Cycling in Valencia - El Puerto de l'Oronet

Cyclists climbing Puerto de l'Oronet, Sierra Calderona, Valencia, Spain

Another climb to have featured many times in la Vuelta a España over the years, Puerto de l'Oronet is perhaps the most popular climb among cyclists living in and around the city of Valencia.

Easily reachable from the city of Valencia, the 8-km climb of l'Oronet serves as a gateway to Sierra Calderona, Sierra de Espadán and beyond.

Puerto de l'Oronet

Due to its location near to the city of Valencia and its testing yet accessible slopes, el puerto de l'Oronet has established itself over the years as the go-to climb for the capital's cyclists, serving both as a handy destination in itself as part of shorter rides and as an initial climb on longer rides.

Cyclist descending south side of Puerto de l'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
El Puerto de l'Oronet is a firm favourite among Valencia's cyclists

Passing through the mountain villages of Nàquera and Serra, the road on the southern side of the climb is, in general, very good, the natural surroundings of the Sierra Calderona Natural Park are superb and, with the exception of certain peak periods, traffic levels are usually quite low. 

Perfect for cycling. 

Additionally, and in common with many other parts of the Valencian Community, recent years have seen the opening of numerous bars and cafes in the area providing cyclists with welcoming spots in which to rest.

Serra Castle seen from the climb of l'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
Serra Castle seen in the distance from the climb of l'Oronet

A regular fixture in the Vuelta a Valencia and the Vuelta a España, any cyclist visiting Valencia and worth their salt should ride l'Oronet at least once, whilst for those who make the city their home the climb's curves will inevitably become an habitual part of their bike rides.

If you do come to form part of the latter group and convert l'Oronet into one of your regular climbs, you can be certain to find yourself in solid cycling company: Strava - L'Oronet

Location

Location of Puerto de L'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
Location of Puerto de L'Oronet

The summit of l'Oronet is located some 35 kilometres north of the city of Valencia in the heart of the Sierra Calderona mountain range. The south side of the climb, which we will cover in this article, can be reached easily by car and by bicycle via the town of Bétera on the  CV-310 (Burjasot-Torres Torres) road. Bétera can also be reached by trains running on the suburban Metrovalencia network.

Alternatively, the north can be accessed from the village of Algimia de Alfara, which lies around 20 km inland to the west of the town of Sagunto and can be reached easily by train and by road

Group of cyclists descending l'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
Group of cyclists descending l'Oronet

The Sierra Calderona range, which runs approximately 35 km south-east to north-west from the coastal town of Sagunto to the town of Segorbe, is host to a vast array of autochthonous flora and fauna and falls to a great extent within the boundaries of the Sierra Calderona Natural Park.

Lying on the border between the provinces of Castellón and Valencia, the Sierra offers various paved mountain passes in addition to l'Oronet, as well as innumerable mountain- and gravel bike routes. Given its location both near to the city of Valencia and near to the excellent cycling territory of southern Castellón, the climb of l'Oronet serves equally well as a destination in itself and as part of longer routes. 

Profile

Profile of Puerto de L'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
Profile of Puerto de L'Oronet

This article describes the southern ascent of l'Oronet, starting from the village of Nàquera at foot of Sierra Calderona. The pass can also be climbed from the north, setting off from the villages of Torres-Torres/Algimia de Alfara, and from the east, having first climbed the slightly higher, and considerably more difficult, Alto del Garbí, which we will cover in other articles.

At a little over 8 kilometres in length, l'Oronet is usually classed as a 3rd-category climb, with an average gradient of around 4% and maximums of around 12% in the village of Serra.

In general terms, the difficulty of the climb increases the nearer we get to the summit.

Starting altitude: 175 metres
Length: 8.4 kilometres
Average gradient: 3.8%
Maximum gradient: 14%
Altitude gain: 318 metres
Maximum altitude: 493 metres
Difficulty: Easy
 

The Climb

We've taken the start of the climb of l'Oronet where the CV-310 and CV-315 roads, leading from the towns of Bétera and Moncada, respectively, converge at the roundabout just south of the entrance to Nàquera.

Roundabout at junction of CV-310 and CV-315 roads at the beginning of l'Oronet
Roundabout at junction of CV-310 and CV-315 roads at the beginning of l'Oronet

The village of Nàquera is very popular among Valencians as a weekend- and summer retreat and has expanded considerably in recent years to cater to the demand for permanent and holiday housing. Consequently, this initial section up to and into the village is where we are likely to find the most motorised vehicles, especially during the summer months. It is also, coincidentally, the point where the bicycle lane that runs from the village of Bétera in the south ends, so it's doubly important to keep a keen eye on the traffic.

After a short climb into the village proper we come to another roundabout, where we have the option of riding through the old village or along the relatively-recent by-pass. If we had to take a choice, we'd go for the village every time, as it's more pleasant. But again, careful with the traffic.

Roundabout in the village of Nàquera, Valencia, Spain
Roundabout in the village of Nàquera

As with so many other low mountain villages in the Valencian Community, Nàquera - and indeed the following village of Serra - soon became a focus for wealthier citizens seeking respite from the blistering summer heat among the cool inland breezes and lush vegetation, as can be seen by the splendid houses that line the road as we leave the village.

