Last week I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days with Monika, a client from New Zealand who was spending some time exploring Southern Europe. She had arranged to spend a few days in Valencia and wanted to combine the delights of this very special city with a couple of days of guided activity in the local mountains. Having discussed her wishes, we designed a couple of days that would include mountain biking and walking in Valencia. Both days would be spent in the Sierra de Calderona, a wonderful mountainous Natural Park that´s less than 30 minutes by car from the city centre.
On day one, I collected Monika from her hotel in the city centre and we made the short journey into the mountains. Before the walk, we stopped for a coffee and discussed the plans for our two days together, covering health and safety issues, and making any specific modifications to the routes to provide maximum enjoyment and a bespoke experience.
Our plan for today was to walk up to the summit of El Garbi, a rocky peak that looks out across the Valencian Mediterranean coastline. Rather than just walk up a footpath, we opted to scramble up the gully of “Canal de El Garbi”. Always interesting, and with some great views, this route climbs a rocky gully that has some fixed chains in the steepest sections. The scramble was great fun, and we soon found ourselves at the top of the gully, just a five minute walk away from the summit. The weather was superb, with hardly any wind and clear 360 degree views, so we sat on the summit and enjoyed lunch there.
After lunch we began our descent by a different route, this time via a scree run which was followed by a forested section of mountain trail. Once back in the village, we retraced our steps to the van before making the short journey back to Valencia.
On day two, I met Monika at her hotel before making another brief journey to the Sierra de Calderona, this time to an area a little further west. Having prepared the mountain bikes, we set off along a very pretty country lane that took us to the beginning of our trail. The route began on some simple forest trails before beginning to climb higher up into the sierra. After a short break in the shade of a stand of pines, we tackled the main climb of the day. The effort was worthwhile as the views from our high point were fabulous. After another break and lunch-stop we began our long descent that was both exhilarating and rewarding, with a combination of great trail riding and stunning views.
We eventually arrived at a small mountain village where we enjoyed a cold beer in the shade of the village square before making the short trip back to the van.
Within less than 30 thirty minutes later we were back in the city of Valencia.
It had been a pleasure to design a bespoke trip for Monika and to spend a couple of days with her in the mountains. She´s had a couple of superb mountain days whilst combining her adventures with a break in the wonderfully vibrant city of Valencia.
Written by David Warrington.
Mountain Bike Guide & Instructor at Mountain Biking Valencia