Current as of: April 24, 2024 - 19:03

Sierra de Aitana Trek

Sierra de Aitana Trek Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Spain
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    4 out of 7 - Moderate / Challenging

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TSA
  • Carbon Footprint: 12kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Take spectacular ridge walks amid the limestone towers and rural landscapes of the Aitana Massif

Although close to the Costa Blanca, the dramatic massif of Sierra de Aitana has remained a secret from all but a few discerning visitors. We follow traditional footpaths and mule tracks, mostly along ridge lines, for spectacular panoramas, and then descend to beautiful valleys with natural springs and limestone amphitheatres. The rocky peaks and steep valleys that sweep down to the Mediterranean coast benefit from a warm climate for more than 300 days a year, making this an ideal location for out-of-season walking.

Sierra de Aitana Trek

At a Glance

  • Seven nights in family-run accommodation
  • Five days of guided walking; one free day
  • Group normally 4 to 14, plus local leader. Minimum age: 16
  • Altitude maximum: 5,112ft (1,558m); average: 3,609ft (1,100m)
  • Rocky paths and steep ascents/descents
  • Option to travel by train to your adventure

Highlights

  • Enjoy views over the sparkling Mediterranean on each walking day
  • Follow traditional footpaths through rugged mountain landscapes
  • Make the most of the 300 days of sunshine found here on a late getaway
  • Gain cultural insight from our local Spanish guide

Is This Trip for You?

This trip has been rated Activity Level 4 (Moderate/Challenging). For more on our trip gradings, visit our Activity Level Guidelines page.

This trip includes 4 challenging walks out of the 5 included. You should be confident in your physical condition and ability to deal with heights, rocky and difficult underfoot terrain. The walking routes are all fairly long (around 9mi-12mi/15km-20km a day) and vary in duration from seven hours to 8hr 30min per day (including stops). In five days of walking we climb three summits: Serrella (4,465ft/1,361m), Puig Campana (4,626ft/1,410m) and Aitana (5,112ft/1,558m) with approximately 3,280ft (1,000m) of ascent and descent on each of these days.

Most of the paths we follow are footpaths and mule tracks. Some sections are with a gentle gradient, while others follow quite steep rocky paths (sometimes with scree slopes) and there are some sustained ascents/descents. We also trek some cross-country terrain.

This trip is for anyone confident in their health and fitness. It is not recommended as a beginner’s trek. It is suited for those who regularly hill walk and have put in some physical preparation beforehand. However it is also possible to stay at hotel and do your own walks or other activities from there.

Sierra de Aitana is very rich in flora and fauna and along the walks we will see a great variety of birds and flowers. Castles dot distant hilltops, and we visit springs and snow wells as well as having plenty of time to soak up village life. In the evenings the hosts of our characterful family-run village pension will make us feel right at home.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 13

Itinerary

Map TSA

Land Only

  • Start City: Guadalest
  • End City: Guadalest

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Guadalest

The tour starts at our pension in Guadalest, halfway up the valley on the north face of the Aitana Massif. It can be time consuming to make your own way there, so we recommend you coordinate your travel arrangements to join the group transfer from Alicante Airport – please provide your travel details in advance. There will be a welcome briefing at the pension this evening.

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2
An enchanting walk passing the limestone needles of Penya Roc

We make our way to Racó de Tovaines, where we access the spectacular limestone peaks and needles of Penya Roc and walk through El Salt up to Collado Papatxi. This area enchants people with its soaring towers and surrounding rock walls. Early sunset rays will highlight the spine of the jagged Castellets Ridge that stretches down to Orxeta. We return through Pas del Comptador back to Benimantell.

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Ascent: 2,133ft (650m); Descent: 2,133ft (650m); Activity hours: 5

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3
Walk up to reach Morro Blau; descend along Peña del Rastrell

We being our walking by starting at the reservoir along the newly restored traditional path of Solana de Gorgues which in 700 mts of ascent takes us to the font Major. From here we discover the high pastures of Foia Plana towards Morro Blau, a rocky prominence visible from many coastal point. We will have our lunch close to the fire lookout building, before descending along Peña del Rastrell back to the reservoir.

Distance covered: 11mi (17km)

Ascent: 3,445ft (1,050m); Descent: 3,445ft (1,050m); Activity hours: 7.5-8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4
Climb Serrella Peak for vistas of the Aitana Range; descend via a magnificent gorge to Abdet.

After a short transfer to Abdet, we begin by ascending to Ombria La Pisa and then pass El Contador (3,280ft/1,000m) and follow the western spine of Serrella to Mallada del Llop (4,465/1,361m). We usually stop for a picnic lunch here and explore one of the biggest and best preserved snow wells in the region of Valencia while enjoying the sweeping views of the Aitana range, and even the Valencia Mountains on a clear day.

