper shaker cufflinks that Lady Diana wore, (which, fortunately, are sealed, or their contents would have sprayed everywhere when she shook hands), have any other reason for coming together than simply being someoneís idea of being collectable – but they do.î (From an article in the Costa Blanca News, 16 July, 2010) Museo de Saleros y Pimenteros (Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers), Avenida de Alicante 2, Guadalest, Alicante. (Next to the Tourist Office), Open daily 10.30am-7.30pm. Entrance 3 euros, children under 12 free. (User, 8/10)

Walk 2a: At the moment the first section of this walk is difficult and in places very narrow & not easy to negotiate, as there has been a landslide round the corner by the Nautical Club. (User, 3/10) + Walk 2b: p. 48, says “A narrow asphalt road (41 min) takes you the remaining few metres to the path up to the last three in this line of mills …”. We found the asphalt road OK, but: – a “few metres” which way?  to right or to left?
– how far is “a few metres”?  presumably well under, say, 50m? – on which side of the road is the path?  Presumably to right if go left on road, or left if go right? We tried in both directions for what must surely be more than “a few metres”, but couldn’t see a path either way.  A little bit more clarity would be welcome. Despite this niggle, want to say that the book is very good & very useful! (User, 5/15)

Walk 6: We did this excellent walk a few days ago. I took along my GPS receiver (which many walkers are using these days), and thought that GPS waypoints would be a useful addition to the route. Here are the GPS waypoints for the Serpis Gorge walk (User 2006):

Parking (0min):   N38°51.015, W000°19.424
Ruin (9min):   N38°51.141, W000°18.929
Tunnel #1 (30min):   N38°51.563, W000°18.077
Dam #1 (46min):   N38°51.793, W000°17.771
Track (1h14min):   N38°52.085, W000°17.114
Ruined bridge (1h23min):   N38°52.426, W000°16.907
Tunnel #2 (1h28min):   N38°52.414, W000°16.702
Dam #2 (1h38min):   N38°52.507, W000°16.291
Tunnel #3 (1h41min):   N38°52.565, W000°16.234
Bridge (1h49min):   N38°52.738, W000°16.034
Tunnel #4 (1h55min):   N38°52.814, W000°15.783
Tunnel #5 (2h05min):   N38°52.693, W000°15.530
End (2h30min):   N38°52.941, W000°14.699

Walk 9: At the time of writing, there is a bus service from Denia to Alcoy via Pego and Planes (Subus M42). This provides access to Walk 9 (and walk 8). It runs Monday to Friday – once in each direction – and leaves Denia at 7.25am. The return service leaves Alcoy at 3pm and doesn’t get back to L’Atzubia until after 4pm so there is more than enough time to do an extension to walk 9. Instead of turning left at 2hr 23min, continue on the road towards Pego and, in less than 2km, there is a path off to the left signed “Pego per La Coma” (it’s marked on the map as a black dotted line). This narrow path leaves the road, passing by some beehives, and is clear to follow – marked white and yellow occasionally – and is very pleasant. It ends at a concrete track but the way continues downhill, on concrete by citrus groves, to the end of a tarmac road. Follow this all the way to Pego, from where the M42 bus to Denia can be taken. (User, 5/11, who was using the 3rd edition of the book)

Walk 12 and alternative 1: You approach a “little house beautifully sited on a spur” at the 1h33min-point. TAKE EXTREME CARE walking past this property. We passed the fenced-in goats and without warning 2 very large vicious Spanish Mastiffs appeared – one was on a very heavy chain (not that that made us feel any safer as it was a long chain and the path here was not overly wide and has a drop on one side) the other was NOT chained. We proceeded with extreme caution and I can say without exaggeration that our walking sticks saved us from being mauled. Once past the drive to the house (which wasn’t exactly close to where the dogs appeared) we were left alone. This is the worst experience that we have had with dogs anywhere. (User, 5/10) [This user does not mention having a Dog Dazer, which may have helped.]

Walk 23: This walk is incredibly beautiful, but the warning of dogs is the least of problems – the newly restored settlement of houses after La Sarga is inhabited by an incredibly rude Spanish man who will NOT under any circumstances let you walk past his house. We were faced with either turnin around or walking back up the main road. Being more than 70% around we decided to walk up the road. Prior to the road however, we turned left on a track walking in the direction of the electricity cables and managed to get back on the correct walk – someone needs to up-date this. In addition numerous fences have been placed throughout the walk, which requires a bit of imagination to get around. Do not attempt this walk if you want easy navigation! (User, 10/12)