Bike & Family - Altea

Altea - Rio Algar

etapa para todos

Altea - Rio Algar

This route is perfect for a family day out. Very few routes include the sea, a wetland, two rivers and a mountain in such a short distance and, on top of that, starting from an easily accessible point next to Altea's town centre.

We'll meet by the Garganes sports centre in Altea, more precisely at a street called Calle Clot de Mingot. The landscape is very appealing right from the beginning, with the confluence of the Algar river and the Mediterranean Sea creating both a wetland of high ecological value and one of the most well-regarded beaches in Altea: The Cap Negret beach.

The 12.2-kilometre Algar river rises at the Serra del Ferrer mountain range, within the municipality of Callosa d`En Sarrià, forming the famous Fuentes del Algar (the Algar waterfalls), a charming recreation area with many cascades and pools where we can go for a swim. The water comes from two tributaries: the Bolulla and Guadalest rivers.

All throughout the route we'll have the chance to see some of the over 100 birds that live in this wetland. Depending on the time of the year, we'll find different species: leaf warblers, snipes and maybe some sparrowhawks in the winter; little ringed plovers and reed warblers in the summer; or the elusive spotted crake during the spring migration. It's always a surprise to find a place like this so close to a town like Altea.

We'll start the route by going northwest and leaving the Algar river on our right. After a few metres, we'll go under the narrow-gauge railway (FGV), and we'll continue on a road that runs parallel to the Vía Pista, until we actually cross it 1.5 kilometres later in order to join a road we won't leave until we finish the route.

After covering 2.4 km, we'll arrive at the "Molí Vell", also known as "Molí dels Moros". This mill, surrounded by terraces with fruit and vegetable fields and located on the right side of the riverbed, just 2,400 metres away from the river mouth, has been declared Bien de Interés Local (Asset of Local Cultural Interest). Even though the only parts of it that have been preserved are the ruins of the casal (the main building of the flour mill), the mill pond and some of the canals that used to provide the mill with water, it has great historical value, reminding us of how important the right use of water was considered to be during the Islamic era in Spain. The history of the "Molí Vell" or "Molí dels Moros" takes us back to Medieval times, between the 8th and the 17th centuries.

When we reach the highest point of the route, at the 3.8 kilometre point, we'll find a small dam known as the "mini pantano" (mini reservoir). This is where the Guadalest river joins the Algar river. Although the road continues and we could keep going up to El Castell de Guadalest, we've not contemplated that option here because the rest of the route would require a higher level of technical skills and is not suitable for families with children.

We'll then go back the way we came and, 500 metres after we cross the Autovía del Mediterráneo motorway using the underpass, we'll turn left to get to the other side of the Algar river. This road will take us straight to the Cap Negret beach, while we enjoy the view of Altea's outline, with its historic old quarter and the blue dome of the Nuestra Señora del Consuelo church at the top.

One of the main features of Cap Negret, an almost 2-kilometre-long semiurban beach that the Algar river goes through, is the amount of river stones that can be found in it. From this beach, we'll be able to admire the views of Calp's Penyal d'Ifach and the top of the Serra Gelada / Sierra Helada, a mountain that serves as a border between the bays of Benidorm and Altea

This beach is the end point of this very accessible route, perfect for a family day out, which can be completed with any of the cultural and leisure activities that the town of Altea offers.


What to see

Altea's historic old quarter.

The mouth of the Algar river. 

What to eat

Apart from a wide variety of rice and fish dishes, as is traditional all along the coast of Alicante, the area around the Guadalest valley is famous for the production of loquats and the countless by-products that derive from them: loquat honey, jams and liquors, loquat in syrup, and one of the later additions: loquat beer. In fact, "Nísperos de Callosa d'En Sarrià" (loquats from Callosa d'En Sarrià) is a Protected designation of origin (PDO).

The municipality of Altea and a few of its closer towns and villages, like L´Alfàs del Pí, produce some of the most sought-after wine branded with the "Vinos de Alicante/Alacant" PDO.

Did you know?

The Guadalest valley produces 50% of all the loquats used in the whole of Europe.