After lunch we begin our long descent. Initially the descent is a fairly steep gradient on a rocky/scree surface, which we zigzag down. Scrambling is required on some sections. During the last stretch, the gradient lessens and we enjoy pleasant views of terraced olive groves and centenary carob trees, which lead us to the village of Abdet. Afterwards we transfer back to our accommodation.

Distance covered: 9mi (15km)

Ascent: 3,215ft (980m); Descent: 3,215ft (980m); Activity hours: 7-8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5
Free day; chance to visit Villajoyosa beach or a chocolate factory

Today is a free day to relax or perhaps head to the beach at Villajoyosa or visit a chocolate factory. Your local leader will organise a group dinner at a restaurant in Guadalest

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Summit Puig Campana for panoramic views to the Costa Blanca and across the region

We embark on a fairly tough walk to the summit of Puig Campana (4,626ft/1,410m), where we enjoy 360-degree panoramas. Almost all the peaks and ridges we have traversed in the previous days may be seen. On the other side, the Mediterranean stretches to the horizon. We approach the north face of this mountain along good trails and paths, embarking on a gentle climb passing the Collao del Llamp to the Collao Pouet, the base of the mountain. From here, we climb a new footpath, which is steep and rocky, on the north face of this spectacular peak, returning to our vehicle from the Casa de Dios. Scrambling is required on some sections. (Occasionally the walks on Days 6 and 7 may be reversed, in which case the Aitana Peak walk will be done today).

Distance covered: 9mi (14km)

Ascent: 3,264ft (995m); Descent: 3,264ft (995m); Activity hours: 7.5

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7
Spectacular walk along the dramatic Simas limestone fissures; option to scale Aitana Peak

From the pension, we walk along the northern slopes up to the Font de Partagat and then scramble through Pas de la Rabosa, the only natural break on the Aitana, which gives access to the summit from this north side. We have lunch at the Simas limestone fissures, which are up to 295ft (90m) deep, situated on a ridge near the summit of Aitana. It is an impressive geological formation and a perfect picnic spot. Weather permitting, it’s possible to climb the summit (optional). We then have another long descent.

Distance covered: 11mi (18km)

Ascent: 3,632ft (1,107m); Descent: 3,632ft (1,107m); Activity hours: 8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8
End Guadalest

The tour ends in Guadalest after breakfast and we begin our return journey home. If you have not booked flights through Exodus but would like to join the group transfer back to Alicante Airport you must request this at the time of booking.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. Please note, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Hostel Rincon de Pepe, a family-run hostel in Benimantell, Alicante

Sierra de Aitana Trek

We stay at Rincon de Pepe, a two-star hostel in the heart of Benimantell in the Guadalest Valley, approximately 40mi (60km) from Alicante and away from the crowded Costa Blanca. It is ideally situated for our adventure, minimising transfer times for our walks and offering views over the Mediterranean.

It has only eight rooms, which all offer sea views and the opportunity to enjoy a sunrise every morning. In the restaurant, there is a fireplace, which is used by the tour leader on the final night to prepare a paella (accompanied by a local vermouth) to end the hiking week. In winter, it also serves as an improvised barbecue to grill sausages or vegetables for dinner.

Additionally, the staff at Rincon de Pepe produce olive oil from the many olive trees surrounding the property; during the winter season, there will be oranges with which you can make your own freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast. Local bottled wine is included for all five evening meals or soft drinks/beers.

There is also a back terrace/entrance, used only by our groups, which provides direct access to a private meeting room. This entrance also includes a small area where we can leave boots, walking poles and any wet walking gear.

Amenities

  • Restaurant serving traditional dishes using local ingredients
  • Outside terrace area
  • Wet gear room and clothes dryer
  • Living room area with comfortable seating
  • 24-hour tea/coffee facilities, books and card games

Worth knowing

  • Single supplements (on request) are limited and are allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Single supplement from £ 235

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, five lunches and six dinners (plus local wine with dinner, one bottle per three people) are included.

Breakfast: Continental style – local seasonal fruit, orange juice, different types of bread, cakes, cheese, ham, or bacon and eggs on request every day. Tea and coffee.

Lunch: Picnic lunches will usually consist of bread rolls (our famous whole wheat triple deckers) with cheese and salad/meat, fruit, muesli bars, biscuits or nuts, and a juice carton. Our local guide usually also provides some snacks such as pickled olives, chocolates and dried figs.

