La Cova Tallada: a fascinating natural pool inside a sea cave

La Cova Tallada Dénia / Jávea
Cova Tallada - sala con ventanas al mar
GUIDE Cova Tallada

Can you imagine bathing in a natural pool inside a sea cave?

Can you imagine exploring a cave with centuries of history, where sunlight filters through doors carved into the rock?

Well, stop imagining, because that place exists and it is called La Cova Tallada.

In this complete guide you will discover everything you need to know to visit this marvel, half natural, half artificial, between the towns of Denia and Javea.

Stay until the end and discover all its secrets!

In high season (Easter and June-October) there is limited capacity and it is necessary to book in advance to gain access, either on foot or by kayak or paddle.

1. What is the Cova Tallada?

Cova Tallada, vista de Google Earth

The Cova Tallada is a sea cave, half natural, half excavated. There is evidence that it was used as an old quarry of rough stone (sandstone) since the sixteenth century, hence the word tallada, in Valencian (cut).

It is located in the municipality of Jávea (Alicante), at the foot of the cliffs of Cabo de San Antonio, a marine reserve that is part of the Mongó Natural Park. Visits are regulated in season and there are regulations to protect it.

It is a huge cave with several rooms, excavated by man centuries ago, with hammer and chisel, to extract large blocks of stone used in the construction of buildings such as the church-fortress of Xàbia.

The cave has different entrances, larger or smaller, like doors to the sea. Some of the rooms are flooded by seawater, so you can swim or kayak into them.

Just in front of the larger opening, a natural reef protects the small bay where many people enjoy snorkeling.

For all these reasons, we can say that the Cova Tallada is one of the most fascinating places in the Valencian Community. A place that I recommend you to visit if you come to spend a few days on the Costa Blanca, especially if you like nature and photography.

Cova Tallada Virtual Tour

2. How to get to the Cova Tallada?

Cova Tallada hiking route

There are several ways to get to the Cova Tallada. By way of summary, they are as follows:

2.1. Walking route from Dénia. From Les Rotes. The simplest and most common. All you need is your hiking gear and to book in advance.

2.2. Walking route from Jávea. It can be reached on foot from the port of Jávea, although it is a longer, more difficult and more demanding route. I do not recommend it for summer, as it can be very hot.

2.3. Kayak or paddle surfing route. In this case, there are two options:

  • A) Guided kayak route. The option I recommend if you have no experience.
  • B) Free route by kayak or paddle surf. If you already have equipment and experience.

2.4. Catamaran Route. For people who cannot do the route on foot or by kayak, this alternative is highly recommended, as it navigates close to the cliffs. You can see the large entrance to the cave from a distance. It is a beautiful walk.

In the case of the kayak route, you can also go from Denia or from the port of Javea. The easiest way, again, is to go from Les Rotes. It is common for the sea to be rough around midday, so it can be dangerous if you are inexperienced. To avoid surprises, I recommend you go with a guide.

If you are walking, the only entrance to the Cova Tallada is down the rocks with the help of a chain. The ground is very slippery and you have to help yourself with your hands, almost as if you were climbing. It requires good footwear and can only be entered when the sea is calm.

If you go by kayak, you don’t need to go down the chain, you can enter directly from the sea, so it is easier to go with children.

2.1. Walking route from Dénia

Les Rotes, Dénia

The most common way to reach the Cova Tallada is by hiking from Denia.

The excursion starts in Les Rotes, next to Restaurante Mena, 6 km from the center of Dénia. You can get there walking, by car, tourist train (in summer) or bus.

The hiking route to the Cova Tallada is of medium-high difficulty, with 4 km round trip. It usually takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour to get there. You should bring good shoes, water and food.

To go with children, it is recommended that they are over 9 years old and are accustomed to these excursions.

The route runs parallel to the sea, with beautiful views of the marine reserve. There are ups and downs and very uneven terrain with sharp rocks in some sections.

Do you want to do the hiking route from Dénia? Find out all the details by clicking below:

If you prefer to continue learning more about the Cova Tallada, stay in this complete guide.

