longest trail in the network, a tough 16
kilometre route from the tip of the Cabo
de San Antonio to the top of the mountain
of Montgó, taking in the dramatic Cova Tallada
- the "carved cave" - and the
16th century watchtower of the Torre del
Gerro on the northern flanks of the headland.
route begins at the very end of the marina
road. There is limited parking - and in
any case, one would have to walk back to
collect the car at the end of the day -
so the preferred option would be to coerce
a friend to become the support team who
can drop you off at the start-point and
then meet you some ten hours later at a
suitable rendezvous, such as the shooting
range of Campo de Tiro Les Planes close
to the bottom of the summit path to the
top of the Montgó.
to the small roundabout at the end of the
road is the Restaurante El Tangó, a delightful,
isolated spot overlooking to hidden cove
of El Tangó, which is also known as "Pope's
Cove". Two information boards and a
wooden signpost mark the start of the path
and the opening few metres reflects
the reputation of the route; steep and rocky
but with stunning views of the small cove,
a favourite with divers and bathers who
prefer a little solitude.
path climbs steadily, with occasional scrambles,
into a narrow gorge, passing another wooden
signpost making the 'Variante Cala Tangó',
a short stroll along the face of the cliffs
to a narrow rock sticking out into the sea
which once served as a rescue point for
masted boats. Plenty of puff is needed to
overcome this opening stretch until the
route eventually opens up onto a small ledge
on the cliff edge which commands great views
over the marina and beyond.
path winds along the slopes in a steady
climb towards the top of the headland and
at one point disappears into the forest
of trees, bringing silence and a feeling
of solitude as the noises from the working
port are drowned out by the chatter of birds;
the canopy also brings temporary relief
from the sun and is a perfect spot to take
on some water.
the hour, the route eventually emerges onto
the top of the Cabo San Antonio and onto
a large man-made ledge with stunning views
over the bay of Jávea and beyond. The path
heads inland to the road and then the route
turns left away from the lighthouse, built
at the end of the 19th century, and follows
the road for some 400m, passing the car-park
of the mirador 'Cap de San Antoni'
before leaving the road (look out for the
wooden waymarker painted white-and-yellow
on the left) and passing through a
clump of trees for 200m, a wholly unnecessary
diversion but affording some shade from
the fierce sun.
route emerges from the shrubbery, crosses
the road and then continues through the
trees alongside the tarmac to the recreation
area of San Antonio, a landscaped set of
ledges which are perfect for a picnic of
a sunny Sunday afternoon. But not now. For
the path continues through the car-park
- there is a fountain of drinking water
to the right if one wishes to replenish
the water supply - and follows a wide forest
track for about 1½ km. Ahead one can occasionally
catch site of the steep eastern face of
Montgó whilst to the right, the land slips
away towards the top of the cliffs guarding
the northern flanks of the headland and
the sea can be glimpsed through the trees.
an obvious T-junction, the route turns left,
pass the ruins of an old police barracks
and, after about 400m, returns to the main
road at a point where sits the Santuari
Mare de Déu dels Angels, a building which
less than 50 years old but sits on the site
of a monastery dated back more than 600
years. It's a perfect setting to relax for
a few minutes and take on some much-needed
the path splits; straight ahead is the mirador
of 'Els Molins' on the 'Variante Molins'
route but this long route turns right, following
the main road for about 400m before turning
right - there is a wooden signpost pointing
the way - into Camí de la Plana de Sant
Jeroni. The main track loops around houses for about 600m; avoid the temptation
to leave this route and if you are unsure of the right route, look out
for the white-and-yellow route markers that are painted at various
intervals on tree trunks, large boulders and the occasional junction box
to guide the way. The track eventually arrives at a path hub, a mass of
rough narrow pathways that lead off in several directions. Again, the
route is clearly marked by a short post with the familiar
white-and-yellow lines and passes through a line of trees before weaving
across the rough heathland.
The path is clear as it passes through clumps of lavender and dwarf
palm but can be quite rough underfoot and, as you around the head of the
Barranc de la Foradada, a deep ravine in which evidence of human
occupation some 40,000 years ago has been found, the temptation to enjoy
the views opening up around you could prove painful. The engaging
Lakeland author A.W. Wainwright once warned readers “to avoid accidents
and always watch where you are putting your feet” and large rocks poke
through the ground, coaxing a twisted knee or a turned ankle so, despite
the unveiling of superb views around you, some attention had to be
given to avoid an unfortunate mishap.
After about 850m of
relatively flat walking, the path disappears abruptly over an edge into
the Barranc de la Cova Tallada. After a fairly easy scramble, a long
chain assists passage over a particularly difficult section which might
test those with an acute fear of heights. But the descent is fairly easy
with a bit of encouragement and nerve. At the bottom, the path leads
off around a rocky bluff and becomes quite narrow for a few metres
alongside a large drop to the left-hand side and care should be taken.
path descends steeply into the impressive ravine. Again, care should be
taken as there is plenty of scope for a sudden slip on the loose
surface. After around 250m, the path widens as it finishes its descent
and there is a small information board and another PR-CV 355 signpost
with more ambitious timings.
The Cova Tallada lies down to
the right and a small wooden sign points the way down a particularly
tricky scramble to the water's edge. Careful footing and strong
handholds are needed as you edge around the cliff face before a high
opening leads into the Cova Tallada.