Evening meal: As the main meal of the day, we enjoy a large variety of local cuisine including espencat, minxos (small pancakes)  legume soups, roasted lamb, and  of  course  local paella . Most of the food is freshly prepared from locally grown seasonal produce, and the pension produce their own olive oil. A reasonable amount of local wine is provided with the evening meal but additional beverages are not included.

Mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually between 8pm and 9.30pm.

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets are well catered for given prior notice, and most other dietary requirements can also be accommodated if you let us know in advance (at the time of booking). Please note we cant guarantee any dietary requests made on arrival.

Please note, should flights change to arrive earlier, or depart later, additional meals are not included. Please also note that no refund will be given for meals not taken or taken other than where designated.

Transport

A private minibus is usually used for airport arrival and departure transfers. Depending on the group size, the short daily transfers and organised excursions will be either by nine-seater van or private vehicles. On occasions, your leader will need to make two journeys at the end of the walks so some members of the group may have to wait 20 minutes (or have another beer) to join the second transfer.

Weather & Seasonality

This area is known to have the most benign climate in the whole of Europe. Winter is mild and sunny, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year. At night, temperatures can be chilly, especially in the mountains. The little rainfall is usually concentrated in very few days at the beginning of autumn, but rain cannot be discounted on any departure.

The daytime temperatures in winter usually vary between 14C and 20C (57F and 68F) depending on altitude and orientation. These winter temperatures are ideal for walking although, except for July and August, you can walk here year round. In spring and autumn, temperatures should be between 25C and 30C (77F and 86F) but May, June and September departures may experience some warmer days, up to 35C (95F).

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Hostal Rincón de Pepe, CV-70, Km 35, 03516 Benimantell, Alicante
Phone: +34 965 97 20 95
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Alicante Airport (ALC)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately an hour’s drive from the airport. Your options for this journey are:

Take an Exodus transfer
Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

Make your own way
It’s possible to reach the start hotel by public transport, but the journey is complicated. We therefore recommend joining the group transfer where possible. If not, a cab from the airport to the start hotel costs approximately €140 per car. On arrival, please make staff aware that you are part of an Exodus group and they will have more details on meeting with your leader and group

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

There’s a group departure transfer to the airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Guadalest
Location end: Guadalest

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Daypack (20-30 litres)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Large refillable water bottle
  • Walking boots with sturdy soles/ankle support (mandatory)
  • Walking socks
  • Trekking trousers and shorts
  • Sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Collared shirts (to cover your neck from the sun)
  • Waterproof trousers, woolly hat and gloves (October to March departures only)

Please note, the local tap water is safe to drink, which means all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill at the hotel. Please add this to your packing list as this will save on wasteful plastic bottles.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles (highly recommended)
  • Blister plasters
  • Sit mat (for picnic lunches)
  • Pocket knife (for slicing picnic food)
  • Energy snacks
  • Trainers/walking shoes for evenings
  • Flip flops/sandals for evenings
  • Beach towel
  • Thermal flask (winter departures only)
  • Travel games, cards, book or reading tablet for evenings
  • Camera, charger and plug adaptor

Important note: Please use a soft bag or holdall and not a bulky or hard suitcase for your main luggage as there is very limited space for luggage in the minibus. Exodus kitbags are available to purchase at £25 including VAT, plus postage. Please note, they are only available to UK residents.

Reading List

Maps

Marina Baixa – Serra d’Aitana (1:20,000). This is available from Amazon, and the leader can also help you buy it locally.

Practical Information

Passport

Remember to check the expiration date of your passport if travelling internationally. Many countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return.

Visa

Spain

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Spain. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/spain
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/spain
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html

Vaccinations and Health

Spain

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus and rabies. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

If you’re a UK citizen, please note that your UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid and offer the same cover as the Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Spain's time zone: Europe/Madrid (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

Spain's electricity: Plug type F (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Sierra de Aitana Trek

Money

Spain's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

ATMs are within easy reach during the week and can be found in Guadalest and Benimantell.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow about €15‐€30 for each meal not included. Should you choose to take part in the activities in Villa Joiosa or Altea on the free day, a transfer can be arranged for approximately €20 per person. You will also need euros for extra snacks, drinks and souvenirs. Entrance fees to museums and monuments are not included.

Tipping

Although optional, a tip for the leader at the end of the trip is greatly appreciated. As a guideline, we recommend €25-€30 per client. It is also customary to leave a tip for the driver and the hotel staff. This can be handed to your leader at the end of the trip.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • We visit a brewery and olive press, both of which are run by local families.
  • Read more about our other initiatives here.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • We rewild 1,075sqft (100sqm) per passenger to compensate for all trip and flight emissions.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration hereincluding our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • We use public transport on one of the days of this trip to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • Walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and local people, as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively few resources to support.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.