This land of shimmering blue mirages envelops the weary traveller. Lulling and tranquil; warm, sensual, it lies low, just out of sight of clamorous Barcelona.
The two towns of Amposta and L’Ampolla are either side of a large Delta. The delta is formed by the constant outpouring of silt by the Ebro River. Even though we have been to both towns, I had not realised that they were differently named. I honestly thought that it was one town, Amposta, spreading along a large bay. Obviously that was wrong! It is not a scooped out bay, it is a bulging delta. And the two towns? They do not share a name and are in two different places, with the delta in-between. There; I am relieved to get that off my chest. Next time I will look at the map.
Of course, being on the Mediterranean coast, it is sure to be a winner for most people and yet, luckily for us, most people were elsewhere, leaving us virtually alone to re-explore this wonderland.
Reminiscent of the famous Carmargue area in France, although without it’s beach front hippy shacks and motor homes, this is more compact. No wild horses here; but salt pans and flamingos, sand, sea and big sky abound.
Of course it is not a herd of birds! The trouble is that where Flamingos are concerned, a ‘flock’ falls flat as a collective noun. This has to be one of nature’s overwhelming spectacles, which is why it should have a name commensurate with it’s glamour. It is also a reason why we come here.
A wetland of international importance, this delta is a Mecca for birdwatchers and botanists, which was the initial draw for us. It still has a pull for us, of course, but it is the wistful beauty of the place that has mesmerised us and it might capture you too.
The Case de Fusta is very busy first thing in the morning with the local men who pop in to eat, drink and talk remarkably loudly. Intimidating at first, they have ready smiles once they know that you are not going to make a pass at them, so take a deep breath, sit down at a table and order your breakfast. The cafe is set in a rustic complex for tourists, which is always closed when we come through in the winter and early spring. Luckily the cafe and it’s Aire is open year round.
If you are bored with Barcelona and Tarragona is a gonna for you, this might be your travel stop-over choice. Stay for a few nights and perhaps a little longer. Take in L’Ampolla too as it has a very different vibe to Amposta, despite it’s long sandy beaches, Flamingos, paddy fields.
Do you, like us, have a place that draws you back, or lingers in your soul, making you soften as you remember? Tell us about it here, at the home for the misty eyed traveller. Many thanks. The Wallys XX
The following video explains some of the reasons we love our Spanish winter home in Denia.
You may have read some of our postings about the town and the video illustrates the essence of it’s charm.
The Mediterranean coast of Spain is a perfect place to spend time and I hope this video will encourage you to explore it. Spain isn’t only about beer and sunburn, travel a few miles away from the coast and discover much, much more.
Thanks for watching, if you enjoyed our efforts please comment, share or subscribe xxx
This is the first of 3 walks we are going to offer you that head to the top of Montgo. This is the most demanding of the three, but for us, it was the most fun, which is why it is the first one to be covered here. We filmed it just under a year ago. Take a look at the video at the end which gives an idea of the surprisingly committing nature of this undertaking!
Afore ye go ….
On this first walk, us deviants are true to our nature and leave the beaten path to one side. If you decide to join us, you will have to pick your own route up the mountain. If this type of walking and scrambling, the terrain and the possible exposure are new to you, this walk is best avoided until you have developed a heightened level of stupidity, just like us Wallys. There are plenty of less worrisome routes to choose from that will take you to the top of Mongo, emotionally and metaphorically. Allow a full day. If you have knee problems, or suffer from vertigo, it may not be the walk for you. Remember it is the coming down that tends to make vertigo worse, so always be prepared to backtrack and if you feel things are getting to a point where you wont be able to reverse, stop and go back while you still can. Remember GRIEM (Spanish Mountain Rescue) charge for their services. Google the scale of charges and then hail our British equivalent, all volunteers, who will turn out in all weathers, to all in need, at all hours, at no charge. They are always glad of funds, so please donate a little something every time you hit the hills. On that salutary note, I guess we should sally forth.
Take the ‘Las Rotas’ DeniBus (bus) from beside Denia Marina, almost opposite the main shopping street called Marques de Campo. The bus will be pointing the wrong way, as in the photo; do not worry about that, it will turn around just after setting off. The bus leaves on the hour, starting at 8am; there is no 3pm bus. Get off the bus at the bus stop beside El Poblet, wedding Venue. The return bus is diagonally opposite, outside the Bavaria Jardin Restaurant, and leaves at quarter past the hour, but, again, no bus at 3.15pm.
Time to get those walking legs going. Follow Map 1 above until you arrive at the the ‘X’ on Map 2, below.
Follow the red route, on Map 2, through this steeply up hill housing estate. It is possible to drive to the top of the estate and walk from there, but the final bit of road is very narrow, the locals get quite upset about lazy walkers leaving their vehicles in the way. Better, if you drive, to leave your car well within the estate, on one of the wider roads. The path begins at the top of the estate and runs off to your right, towards Montgo Mount.
Follow your nose until the narrow, ruggedly rocky path ends at a wide and well maintained track, the Cami de la Colonia. Turn right, walking towards the tiny white building that sits beside the path.
