5th of December
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.
We’ll meet in Valencia in the parking lot on av. Aragón in front of Mestalla stadium and drive towards Casas de Bernia. There is a bar up there with awesome views from the terrace, so, naturally, we’ll start with a coffee there. After a bit of a flat part, a rather steep ascent begins, which leads us strait to Forat – a tunnel, that will take us through the mountain to the other side. Once on the other side, we’ll get exceptional views of Costa Blanca, with Serra Gelada and Puig Campana standing out among others. From here we’ll continue along a trail that will get us to a former fort. A bit of a rest here, and we’ll start the fun part – ascent to the peak along some steep and technical trails. The peak is well worth getting up to, as from there you get panoramic, 360 views of the area, including Peñón de Ifach. From here it would be time to head back down, go round the mountain and get to the starting point. Once there, we will have a drink on the same terrace and return to Valencia.
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.
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.
Difficulty: epic (12km with 650m of elevation gain).
Technical level: high (steep trail in the beginning, rocky ascent to the peak).
Transportation: 9-seater minibus (alternatively, you can drive to the hike starting point in your own vehicle)
Price: 23 euros (includes professional guide, transportation, accident and public liability insurances).
Meeting point: Mestalla, parking lot on av. Aragón, 8:30 (return to Valencia ~18:00)
Bring at least 1l of water, lunch, warm clothes and hiking shoes.
COVID-19 Safety Measures:
- the temperature of all the participants will be measured prior to getting in the minibus
- hand gel use (provided) is mandatory
- wearing a mask is mandatory in all closed spaces