Summer residence in the village of Nàquera, Valencia, Spain
Summer residence in the village of Nàquera

If you have the time, it's well worth stopping to have a look. 

As we leave the village via its tree-lined "Paseo Delicias", we also leave the majority of the traffic behind. (If we've avoided the centre of the village by riding along the by-pass, we will join the main climb again here as the road leaves the village).

Tree-line avenues leading out of the village of Nàquera, Valencia, Spain
Tree-line avenue leading out of the village of Nàquera

As soon as we leave the village, the nature of the road and the surroundings change and we also find the first steepish slopes of the climb, before reaching the next village of Serra.

First slopes between the villages of Nàquera and Serra in Valencia, Spain
First slopes between the villages of Nàquera and Serra

Just before we enter Serra we pass a turning on the left to the Portacoeli Charterhouse (Cartuja), a lumpy road known among local cyclists as las canteras (the quarries) and one worth bearing in mind for future routes: after some 6 kilometres we can turn right and ride past the charterhouse and across the Sierra Calderona to the town of Segorbe (we'd need a gravel- or a mountain bike for this route, as the road is unpaved), or left and loop back to the town of Bétera past the "Jaime I" NATO base.

Turn-off to the Cartuja de Portacoeli, Serra, Valencia, Spain
Turn-off to the Cartuja de Portacoeli just before the village of Serra

Either way, it's a nice road to investigate by bike.

Sharp climb in the village of Serra, Valencia
The road rises sharply in the village of Serra

Serra is quite a bit smaller than Nàquera and is characterised, at least from the point of view of cyclists, by the steep ramp that curves its way up through the centre of the village.

Cyclists riding through the village of Serra, Valencia, Spain
Cyclists riding through the village of Serra

It's nothing from another world, maxing out at around 12%, but it's nice to know that it's there before we hit it.

Cyclists descending into Serra on el puerto de l'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
Cyclists descending into Serra on el puerto de l'Oronet

While we are in Serra, and also for future reference, there are numerous unpaved tracks that we can take to explore the Sierra Calderona close up, including routes up to Serra Castle, which can be seen from the road to our right. Again, we'd need to be riding a mountain/gravel bike.

Road climbs through the trees after the village of Serra, Valencia, Spain
Road climbs through the trees after the village of Serra

Back on l'Oronet we now enter the best part of the climb - the gradient gradually gets a little stiffer as we follow the meandering road up the mountainside.

"Font de San Josep" fountain, Serra, l'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
"Font de San Josep" fountain, just after the village of Serra on l'Oronet

There is quite a bit more shade on the southern ascent of l'Oronet than on many of the other climbs featured in onyour.bike, and there are several fountains by the roadside should we need to stop for water.

Hairpin bend on the climb of l'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
Hairpin bend just after the last fountain on the climb of l'Oronet

With the possible exception of other cyclists, there should be very little traffic by this point, making it possible to enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery of the Sierra Calderona.

Road near the summit of l'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
The average gradient rises as we get nearer to the summit of l'Oronet

With patches of around 12%, the last drag is noticeably harder than the rest of the climb but, again, it's nothing that can't be tackled easily with some steady pacing.

Just before we arrive at the summit we pass the turn-off on our right to el Alto del Garbí, which sees the road continue up and along the ridge of Sierra Calderona to the Garbí Viewpoint. El Garbí can be ridden as an extension of l'Oronet, but it does deserve its own article, not least because of the different options we have of climbing to (or descending from) the summit via the villages of Segart and Estivella from the east.

Summit maker on el puerto de l'Oronet, Valencia, Spain
Summit maker on el puerto de l'Oronet

L'Oronet was one of the first climbs in the Valencian Community to be included in the provincial council's road cycling network, and as such the climb is signposted with the usual distance and gradient signs at every kilometre. The new sign marking the summit of l'Oronet is located just at start of the descent down the northern side of the climb, and just beyond Bar l'Oronet and Restaurante el Collao, which may or may not be open when you get to the top of the climb, their opening hours forming part of the mystery that keeps life so interesting.

If we are not intending to turn around and descend the way we came, from the summit we have the option of continuing on to el Alto del Garbí, as already mentioned, or of descending the northern side of the climb, which in turn opens up the possibility of exploring Sierra de Espadán, just over the border to the north in the province of Castellón.

Furthermore, if we drop down the northern side of l'Oronet to the village of Algimia de Alfara, we more or less cross the Ojos Negros Vía Verde (greenway), which follows a disused railway line from the coast to the village of Ojos Negros, some 180km inland in the province of Teruel. 


All in all, l'Oronet is a very nice climb indeed to ride by bike, and one that - along with the Sierra Calderona in general - you really shouldn't miss out on if you find yourself in the city of Valencia.

Further information

Metrovalencia

Stage 4 of the 2019 Vuelta a España includes the climb of l'Oronet
Vuelta a la Comunidad Valencia 

La Bicicleta de Nàquera
Bar l'Oronet 
Restaurante El Collao

Serra tot natura - information about the village of Serra and Sierra Calderona
Portacoeli Charterhouse
Sagunt a Escena - Summer music and theatre festival in Sagunto's restored Roman ampitheatre
Segorbe - information about the town of Segorbe and its surroundings 

BTTrackManía - MTB routes through Sierra Calderona 
Vía Verde (greenway) de Ojos Negros

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