Last week I had the pleasure of welcoming back a group of returning clients from UK. They had previously visited the Valencia region on numerous occasions so knew the area well. Prior to their trip, we had worked together to design a specific package of activities for them, aimed at delivering exactly what they were looking for from their holiday. Ultimately, this included bike hire, a day of guided biking and a day of guided mountain walking.
Our first day together was a long and challenging trip. We had opted to trek up the spectacular 1100m peak of Benicadell which stands on the border between the provinces of Valencia and Alicante. A walk up some steep woods brought us out above the tree-line and onto the rocky slopes leading to the summit ridge. After a welcome rest in the shade we began the scramble along the narrow summit ridge. This is a stunning place to be, with the whole of the Albaida Valley below your left foot and the very pretty Beniarres Valley and its reservoir below your right foot! We all made it safely to the summit where we enjoyed the stunning 360 degree views before beginning our trek back down. It had been a long hot day but all agreed it had been well worth the effort.
Our second day together was originally planned as a guided mountain bike tour. However, after a discussion about how to maximise value and enjoyment, we made a last minute change of plan and opted to do a cultural cycling trip to the beautiful and historical town of Xativa. After a gentle ride through the orange groves of the Barxeta Valley, we arrived in Xativa and began the visit with a climb up to the famous castle. Once up at the castle, we sat on the terrace of the café bar, enjoying a cold drink as well as the views stretching out across the Valencian plains to the city and the distant peaks.
A great free-wheel ride back down to the town was followed by a brief bike tour of the historical quarter. Xativa is the birthplace of the the only two Spanish Popes, both of the Borja dynasty. It was also the first place in Europe to produce paper. It´s historical quarter is a delight of narrow streets, peaceful squares and ancient churches.
After lunch on the main boulevard we began our return ride, using country lanes through orange and olive groves, back to the farming village of Barxeta.
It was a delight to see this group again, and especially so having worked with them to design exactly the kind of trip that they were looking for.
Written by David Warrington.
Mountain Bike Instructor & Active Tourism Guide.