Stage 4 – Valencia (1) - Walking through Alicante and Valencia

The autonomous community of Valencia (autonomous community in Spain is the next level down from the nation state) runs up the central eastern seaboard with 518 kms of coastline.  The autonomous community, in turn, is made up of three provinces, Alicante, Valencia and Castellon (there is also a very important city, Valencia, which is different to both the province and the community). 
GR7 through Valencia

Valencia is essentially mountainous with a thin coastal plain.  The mountains, although not as high as those in Andalusia, are part of same range.  The route of the GR7/E4 runs south to north in the mountains, above the coastal plain and paralleling the coast line for about 600 kms.  

My Stage 4 takes 16 days and passes through the provinces of Alicante and Valencia.  I have used an itinerary from a web site which helpfully plots the route and gives the distances and times involved in getting from place to place.  The route travels through what looks like sparsely populated attractive countryside.  There are none of the larger historic towns which characterised the walk through Andalusia and Murcia.  

The end of the walk through Murcia and the start of the walk in Valencia (in the province of Alicante) will be at Pinoso.  Pinoso is a small town (7,000 pop) about 40 minutes from the Alicante airport.  It has a growing ex-pat population as the coast in Alicante is so highly developed.  Should be places to stay.

Day 1 involves a 28 km walk to Elda which should take just over 6 hours via Encebras, Casa del Senor, and Madara, all small villages. The route looks like a fairly easy trail through an agricultural landscape.  Elda is a significant town with a population of 55,000.  It does not however have a very good web profile – but it is the second most important place in Spain for shoes.    Lots of places to stay.

Day 2 is a 22 km walk to Castalla.  North, north-east of Elda the scenery and points of interest seem to improve, more castles and bigger mountains.  Castalla itself is a small town (pop 7,000), an 11th C walled castle and some accommodation.  

Day 3 is a 29 km walk to Alcoi.  It looks like a nice walk taking your through the Parque Natural del Carrascal de la Font Roja.  Alcoi is a large industrial town and the route doesn’t actually go into it.  There should be plenty of places to stay.

Day 4 is another 29 km walk to the town of Bocairent again taking you through a park (Parque Natural de la Sierra Mariola).  Bocairent is small but with bed and breakfast accommodation.
Parque Natural de la Sierra Mariola

Day 5 involves a 26 km walk to Vallada (just off the GR7 –  Accommodation is now starting to get more difficult and I’m not sure if the accommodation referenced on the town’s web site is for overnight stays.

From here until Cortes de Pallas it’s really difficult to find places to stay and consequently finalise the stop-overs.  The route takes you over a large mountainous plateau known as the Caroig Massif (lots of cave paintings) and while I think there is accommodation (sometimes on campsites with huts) pinning it down is not straightforward.

Day 6 looks like a 29 km walk to Benali which I think is actually a farmstead with some holiday lets and possibly overnight accommodation.  If that works Day 7 is then a 25 km walk to somewhere near Collado de Caroche.  There is definitely accommodation in the area, including a campsite which should have huts, but again it’s difficult to tell whether this includes overnight accommodation.

Cortes de Pallas
Day 8 is then a 30 km walk to Cortes de Pallas which definitely does has accommodation.  The walking is more of the same limestone countryside with dramatic gorges and dry valleys.  The whole area is important for power generation with reservoirs, hydro and nuclear power generation facilities.

Day 9 involves a 30 km walk to Pocicico Valentin via Venta Gaeta.  This looks like an amazing walk with a longer option at the end if you want to stay in a refugio.  The hostel “Casa del Rio Mijares” looks excellent and so I don’t think I’ll extend the walk.

Accommodation looks difficult for day 10.  There might be some at El Rebollar, which would then involve an 18 km walk.  If not it might be necessary to catch a bus to Requena, where accommodation is plentiful, and return to El Rebollar next day.  Alternatively there might be some accommodation further along the trail (although haven’t found it yet).

Accommodation at the end of a 30 km Day 11 is also uncertain.  There are a number of small villages in the right place (Villar de los Olmos and Villar de Tejas) but none are advertising accommodation.  Directly on the route is Refugio las Lomos but I suspect this is a literally unmanned refuge.

Assuming I stay somewhere near the Refugio las Lomos than the next day is a 30 kms walk to Benageber where there definitely is accommodation.

Day 13 involves a 17 km walk to Chelva which, with a population of 2,000 people, is a metropolis by recent standards.  There is accommodation and Chelva looks like an attractive town.

Day 14 is a 28 km walk to Andilla via the village of Alcotas.  Small village but with some accommodation

Day 15, the final day in the province of Valencia involves a 23 km walk to Bejis.  Although there is no reference to accommodation on the village website I’m optimistic! 

No comments:

Post a Comment