Spain Guide

 

Hiking the Costa Blanca

Walking on the Costa Blanca is a popular past time for hikers of all tastes and abilities. This stretch of Spain's " White Coast" provides a rich and varied landscape with rugged peaks to test the most committed climber and spectacular clifftop trails to delight the casual rambler.

The awesome Sierra Bernia and Sierra Aitana mountain ranges, which loom over the bustling coastal towns of Calpe, Altea and Benidorm, offer a wealth of challenging walks and plenty of scope for rock climbers who will delight in the virgin crags, plunging canyons and towering peaks of this virtually untouched territory.

A 25 minute drive inland from the main tourist traps will transport you to another world where most foreigners fear to tread an unspoilt land of pine covered slopes, mountain villages where time seems to have stood still for centuries and lush valleys awash with orange, almond and olive groves. Specialist tour operators offer guided walks in these mountains, both for individuals and small walking parties. In some of the more remote areas, it's a good idea to employ the services of a local expert because even some of the marked trails can be difficult to follow. And the mists which suddenly descend on a bright sunny day can make independent mountain hiking in the area extremely hazardous.

 

But you won't need a guide to enjoy the many popular walks along or near the coast which can be undertaken as relatively easy half day excursions.

Firm favourites among local walkers and visitors alike include the following:

Javea the Montgo

Walking enthusiasts visiting the popular resort of Javea on the Costa Blanca can rarely resist the temptation to reach the 753 metre peak of the Montgo mountain which looms over the town and beaches. The walk to the top takes about 2.5 hours in total and involves a bit of tough scrambling as you near the peak. But it's well worth it for the spectacular views of Javea, the neighbouring resort of Denia and the mountainous countryside inland.

Calpe Peñon d'Ifach

The 332 metre Peñon d'Ifach ("rock of the north") in Calpe is one of the Costa Blanca's most famous landmarks and walking to the top of this huge, chalky rock jutting out of the sea is a rewarding experience as you'll be exploring Spain's smallest nature reserve. You'll pass through a tunnel into a protected world of rare plant species and thousands of sea birds including cormorants, peregrine falcons and a huge colony of shrieking seagulls.

Benidorm Sierra Helada

The 438 metre Sierra Helada mountain, directly behind the Costa Blanca's busiest resort town of Benidorm, offers a relatively easy but beautiful walk to visitors keen to escape the frantic activity of the seafront. The easiest route to the summit is along a well marked trail leading from Benidorm's northern promenade which skirts Levante beach.

Local tourist information offices provide further details of these and other popular walks as does Bob Stansfield's excellent guide, Mountain Walks on the Costa Blanca, available from Amazon.

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