Just past this building is an indistinct, unmarked path that can be seen forking off on your left. Take this path.
Stay on this path as it rises very gently across the lower flank of Montgo. You will arrive at a scree slope. The Senda D’esgarracabassos really starts at this point and is a classic scramble route to the top of Montgo. You can see the well worn tracks left by keen walkers. We are not taking this route today, we are taking a punt, seeing if there is another scramble route up; and there is!
Make your way across the scree slope. Go right to the other side. This is where the fun begins.
Our strategy was to head right on the plateaux (level/shelf like bits) and up where the rock faces were about scramble height, usually that is no more than 3 times your height. Any higher and it feels more like a rock climb, and we do not want that, do we?! There are no paths here, and no sign posts. You are very much at your own devices. As long as you stick to today’s rule of moving right on the level, green bits and moving up the lowish rock faces, you should be fine.
If you prefer, you can take the classic scramble route; it is well worn, you will not get lost and the scrambles are good. If you choose to take this route instead, keep to the well worn path up the side of the scree slope and follow your nose. If this all looks a bit too much, head back down to the Cami de la Colonia and enjoy walk 2 or 3 on the map. The views are awe inspiring. Your day will still be superb.
We stopped on the way up for a little lunch and finally topped out some way to the left of the Creu de Denia (the cross).
The route is now straight forward. Walk to the cross and admire the views, and then retrace your steps and keep walking ahead along the path and onto the Cap Gros del Montgo (trig point). Please make sure to linger long enough to take in the stupendous views along the way.
Once you have tired of the views, head for the rocky exit that overlooks Javea. You may need to take a look around to find it, but it is there and is very well worn. The initial way down is a gentle scramble followed by a pleasant zig-zag path to the bottom.
Once at the bottom of Montgo, turn left onto the well made up path and then right to follow a well signed, small path that will lead back onto the Cami de la Colonia.
On the way back to the Cami de la Colonia, take time to visit the well sign posted Cova del Camell (camel cave). It is a very short detour, so why not?
Shortly after the cave you will leave your current rather rough and narrow path and rejoin the very obvious and welcome Cami de la Colonia. It is an easy walk from here back to the junction with the housing estate path, on your right.
If you reach the little white building, you have, as you know, gone past the path junction you are looking for. Go back and take another look.
Retrace your steps to the bus stop. If you are too early for the bus, or simply fancy a breather before leaving, there are two options. The Bavarian Jardin bar/restaurant makes a great place to have a drink as you wait for the next bus back to town. Sadly, it is not open during the winter. Alternatively, Take a very short stroll down the Cami de Badia and have a drink in Helios Bar. Here you can sit on the terrace overlooking the sea. It is open all year round. Last bus into Denia is at 9.15pm.
Enjoy this little video of the walk/scramble up Montgo. It was fun.
Please let us know what you think of our wander up Montgo. Should we encourage folks to strike out on their own paths, with all those risks to their own safety and to the rare and beautiful flora of the hillside? Or should we stick to the well trodden paths, like the sensible people we pretend to be?
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On the face of things, Denia is an imposing town, with it’s castle atop a steep knoll of rock and it’s marina stuffed to the gunwales with extravagantly outsized gin palaces. Whether, to invade, or to trade, this is a destination that has always attracted the itinerant. These days, tourists like ourselves can be added to their list of invaders.
Like all invaders, we needed intelligence, something that we are woefully short of. We headed into the local Tourist Information Office in search of help. Guess what, there was no truly useful tourist map of the town. You know the sort of thing; you have up to half a day ‘to do the town’ and you need an easy to follow guide.
We returned the next year and discovered that there was an Old Town. It had little squares bounded by cafes with umbrella shaded tables to sit at. On sunny days, these beautiful little quads echo with the voices of customers, as they sit in the sun drinking coffees and beers and talking loudly with friends. We had no idea any of this existed. Somehow we had managed to bypass this gem.
This year is our third visit here. We have decided that if you want to see a job done, you must do it yourself. And so, without further ado, we bring to you, a map of Denia that you can copy into your phone, along with the information sheet. Armed and dangerous you can then set off to get yourself acquainted with this unique city.
If you are not planning to visit Denia, it does not matter, as we hope the maps and information will interest and delight you anyway. You can come along with us and get your pleasure vicariously.
Especially for all you map-o-philes out there, we have two maps of the same walk.
The first Map has places of interest on it and some key street names.
The second map gives you all the street names. Handy if you get into a bit of a pickle.
And for map-o-phobes, we have a special offering, a pictorial route around the same walk.
*If viewing on your mobile phone, please turn your phone on it’s side, landscape format. Each of the first two maps can then be expanded to fit your phone’s screen.*
We suggest copying both maps onto your phone and see how you get on.
Denia Old and New-A Pictorial Walking Guide.
Park your car in the Port carpark (1 on both maps), as near to the town as you can. Walk along the roadside promenade, with the port on your left and the town on your right. Cross the road when you can see this view.
