Forat de Bernia

A truly unique spot giving you the opportunity to get from the inland slope of a mountain, through a narrow, 25 meters long tunnel, to “the balcony of Mediterranean” – an incredible lookout point with views of some of the iconic towns one the shore of Costa Blanca: Benidorm and Altea, which are separated by Sierra Gelada range.

Length: 10km with 350m of elevation gain (3.5-4 hours)
Dificulty: medium (steeper trail in the beginning, getting up to the tunnel; gets easier after the tunnel).
There is also a difficult alternative for this hike, which includes scrambling the rocky path all the way up to the peak (scroll down to see description).
Bring 1.5l of water, picnic lunch, sunscreen and hiking shoes.

A bit of History

Bèrnia has an attractive landscape, which can only be appreciated when you walk on its trails. The Fort of Bèrnia, located 850 meters above the nearby Mediterranean has a very curious history. In 1568, King Philip II ordered Vespasiano and Antonelli to build the coastal fortifications of the Valencian Kingdom. John Baptist Antonelli, Italian military engineer, was responsible for building the watchtowers and defensive fortifications in the face of frequent berber attacks in the area of La Marina. He chose a site of exceptional beauty to be the location for the fort of Bèrnia, which was supposed to be magnificent judging by the plans and the ruins that can still be recognized, with their vaults and pits. Its functionality was ephemeral though since it remained active barely half a century. The main weakness was that it was built in a place so hard to access and so distant from the villages and the coast, that the military reaction capacity was very limited. It was decided to abandon the fortress and destroy it, which happened during the last Moorish uprising in 1609.

The Starting Point

We tend to have a coffee before starting the hike. This time there is a perfect spot for that – bar “Refugio“, with its impressive views from the lookout point.
The trail leading up to the tunnel is the steepest part, but it is not that long. Plus, we’re going to do it in the beginning, while we’re still full of strength and enthusiasm.

Bernia Peak (optional)

More experienced hikers, can take an exciting detour to the ridge and the peak of Bernia range. The path up is quite steep, and the trail goes on along loose rocks (la pedrera as they call it in Spanish). Towards the top the is also a more difficult passage, with some chains to hold on to – not suitable for people with vertigo.
These efforts are very rewarding though. The panoramic views from the top of these mountains are really spectacular, since in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, there are no orographic obstacles hindering the view of the coastline between Calpe, Altea, l’Alfàs del Pi and Benidorm, as well as the emblematic mountains of Aitana, Puig Campana, Ponoig and Serra Gelada. From the interior the slope offers views of the Marina Alta with the Sierra del Ferrer, Montgó and Solana, and the villages of Xaló, Benissa and Teulada-Moraira.

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