Editorial
HIKING AND SWIMMING IN ‘MONTANEJOS’

##Want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a weekend surrounded by nature? The hot springs and beautiful mountains of ‘Montanejos’ offer an oasis of calm just north of Valencia city centre: a must-visit this autumn! Around a one-and-a-quarter hour drive from Valencia, the town of Montanejos, located in the province of Castellón, boasts magnificent hiking trails and the spectacular ‘Fuente de los Baños’ (Fountain of the Baths).

The crystalline, blue water in these hot springs maintains a temperature of around 25°C all year, although it can feel very chilly in the shade, leading to frequent shouts of ‘tengo frío!’ (I’m cold!) from bikini-clad swimmers exploring the length of the springs, discovering the patchwork of rocks along the winding river. Flowing from the River Mijares, the water’s hydrogeochemical and biological properties make the water beneficial for health, in case you needed more reasons to visit! If you choose not to experience swimming in the hot springs yourself, just paddling and enjoying the views of the mountains and river is amazing in itself.

Legend says this pastoral paradise was built by the Moorish king Zeit-Abu-Zeit in the 13th century, when the Iberian Peninsula was under Arab rule, to serve as a bathhouse for women of his harem to maintain their beauty and youth. The mineral-rich, thermal waters of Mijares river were perfect for this purpose with their medicinal properties beneficial for skin and disease-prevention.

To experience the tranquil hot springs yourself, you can access Fuente de los Baños for 3€ per person: a bargain for the most relaxing swim you’ll have this year! Remember to bring your mask, as it’s necessary to wear one when entering the baths.

Located in the mountains of the Alto Mijares region, a trip to this area of lush vegetation and natural pools is refreshing for both the mind and the body. Hiking up to the top of the mountains, you’ll discover vast caves waiting to be explored. The route to the peak can be steep at times, but overall it’s an enjoyable and easily-accessible walk for children and adults alike.

It’s hard not to stop every few minutes as you follow the winding path through the trees, to take in the incredible scenery along the way. Adventuring through this natural paradise, you’ll be treated to stunning views across the Alto Mijares mountains, the town of Montanejos and the River Mijares – look out for the swimmers below! If you’re lucky, you might also spot a rainbow underneath a waterfall along the trail. You’ll know you’re getting close to the place as it’s impossible to avoid the torrent of spray hitting every inch of you, as you walk towards it!

Immerse yourself in nature and enjoy your trip to Montanejos!

Words and photos by Anna Hart

Copyright 24/7 Valencia

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