We leave Gandía by the main road over the last bridge that crosses the Serpis River, and just after crossing it we turn to the left to follow the Serpis in the direction of the sea. On that road, we can find a really good place to enjoy one of the best paellas in the area. Restaurante Casa Isabel… homemade, with all the traditional ingredients including the tiny and tasty snails.
The view of the mouth of the river is complemented by the beautiful sand beaches to the right, or south. But remember that sand gets everywhere and can cause you problems by clogging up the chain, the brake plates and spokes. Play it safe, and walk your bike over the safe sand if necessary.
As we continue towards the south, we discover a string of touristy villages with the feeling of these old Mediterranean resorts where the houses are owned by local people, not like the big tourist places. Daimuz, Guardamar, Bellreguard, Miramar and Piles are good examples of this landscape, with campsites interspersed with orange trees and surrounded by irrigation canals.
Once past Piles beach, we head towards Olivia and once in the town, look for the road to the beach, where there are bars and restaurants, a sports centre and a pretty sandy beach. At the end of the beach, go towards the south along a road with various well-positioned campsites with good facilities. Here there is a multitude of little routes, at varying distances from the sea, that can lead us south…the further away from the beach, the more beautiful the scenery with traditional country houses and orange fields. Before we arrive in Santa Ana beach, the scenery is briefly disrupted by a large and horrible tourist nucleus. At Santa Ana beach, also known as Pego beach, we can see the tiny houses built by people who live inland and come here for the summer months.
Continue south to reach Les Marines, the most touristy section of Dénia. We cross this area by taking a reasonably safe road broken up by traffic lights to slow the cars down. We get to Dénia like this, passing the fishing port and the commercial port along the way. It’s worth timing your journey to coincide with when the fishing boats come in, usually around six in the afternoon (every day but Sundays). There is also a lively fish market to visit.
Dénia has plenty to offer and is worth stopping in for more time than other villages along the route. We can visit the castle and take in the views from its position high over the town, If our money stretches, we might try the red prawns of Dénia, the most amazing and tasty seafood you can ever imagine. If not, there are very good fish and rice dishes to try here, like a good arroz a banda, a fishy and rice dish that is not as dry as paella.
We recommend staying the night in Dénia, as it is situated in the skirts of a magical mountain (and nature reserve) called El Montgó, which needs further comment. This is a hard route, with a steep ascent over difficult terrain. But the views from halfway up the mountain looking over the whole region is reward enough for the effort. We’ll tell you more about it in the next 24/7…next month!
Editor Manuel Aguilar,1