2.2. Walking route from Jávea

Cap de Sant Antoni viewpoint
The port of Xàbia and the Montgó from Sant Antoni

From the port of Jávea you can follow the PR-CV 355 signposted path that first climbs to the Cabo de San Antonio lighthouse and then goes to the Cova Tallada. It is a long and difficult route of between 16 and 20 kilometers, so I only recommend it for people who are very fit and used to walking in the mountains, with good footwear. In addition, in summer it is very hot and you can easily get dehydrated. If you decide to do this route, you can be guided by this eoc track on wikiloc. It can also be reached from the Faro de San Antonio road, but you will have to overcome a difficult and dangerous descent.

2.3. Kayak route

Ruta en kayak a la Cova Tallada
Ruta en kayak a la Cova Tallada

La Cova Tallada is at sea level. In fact, some of its rooms are flooded, forming a sort of natural pools.

So you can reach the cave by taking a beautiful kayak route along the Cap de Sant Antoni Marine Reserve, a maritime extension of the Montgó Natural Park.

To go with children to the cave, the kayak excursion is an easier option, always supervised by an adult at all times.

You can go in your own kayak or paddle surf board, from Les Rotes, but please note that you will have to book your pass in advance.

We recommend you to enjoy an unforgettable experience by booking the excursion guided by professional monitors, which lasts 2 hours and a half.

Access with jet skis or motor boats is not allowed.

In the Marina Alta region there are other highly recommended excursions by kayak or boat, you can see them here.

2.4. Catamaran Route from Dénia or Jávea

Ruta en catamarán Reserva Marina del Cabo de San Antonio
Ruta en catamarán Reserva Marina del Cabo de San Antonio

For people with mobility problems, if you go with small children or if you are not adventurous, you can enjoy a fantastic catamaran ride through the Marine Reserve and get to know this area of cliffs from the sea. It is sailed some distance from the coast, but it is very worthwhile. In addition, this is an area of passage of cetaceans and from time to time they can be observed.

3. Cova Tallada Reserve

Regulated Access at Easter and June-October
Cova Tallada, vista de Google Earth

There is limited seating at the Cova Tallada on the following dates:

  • April 9 to 25
  • April 28 – May 5
  • June 15 to October 15
  • (starting and ending days included in all cases)

On these dates it will be necessary to make a reservation in advance to access the Cova Tallada, whether on foot or by sea.

This regulation is established with the objective of protecting this valuable and delicate natural ecosystem and cultural heritage.

The maximum time spent in the area will be 1 hour and a half . Click on the button below to access the Parc Natural del Montgó website, where you can make your reservation:

The regulation of visits is carried out to protect this valuable and delicate natural ecosystem and its cultural heritage. Also to minimize the risk of accidents.

Each reservation is valid for a maximum of 5 people. They are made on the official website of the Montgó Natural Park, providing an ID card and personal data.

At the beginning of the route you will have to show your reservation to gain access. With each reservation, the maximum time spent in the area will be 1:30 hours .

Click on the button below to access the Cova Tallada Guide and Ticket Reservation:

4. Recommendations for the Visit

Entrance to the Cova Tallada

RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT: avoid leaving trash, cigarette butts or any other trace in your path: keep in mind that many people visit the cave every day. Remember that you are in a Marine Reserve . Thanks!!

✅ The path to the Cova Tallada presents very uneven rocky terrain: use hiking shoes or, at least, sneakers with good soles.

✅ Keep your hands free and don’t ride too heavy or you won’t be able to get off with the chain or suffer a fall.

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 attempt 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, wear booties or water shoes to protect your feet from the sharp rocks.

✅ If you go in summer, you will enjoy snorkeling. In this article you have more places to snorkel in Alicante.

5. What to do in the Cova Tallada?

Snorkeling in the Cova Tallada, Jávea, Alicante
Doors to the sea in Cova Tallada

Visiting the cave

If we go with flashlights we can visit, walking, the deepest part of the cave. Be very careful, watching where you step, as there are possible drops and ramps. Be very careful also not to hit your head. Never enter alone.


