The most remarkable thing about this route from
Torrevieja is the contrast between the landscape of the third most populated town in the province of Alicante (Torrevieja) and that of the nature reserves of the lagoons of
La Mata and
Torrevieja, El Hondo and La Pedrera Reservoir, and let's not forget the peculiar scenery of the cropland area in the subregion of La Vega Baja del Segura.
We'll start the route at the Paseo Vista Alegre in
Torrevieja, next to the Yacht Club. We'll follow Calle de
Orihuela until we get to the CV-905 road, also known as
Crevillent's road. This is the road that leads to the two lagoons we mentioned before,
La Mata and
Torrevieja. Even though the building complexes in the area block most of the views, there are some viewpoints that can be accessed easily. Another aspect to keep in mind is the fact that there is a very well-kept bike lane all along this section of the road that we recommend using, even on our road bikes.
Once we pass the Ciudad Quesada building complex on our right-hand side, we'll arrive at
Benijófar and we'll take the CV-920 road to go across the bridge over the Segura River when we get to
Rojales. We'll then turn onto the CV-860 road towards the El Hondo nature reserve and we'll go past the villages of
Daya Vieja on our left and
San Fulgencio on our right. Both municipalities are quite peacefull and have the classic charm of the villages in the Vega Baja del Segura subregion, where it's never difficult to find a quiet place to enjoy a cup of coffee or have a drink.
After we reach the CV-851 road at the 26th kilometre of the route, we'll begin to go around the El Hondo nature reserve. This 2,387 hectare wetland was declared a nature reserve in 1994 and contains two irrigation regulating reservoirs, some adjoining ponds, marshes and croplands, which provide this reserve with great environmental value. However, the most valuable asset in this area is its fauna, both because of the large number of animals that inhabit it and the presence of some species that are in serious danger of extinction.
Once we have gone around the whole northwestern side of the wetland, we'll take the CV-875 road and we'll stay on it until we arrive at the town of
Crevillent, after one of the few climbs we'll find on our route. Crevillent's old town has a somewhat Moorish look to it, with its narrow streets and small curbs, and it's there that we'll find the always surprising "Cuevas Casa de
Crevillent" (Crevillent's cave houses).
After taking a look around
Crevillent, we'll resume our way on the N-340 road, which used to be very busy but has quieted down recently thanks to the construction of the A7 motorway. If we follow it, we'll arrive at
Albatera. The next municipality on our route is
Bigastro, which we'll reach by taking a few different regional roads. These roads have hardly any traffic, are surrounded by croplands and go around the towns of
Callosa de Segura,
Benejúzar and through
Jacarilla before getting to
Bigastro, starting point of the climb to the La Pedrera reservoir. All these towns and villages have a wide variety of artisan bakeries where we'll have the chance to try some of the many traditional local sweets and pastries, just before facing the second and last climb of the day.
The La Pedrera reservoir belongs mainly to the municipality of
Orihuela. Its southern end has a part that goes into a different municipality,
San Miguel de Salinas. It was built in 1980 on the Alcorisa riverbed, and it has a 61-metre high and 716-metre long gravity dam. This reservoir belongs to the Segura Hydrographic Confederation, and it's mainly destined to irrigation purposes, especially for the croplands in Cartagena, although it's also used for human consumption in some towns and villages in the Vega Baja del Segura subregion.
After admiring the views and taking some time to catch our breath, we'll only have a short downhill section on the CV-95 road left, which will take us around the municipality of San Miguel de Salinas and down to
Torrevieja, leaving the
Torrevieja lagoon on our left and finally arriving back at the Mediterranean seashore.
Villajoyosa/Vila Joiosa (La)
Alfàs del Pi (L')
Alicante / Alacant
What to see
Torrevieja is a town of contrast. We'll have the chance to learn about its history at the Interpretation Centre of the Salt Industry and to visit avant-garde architectural works like the Caracola (by the Japanese architect Toyo Ito) or Torrevieja's International Auditorium (by the architect José María Tomás). On top of that, there are some examples of traditional religious architecture, such as the Archpriestal Church of the Immaculate Conception or the Sacred Heart Parish Church.
The La Mata and Torrevieja lagoons nature reserve.
El Hondo nature reserve.
Barrio de La Morería (Moorish quarter) in Crevillent and the cave houses, also in Crevillent.
What to eat
The Vega Baja del Segura subregion has a very rich tradition and culinary variety, due to the large amount of fruit and vegetables produced in the cropland area and the fish production by the coast. All this together with a wide variety of high-quality cured meats, sweets and pastries. It's because of all this that we can say this area features two different "kinds" of cuisine:
By the coast, dishes usually include all sorts of seafood. The main examples of this type of cuisine are salted fish and the very well-known calder.
In the inland area, vegetables are the main ingredient, both for rice dishes and stews. We recommend trying the Arroz con Costra. This rice dish has the peculiarity that the recipe includes scrambled eggs, which are poured on the rice before putting it in the oven, where it browns and finishes cooking, with the eggs leaving a thick crust or costra on top.
Did you know?
Crevillent is famous for its carpet industry, which is the reason for the town's nickname: "Ciudad de la Alfombra" (carpet town).
The last Habaneras competition in Torrevieja had an attendance of 118,000 spectators, thus becoming one of the most important cultural events in the town's history.
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