Our tour starts in Banyeres de Mariola, in the district of l' Alcoià, on the banks of the river Vinalopó and runs through the lush valley that is formed by the Fontanella and Onil mountain ranges, among cereals, pines and holm oaks. After entering the town of Biar we reach the town of Onil, by taking a path of great environmental interest nestling in the Maigmó and Foia de Castalla mountain ranges.
We leave Banyeres de Mariola from the Molí l'Ombria Alcoi on the banks of the Vinalopó near its source. We follow the Route dels Molins next to the river, surrounded by impressive riverbank vegetation.
After some 500 metres we cross the river to reach a track amid farmland and pine trees, which will take us up a steep slope to the top of the Blasca, 1.120 metres above sea level. The summit offers us some beautiful views.
Once we have gathered our strength, we descend down a pleasant road crossing Sierra Fontanella, an area of great scenic value, populated by Aleppo pines, some isolated holm oaks and low scrub with rockrose, rosemary and gorse. After several miles we will reach the turn-off for Cova Negra, an old shepherd's refuge which we can visit by taking a detour some yards off our route.
We continue the descent through the Lomas de Jara Alcoi, to reach the sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, located some two thirds of a mile from the town of Biar, which we recommend you visit.
From the sanctuary, leaving Biar behind us, we start to ascend in the direction of the summit of the Reconco, leaving to our right the botanical path that as- cends to the top. This area is located in the Sierra del Maigmó and the Foia de Castalla, declared a special protection area for birds, inhabited by the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon or eagle owl among others.
We will pass next to the Fuente de So- riano, a place of environmental interest which hosts species such as the silver poplar, elm and Iberian orchids. We follow the track as far as the turn-off for Fuente del Xorro, passing next to the Fontalbres hostel. The spring is some yards off the track, down the ravine. It is a good place to cool off.
Following the same track we find the turn-off to Onil we must follow to get to the ravine, and which we descend.
We enter the village descending by the Escalera or Staircase ravine track, passing the Pouet de la Neu, an ice pit built in the 19th century, a sign that this ice-making activity also existed in this town in times gone by.
We can visit the Municipal
Ethnography Museum to find out about its heritage and traditions, although simply walking through
Biar we discover a maze of narrow, cobbled streets, which manate from the castle with a multitude of fountains where we can refresh ourselves.
A small town set below the sierra of the same name, in the foothills of the
Mariola. It is known as the
"Cuna de las
Muñecas", which is "Cradle
Dolls". In the town you can visit various places of interest, among which we can highlight the
Fortress-Palace of the Marqués de Dos Aguas, the
Pouet de la
Neu or any of the museums which the municipality houses such as the
Museum or a very special one, the
Municipalities located in the foothills of the Serra de Mariola, surrounded by the Sierra de Fontanella, Sierra de Reconco, the Sierra del Fraile and the Sierra de Onil. They offer the possibility of practising all kinds of outdoor sports, from hiking and biking to rock climbing or paragliding.
From Biar we can take the following hiking routes: PR-CV 55 Sierra de Fontanella, PR-CV 155 Sierra del Fraile, PR-CV 35 Banyeres de Mariola - Biar - Elda and the Reconco Botanical Trail.
From Onil we can also take the following routes: PR - CV 87 Onil - Rebolcador - Castalla, PR-CV 88 Onil - the Reconco, PR-CV 89 Onil - Alto de la Barcella or PR-CV 141 Casa Tàpena - Xorret de Cati, PR-CV 90 Fonteta Soriano-Onil- Banyeres de Mariola and PR-CV 160 Casa Tàpena-Mas de Prats.
Many of these routes run by forest tracks, with the possibility of mountain biking or horse riding along them.
Climbing enthusiasts can enjoy this activity in the Sierra del Fraile, as well as in the Sierra Fontanella, with different orientations and levels of difficulty.
For paragliding enthusiasts there is a flight area at an altitude of 1.180 metres in the Sierra del Reconco.
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