Sheltered by some of the most emblematic mountain ranges in the province of Alicante, such as the Serra d’Aitana , the Serrella or the Xorta , the Vall de Guadalest is without a doubt one of the most charming redoubts in the Alicante geography, a great example of the marked landscape contrasts of the Earth .
small and beautiful villages , with clear reminiscences of its Arab past —the prefix “beni” is one of them—, dot the slopes of this attractive interior paradise, covered in a multicolored green of pines, almond and olive trees, which combines perfectly with the turquoise waters of its reservoir, the emerald heart of the Marina Baixa region.
Today we enter a valley where nature , culture and traditions have been preserved over the centuries, to the delight and pride of locals and foreigners. In this privileged environment, we will enjoy a hiking route suitable for all audiences , ideal to combine with a visit to its picturesque villages and savor its delicious cuisine and local products .
Index of contents
From the Guadalest reservoir dam, we walk around it on a paved track (75% of the route) and with very little traffic, between extensive pine forests and terraces of almond and olive trees, at the foot of the magnificent Aitana, Xortà mountains. and Serrella.
The slopes to overcome are very gentle, distributed along the approximately 11.5 kilometers of the route.
In summary: a simple excursion , ideal to enjoy a pleasant walk, perfect to introduce children to hiking, or for people of a certain age who are looking for accessible routes according to their physical condition.
To complete the day, we recommend a visit to one of the towns in the valley. The Castell de Guadalest is the most touristic and well-known, but all of them contain aspects of interest that are worth discovering.
Local products , such as excellent olive oil, honey, almonds… without a doubt, should be part of our souvenirs for today, thus helping to maintain the delicate local economy and fight against the depopulation of these valleys of inside.
As the route can be completed easily in about 3-4 hours (at a leisurely pace), I recommend getting up a little early and doing it in the morning, to complete the day with a visit to one of the towns in the valley, and thus enjoy the excellent gastronomy of the Alicante mountain. I recommend you watch the video at the end of the article.
- Meson Ca Rafel . Specialists in Valencian cuisine, rice dishes and stews. In Benimantell.
- The Sale of Benifato . Typical dishes of the traditional cuisine of the Alicante mountains.
- Bar l’Era , in the quiet and pleasant Plaza Modesto Juan, Beniardà.
- Mari Pico Restaurant , in l’Abdet. Terrace with fantastic views.
Our advice is to spend at least one night in the Vall de Guadalest , to live a more complete, leisurely and relaxed experience, allowing ourselves to soak up the special atmosphere that is breathed in this enclave. We recommend the following sustainable and environmentally friendly accommodation:
Track for GPS
We leave the car in the small parking lot that we find before crossing the reservoir dam (it is recommended to get up early if we want to find a place), and we begin to walk across it.
The Guadalest Dam began operating in 1963, and has a maximum capacity of 13 Hm3, or what is the same, thirteen billion liters! It seems like a lot, but it is vital to make sustainable use of this large water reserve, which, as we know, is a very scarce resource in our province.
In this first part, the track winds at the foot of the Sierra de la Xortà, avoiding the branches of the reservoir that go into the roots of the mountain.
The threat of the Xylella
Along the way, in addition to pine trees, we find terraces of olive and almond trees. These crops are seriously threatened by Xylella Fastidiosa .
A serious problem caused by the bacteria that arrived from Italy via the Balearic Islands, and that has already caused many almond trees to be uprooted. If you want to know more, I recommend you watch the following video:
As I said before, in this first part of the route the path is more winding, since it has to overcome the many ravines that flow into the Guadalest River , whose basin gives rise to the reservoir.
About 6.5 kilometers from the beginning of the route, we come to a fork and a small bridge that allows us to cross to the other side of the Guadalest River.
Shortly after, another fork allows us to go up to the town of Beniardà, or to continue with the route. We opted to go up and visit the town, having some refreshments in the pleasant Plaza Modesto Juan .
After the break, we return to the route, with the sun at its lowest and the shadows lengthening over the valley. We are at the end of the reservoir, a little less than 2 kilometers from the dam.
However, in this last part of the route, the path is much more direct, so we will reach the dam in just half an hour.
As a curiosity, and before concluding the excursion, we will pass by the old jetty of the solar boat, nowadays in disuse.
To end this article, I wanted to share with you a very illustrative video developed by the Benimantell tourist office, one of the beautiful towns that dot the Guadalest Valley. In it you can discover some of the secrets of the valley, such as its rich gastronomy or its cultural heritage .
And so far, today’s pleasant walk. I hope you have enjoyed it, and thank you for collaborating in the protection of our natural spaces!
See you next time!