While this ascent to the
Montgó Nature Reserve from
Xàbia, also known as
Les Planes (Category 3), is quite short, it's also quite demanding, with a total elevation gain of 138 metres in less than 3 kilometres and an average gradient of 6.53%.
The scenery on this road is amazing, and we recommend stopping for a while at the
Chapel of Santa Lucia and Santa Barbara, so you can enjoy the views of the town, the valley with its orange fields and, of course, the
Once we've finished the first climb of the day, we'll start our way down to
Dénia, with the magnificent
Montgó on our left and the
Mediterranean Sea in the distance. We'll go through the town of
Dénia and we'll continue on the CV-725 road towards Ondara.
When we reach the town of
Beniarbeig, we'll take the CV-729 road. We'll follow this road, which gets more and more demanding as we go through
El Ràfol d´Almúnia and
Sagra and, just before reaching
Orba, we'll turn onto the CV-721 road and we'll begin the climb to
La Vall de Laguar, first, and to Coll de La Garga (Category 2) after that. The
Vall de Laguar valley region includes the villages of
Benimaurell (the Poble de Dalt or "Higher village"), Campell (the Poble de Baix or "Lower village"), Fleix (Poble d'Enmig or "Middle village") and Fontilles. All these villages make up just one municipality.
This is a very tough climb. We'll be covering a distance of 10.80 km, with an elevation gain of 654 m and an average gradient of 6.1%. However, the hardest point of this ascent comes after the town of
La Vall de Laguar. From there, we'll come across segments with gradients that rarely go under 9-10% and which reach a maximum of 17% at some points. Our efforts will be rewarded by the views from the top of the
Coll de La Garga which, despite not being the highest (765 metres of altitude), offers breathtaking sights, especially if we take into account that we started the route at sea level. We can stop for a snack at the mountain top or go back to
Fleix to regain our strengths and refill our water bottles. At this point, we'll have completed the hardest climbs for the day, even though we'll still have 45 km left to cover and the road won't give us much of a break until we're back in
Fleix and we'll follow the road down towards
Murla, where the descent ends. From there we'll take the CV-719 road towards
Benigembla in order to start the way back to
Xàbia. We'll then take the CV-720 road that goes through
Xaló and leads to
Alcalalí, we'll follow the CV-750 road to go through
Llíber and arrive at
This section we just described is really enjoyable for two main reasons:
The first reason is that it's one of the most popular biking areas in the region, especially in autumn and winter, when many professional teams and cycling tourists from all over Europe visit the area, due to the fact that the ascents we described above and the
Coll de Rates are very well known and can be accessed from there.
The second reason is the scenery, since the valley is full of vineyards, which makes the views differ completely from the ones we've enjoyed so far.
Xaló belongs, together with the villages of
Alcalalí y Llíber, to the
subcomarca (sub-county) of Aixa, famous for the production of wine and, more specifically, the local sweet wine called Mistela.
Once we've crossed the Autopista del Mediterráneo motorway and after a small ascent that leads to the town of
Benissa, we'll get back to the classic Mediterranean landscape. To reach the end of our route, we'll go across the towns of
Benitachel / El Poble Nou de Benitatxel in order to arrive at the beautiful
El Arenal beach and finish the day with a short walk by the Mediterranean seashore.
Alicante / Alacant
Villajoyosa/Vila Joiosa (La)
Alfàs del Pi (L')
What to see
Apart from its excellent beaches, Xàbia has a really well preserved old town that includes a remarkable number of stately homes. However, one of the most popular attractions in Xàbia is the "Ruta de los Miradores de Xàbia", together with the "Ruta dels Riuraus".
And, of course, a visit to the Montgó Nature Reserve is a must.
What to eat
The best way to find out about Xàbia's gastronomy is through the town's official website. One of the most important characteristics of Xàbia's cuisine is that it reflects the local culture, closely related to both the sea and the huerta (the agricultural land in the area). It's because of this that we'll find dishes that combine different kinds of seafood, commercialised under the certification mark "Pescado y marisco de la bahía de Xàbia" (Fish and shellfish from Xàbia's bay), with legumes, rice, cereals, spices like saffron and nora peppers and dried fruits such as figs, tomatoes and raisins. The result of this combination is tapas like esgarrat (a red pepper and cod salad), cocas (savoury pastries), snails, "capellans" (poor cod), boiled green beans and sang amb ceba (pig's blood with onions), as well as some stews like putxero (meatball stew), the polp amb penca (octopus and cardoons), the madroc (cod, cauliflower and potato stew), borreta (fish, potato and nora pepper stew) y la fava pelada (peeled green bean stew).
Did you know?
There is a millenary olive tree in Xàbia, located by the base of the Montgó mountain. History has it that it was planted in 1023, when Xàbia was a Muslim hamlet. The tree trunk is admirable for its huge size and its gnarled shape. It's completely hollow and it features many big roots, most of which are dry and cracked. It's pruned regularly and it has been grafted with three different varieties of olives.
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