Xàbia (Jávea) and the surrounding countryside and coast is one of the prettiest areas in the Valencia region. Leaving the village, you can head towards Arenal beach, perfect for a quick dip in the sea with its fine sand and clean water – although there are plenty of tourists who will be doing the same in July and August.
But you’ll come to more tranquil places later on where you can relax and enjoy the sea. For example, if you cycle south, close to the seaside you’ll find some little beaches hidden between the rocks. At the end of Arenal beach follow the road that runs to Cabo de la Nao, which runs gently uphill through dense woodland. This road overlooks cliffs with fantastic views over the sea. There is a path to your left along this road that leads down to sea level, to the cala del Portixol, a delightful pretty cove. As soon as you start the descent, you can see the island that protects the little bay, with its stony beach and crystal clear waters. To the right, on the beach, is the restaurant La Barraca, a great place to eat arroz a banda, cooked in a large casserole and made with excellent, freshly caught seafood.
Taking the beach as the central point, there are paths to the right and left along the coast where you can enjoy the unspoilt fauna of the sea, clearly visible as you cycle because of the amazing transparency of the water. Going back to the original road, before descending to sea level, turn left towards the Cabo de la Nao. This is another pretty road cutting through pines, and the views from the headland (el cabo) are worth checking out. Go back down the road that led to the Cape, and then turn towards the left to descend again, this time to visit the cove called the cala de la Granadella. The descend runs towards the sea along a narrow, curvy path and its beauty is jaw dropping. On both sides of the path there is a dense, rich growth of pines, bushes, shrubs and flowers. And the beauty of the descent prepares you for this stunning little cove, flanked by two enormous mountains, with round stones for its beach and enticing water.
Having enjoyed Granadella, it’s time to turn back because there’s no way to get directly from here to the next destination, Benitatxell (Benitachell). Go back to where you started the route towards el Cabo de la Nao, and there you’ll find a junction that signposts Benitatxell to the left. Here the countryside changes completely, and the pine trees give way to fruit trees – mainly almond, olive and carob trees. This is a reasonably quiet road. And so eventually you come to the village Benitatxell… but as soon as you hit the village, turn out of it to its left. Be ready to climb up this mountain… it’s quite hard! This road leads you to the cumbres de Benitatxell, where we’ll start the next leg of the route in the next issue of 24/7.
Editor Manuel Aguilar,1