On the steep coastline between the towns of Dénia and Xàbia (Jávea), in the north of the province of Alicante, we find the spectacular Cova Tallada : an amazing cave excavated at the foot of the cliffs, bathed by the crystal clear waters of the Marine Reserve of the Cap of Sant Antoni . A place full of history and mysteries, where you will feel traveling to the Center of the Earth .
The route to Cova Tallada is of medium difficulty, the most difficult point being access to the cave. For this reason, it is highly recommended to use mountain shoes, as well as to bring enough water and food. If we go in summer, we will have to make the mandatory prior reservation .
On the way to the cave, we can visit the magnificent Torre del Gerro , located on top of the cliffs and named for its vase shape. This defensive tower was built in the 16th century to prevent attacks by Barbary pirates , who used to frighten the inhabitants of the coastal towns in the time after the expulsion of the Moors from the Kingdom of Valencia.
Today we are going to visit one of the most fascinating places in the province of Alicante, will you join us?
Index of contents
Video about Cova Tallada
Before knowing more details about the Cova Tallada route , I encourage you to watch the following video where we can get a good idea of what we are going to find on our visit to this impressive cave on the shores of the Mediterranean. Inside video!
Kayak route to Cova Tallada
History and Curiosities of the Cova Tallada
La Cova Tallada (“carved” or “cut” would be the translation from Valencian) receives this name because centuries ago it was an important quarry of rough stone , which was extracted by cutting it into large blocks. Being built at sea level, the stone could be more easily transported by boat .
Some emblematic buildings of the Marina Alta, such as the church-fortress of Sant Bertomeu de Xàbia, the Castle of Dénia or the windmills of Cap de Sant Antoni, were built with rough stone extracted in the Cova Tallada.
In a more modern era, some accounts speak of the Cova Tallada being used as a hiding place for submarines during World War II.
The Cova Tallada is, therefore, a marvel that is part natural and part artificial, the result of its use as a quarry. The total route of the cave is about 400 meters, finding different rooms and galleries, from some very spacious and with high ceilings —between 12 and 15 meters— to others that are narrower and “claustrophic”. The outermost rooms are open to the sea through a series of “doors” and partially flooded, forming a kind of “inner lake”.
To visit the deepest part of the cave it is necessary to use flashlights or other means of illumination. If you remain silent, you will be able to hear a trickle of water, coming from different filtrations that are collected by means of stone pools. Not in vain, fresh water has always been a scarce commodity in these lands, and centuries ago its inhabitants learned to use any source of it.
La Cova Tallada is a very, very impressive place. Without a doubt, we are facing one of the most spectacular enclaves on the Costa Blanca, which is why in recent years it has become popular and summer visits are currently regulated (since 2019).
Therefore, my suggestion is that you try to visit the Cova Tallada out of season and, if possible, on a weekday. I suggest you access it for what it is: a magical place , full of charm, full of history and mysteries.
Try to cross its threshold in silence , letting the murmur of the waves be the only sound that echoes in the high vaults of the cave. Listen in silence, let yourself be invaded by the history of its rocks, which will transport you to past centuries, when the stonemasons carved the stone with the sweat of their forehead…
✓ Recommendations to visit the Cova Tallada
- The path to Cova Tallada has very uneven rocky terrain: wear hiking shoes or at least good-soled trainers.
- Due to the above, it is not recommended to visit the cave loaded with a refrigerator, umbrella, etc. I recommend a hiking backpack and carrying your hands free, since you will need them during the route.
- Attention : the most complicated area of the route is found in the access to the cave. Wet rocks, polished and very slippery. Be very careful at this point.
- Danger : once in the cave, there are falls at different levels and potentially dangerous areas for children (and adults). Pay attention, it would not be the first time that a helicopter rescue has taken place in the area.
- Danger : do not try to enter the cave if there is a sea storm . We recommend you check the weather forecast a couple of days before your visit. Pay attention to the wind and wave height.
- If you plan to swim, I recommend that you wear booties or water shoes to protect your feet from the sharp rocks.
- If you go in summer, I recommend you bring snorkeling equipment (goggles, tube and fins). Recommended book .
- PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT : avoid leaving garbage or any other trace in your path: keep in mind that there are many people who visit the cave every day. Remember that you are in a Marine Reserve . Thanks!!
Advance reservation in Summer
June 15 - September 30, 2020
Limitation of visitors to the Cova Tallada. As a result of the high influx of visitors that Cova Tallada has experienced in recent years, as of the summer of 2019 a daily limitation of visitors was established, both for access on foot and by sea.
Thus, during the summer months it is necessary to make a reservation in advance to visit the Cova Tallada . The maximum time spent in the area will be 1 hour and a half . Click on the button to access the Parc Natural del Montgó website, where you can make your reservation:
Route to the Cova Tallada from Les Rotes (Dénia)
The route to Cova Tallada from Les Rotes (Dénia) has a medium level of difficulty, as long as we are properly equipped with suitable footwear , since there are some sections with very rocky, irregular and slippery terrain.
The most complicated point of the route is found at the access to the cave , since the rocks are very polished and very slippery at that point.
Description of the Route and Photographs
To get to the Cova Tallada , we start from the area of Les Rotes , on the outskirts of Dénia. From there, we follow the winding path that, always on the edge of the sea, will take us to the cave.
This entire area is the coastal plateau that represents the extension of the Montgó Natural Park to the sea, in the form of cliffs. That is why the same karst is found in this area, just as uncomfortable to walk on.
Do not trust. It is highly recommended to wear hiking shoes on this trail.
On the route from Les Rotes to Cova Tallada, just over a kilometer, we can spend about 30-45 minutes, going at a leisurely pace. The path has practically no slope, but as I already said, it is a bit tricky to walk on the irregular limestone rock at some points.
Especially if you find the ground wet, a situation in which the rock becomes especially slippery. Be careful if you have small children.
After descending some steep wooden steps, and after crossing authentic passageways between pines, palm hearts and other bushes (this was the case before the 2014 fire), we finally reached the entrance of the cave.
At this point a small climb is necessary, equipped with a chain. Again, watch out for the rock, which can be very slippery in places, especially if it’s wet.
We skirt a small section of the cliff, practically at sea level, and arrive at the entrance to the cave. Keep in mind that you can only access (and exit) when the waves allow it.
The cave is part natural, and part artificial, the result of the extraction of rough stone (sandstone) in past centuries. It was an important quarry from which the stone was obtained for the construction of the Dénia castle and other unique buildings.
The deepest part of the cave can be visited on foot, with the help of a flashlight or headlamp . If you remain silent , you can discover one of the secrets that hides the deepest part of it…
Snorkeling in Cova Tallada
La Cova Tallada is an excellent location to combine hiking with snorkeling (diving with goggles, tube and fins). The Cabo de San Antonio Marine Reserve ( Montgó Natural Park) gives rise to clean and transparent waters. Of course, it will depend on the waves of previous days, as well as the influx of visitors that day. Also watch out for jellyfish , as they are common in the area.
To learn more about ideal places to snorkel on the Costa Blanca, we recommend this book .
The Gerro Tower
On our route to the Cova Tallada, it is worth taking a detour to visit the Torre del Gerro , located on top of the cliffs of Les Rotes , at a point with an excellent panoramic view of the coast.
How to get to Cova Tallada
The easiest option to get to the Cova Tallada is to take the hiking route that begins in Les Rotes (Dénia) , a beautiful area of coves and cliffs that we reach by road (or walking along the coast, much more beautiful) from Denia .
Parking in the area is usually full, so I recommend you arrive early. If you can’t park in Les Rotes, I recommend this public car park (about 500 meters from the start of the route). Once we left the car, we began to walk along Calle Vía Láctea (where parking is prohibited), ascending a hill. At the end of the street we find the Access Control and right there the path begins to reach the Cova Tallada.
Below you can see the starting point on google maps.
Track for GPS
The route is not lost, but I leave you here the track for GPS via wikiloc.
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Links of interest
This Cova Tallada hiking trail article Article first published on November 30, 2009, and updated in May 2015, and June 2019.