Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)
On arrival at Alicante airport, we transfer by private vehicle southwards to Guardamar del Segura (approx. 40 minutes drive). We'll check into our hotel, perhaps have a short orientation walk of the town if time permits, followed by dinner at the hotel's El Jardin restaurant. Guardamar del Segura is a quiet, laidback town with a good selection of cafes, restaurants and local shops. It does not have a busy night-life scene and doesn't offer some of the attractions that you may find in other resorts on the Costa Blanca coastline.
Day 2 to 7
Our time in Spain's southern Valencian region will be a wonderful contrast of coastal, mountain and lagoon walks with great scenery towards the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding hills. We'll discover a salt desert, following a route of old aqueducts, take a lagoon walk, explore the biodiversity of the Aitana and Escalona mountains, and enjoy a variety of birdlife, springtime flowers, olive groves and almond blossom.
Depending on local conditions and group ability, we plan to include some of the following walks in our programme:
la Mata - Torrevieja lagoon Nature Reserve – An easy, level walk that starts from the hotel along the wide, sandy beach and then follows the path within the reserve, around the lagoon. This is an ideal spot for seeing a great variety of birdlife and springtime flowers. You will also discover a vineyard within the reserve, that thrives on the salt water.
Ascent / descent: negligible; up to 9 miles (15km); 4.5 hours walking time.
Sierra Aitana – Spectacular views of the Mediterranean and the Guadalest Valley await us today. This is an area of great biodiversity, and geology and botany come together in perfect harmony. Learn how the early inhabitants of the
area lived, enjoy the springtime almond & cherry blossom and the autumn olive groves. Lunch is included today at a traditional restaurant showcasing the freshness of local produce. Ascent / descent: 580-600m; 7 miles (11km); 3.5-4 hours walking time.
Albatera Salt Ravine – A spectacular desert landscape following paths over old aqueducts. Plant life has adapted to the salty environment, olive groves sit on the terraced landscape, rocks offer different hues of reds, gold and yellow. Ascent / descent: 345m; 6 miles (10km); 4 hours walking time.
In addition to your Ramblers group leader, a local guide who is knowledgeable on the walking trails, local history, flora and fauna will accompany us on all our walks. This is a region that was under Moorish rule and the evidence of this can be seen in the architecture, village names and cuisine.
We are in the "Pantry of Spain", and you'll see peppers, almonds, honey, avocados and fruit growing everywhere. We include a traditional lunch in one of the villages on one of our walks, showcasing the freshness of the local ingredients.
There will be a free day to explore on your own, perhaps with a visit to Elche or Alicante Old Town.
We make a transfer after breakfast to Benicassin in the north of the region. We will meet up with the incoming group members and, depending on our arrival time, there may be the opportunity of an orientation walk before we have dinner in the hotel's restaurant.
Located inland, behind Benicassim, is the Desert de les Palmes Natural Park, which is our destination for today. Our walk takes us into the evergreen NP where we see the remains of a Carmelite monastery, old hermitage and wonderful views over the Castellon coastline, including the thousands of orange trees, from where this part of the Spanish coast gets its name. 8kms; 4 hours; A/D 445m
Later this afternoon we'll enjoy a walk along the extensive Benicassim promenade alongside the blue-flag beach and seeing the Belle Epoque architecture of the impressive sea front villas and historical buildings.
A slightly longer drive today takes us to the Serra d'Espada Natural Park, described as a Mediterranean jungle. Our route takes us through a vast array of vegetation and wildlife. We'll see oak forests, water mills, ravines and learn about the old cork industry. We also have time for a visit to the medieval Muslim village of Ain. Today's walk is top of grade, perhaps venturing into a grade 5, but it will be taken at a gentle pace. 14.5kms, 6 hours, A/D 750m
Today we'll explore the Serra d'Irta, the last and longest unspoilt stretch of the coastline. As we walk in the direction of the town of Peniscola we'll discover the Mediterranean shrub eco-system, view old defensive towers and see impressive limestone cliffs. The undulating path passes small secluded coves, set against the backdrop of the hillside. 13kms; 5 hours; A/D 90m
The medieval city and castle of Peniscola can be seen in the distance as we walk and we'll have time to explore the town and enjoy a tasting of locally produced artisan beer before returning to Benicassim.
Today is a free day for you to explore on your own. You may wish to relax by the hotel pool, go to the beach or follow part of the Via Verde along the coast from Benicassim to Orpesa. The cities of Castellon and Valencia can be reached by train if you prefer a day of culture and tapas.
Today we travel furthest from Benicassim to explore the Millennial Olive Tree route in the north of the province. This part of the region, as well as producing a wide variety of olives and oils, is also an area that produces grapes and cereals. Our route takes through the olive groves, with some of the trees hundreds of years old, to a Royal Sanctuary, where we have time for a visit and a wonderful lunch of locally sourced ingredients. This is an area of history, nature and legends as we will discover with our guide. 9kms; 4 hours A/D 110
As we include lunch today, dinner will be on your own giving you the opportunity to wander into the old town for tapas.
The Serra d'Engalceran offers a typical Castellon rural landscape with great examples of dry and wet vegetation, remains of countryside architecture and an insight to the inner part of this province and its old crafts. It is a different landscape than we have visited so far. Vilafames is considered one of the prettiest villages of the region, built almost entirely in red sandstone, and we will have time to stop here to see the village and the Paleolithic rock paintings. 9.5kms; 4 hours; A/D 350m
After breakfast, we say our farewells to Castellon, and travel by coach to Valencia airport.