Details of the walks
Day 1 – El Somo Circuit – 12km, 325m Ascent, 5hrs. A walk winding between three inland gorges, each more spectacular than the last! Farm paths lead through Almond orchards over open ridges, with expansive views of the coast before we picnic in a ruined farmhouse below a castle high upon a ragged vertical peak. From here we wind past bright pink Velorium above a sunken chasm, and descend through Almond terraces perfumed with Camomile.
Day 2 – Caballo Verde & 2000 Steps 15 km, 975m Ascent, 5.5hrs. A ferocious battle between Moors and Christians – the last on mainland Spain during the Spanish Reconquest – took place on the Caballo Verde Ridge high above Parcent village in 1609. Today we follow a steady stepped trail cut centuries ago by Arab traders through almond terraces leading up to this ancient battlefield, marked by a lonely cross on the hillside. We picnic with views out to the distant Balearic Islands. After lunch we take a broad track around the top of the Barranco de Inferno, enjoying wonderful views of the gorge, before descending a 1000 step mule trail, into the barranco, passing a 14 th century inn, before walking up the other side of the valley via another 1000 steps of mule track! Then it’s back down into the village for a well earned drink!
Day 3 – Coll de Rates – 13km, 650m Ascent, 5hrs. We walk from the hotel door though the orange groves into the Carrascal range, ascending the Barranco Negro and picking wild blackcurrants as Bee-eaters wheel and chatter overhead. Look out for Jonquils – perfect tiny Daffodils – in February and Orchids from March through to June, while Thyme and wild Angelica always line our mountain path almost to the summit, from where we have views over surrounding sierras. Upon returning to the village, look out for the Pilota players in the late afternoon thrashing a ball to and fro along the main street.
Day 4 – Free Day – take a stroll through the groves to neighbouring villages or simply take time out to explore Parcent
Alternatively take our optional Valencia Trip – We drive to Gandia train station where you take the train along the coast, passing flooded rice fields. Look out for Herons and Egrets. The train takes you into the heart of the city with its amazing architecture and history. So much to see! All transfers and rail tickets are included for just 25 euros per person.
Day 5 – Smugglers’ Cove – 7km, 225m Ascent, 4hrs. Many coves and beaches were well used as smuggling depots in olden days. Our route winds down a rocky track filled with Lavender and Wild Fig to a stunning turquoise bay, where the surrounding cliffs are honeycombed with illicit storage caves connected by mule tracks. We ascend to a superb seaside trail leading below soaring cliffs before returning to the beautiful town of Moraira for a swim, a stroll or a coffee watching the world go by.
Day 6 – Bernia Circuit – 11km, 725m Ascent, 4.5hrs. Few walks offer as many high impact views as today’s circular route around the 1200m high Bernia Ridge near the coast. A steady ascent leads to an amazing natural cave – after ducking through it (just 15m) fabulous coastal views stay with us to our picnic spot – a ruined 16th Century Moorish fortress! After exploring the extensive ruins we pass over a saddle to Echo Gorge and follow a breathtaking traverse to the sound of cicadas and skittering lizards, before an easy descent back to our starting point.