Routes in Valencia - Roda la Vall d’Albaida

Cycling in Valencia - Roda la Vall d'Albaida

The Vall d'Albaida Cycling Tourism Route, "Roda la Vall", is a recent initiative from La Mancomunidad de la Vall d'Albaida which, after consultation with those involved in the local tourism sector, took the admirable decision to employ bicycle touring and cycling as a means to promote this relatively unknown area of Valencia.
This summary covers the general details of the main route. It includes links to the route's website and documentation, which at the time of writing are only available in Spanish, although it is understood that translations are to be made available in the near future.

The different accommodation options indicated at the end of each stage description are solely included as suggestions.

201 km divided over 5 stages

The circular route, which covers some 201 km and includes a total of 4667 metres of accumulated altitude gain, has been designed to enable touring cyclists to visit and discover Valencia’s Vall d’Albaida region over several days.

Cycling in Valencia - Aielo de RugatAielo de Rugat, Vall d'Albaida

Divided into five main stages, Roda la Vall d'Albaida takes us along the region's lesser-used tracks and roads and runs through sites of enormous scenic and cultural interest, as well as through the centres of a large number of the region’s towns and villages.

90% of route off-road

Cycling in Valencia - Off-road, QuatretondaForest track, Quatretonda, Vall d'Albaida

90% of the main route runs along forest tracks and rural roads, with only 21km of the overall distance of this option running along conventional roads. There is a complementary route for road cyclists covering 144km.

Cycling in Valencia - Almonds in LlutxentAlmond trees, Vall d'Albaida

 

Additional thematic routes

For those wishing to discover Vall d'Albaida in even greater detail, there are a further 8 thematic routes, which are extensions of the main stages.

Downloadable tracks and signage

Cycling in Valencia - Roda la Vall d'Albaida signageRoda la Vall d'Albaida signage

Whilst the route is signposted at its most crucial points, the tracks for each stage, and each thematic route, can be downloaded to GPS devices and smartphones. Given the large amount of crossroads, alternative tracks and paths in the valley, it is highly recommended that users who are not familiar with Vall d'Albaida download the tracks and follow them throughout their trip.

Cycling in Valencia - Climb to Buixcarró, Pla de CorralsClimb to Buixcarró, Pla de Corrals

Overall, it isn’t a difficult route -although you can expect some climbing and a minimum level of fitness is required-, and it can be adapted to each cyclist’s physical strength and available time.

La Vall d'Albaida


Cycling in Valencia - Roda la Vall d'AlbaidaVall d'Albaida, Valencia

Located approximately 70 km from the city of Valencia in the south of the Province of Valencia, La Vall d'Albaida is a comarca of great natural beauty that preserves the essence of a rural world endowed with immense cultural heritage, and in which around a third of the land is subject to some degree of environmental protection.

Covering an area of some 722 square kilometers and naturally delimited by mountain ranges reaching up to 1000 masl, Vall d'Albaida is composed of 34 municipalities and is home to 90,000 inhabitants, with a population density considerably below the average for the Valencia Region.

Lying some 20 kilometres from the coast at its nearest point, the area has a typical Mediterranean climate, characterised by sometimes surprisingly chilly, wet winters and summers during temperatures can reach up to 35ºC and, exceptionally, 40ºC. It is advisable to take these extremes into consideration, especially if planning a visit in July/August. 

Moorish and Christian past

The oldest known map of the Valencian territory, an ink drawing dating from 1499, depicts Vall d'Albaida as a land populated by castles, fortified towers and ruins, originating in many cases from the period of Moorish control.

Fountain, Albaida, Vall d'Albaida

The current distribution of land, towns and villages in Vall d'Albaida can be traced, in general terms, to the times of the Christian reconquista of the region by James I of Aragon and, more specifically, to the expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609.

Cycling in Valencia - Old town of Bocairent, Vall d'AlbaidaOld town of Bocairent, Vall d'Albaida

Following these events, the previous tendency towards more scattered settlements and farmsteads was gradually replaced by the creation of new villages (Montaverner, Llutxent and Pobla de Rugat-del Duc, for example) and the resettlement and expansion of previous Spanish-Muslim nuclei (Bocairent, Ontinyent and, probably, Albaida), resulting in the 34 municipalities that make up the region today.

Traditional economic activity

Cycling in Valencia - Vall d'Albaida, ValenciaVall d'Albaida

Traditionally dedicated to the cultivation of crops such as olives, almonds and grapes, the valley retains ample evidence in the form of dams, irrigation channels, wells and mills of the measures implemented by its inhabitants in order to provide its lands with sufficient water.

