Jávea is well known for its idyllic Mediterranean coastal location and gentle Spanish ambience. Nestled between two bays, the town is divided into three distinct areas: the old pueblo, the port and the beach where most tourists base themselves. In addition, there is a great variety of natural settings and scenery in the coves, forests and mountain ranges that wrap this area in a beautiful green embrace.
El Montgó Natural Park
El Montgó Natural Park is located just to the north of Jávea town. The park surrounds a majestic mountain shaped like an elephant’s head, which dominates Denia and Jávea. Unlike some mountain ranges, however, the Montgó is quite accessible, so pick up a leaflet from any of the local tourist information centres to learn about the different routes up the mountain that you can take depending on your ability and enthusiasm, or perhaps opt for one of their organised walks. You may prefer to park in the nearby Jesus Pobre village and simply explore at a more leisurely pace.
Even without going to the summit, there are walks and trails for all kinds of cyclists and walkers, from those who want a gentle ride or stroll, to people looking for serious hiking terrain. If you’re willing to push yourself to reach the summit at 753m above sea level, you will be truly rewarded by the incredible panoramic views, sometimes stretching as far as the Balearic Islands!
The park, which covers an area of 21,5 km2, was officially founded in 1987, but archaeologists have discovered evidence of human occupation dating back 30,000 years and consisting of burial sites, pottery, arrowheads, utensils, coins and cave drawings. One of the most important caves to explore at Montgó is Cueva del Agua, purportedly used by the Romans to supply water to their army, and by the Arabs to store and distribute water via a series of gullies.
Ecologically speaking, Montgó Park has it all covered. Rare species of flora (including some much sought after for their medicinal properties) and fauna thrive beside vineyards, pine forest, scrubland, almond and orange groves and rocky cliff faces. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy trying to spot the resident eagles, peregrines, owls, cormorants, terns, kestrels, wild boars, badgers and genets that range here.
Granadella Forestry Park and Cove
While Montgó can be seen from miles around, Granadella is more of a hidden gem. To find this beautiful natural reserve to the south of Jávea, turn off the Cabo de La Nao road and follow the road through the pine forest. The breathtaking Granadella pebble beach is set right at the back of a secluded cove (Cala de la Granadella), where you can sit and admire the clear, turquoise waters of a secluded little bay.
For the more adventurous, diving and snorkelling are also popular activities here, or follow the signs from the car park for the walks that will lead you to a selection of viewing points. The walks range between 45-minute ambles along flat ground to four-hour challenges that take you up to higher vantage points. One of these walks is a 2,2km long trek to the 18th century Castle of Granadella, from where the views are inspiring. On the way, be sure to keep an eye out for the birds of prey that circle the cliff face and, of course, look down to admire pretty, indigenous species of plant life such as the stunning white Poet’s Daffodil.
El Tossal Gros
Less well known is Tossal Gros, approximately 5 kilometres southwest of Jávea along the CV740. This protected area of partly forested land is popular with walkers, ramblers and very fit cyclists who can easily climb most of the 22 kilometres to the summit on the tarmac road. This doesn’t mean it’s an easy route easy though, as the road is very long and very steep!
Once there, the views from the top are amazing. On a clear day, you can see Ibiza and Mallorca as well as closer points of interest such as Montgó, Cabo de San Antonio, El Puig Llorença, Bernia and Moraira Costa.
El Tossal Gros was at one time a landfill site for the city of Jávea. Now reclaimed, it is home to grazing animals and hunters looking for wild boar. Residents and schools in the local area helped to reforest the park back in 2007 with 800 species of plant provided by the City Council, including pine trees, black hawthorns and other indigenous trees and bushes. Early in 2012, the Valencian department of the environment ensured continued protection of El Tossal Gros by dictating that no future urban development was to obstruct others’ views of the park.
Though many come to Jávea for its sun, beaches and gentle summer atmosphere, there is a whole new world of experiences and beautiful sights awaiting those people willing to put on a pair of comfortable walking shoes.
It’s no wonder that visitors have been beguiled by this place for so long. Just don’t forget your camera!