The size of the cave
takes the breath away and makes the effort to reach it all the more
worthwhile. At first glance it appears to be an ordinary but sizeable
sea-cave but this was an important medieval quarry for the tosca stone
that built many local buildings including the castle of Denia, first
built by the Moors in the 11th and 12th centuries before being extended
and fortified between the 15th and 17th centuries, mainly with stone
hewn from the walls of Cova Tallada. The excavation continues deep into
the cliff and a torch is needed to explore further into the quarry.
plenty of exploration, the route now continues along the coast towards
the Torre del Gerro which can be seen on the cliff-top some 650m away.
After a tricky climb from the information board, the path skirts along
the coast - part-walk, part-scramble - for about 500m into Barranc de
l'Aiguadonç above which sits the watchtower. Whilst not technically
demanding, there are moments when the ground slides away steeply towards
the sea and a 20m length of rope has been secured to the rock over a
particularly exposed section. Other sections drop into the undergrowth
with low branches and protruding roots eager to catch out the occasional
A set of 80 steps built out of concrete and
brick climbs the far side of the ravine to the left of a huge cut in the
hillside before the path passing precariously across the top of the
cut, another rope helping those with a nervous regard to heights
continue on their way. On the far side on this section, there is a sign
warning of the danger.
Passing around the bluff of the
Punta de l'Aiguiadonç, the path reaches a steep set of concrete steps
which climb up to a rough track where there is a handy wooden bench to
recover momentarily from the lung-bursting ascent and enjoys the views
opening up to the north and west. The route then continues up the track
for about 100m to a T-junction; the option heading downhill takes one
into Les Rotes and onwards to Denia but the route to the watchtower is
to the left, climbing fairly gently for about 100m to what appears to be
a dead end. However a narrow path, almost indistinguishible amongst the
undergrowth, leads along the western edge of the ravine, climbing
gently but with a few hidden surprises that command a bit of strength to
overcome. After about 150m the path crosses the top of an obvious
expanse of loose rock before a sharp right bend to climb the last 150m
to the Torre del Gerro.
The Torre del Gerro is a 16th
century watchtower which formed part of an early warning defensive
system against marauding Barbary pirates which terrorised the coastal
areas for several hundred years. Its unique shape gave it the name
"Gerro" which means 'pitcher' or 'tankard´in the local Valenciano
language, although it looks more like a large bottle. On the seaward
side of the tower can be made out the coat of arms of Carlos V, the Holy
Roman Emperor. Those with a penchance for scaling almost impregnable
walls can gain access to the tower by climbing to the entrance door some
three metres up the southern flank of the tower.
by the yellow PR-CV 355 signpost, the route makes it way back towards
Javea, a rough path climbing steadily through the undergrowth alongside
the deep ravine of the Barranc de Malonda across which Denia's infamous
"ghost town", an abandoned urbanisation, sits quietly with the huge hulk
of Montgó looming behind. The path winds gently for about 1400m until
it reaches a small ruin and a wide open space.
continues along a wide track to the right for about 750m, passing a
number of houses and the Sant Jeroni shooting range until returning once again
to main road. The route turns right and
follows the road for about 200m. Just before
the junction with the Javea-Denia road,
a short track to the right saves a few seconds
and also reaches the road opposite the next
leg of the journey: look out for the white-and-yellow
route marker painted onto a tree-trunk on
the opposite side of the road.
path passes through the trees then climbs
up the slope, passing by the restaurante
La Plana to the left, for about 200m to
a wide forest track. The route turns right
for another 200m until it turns right to
the main road but the route continues onwards through
the trees, an obvious track marked by the
white-and-yellow route markers, for yet
another 200m until it emerges from the undergrowth
to join the wide track that leads to the
Les Planes shooting range. Turning left,
the route follows the track for another
couple of hundred metres to a small wooden
information board; a chain prevents vehicular
access ahead and this is the route onwards.
the hulk of Montgó gets ever closer, the
track continues across the flat plateau
for some 700m until the trail forks;
the route follows the right-hand option,
marked with a wooden signpost "Montgo"
and the usual white-and-yellow painted markings.
The path passes through the undergrowth
before starting to climb towards the final
leg - the summit path to the top of the
mountain of Montgó.
wide and comfortable track ends at a large
wooden information board. It gets tougher
from now on. A small sign indicates the
way to a summit, a narrow, rocky path that
climbs steeply through the undergrowth.
As the route climbs, don't forget to look
behind as the plateau opens up all the way
down to the lighthouse of Cabo de San Antonio.
path zig-zags up the eastern face of Montgó
before passing below the Penya Roja, a red
crag of rock that serves as a decent place
to stop, take in some fuel and admire the
view to east. After an hour or so of climbing
the path apparently ends with stunning views
over Jávea, its wide bay and the fertile
plain. The final stretch to the summit is
effectively a ridge scramble; look out for
the white-and-yellow markings painted on
rocks at intervals.
the top of the ridge, a path hugs the cliff
as it passes above an almost vertical drop
down to the villas below, not one for those
with a nervous regard of heights! And with
a final scramble through a narrow cut in
the rock, the summit is finally reached.
Montgó is 753m above sea level and, on a
clear day, the view is stunning in all directions.
To the east, the headland of Cabo de San
Antonio points towards the island of Ibiza
on the horizon; to the south is the Peñon
de Ifach (Calpe Rock), the Sierra Bernia
and the Morro de Toix; to the west, the
Col de Rates, the Sierra de Aitana and the
Val de Laguart; and to the north, the gulf
of Oliva and Cullera stretches up towards
the city of Valencia.