I've previously written about walking routes in Valencia, as well as some of the best places to eat in Valencia. This article features a specific place that I got to visit this last weekend that blew me away with both the beauty of the natural scenery, as well as the stunning little hidden gem that is the rivers in this location that you can swim in. Spain seems to offer more natural swimming locations than any other country I have visited or lived in, and this article is a celebration of yet another one that I want you to go and find and love! This will be the first of two parts, with this article focusing on the hike and the mountains, and the second focusing on the pools!
Montanejos is a very little, secluded community about 90 km from Valencia city. I went there with a group called Happy Erasmus Valencia. Although it was my first trip with this excursion company, I was really impressed with their organisation, fun vibe and excellent location choices. If you are in Valencia for a day, week or year, I would thoroughly recommend that you check out this company and go on a trip with them.
There isn't really anything in the little village, but the journey there is brilliant, with a curving mountain roads with steep drops, that winds its way through the forests in the area until you eventually arrive in the village, and the beginning point of the hike we did.
The route that we took was a roughly three hour circular hike that starts at the village of Montanejos, and reaches the 'Aguas Termales de Montanejos' - the naturally heated river/bathing area very close to the village. You can get there by car/bike and locate the pools really easily from the village, or you can do a long-ish hike beforehand and arrive at the pools from the 'other side'. You can see more of the pools in the next part of this article.
A fantastic point to make clear about these routes is that they are VERY clearly marked. As well as having sign posts like the one above, the route also features large rocks on the route, with white splashes painted on them to mark the way. It would be pretty hard to get lost I think, and even though we had a sort of guide with us, my impression is that even amateur hikers would be able to find their way around these hills and feel comfortable and safe. The white markings indicate a safe and easy route, and the occasional red line (photo below) indicates a little bit of a dangerous/tricky section, just to warn you to be careful!
As with the natural areas in Extremadura that I have written about before, the mountains and hills in Valencia are incredibly secluded and have very little construction or modernization. Whilst for some this could mean difficulty in finding good toilets or having to carry their own food with them, to me it screams FREEEEDOM!
If rolling hills covered in fragrant pine trees are your thing, come here. If gorges and cliffs and steep drops into raging rivers are your thing, again, come here. If you enjoy being outdoors, away from civilization and immersing yourself in the beauty of Spanish nature, then you really should come here!
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