The Mediterranean Tour, Day 4: Valencia- Xabia/ Javea, 117km

Day 4 was fairly early start from Valencia, and different day compared to day 3 for many reasons. The road follows the Costa Blanca almost all the way to my next bed, Xabia/ Javea in the Alacant/Alicante province. A mostly flat affair, this day will be remembered for the many timeshares and forests obstructing my views of the scenery. This time there were no dangerous roads to navigate, but some fairly long stretches between towns. There’s no explanation needed for how awesome Valencia is (city guide coming soon), and an added bonus is that the route takes you straight past the Ciutat de les Arts y les Ciencies, right alongside the Alameda. Following that, you cross the actual Rio Turia and towards the Poblados del Sur part of the metropolitan area.

The first major town of the day is Cullera, 45km south of Valencia, but before that, the Parque Natural de Albufera, where one of the largest lakes/ lagoons of the whole country is located, stood in my way. The CV-500 is the road that passes through the area, and does take you to the edge of the lagoon briefly, but doesn’t feature along the beach much at all. Though the scenery of the forest was beautiful, and a new experience of the trip, it was a little frustrating not being able to see the sea very often. The more impressive parts were the bridges connecting the lagoon from the sea, and Mareny de Barraquetes was the town that kept to traditions a lot more, and had a more rustic and farmers town feel to it.

By this point, I knew that Cullera was close, The road was getting smoother, and eventually there’s a junction taking you inland to the town, or to the Faro de Cullera, and I chose the latter. The best choice I made that day, You have a minor climb, but are rewarded with beautiful scenes of the Albufera beaches, and shortly after Cullera and the coast extending all the way to the Macizo de Montgó, a mountain which is about 60km away on the other side of the bay. Of course, being the beautiful sunny day that it was, I had to head to the Playa de San Antonio and enjoy a well earned rest there.

Cullera is very well-known as a popular destination for the people of Valencia city as well as internationally, but this is more of a local’s getaway spot. If you have time, the Castillo and Murallas are definitely the stand out places to visit, but the Plaça de Llibertat at the foot of the hill is also a pleasant place to visit and chill. The beach was a my favourite part overall. Unfortunately there is no coastal road that will go on for very long, as you actually end up at the estuary of the Río Júcar and have to cross the bridge and take the CV-605 south.

The next town may be familiar to you, especially if you watch Reality TV shows like Jersey Shore, because the Spanish equivalent is called Gandia Shore, and that is the next town on this trip! There are several caminos I could had occasionally taken for brief spells, but ultimately, they all join the CV-605, so I decided not to complicate things. The problem with the other routes is that it gets difficult when you reach a river crossing or estuary, and you’re not really not benefitting anymore from the views. The Estany de Cullera has some really photogenic scenery, as well as various parts of Xeraco further south. These 27km were mostly calm and not particularly demanding. The coastal mountains took the scenery to a new level, though I didn’t see the sea until Grao de Gandia.

Gandia is split into two parts, the Grao, which is newer and more of a resort town, and is the setting for Gandia shore. Trust me, after passing the rather depressing attraction park called Gandialand, I was in no mood to check anymore of the place out, though the beach is huge. The main town of Gandia itself is inland and the best way was via Avenida de Grau, and I found myself checking the old part of town, largely pedestrianised with a lot of nice shopping streets and walks along the Río Serpis, usually dry. The Plaça de Vila and the Passeig de Germanies were my favourite parts especially to rest. being around 2 O’clock, and having been on the road for nearly 4 hours, lunch was a good call. The biggest attraction might be the Palau Ducal de los Borja, which is right on the river bank.

Via Avenida de Alacant, then the N-332, I headed out of town, passed Bellreguart, Palmera and Alquería de la Condesa and decided to stop in Oliva, The last town in Valencia province. Oliva was actually one of my favourite towns not only of this day, but the entire trip, and was a big surprise to me. Just head right from the main road, and the buildings get older, and the streets narrower. The highlights were the Parroquía de Santa Maria, The Plaza san Roque as well as exploring the cobbled streets with old white buildings, a very cool experience. Better still, I didn’t have time to visit the castle on top of the hill, so I have another excuse to go back and visit.

unfortunately, it was nearing 4pm, and I had to leave via the same road, the N-332 and my next stop was to be Denia, principally it’s port. It was 10km from Gandia and Oliva (I discovered after this trip there is a cycle lane via the poligono industrial 9km long between these two places), 24km to Denia from Oliva, pushing me to the 100km mark for the day, and I was breaking my record for longest trip to date. Again, the road was pleasant and smooth, and one thing I started noticing, were a lot of street vendors and call girls hanging around some of the laybys, though harmless, I would not stop near them otherwise they might stop for a chat. not long before the turning to Denia, I was greeted with the sign crossing into the Provincia de Alicante/Alacant.

I turned off at Deveses, hoping at least some of the 12km road to Denia would be rewarded with some good coastal roads. I was wrong. The whole road was marred by timeshares and holiday complexes that barely gave me any respite to the sea. I would say this was one of the most disappointing roads of the trip, and the only thing that was a plus, was that it was relatively flat, right up to the port of Denia. I didn’t have that much time to stop in the city centre, so I enjoyed the sights of the port, and Montgó by this point was towering over me. 11km to Xabia/ Javea, and the final push of the day was looming.

The CV 736 was one of the highlights of the day, and the most picturesque and difficult road, with a windy mountain segment rising to over 200m. Given that I had already done more that 100km by this point, it felt a lot harder than it otherwise would have been, an excellent leg breaker to finish the day. When I got to the top, Xabia/ Javea was in sight as well as the bay. The descent was a lot of fun, and the old quarter of the town was reached really quickly, and was a real treat. My Hostel was located on Calle Principe de Asturias, The Youth Hostel Javea, which was extremely comfortable and modern, on the ring road of the old quarter, so I was in the thick of it. How close you want to be by the sea is down to you.

That marked the end of Day 4, and I had plenty of time in the evening to do a bit of exploring, and enjoy some good food in one of the local restaurants just round the corner, and I would say Javea, though small, is a really nice place to visit, chill and was the perfect stop to recharge my batteries and get myself ready for the next leg of the journey, to Alicante.

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