Roda la Vall d'Albaida - Vines, FontanarsVines, Fontanars

Other industries, such those dedicated to the production of paper, silk, textiles and cotton, have equally left their mark on the region's architecture.

Contrasting landscapes

View of Pinet, Vall d'Albaida

The region has several differentiated landscapes, including the upland areas that serve to delimit the valley (Alt del Torrater, Covalta, Benicadell, Serra Grossa, Alt de Ponce, Gamellons, Buixcarró and Mariola), and the high plain of Alforins (Fontanars), Valleta de Bocairent and the Valley itself, through which the rivers Albaida and Clariano run.

The high plane of Fontanars, Vall d'Albaida

 

Environmental protection

Within Vall d'Albaida we find the Sierra de Mariola Natural Park, which is shared with the neighbouring Comtat and L'Alcoia regions, and the Protected Landscape of Ombria del Benicadell, eight Micro Flora reserves, as well as three large Sites of Community Interest (SCI) covering more than 18,000 hectares (River Albaida, Els Alforins and Buixcarró-Marxuquera) with Special Protection Areas (SPA) totalling 29,000 Ha. All these natural spaces form part of the Natura 2000 Network and are therefore considered as areas of vital importance within the European Community.

In total, the different protected natural spaces within the Vall d'Albaida cover some 52,650 Ha. Bearing in mind that some areas are classified in accordance with more than one concept, for example SCIs integrated within Natural Parks, or Micro-reserves within SPAs, Vall d'Albaida has a protected area of some 22,565 Ha. Thus, in relation to the region’s total surface area of 72,222 Ha, no less than 31% of the entire territory is subject to some degree of environmental protection.

Such data makes it easy to understand the extraordinary landscape and environmental value of Vall d'Albaida, and its attraction as a destination for responsible tourism.

Of the valley’s 34 municipalities, 29 have at least one protected space and in certain cases, such as Quatretonda, Pinet, Llutxent, Beniatjar and Albaida, up to four within a single municipal area.

Mancomunidad de La Vall d'Albaida Department of Tourism

Roda la Vall is an initiative of the Mancomunidad de la Vall d'Albaida Department of Tourism, which has made available a guide, route maps, tracks, technical details and relief profiles for the route via its website.

Equipped with a bicycle, and the suggestions contained in the corresponding guide, you will be able to discover the environment, the towns and the people of a region steeped in history and with abundant natural beauty.

Main route - Roda la Vall d'Albaida


Cycling in Valencia - Roda la Vall d'Albaida


Stage 1: Ontinyent - Bocairent

The first stage of Roda la Vall takes us from Ontinyent, the capital of Vall d'Albaida, to the town of Bocairent.

Cycling in Valencia - Palau de la Vila, OntinyentPalau de la Vila, Ontinyent

Starting from the Ontinyent Tourist Office, located in the town's monumental Palau de la Vila, this initial stage takes us through a surprising range of different environments.

Cycling in Valencia - Pou Clar, OntinyentEl Pou Clar, Ontinyent, Vall d'Albaida

Leaving the city of Ontinyent along a bike path that takes us through the local agricultural land, we first across the natural swimming pools of Pou Clar, which are fed by the waters of River Clariano as it makes its way from its upland source down through the valley, before heading off towards the spectacular climb up Sierra de la Ombría to the Holy Christ Chapel, located at an altitude of 730 m. From here we descend via the Stations of the Cross to the partially-walled medieval town of Bocairent, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful towns in the Valencia Region.

Cycling in Valencia - Cami de Ponce, OntinyentCami de Ponce, Ontinyent

Those who feel this stage is a little too short for one day can continue on to the nearby, and relatively unknown, Mariola mountain range, home to over 1200 different plant species and the source of the River Vinalopó..

Cycling in Valencia - Bocairent, Roda la Vall d'AlbaidaBocairent, Vall d'Albaida

The stage includes two significant climbs in the form of Sierra de la Ombria to Bocairent, without doubt the toughest part of the day's route, and the subsequent, somewhat easier, climb up to the Mariola mountain range. The latter is approached on an asphalt road.

Further information:

Ontinyent Tourist Office
Bocairent Tourist Office

Hotel Kazar - Ontinyent
Hotel Finca San Agustín - Ontinyent
Hotel L'Agora - Bocairent
Hotel L'Estació - Bocairent

Distance: 44.13 km
Accumulated altitude gain: 1,048 m
Accumulated altitude loss: 780 m
Circular route: No
Highest point: 946 m
Lowest point: 355 m
Paths and tracks: 32.52 km
Road: 12 km
Physical difficulty:  Moderate
Technical difficulty:  Moderate
Start: Ontinyent
Finish: Bocairent

Download track:
Ontinyent - Bocairent

Stage 2 Bocairent - Aielo de Malferit

The second stage is the longest of the route, and also the stage with the greatest differences in altitude and overall difficulty.

