Road Biar

Parque Natural de la Serra Mariola

etapa de carretera

Biar - Puerto de El Moro

This route begins quite far from the coastline, in one of the most visited towns in the inland areas of the province of Alicante: Biar.

This town's valuable historic complex, which includes its castle, the Church of "Nuestra Señora de la Asunción", several other churches and the medieval old town, is in a very good state of preservation. The town itself was a silent witness to many battles between the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. It's also well known among people who like doing outdoor sports, due to its natural heritage: half of the municipality's land is covered by forest, which includes some monumental trees.

At the start of the route, we'll head towards Banyeres de Mariola through the CV-804 road. Right after setting off, we'll have the chance to admire one of the most famous views of Biar, with the viaduct at the forefront and the castle at the top. After the 8th kilometre of the route, we'll turn left on a side road that leads to the town of Beneixama and runs through fruit fields and vineyards, known by locals as "Camí de Benlliure".

This town is the starting point to the first climb of the day: the mountain pass of El Moro (Category 2). This pass is 10 kilometres long, with a total elevation gain of almost 400 metres and a very constant gradient all along the way, until reaching the top at 981 metres of altitude.   

When we get to the top, we'll actually be entering the province of Valencia and, in a clear day, we'll be able to see the Manchegan plains in the distance, with the town of Caudete, the Santa Bárbara mountain range and the very characteristic windmills. From the top, we'll begin a quick descent without leaving the road we took on our way up (the CV-657), while enjoying the beautiful views of the next town in our route: Fontanars dels Aforins.

Alto de El Moro - Serra de Mariola

From this point, and until we arrive at the Pou Clar through the CV-655 road, we'll have the opportunity to admire the views of the vineyards that cover the lowest parts of the Alhorines Valley, which belongs to the Valle de Albaida subregion. The amount of wine produced in this area is quite remarkable, as shown by the fact that there were 64 wineries in Fontanars dels Aforins in 1940, of which 8 are still working nowadays, with a total production of about 3 million litres of wine. We recommend stopping for a while at the Pou Clar, just by the junction of the CV-655 and the CV-81 roads.

The Pou Clar is the best known natural pool in Ontinyent. The water of the Clariano river, which rises in this municipality, has carved a series of pools over the years into the calcareous rocks that cover the first metres of the riverbed, forming a very peculiar and singular landscape. It's precisely this river that has shaped the Barranco de Onteniente ravine that the CV-80 goes through and which we'll use to get to the town of Bocairent.

This ravine marks the start of a steep climb that will only give us a chance to rest when we get to Bocairent and that will offer us a lovely view of the town's historic quarter. It will soon take us to the ascent to Bocairent's mountain pass (Category 3) through the CV-794 road, which will lead us to the very heart of the Serra de Mariola Nature Reserve. This climb is short but quite steep, with a total elevation gain of 300 metres in less than a 9-kilometre distance, and some parts where the gradient goes over 10%. Once we reach the top, we'll cross the Mariola mountain range going through both uphill and downhill roads (with a prevalence of the latter) until we get to the CV-795 road on the way back to the province of Alicante. So far, we'll have had the chance to admire the holm oak forests and the sunflower fields, to come across some cattle and to enjoy the scent of the local aromatic herbs, and all this surrounded by mountains like the Montcabrer (the third highest one in the province of  Alicante, with its 1,390 metres of altitude), the Alto de Mariola (1,158 m), the Contador (1,232 m) and the Portín (1,081 m).

Serra de Mariola - Biar

Just after the 66th kilometre of the route, we'll begin the penultimate climb of the day, following the CV-803 road that leads all the way up to the top of Onil's mountain pass (Category 3) at 1,036 metres of altitude. From this point, we'll start a really beautiful and fast descent, with a few S-curves and the opportunity to enjoy the views of the Foia de Castalla and the town of Castalla, with the castle at the top. This road will take us through the town of Onil, famous for its toy industry, before arriving at the beginning of the last climb for the day: Biar's mountain pass (Category 3).

The gradient in the first 5 km of the climb from Onil is quite gradual, but this changes just after reaching the 99th kilometre of the route, at the roundabout that gives access to the CV-799 road. This marks the beginning of the mountain pass, with an elevation gain of over 100 metres in just a 2-kilometre distance, which will feel like a massive challenge at this point in the route. After this, we'll be able to see the very characteristic castle of Biar, serving as proof that we have arrived at the end of our route after 106 kilometres of riding and a total elevation gain of almost 1,800 metres.


What to see

Biar's castle.

Biar's Sanctuary.

Pointed-arched aqueduct.

The Municipal Etnographic Museum.

What to eat

Biar's local cuisine includes a wide variety of rice dishes, such as the arròs caldós (brothy rice), the arroz con conejo (rice with rabbit meat) and the olleta (rice, bean and vegetable stew). Aromatic herbs are used very often in popular dishes such as gazpacho, cooked using pebrella, and the blood sausages made with onions and oregano. We also recommend trying the puchero con pelotas (chickpea and vegetable stew with meatballs).

Traditional pastries are baked mainly during the celebration of local festivities, especially in May, when the town holds the Moors and Christians festival. This pastries include the coquetas (sweet or savoury pastries), the mantecados (made with flour and almonds), the anise seed rolls, the almendrados (almond biscuits) and the liquor rolls. 

Did you know?

Due to its strategic position between the boundaries of the old kingdoms of Aragon and Castile, the town of Villa de Biar was an important bastion when the Muslims needed to defend the Valley of Biar. The border between these two kingdoms was established on Biar's mountain pass through the Treaty of Cazorla (1179), ratified some years later, in 1244, by the Almizra Treaty (signed in Campo de Mirra), which assigned Villena to Castile and Biar to Aragon.

Villa de Biar also became famous due to the production of turron (nowadays there's still a traditional turron factory in the town). Thanks to the high quality of its products, the town had the prestigious job of serving as suppliers for the Spanish Royal Family. During the Christmas season, the town produces turron, sugar-coated almonds, sponge cakes and rosemary honey.