Sierra de Aitana Trek Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Spain
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TSA
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

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, giving us spectacular panoramic vistas, and then descend to beautiful valleys with natural springs, fantastic limestone amphitheatres, and where castles dot distant hilltops. The rocky peaks and steep valleys which sweep down to the Mediterranean coast, benefit from the privilege of a warm climate for over 300 days of the year, making it an ideal location for out-of-season walking.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights pension, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days guided walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 2 to 14, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 1558m, average 1100m
  • Some rocky paths and steep ascents/descents

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy stunning views over the sparkling Mediterranean
  • 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
  • See the spectacular almond blossom (in season)

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is Activity Level 4 (Moderate/Challenging) 

You should be confident in your physical condition and ability to deal with heights and difficult underfoot terrain. The walking routes are all fairly long (around 15-20km a day) and vary in duration from 7 to 8.5 hours per day (including stops). The trek is more on the challenging side - in five days of walking we climb three summits, Serrella (1,361m), Puig Campana (1,410m) and Aitana (1,558m) with approx. 1,000m of ascent and descent on each of these days.

The majority of the paths we follow are footpaths and mule tracks. Some sections are with a gentle gradient, whilst other sections 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.

Sierra 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. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
14

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Benimantell village.

    The tour starts at our pension in the little village of Benimantell, half way up on Guadalest 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 so that you can 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 before walking through El Salt down to Collado Papatxi.

    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 walls of rock all around. 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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 17 km / 11 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    768
    Altitude loss (m):
    768
    Activity (hours):
    7.30
  • Day 3

    Walk up Peña del Rastrell for fantastic views over Guadalest Valley.

    From Benimantell we walk down to Guadalest water dam and climb on a track to Peña del Rastrell. From here, we make our way up Tossal Redó and Almedia above Callosad'en Sarria, where we are rewarded with breathtaking views of Altea Bay and Guadalest Valley. We then descend along the spine of Tossal Redó down through the old town of Callosa where we join the short transfer (approx. 25mins) back to Benimantell.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 12.5 km / 8 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    600
    Altitude loss (m):
    1012
    Activity (hours):
    6.30
  • Day 4

    Climb Serrella Peak for vistas of the Aitana Range; descend via a magnificent gorge to Beniarda; visit a local olive oil factory.

    After a short transfer to Abdet, we begin by ascending to Pico Serrella (1,323m) and follow the western spine of Serrella to Mallada del Llop (1,361m). We usually stop for a picnic lunch here to take in the sweeping views of the Aitana Range, and even the Valencia Mountains on a clear day.

    After lunch we begin our long descent on the spectacular and remote Barranc de la Canal Gorge, with its two parallel fins of upturned limestone strata leading to an abandoned farmhouse at Penyeta de la Hedra. Inititally 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 Beniardá.

    In Beniardá there’s time to visit the local olive oil factory, a small scale outfit producing award-winning olive oils. Afterwards we can either walk or be transferred back to our accommodation in Benimantell.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    976
    Altitude loss (m):
    1100
    Activity (hours):
    8.10
  • Day 5

    Free day; chance to head to the beach near colourful Villa Joiosa and visit a chocolate factory.

    Today is a free day to relax or perhaps take the chance to head to the the beach near Villa Joiosa and visit a chocolate factory.

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    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, up to 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 today.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 17.5 km / 11 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    1107
    Altitude loss (m):
    1107
    Activity (hours):
    7.30
  • Day 7

    Summit Puig Campana (1410m) for panoramic views to the Costa Blanca and across the region.

    A fairly tough walk to complete the week - the summit of the Puig Campana (1,410m) with 360º panoramic views! Almost all of the peaks and ridges traversed on 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 actual 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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 14.5 km / 9 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    995
    Altitude loss (m):
    995
    Activity (hours):
    7.15
  • Day 8

    End Benimantell village.

    The tour ends in Benimantell after breakfast. 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

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

El Trestellador Pension - Centre-based

This is a centre-based trip, spending all seven nights at El Trestellador Pension in the village of Benimantell. El Trestellador is a pleasant family-run pension with a lovely garden, a large terrace, and simple en suite rooms. There is also a small unheated swimming pool, and picturesque Guadalest village is within walking distance. The pension's restaurant is locally renowned for its excellent traditional cuisine, and specialities include espencat vegetables and gazpacho manchego. There are tea/coffee/hot chocolate facilities available at all times in the restaurant, at the Exodus meeting point.

