Day 5 was I day where I was hoping to get some better coastal views of the coast compared to the day before, and the last 10km between Denia and Javea made me feel more confident. Starting the day in Javea was one that needed energy, and a good breakfast in La Cova on Principe de Asturias, which was full of locals, was a great start. After spending a good hour wondering through the narrow, picturesque streets of the nucli antic to stretch my legs, it was time to head south.
The main roads had to divert from the beach temporarily due to Puig de la Llorença mountain, but after a brief spell on the CV-734 I took a left towards the village of El Poble Nou de Benitatxell. This is a bit of a climb after turning off to the actual village, but some of the views made up for it. There’s nothing particularly special about the town, barring the Parroquia de Santa Maria Magdalena, where some of the best views were, but after passing through the Carrer Major, and then the Carrer del Mar, it was mostly downhill all the way via the CV-737 to the coastal town of Moraia.
From this small fishing town, it finally had the kind of coastal road I had been looking for for the last couple of days. 13km into this day, and the seaside of this town was as impressive as I had seen on the whole trip so far, with a nice little castle called the Castell de Teulada. From there, you can see the Cap de Moraia to the left, and a large rock jutting out in the distance which was the Peñón de Ifach/Penyal d’Ifac, part of Calpe/Calp, the next major town of the day. Moraia is definitely more of a place to relax and unwind, and is relatively new, but I didn’t stick around.
The coastal road to Calpe was an enjoyable experience, despite there being quite a lot of traffic. From there, there are several viewpoints along the 13km stretch, which are worth stopping for if you can, and the road can have some climbs, but nothing really to trouble you. I also noticed just how commercialised and foreign this part of the costa is, with a lot more English apparent, timeshares, German bakeries and a few pubs not uncommon to see. Calpe itself was no different, with a beautiful saltwater lake surrounded by villas and high rise apartments lining along both the Playa de la Fossa, and Playa del Canton Roig.
While it was difficult to see past all the things my page is trying to lure Brits away from, Calpe hasn’t completely lost its identity to the holidaymakers. Venture uphill into the small old quarter and it got notably quieter and I got to enjoy the Plaça de la Villa, and the Torreón de la Peça, as well as the well-kept narrow streets surrounding it, allowing the town to keep it’s identity. The views along the main beach were pretty spectacular, especially with Ifach standing out a mile and The Morro de Tox the other side. I couldn’t hang around for too long though, and Altea was my next call, 11km away.
This is the hardest climb of the whole day, up to over 100m, but you get to see the beautiful white town of Altea, and behind that, the tower blocks of Benidorm, less thrilled about that one. Once I descended, the road flattened out and ran along the sea, mostly uninterrupted, making it another enjoyable coastal road up to the town itself. Altea was one of the key towns not just for this day, but the whole trip, as it is known to be one of the most beautiful towns on the whole Spanish coast. It didn’t disappoint, but lumbering a bike full of gear up the steep hills and narrow streets was a bit of a workout. The views of the sea and mountains, and enjoying the picturesque white houses and charming streets made it all worth it.
I really wish I had more time to enjoy Altea, but I managed to reach the Plaça de l’Eglèsia and one of the more famous viewpoints, Mirador de las Cronistas de España and enjoy a small snack before making my way down towards the main road towards Benidorm. I had to see why this place was such a Brit favourite for the summer holidays. A 10km straight and flat road took me almost to the heart of Britain number 2. The straight road led me to the Playa Levante, hurting my neck getting to grips with all the skyscrapers spread out everywhere. To this day, I haven’t seen anything like that anywhere else in Spain.
Reaching Levante then turned into a seaside that stretched at least a kilometer each way. Most of the places that lined the front were British pubs and chrome ice cream shops, and that’s no joke. I didn’t find very much authenticity in this town, which was once a small fishing village, but if you go to the Balcón del Mediterraneo where the Iglesia de Sant Jaume and Santa Ana is, there is a slither of culture that retains the history, and makes a welcome change of scene. I enjoyed relaxing there, and seeing the coastal scene, which would be one of the most memorable views of the day.
Getting out of Benidorm was relatively straightforward, with a small hill climb up Avenida La Vila Joiosa to connect to the N-332a, which keeps you close to the beach. 11km separated me from the next town Villajoyosa/ Vilajoiosa, which I hadn’t done much research about. I was glad for for the first kilometre passing through the town, until I reached a spectacular bridge crossing the Rio Almadorio, where you can see the casas colgantes of the old part of town. The vibrant multicoloured houses took me by surprise, so I had to check this place out.
I was not disappointed at all when I stumbled across the Carrer Major and passed through the arches of the ajuntament while to the colours of each house continuously changed. In hindsight, I wish I had more time there, and I missed key attractions such as the Casa de la Malladeta, and the Museo de Chocolate Valor (Valor is a famous Spanish chocolate company founded in Villajoyosa, and you can find this brand everywhere), but time was slipping away a little, and there was still 36km to get to Alicante. This town is on my list to revisit, alongside Altea.
This next stretch is one of the most difficult of the whole day, and you need to be a little careful with not getting caught out with no supplies left, as there aren’t that many service stops on the way. The road gets quite busy by this point, and there are a lot of great views of the sea every now and again, with some short, but notable climbs. It took me an hour and a half, but that was because I had a lot of gear, and was tiring a lot at this point, otherwise you could do this stretch in about an hour. After passing through a short tunnel, and climbing another hill, Alicante started to become visible, and I turned off to the penultimate town of the day, El Campello.
The seafront and the port of this town is where it is all happening in this particular town, and the Torre de la Illeta is quite a prominent feature when I was cycling alongside. Not much in the centre was of much interest to me, nor would it be for you either, the marina and coastline is where the attraction lies. I stayed on the coastal road where just 3km later I was riding alongside the Alicante TRAM on the Playa Mutxavista, just 7km to go until Alicante centre. The views of the coast was definitely worth one final stop before pushing off, and the time of the year meant it wasn’t mobbed despite being a pleasant 22 degrees for most of the day. Benidorm’s skyscrapers looked like matchsticks by this point, and I turned off for the final push via the Playa de la Albufareta.
The most prominent thing in Alicante of course is the Castillo de Santa Bárbara, and gave me massive motivation to keep pushing the final couple of kilometres to my bed for the night, a Hostel That has shut down unfortunately since I stayed there, so I can’t really describe the experience you’ll never get. All I can say that it was a similarly priced as the others in the area near the Luceros TRAM station at about 20€ for the night in a shared room.
I didn’t spend much time in the hostel for the most part, as I wanted to enjoy the evening walking around Alicante centre, Which had a lot more history and picturesque spots than I ever imagined. I decided to walk along the Alameda, and then towards the Castillo de Santa Bárbara, where the oldest part of town was, Santa Cruz. I was pleasantly surprised by how the identity of this city was maintained, and that I wasn’t swamped by holidaymakers, nor was everything accommodated for an expat. A testament that if you go to the right parts of town, you will discover and learn so much more.
A night stroll around town was just what was needed to finish the day, and that concluded day 5 of 6 of this cycling tour. I was looking forward to the day ahead, knowing that my tired and weary legs had just over 80km left to go. On the whole I found things that made Spain lose it’s identity a little on this stretch of the trip, but also a lot of places where you can strip away the resort and find the culture and identity holidaymakers in this part of the country don’t often think about. The next and final stretch, Alicante- Murcia.