Cycling in Valencia - Puerto de Barx

Puerto de Barx, Simat de la Valldigna, La Safor, Valencia, Spain

El Puerto de Barx is a popular climb among Valencian cyclists, due to its proximity both to the La Safor coast and to the mountains of the Sierra Grossa range. At around 5 kilometres in length, it's not a long climb, and it's not too hard, either, enabling cyclists to take in the magnificent views towards the coast as they tackle its numerous hairpins.

Location

Puerto de Barx, La Safor, Province of Valencia, Spain
Puerto de Barx, Simat de Valldigna, Province of Valencia, Spain

La Safor

El Puerto de Barx is located in the Valencia comarca of la Safor, in the south of the province, about 80 kilometres south of the city of Valencia, and around 125 kilometres north of the city of Alicante. The area includes the coastline and beaches around the cities of Gandia and Oliva and the Mondúver and Monte Safor mountains, its name being derived from the latter.

Easily accessible from the coast via the AP7 Mediterranean Highway, the main towns and villages in the area include Gandía, Oliva, Tavernes de Valldigna, Xeraco, Bellreguard, Villalonga, La Font d'en Carròs and Simat de Valldigna, the latter of which serves as the starting point for this climb of its northern face. The climb can also be ascended from its southern face, starting from the city of Gandia, and we've included a little information about that below.

Simat de la Valldigna

Carrer del Convent, Simat del Valldigna, La Safor, Valencia
Carrer del Convent, Simat de la Valldigna
Simat is a very pleasant, quiet village, and the pedestrianized Carrer del Convent, with its selection of restaurants, bars and pavement cafes, is an ideal spot from which to set off towards today's climb.

Monastery of Saint Mary of la Valldigna

Entrance to the Monastery of Saint Mary of la Valldigna, Simat, Valencia
Entrance to the Monastery of Saint Mary of la Valldigna, Simat, Valencia
The village of Simat is probably best-known for its old quarter, which houses the splendid Cistercian Monastery of Saint Mary of la Valldigna, which was founded by James II of Aragon on March 15th, 1298.  Together with the nearby monasteries of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba (Alfauir), Corpus Christi (Llutxent), Aguas Vivas (Carcaixent) and la Murta (Alzira), the Monastery of Saint Mary forms part of the Route of the Monasteries of Valencia, which can be followed on bike, horseback or foot.

Barx

The mountain village of Barx, from which the climb takes its name, is located at an altitude of around 325 metres, although the main climbing eases off some kilometres beforehand. Like many of the nearby villages, its is mainly dedicated to the cultivation of different varieties of fruit, such as almonds and oranges, as well as catering to its mainly local tourism sector.

Barx, La Safor, Valencia, Spain
Pavement cafes in Barx, La Safor
There are numerous bars and restaurants in the village in which to take a rest and recover from the climb.

Parpalló Cave

Visitor Centre, Parpalló Cave, Gandia, Valencia
Entrance to Visitor Centre, Parpalló Cave, near Barx. By Brunekhilda [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
The nearby Parpalló Cave, located around 3 kilometres from Barx, was the site of the discovery of some of the best examples of portable common Paleolithic art to be found in the Spain.

Profile

Profile Puerto de Barx, La Safor, Valencia, Spain
Profile Puerto de Barx, Simat de la Valldigna, Valencia

270  metres of vertical climbing

Departing as we have done in this case from the village of Simat de la Valldigna, el Puerto de Barx measures some 6.5 kilometres in length, at an average gradient of around 5.5%. The maximum gradient that we'll hit is around 11.5%, and there are some 270 metres of vertical climbing to a maximum altitude of around 325 metres.

As has been mentioned, the main climbing tails off around 1.5 kilometres from the village of Barx, with this last stretch being considerably easier-going than the rest of the climb.

The climb

Puerto de Barx, from Simat de la Valldigna to the village of Barx

Start from Simat

Setting off from Simat de la Valldigna along the CV-675 local road, we pass the the climb's first kilometre marker just as we leave the village's last buildings behind and the first slopes come into view.

First kilometre marker on the climb of el Puerto de Barx
The first kilometre sees us cover a long straight that transitions through orange groves to pine trees, before finally veering right and up on the first of the day's hairpins. As is usually the case, this is where we find the steepest gradients, in this case around 11%.

2nd kilometre marker, Puerto de Barx, Simat de la Valldigna
2nd kilometre marker, Puerto de Barx
From this point on, the next kilometre or so follows a pattern of sharp, pitched hairpins followed by a few hundred metres of (more or less) straight road. There isn't a great deal of shade on the climb, which is something to bear in mind during the summer months, whilst on the plus side the absence of densely-packed trees affords excellent views over the villages in the valley below and easterwards towards the sea.

Hairpin bend, Puerto de Barx, Simat de la Valldigna, Valencia
Left-hand hairpin in the initial kilometres of el Puerto de Barx, Simat
The CV-675 road that leads up to the summit of el Puerto de Barx is (luckily for cyclists) a somewhat outdated piece of traffic infrastructure, with alternative, faster routes existing between most of the points it connects. As such, it doesn't usually register a heavy volume of traffic, especially so during the week. This factor, in conjunction with the 7 metre wide road and its central markings, means that we are less likely to have to deal with oncoming vehicles than on certain other mountain passes in the region.

There is little shade on many stretches of the climb
Once we have climbed through the 8 or 9 hairpins and reached the 2 kilometre to go sign, we can just about see where the main part of the climb passes into the upland valley that will take us to the summit. First, at around 1.5 kilometres to go, we come to the Mirador de la Visteta Viewpoint, from where we can contemplate the valley below, dotted with the villages of Simat, Benifairó and Tavernes, as it stretches out to the sea.

El Mirador de la Visteta Viewpoint
From here, there's just a hundred metres or so left before we enter the final kilometre, which rises gently through the upland valley with the Mondúver range, and its 840 metre peak of the same name, to our left and the Buixcarró, located at the easterly extreme of the Serra Grossa range, to our right.

The gradient eases off notably in the last kilometre
The summit itself, at an altitude of 343 metres, is located at the entrance to the village of Barx.

Summit of Puerto de Barx, La Safor, Valencia
The final summit marker is located at the entrance to the village of Barx

Suggested route

Vuelta al Mondúver

A practical way to enjoy the climb of el Puerto de Barx is to ride this varied, circular route around the Mondúver, taking in the town of Gandia and the villages of Tavernes de la Valldigna and Simat de la Valldigna, as well as stretches of the Valencian coast.

Around 45 kilometres in length, the route mainly follows roads with little traffic and, being circular, allows us to choose our own start and finish points.

Further information

Safor Turisme. Tourist information about the comarca La Safor (in English)

Visit Gandia. Comprehensive tourist information about the city of Gandia (in English)

Barx Turisme. Comprehensive information about what to see, where to eat and where to stay in the village of Barx (in English)

Turisme Simat. Tourist information about the village of Simat de la Valldigna: monuments, routes, restaurants, accommodation, services.

Wikipedia entry for the Monastery of Santa María de la Valldigna

Wikipedia entry for the Route of the Monasteries of Valencia

The Monastery Route Valencia Turisme site on the Monastery Route

Wikipedia entry on the Parpalló Cave

Parpalló - Borrell Visitors Centre
Address: Carretera CV- 675, Km. 9.7,
46394 Gandia, Valencia
Telephone: 962 87 70 00

Michael Dixon

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