The Cova Tallada is an ideal place to combine hiking with snorkeling (diving with goggles, snorkel 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. Here you can see more places to snorkel in Alicante.

Visit the Gerro Tower

If you go on foot to the Cova Tallada, it is worth taking the opportunity to visit the Torre del Gerro. Located at the top of the cliffs of Les Rotes, in a point with an excellent panoramic view of the coast.

The Torre del Gerro and the cliffs of Cap de Sant Antoni

6. Frequently Asked Questions

What will I find?

It is neither a beach nor a cove. It is a place located at the foot of the cliffs, in the Natural Park of Montgó. It is a rocky place with a lot of history. Access is regulated in season.

How to get there?

The shortest and easiest access is from Les Rotes, 6 km from Denia. You can get there walking, kayaking or paddle surfing. There are no kayaks for rent in Les Rotes, but you can go in your own kayak or book this kayak excursion from Denia.

What is the ticket price?

Entrance to the Cova Tallada is free of charge. Just remember to book your visit in advance on the Parques Naturales website.

Can I go with children to the Cova Tallada?

If they have experience in mountain routes or you go with kayak, yes. Recommended for children +9 years old.

What are the opening hours of the Cova Tallada?

It is open 24 hours although I do not recommend going at night because of the danger of the road.

Are there safety measures?

In the Cova Tallada there is no cell phone coverage or lifeguard service. Be very careful!

How long is the route?

From Les Rotes it usually takes about 45 minutes on foot, and about 30 minutes if you go by kayak (it depends a lot on each person).

Can I bring pets?

The official regulations do not say anything, although in high season it is not recommended. Be aware that the road is dangerous.

Is public transportation available?

Yes, on the Denibus website you can check the bus schedules. In summer there is a tourist train.

7. History of the Cova Tallada

Boca más grande de la Cova Tallada

It is not known for certain when the Cova Tallada began to be used as a quarry, but candles have been found inside dating from the 11th-12th centuries, as well as an inscription engraved in the rock that confirms the visit of King Philip III in 1599.

Tallada is a word in Valencian whose translation would be “cut”. As we have already told you, this place was an important quarry of rough stone (old fossilized dunes). The stone was quarried by cutting it into large blocks, which were loaded onto ships for easier transportation.

Some emblematic buildings of the Marina Alta, such as the church-fortress of Sant Bertomeu in Xàbia, the castle of Dénia or the windmills of Cap de Sant Antoni were built with the rough stone of the Cova Tallada.

Don’t miss: What to see and do in Jávea.

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.

8. Cova Tallada in Winter

Cova Tallada, Cap de Sant Antoni Marine Reserve, Xàbia, Alicante
Interior of the Cova Tallada, with the "inner lake" in the foreground

La Cova Tallada is a very, very impressive place. Undoubtedly we are in front of one of the most spectacular enclaves of the Costa Blanca. In recent years it has become very popular and, in order to protect it, visits in temparada have been regulated since 2019.

My personal recommendation is that, if you can, visit this wonder out of season. This way you will find it calm and quiet. 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… and let yourself be invaded by the history of this place, which will transport you to past centuries, when the master stonemasons carved the stone with the sweat of their brow…

You will find different rooms and galleries, from some very spacious and with high ceilings -between 12 and 15 meters- to others that are narrower and claustrophobic. The outermost rooms are partially flooded as they are open to the sea through a kind of doorway carved in the rock.

The route to the deepest part is about 300 meters and you will need to use a flashlight to reach the end. Be very careful because the ground is uneven and there are falls.

If you remain silent, you will hear a trickle of water coming from different filtrations that are collected in stone basins. This water is drinkable and was drunk by the quarrymen who excavated the cave long ago.

Do not miss...

This article about the hiking route to the Cova Tallada Article first published on November 30, 2009. Last updated: January 2023.

Good practices
Respect other people and private property.
Respect flora, fauna and environment. Enjoy in Silence.
Always follow the trails. Tackling damages the environment.
Respect the Cultural Heritage (ruins, stone margins, etc).
Do not leave a trace of your passage, nor organic remains.
Find out, Plan and Equip yourself well to enjoy to the fullest.
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