It is also the most solitary of the route's stage, as we will only pass through one village, Fontanars del Alforins, located roughly around the halfway point.

Forest track, Roda la Vall, Vall d'Albaida

The day starts with a climb out of Bocairent up to the Sierra de la Ombría to Mas de Ponce, from where we travel along the entire range via its highest points. Along the way we will see indications for Font del Ballester, a spring that usually has water even during mid-summer, and an opportune spot in which to refill water bottles.

Plaza de Fontanars, Vall d'Albaida

After dropping down along forest tracks from the highest points of the Sierra de la Ombría to Fontanars dels Alforins, a small village mainly dedicated to the cultivation of vineyards and the production of wine, olive oil, almonds and a variety of fruit, we cross el Pla and start climbing once again to Serra Grossa, the mountain range which delimits Vall d'Albaida to the north, and which we follow to Pla de la Balarma.

Roda la Vall d'Albaida - Serra GrossaForest track, Serra Grossa, Vall d'Albaida

From the ruins of Casa de la Balarma we descend a mountain pass through the spectacular landscape of Barranco del Joncar to the town of Aielo de Malferit, birth place of the famous Spanish singer Nino Bravo.

Further information:

Aielo de Malferit Tourist Office
Fontanars dels Alforins (Spanish)

Hotel Gasaqui - Aielo de Malferit

Distance: 55.99 km
Accumulated altitude gain: 988 m
Accumulated altitude loss: 1,355 m
Circular route: No
Highest point: 973 m
Lowest point: 254 m
Paths and tracks: 44.54 km
Road: 11.7 km
Physical difficulty: Difficult
Technical difficulty: Moderate
Start: Bocairent
Finish: Aielo de Malferit

Download track:
Bocairent - Aielo de Malferit

Stage 3 Aielo de Malferit - Llutxent

This is a highly interesting stage, due to the variety of towns and landscapes through which it crosses.

Starting out from Aielo de Malferit, we take the old road to l’Ollería, and from there we continue to Caserío de Salido, next to the ravine of the same name.

Roda la Vall d'Albaida - Embalse de BellúsBellús Reservoir, Vall d'Albaida

Following paths that run between olive and almond trees, we pass along the foot of Serra Grossa and along the bed of the Salido ravine. The path at this point is usually in a poor condition, due to the effect of water. After covering a short section on foot, we reach the paved road that leads to the village of Bellús.

Cycling in Valencia - Cami de la Serra, QuatretondaCami de la Serra, Quatretonda, Vall d'Albaida

From Bellús to the villages of Benigánim and Quatretonda the route poses no major problems, but it is in Quatretonda that the hardest, and most beautiful, stretch of the stage begins.

Cycling in Valencia - Cami de la Serra, QuatretondaCami de la Serra, Quatretonda, Vall d'Albaida

By following Cami de la Serra through the spectacular Serra de Quatretonda Protected Municipal Landscape for some 12km, we reach the tiny hamlet of Pla de Corrals, located just over the border in the neighbouring comarca of La Safor and an ideal place to stop for refreshments.

From Pla de Corrals, we double back towards Vall d'Albaida by climbing the steep track up to El Buixcarró and passing through Pla de la Vinyavella before descending to the village of Pinet, where we can take the optional thematic route and visit the cork forests of El Surar.

Cycling in Valencia - Pla de la Vinyavella, Quatretonda, Vall d'AlbaidaPla de la Vinyavella, Quatretonda, Vall d'Albaida

In order to avoid the main road that joins the village of Pinet with the town of Llutxent, which marks the end of the third stage, we can reach our destination by taking quieter, mountain tracks through pine forests and olive groves.

Llutxent - Roda la Vall d'AlbaidaErmita de la Consolación, Llutxent, Vall d'Albaida

Further information:

Aielo de Malferit Tourist Office

Rural Tourism Complex "El Más de Xetà"

Distance: 50.50 km
Accumulated altitude gain: 862 m
Accumulated altitude loss: 872 m
Circular route: No
Highest point: 529 m
Lowest point: 120 m
Paths and tracks: 46.02 km
Road: 4.3 km
Physical difficulty: Difficult
Technical difficulty: Moderate
Start: Aielo de Malferit
Finish: Llutxent

Download track:
Aielo de Malferit - Llutxent

Stage 4 Llutxent - Albaida

This, the fourth stage, sees us transition from the somewhat difficult, mountainous terrain of the previous day to the relative ease of quiet tracks running through the local agricultural land. The stage isn’t completely free of climbing, however, especially in  the section between the villages of Beniatjar and Bélgida.

