MTB - Alcalá de la Jovada


etapa de montaña

Alcalá de la Jovada

Some time ago, the municipality of La Vall D´Alcalà used to be made up by seven different towns and villages. Only two of them still belong officially to the valley nowadays: Alcalá de la Jovada and Beniaya. La Vall D´Alcalà had a very significant role as the capital of Al-Azraq's domain. He was a famous Arab commander, also known as "the blue-eyed one", who fought King James I of Aragón for many years and ended up being sent into exile by him. The difficulties to access the area, due to its peculiar topography, made this unequal war possible. This part of history is commemorated by a fountain, which features an image of the commander with water spouting out of his mouth and which has become a symbol of Alcalá de la Jovada.

As we get closer to the town where we'll start our route from, Alcalá de la Jovada, we'll begin to notice this historical inaccessible topography which, one way or another, has shaped the personality of the different towns and villages within the valley. The fact that they are quite far from all the urban and industrial areas in the region, together with the multiple ruins that we'll see along the way, which include old Arab villages and shepherd's huts, turn this route into a unique experience.

We'll begin at the Plaza Mayor square, next to Al-Azraq's fountain. We'll head towards the public swimming pool and we'll turn left to join a dirt road. With hardly any time to warm up, we'll begin the climb to an area called Masos de Capaimona (4.8 km). At the 2.8 kilometre point, we'll come across a fork in the road and we'll take the right exit in order to follow the main road. This mysterious area has its own legend: "The legend of Masos de Capaimona", the story of a dictatorial father whose tyranny cost him his whole family.

We'll follow the same road until we reach the 7.2 kilometre point, where we'll cross the CV-713 road, which covers the distance between the villages of Beniaya and Tollos. However, we'll stay on the same dirt road we've been riding on so far. We'll keep going uphill, almost up to the top of the Solana de Tollos, where we'll reach the highest point in the whole route. After this, we'll begin the descent towards Tollos through a broken road. Just before we arrive in Tollos, we'll find the Font Vella on our right-hand side. There we can fill up our water bottles and rest for a while before continuing on our route.

We'll resume our ride on the road that leads to the Barranc de Malafí. After a light descent that will allow us to enjoy the view of this gully in the distance, we'll turn left at the 14th kilometre and we'll start the climb to El Paet.

After reaching this area, we'll take a downhill road until we reach the Font del Paet at the17.20 kilometre point of the route. We'll begin ascending again through the Barranc del Paet until the 19th kilometre of the route, where we'll find a road that will take us to a small forest aerodrome next to Pou de la neu de Dalt. This snow well, together with the Pou de la neu de Baix (not far from Alcalá de la Jovada), were built in the 17th century and were used to supply Dénia's port with ice.

At this point, we'll need to make a choice: we can either continue on the road that we used to get to the aerodrome until we arrive at the Pic del Ros or take a small detour through the Tossal de Gorra in order to enjoy the views from there. The latter is our preferred option and will still take us to the top of the Pic del Ros.

Once we reach the top, we'll begin a quick descent through a dirt road down to the CV-712 road, which joins Alcalá de la Jovada and La Vall d´Ebo. We'll cross this road and, after 800 metres, we'll turn left to start the last climb of the day: the ascent to Penya Foradà ("Peña Foradada" in Spanish), also known as "El Forat" ("the hole" in Valencian) due to the big hole present at the top of the mountain. If we look through this hole, we'll be able to see the Vall de Gallinera valley all the way from West to East, with the municipalities of Benisili, Patró, La Carroja, Benisivá, Benialí, y Benirrama, and even the Mediterranean Sea in the distance if we ride on a clear day. As we were saying, we'll turn left just after the first few metres of the Alcalá riverbed, and we'll keep going uphill until we reach the Ruins of the Corral de Vicent el Salagüero. At this point, we'll need to decide whether we still feel strong enough to complete the climb (by taking the track on the right) or we'd rather keep going through the Camí Vell d´Alcalá road (on our left). Whatever our choice, both ways end up at the same point, so we can face the last part of the route. The climb to El Forat requires a high level of fitness and technical skills, because the last metres are basically impossible to ride through. However, if we still have enough energy, we recommend walking through this last segment, since the views from the top are absolutely stunning.

Whether we decide on one way or the other, we'll be facing the end of the route soon, with the town of Alcalá de la Jovada finally at sight. But before finishing the route, we'll stop for a while to check out the ruins of the abandoned Morisco settlement of L'Atzuvieta. The first documented reference about this architectural complex, dates back to 1356, which makes this route about something else than just biking: it's also a ride through history.


What to see

La Vall d´Alcalá's has quite a broad and surprising historical heritage. However, if we visit the town that we started the route from, Alcalá de la Jovada, we'll have the chance to check out the following local attractions: Al-Azraq fountain, Al-Azraq's palace, the Pou de la Neu de Baix and the abandoned Morisco settlement in L´Atzuvieta.

What to eat

One of the best-known features of this town is its diverse offer of food and drinks. Some of the most representative dishes are: mintxos (savoury pastries), espencat (fish and vegetable salad), Blat Picat (wheat, vegetable and pork stew) and the Arroz al Horno (baked rice and meat dish). La Vall d´Alcalá is also famous for the quality of the cherries grown there.  

Did you know?

The two snow wells that can be found within the municipality (Dalt and Baix, literally "the higher one" and "the lower one") were used to supply ice to some fishing towns and villages, like Dénia.