Route of the Forat de Bèrnia, natural tunnel and viewpoint overlooking the Mediterranean Sea

El Forat de Bèrnia, vistas a Altea

The Forat is a natural tunnel about 15 to 20 meters long that crosses the Sierra de Bèrnia from north to south. At its widest mouth, overlooking Altea, the Serra Gelada and the Mediterranean, El Forat de Bèrnia is very wide, a great natural shelter that serves as a magnificent viewpoint of the Costa Blanca.

Would you like to take the hiking route that will take you to this magical place? Read on, I’ll tell you all the details below…

In this article:

Route to the Forat de Bèrnia

Zona de trepadas antes de El Forat

We start from Casas de Bèrnia, where we find the information panel of the PR-CV 7 trail, which is the one we are going to follow. At the beginning we have to head towards the Font de Bèrnia -to the left looking towards the mountain range-.

Up to the fountain, we follow a wide and practically flat path. From the fountain, we start the ascent by path to El Forat, overcoming an unevenness of about 300 meters and some rocky areas where we will have to help us with our hands, as the terrain is steep.

It is not an excessively difficult route but it does present terrain with some difficulty and requires adequate material and a certain habit of walking in the mountains.

Data sheet

RECOMMENDATION: it is well worth doing the complete Bèrnia circular, to pass by the Renaissance fort and enjoy the varied landscapes offered by the mountain range. It is a bit longer and more demanding.

Additional Information

Cases de Bèrnia route of the Forat
Cases de Bèrnia, starting point of the route

The simplest and shortest route to reach the Forat de Bèrnia begins in Casas de Bèrnia, a tiny hamlet belonging to the town of Xaló / Jalón.

This route is very popular, so my advice is to avoid weekends and holidays, as on those days there are usually many people doing this route and you may have to “save time” to be able to pass El Forat. In addition to not enjoying it as much, it can be harmful to the environment.

The Sierra de Bèrnia, together with the Sierra del Ferrer, give rise to a Protected Landscape (similar to a Natural Park) declared by the Generalitat Valenciana for its high environmental and heritage values.

North face of the Bèrnia mountain range
North face of the Bèrnia mountain range

As a curiosity, we started the route on the north side of the mountain range, much greener and wetter, and after crossing the Forat we went to the south side, drier and with views of Altea, Benidorm and Puig Campana. In both cases the route is very spectacular as we walk at the foot of the great limestone ridge that crowns the Sierra de Bèrnia.

Another curiosity is that the route begins in the municipality of Xaló and then crosses over to the municipality of Benissa and finally to the municipality of Altea when crossing El Forat. The Fort of Bèrnia, on the other hand, is located in the municipality of Callosa d’En Sarrià.

Narrow part of Forat de Bèrnia
Narrow part of Forat de Bèrnia

As for the Forat, it is located about 800 meters above sea level and has a length of about 15 meters. Years ago it was somewhat more difficult to cross, but the incessant passage of hikers has made the narrow opening, which faces the north face, has been widening slightly by erosion, especially on rainy days.

At the beginning you will have to pass in blades and little by little you will see how it widens until it ends in a large cave or natural shelter overlooking Altea.

Frequent questions

Where does the Forat de Bèrnia route start?

The route begins in Cases de Bèrnia, a tiny hamlet belonging to Xaló/Jalón. It can be reached from Benissa or from Xaló, through a narrow mountain road.

How long is the El Forat route?

If we make a round trip to El Forat from Casas de Bèrnia, we can take about two hours. If we do the complete circular (recommended), about 4-5 hours. All depending on the physical condition of each person.

How difficult is the El Forat route?

Whether we do the complete circular route of Bèrnia or the route to the Forat, the difficulty is medium, as there is steep and rocky terrain. It is essential to be well equipped with hiking shoes, backpack, food and water. Trekking poles recommended if you usually use them.

Is it possible to go with children to the Forat?

The recommendation is to do it with children over 10 years of age, due to the steep terrain. This recommendation will depend on the experience and ability of each child.

Is it possible to do the route with dogs?

In principle yes, but keep in mind that there is an area of steep terrain where, depending on the type of dog, you may have some difficulty. The recommendation is that you carry it tied at all times to avoid tripping over other hikers or disturbing the local wildlife.

Circular Variant

Fuerte de Bèrnia - Fort de Bèrnia
Fuerte de Bèrnia - Fort de Bèrnia

If you want to visit the Forat de Bèrnia, I strongly recommend you to do the complete circular. The route is only slightly more difficult and somewhat longer. This way you will be able to know the Fort of Bèrnia and other attractions and panoramic views of one of the most beautiful and emblematic mountain ranges of the province of Alicante.

Track for GPS

I share with you the track of the complete circular route, which you can follow to make the route to and from the Forat or the whole excursion.

How to get

You can reach Casas de Bèrnia:

  • From Benissa, passing through Pinos. More scenic road but with more curves.
  • From Xaló. Slightly shorter road.

In both cases, keep in mind that these are narrow rural roads with bicycle traffic. If you go in a group, try to go up with only one car as parking space is limited and it is a very busy route on holidays and weekends.

Click on the image to open in Google Maps:

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