Roda la Vall d'Albaida - "Riurau" in Terrateig"Riurau" Linares, Terrateig, Vall d'Albaida (traditionally used for drying grapes)

The first section of the route follows the old roads of Benicolet and Montitxelvo before reaching Aielo de Rugat, from where it enters the area of La ​​Ombria and El Molí.

Orange groves - Roda la Vall d'AlbaidaOrange groves, Llutxent, Vall d'Albaida

After riding through the towns of Rugat and Rafol de Salem, the road takes us to the village of Beniatjar, at the foot of the Benicadell.

Cycling in Vall d'Albaida - CarrícolaCarrícola, Vall d'Albaida

The villages of Otos and Carrícola possess a special charm, in addition to their interesting cultural heritage: Otos is home to a host of very individual sundials, while Carrícola is populated with outdoor sculptures.

Cycling in Valencia -.Bicycle sundial, Vall d'AlbaidaBicycle sundial, Otos, Vall d'Albaida

From here to the villages of Palomar and Bélgida we follow an easy route that quickly takes us to Albaida, where we end this fourth stage.

Further information:

Albaida Tourist Office

Hotel La Sitja

Distance: 39.22 km
Accumulated altitude gain: 844 m
Accumulated altitude loss: 808 m
Circular route: No
Highest point: 384 m
Lowest point: 188 m
Paths and tracks: 36.22 km
Road: 3.00 m
Physical difficulty: Moderate
Technical difficulty: Easy
Start: Llutxent
Finish: Albaida

Download track:
Llutxent - Albaida

Stage 5 Albaida - Ontinyent

The last stage of Roda la Vall.

Cycling in Vall d'Albaida - AlbaidaCastillo-Palacio de los Milán de Aragón, Albaida, Vall d'Albaida

This last stage is the shortest, for several reasons: firstly, it allows us to take in the cultural heritage of Albaida at a leisurely pace.

On the other hand, it also allows us time to visit the Sierra de Agullent mountain range by including the optional La Covalta thematic route.

Lastly, it allows us the option of reaching Ontinyent before lunchtime on this, the last day of the route.

Roda la Vall d'Albaida - Plaza Santo Domingo, OntinyentPlaza Santo Domingo, Ontinyent

This is a useful point to take into account for those planning to begin their journey home on the same day.

Further information:

Albaida Tourist Office
Agullent Tourist Office
Ontinyent Tourist Office

Distance: 9.88 km
Accumulated altitude gain: 143 m
Accumulated altitude loss: 110 m
Circular route: No
Highest point: 430 m
Lowest point: 312 m
Paths and tracks: 9.58 km
Road: 0.30 km
Physical difficulty: Easy
Technical difficulty: Easy
Start: Albaida
Finish: Ontinyent

Download track:
Albaida - Ontinyent

Thematic routes

In addition to the main, 5-stage route, Roda la Vall includes a series of proposals, known as thematic routes, that enable the user to extend the general route and discover the local landscape in greater detail.

Including geographical, cultural and gastronomic information and series of suggestions for places to visit, these 8 thematic routes have been created with the aim of providing greater knowledge of the region and, in some cases, to enable the visitor to discover towns and villages which are not included in the general route.

All these routes travel through areas of great scenic or cultural interest that lie close to the main route, and they have been designed in such a way that they connect with the general route at certain points or in certain towns or villages.

As with the main route, it is essential to download the corresponding track via the QR code or from the Mancomunitat de Municipis of the Vall d’Albaida website, for use with a GPS device or a smartphone with the corresponding application.

The majority of the thematic routes are circular, while three (Camí dels Corporals, Camí de Jaume I a la Vall d'Albaida and Ombría del Benicadell) are linear.

In the case of the linear alternatives, the thematic route replaces the general route with a more culturally-interesting or a more mountainous route.

Further information:


Mancomunidad de la Vall d'Albaida
Department of Tourism

Avd. Sant Francesc 8, 3, 6
46870 Ontinyent (València)
Spain
email: turisme@mancovall.com
Telephone: (+34) 96 238 90 91
Website: www.valldalbaida.com

Download guides and maps
Vall d'Albaida Bicycle Touring Routes (Spanish)

Download tracks
Wikiloc - Roda la Vall d'Albaida tracks (Spanish)

Michael Dixon

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