Single accommodation is available (on request). Please note that paying for a single supplement only guarantees a room for single use and does not under normal circumstances mean that a twin or a double for sole occupancy will be provided.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £175.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 6 dinners (plus local wine with dinner) are included.

Breakfast: Continental style - local fruit, fresh orange juice, different types of bread, cakes, cheese, ham or bacon, tea and coffee.

Lunch: Picnic lunches will usually consist of bread rolls with cheese and salad/meat, fruit, and muesli bars, biscuits or nuts. 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) and oven-baked rice. 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.

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.

Vegetarians, vegan and gluten free are well catered for given prior notice, and most other dietary requirements can also be accommodated as long as you let us know in advance (at the time of booking).

Mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 20:00 and 21.30.

Transportation

A private mini-bus 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 9 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

Weather Information

This area is known to have the most benign climate in the whole of Europe. The Winters are mild and sunny, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year. At night however, 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 altogether on any of the departures. The daytime temperatures in winter usually vary between 14ºC and 20ºC depending on altitude and orientation. These Winter temperatures are ideal for walking although, with the exception of the months of July and August, one can walk here the whole year round. In Spring and Autumn temperatures should be between 25ºC and 30ºC but May, June and September departures may experience some even warmer days, up to 35ºC.

Weather Charts

Valencia

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is usually a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways or EasyJet (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings.

Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Please note that many destinations now require Advanced Passenger Information (API), such as your passport number, date of birth and nationality, to be added to your booking before departure. When booking Easyjet flights through Exodus your sales consultant will do this for you.

Travelling Land Only: 8 days starting and ending in Benimantell

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Benimantell in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

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.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

 If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

If you miss the group transfer or choose to make your own way to El Trestellador Pension in Benimentall, there are a couple of options to consider:

You can pre-book private arrival and departure transfers through Exodus if you wish (payable in advance). Please ensure that you provide us with all relevant information at least 2 weeks before departure.

If you wish to make your way to Benimentall by public transport (bus and taxi) you can first take a bus (operated by ALSA) from Alicante Airport to Benidorm bus terminal. ALSA offer transfers between Alicante Airport and Benidorm bus terminal from 8:00 to 23:00 and they depart regularly throughout the day.
The bus trip is direct and takes approximately 45 min. The price is approximately EUR 10 per person.

ALSA bus timetables and details can be found:

https://www.alsa.es/rutas/benidorm-aeropuerto-alicante-altet.htm

Once you arrive at Benidorm bus terminal, you will need to take a taxi to Benimantell (El Trestellador Pension). The price for a taxi is approximately EUR 25-30 per taxi and it takes between 25-35 minutes.

Alternatively, a standard airport taxi from Alicante Airport to El Trestellador Pension should cost you approximately EUR 140 (per car).

 

Location start:
Benimantell
Location end:
Benimantell

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • 20-30 litre daypack
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Refillable water bottle (1-2 litres capacity at least)
  • Walking boots with sturdy soles /ankle support are mandatory
  • Walking socks
  • Trekking trousers and shorts
  • Sun hat, sun block & sun glasses
  • Collared shirts (to cover your neck from the sun)
  • Waterproof trousers, woolly hat and gloves (Nov to Feb departures only)

Please note that tap water is safe to drink in the area which means all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill at the hotel. Please add this to your packing list as this will save on wasteful plastic bottles.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are strongly recommended
  • Blister plasters / Compeed
  • Sit mat (for picnic lunches)
  • Pocket knife (for slicing up picnic food)
  • Energy snacks / sweets
  • Trainers/walking shoes for evenings
  • Flip flops / sandals for evenings
  • Thermal flask (winter departures only)
  • Travel games, cards, MP3, book or reading tablet for evenings
  • Camera, charger and plug adaptor

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

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

Spain

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Spain

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Spain's Timezone:
Europe/Madrid CET (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

Spain's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

Spain's Currency

The national currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

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

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For meals not included you should allow about EUR 10‐20 each. Should you choose to take part in the activities in Villa Joiosa or Altea on the free day, a transfer can be arranged for between EUR 40 and EUR 75 per vehicle. You will also need Euros for extra snacks, drinks and any souvenirs bought during the week. 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 a contribution of between EUR 15 to EUR 20 per client. It is also customary to leave a tip for the driver and the local staff at the hotel. This can be handed in to your leader at the end of the trip. For the local staff we recommend to budget approx. EUR 10 to EUR 15 per person.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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 www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, 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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.