Captain John Paul Jones, a Scotsman, was a famous hero during the American civil war. Click here to read more about his surprising life. In 1959, Hollywood captured his story, the filming took place in Denia.
Walk from Captain Jones towards the font and stone cross in the centre of the square, which is called Placeta De La Creu. Now walk towards the terracotta coloured building in the corner of the square, you can see it in the photo – left. You round a slight bend and enter a narrow street.
You are now in Carrer Bitibau a classic old town street; walk to it’s end and you will pop out into another square.
A stunning spot for a break from all this walking! This square is choc full of cafes and tables, and at the right time of day, glorious sunshine and people. Nothing better.
Find and walk past the red building; the word ‘Heaven’ has now been removed. Keep this building on your right; this is a very short street.
You will find yourself in Carrer Del Port. Part way along this street, on your right, is Magazinos, a chic and sophisticated street food style venue. With cocktail bars and terraces, tea and coffee and food offerings to please any pallet, this is a ‘must visit’ for foodies. At night it is magical, with illuminated palms and walls of fairy lights.
When you eventually waddle, full tummied, out of Magazinos, continue along Carrer Del Port until it ends. Look straight ahead, across the road junction and you will see this flight of steps. Make your way up those steps admiring the pretty houses you pass on your right. Look to your right for your next turning.
A rather shabby looking street with some very elderly homes and the massive lower ramparts of the castle walls awaits. It feels very much like a canyon
At the end of Carrer Del Triquet, bear right (follow the yellow line on the road) and you will pass a Solid, stone built, Moorish tower as you enter Carrer Hospital.
Keep an eye open for a set of steps on your right. This is the quick way up to the castle gate. There is a ramp to one side of the steps, if you prefer. As you trot up the steps, look out for the pretty blue house on your left and it’s cats.
You will emerge here; turn right to go to the castle, and left to continue the walk. We suggest that you walk through the castle entrance and take a look; the first 50m is free and quite interesting. You will exit the castle by the same door way used for entry; walk straight on to continue.
We highly recommend taking a tour of the castle. There is plenty to see including, a small and interesting museum entirely presented in Spanish, a cafe, the ancient castle remains and grounds, and fantastic views of the town and it’s marina. Allow one hour.
Walk down the hill, looking to your left for your next turning. Also admire some of the best decorated and loved houses in town.
Take this turning on your left, it will be the final old street of your tour. At the bottom of this street live a closed order of Augustian Nuns. Their nunnery dates from 1599. If the door to the church is open, you may enter, there will almost certainly be a service in operation at these times.
Turn left onto Carrer Loreto and prepare to be overwhelmed at the choice of eateries and bars that line this street. It is a perfect place to grab a coffee and enjoy the street vibe. Better still, stay a little longer for a drink, tapas, or even a reasonably priced meal in this busy and relaxed street.
You tumble out of Carrer Loreto and into the Place De La Constitucio where you will see the Town Hall on your left, and nearby, a church and to your right, more cafes with outside tables and chairs. Turn right and look out for your next street.
You are now entering the modern shopping area of the town. Make your way to the bottom of this street, window shopping as you go.
At the end of Carrer Del Cop, walk across the road to the island with the trees on it, slightly to your right. Inside this island, bounded by a small road and parked cars, you will find a large, elegant, fountain, shady public seatings and some cafe tables. Sit at any of these bistro style tables and a server will appear and take your order; it is a perfect spot for a cooling drink on a hot day.
Walk out of the Glorieta Del Pais Valencia, heading towards the wide, tree enveloped shopping street. This street is regularly closed to traffic and is the main focus for festivals which seem to be held on a monthly basis. A good place to get to know what is fashionable in Spain.
Why not take a tiny detour off the Carrer Del Marques De Campo to seek out the Esglesia De Sant Antoni De Padua. Towards the end of this shopping street, take the left turning stroll along the Carrer Candida Carbonell for about 10 paces. You will see an open square on your right called Placa Del Convent. If the church is open, it is well worth your time. This is a 2 minute detour, without going inside the church.
At the end of Carrer Del Marques De Campo, Cross the road and walk to the yellow banner that reads ‘PANSETA’. This is a free ferry that will take you across the water to the vibrant, modern Marina, with it’s sophisticated restaurants.
Alternatively, turn left, walk with the marina on your right, and visit both the Port Denia Gallery, with it’s exhibition of the history of the the Port, and the fish market, ‘Posit’, where the town’s fishing fleet moor up and sell their catch each day. The fish market offers guided tours at 4pm most days of the week.
Once over the water using the Panseta, you will notice that many of the glamorous restaurants offer very reasonable set menus, all offer hot and cold drinks, simply find a place you would like to sit and a server will arrive.
Continue your walk along the waterfront and you will arrive at your start point.
We had fun walking around Denia, getting to know it better. If you enjoyed this article, or even tried out the walk, please let us know what you think. Comments can be left in the reply box below. We will get back to you. Thank you. The Wallys. x
At the end of this item, you will find the 2 minute video of this walk. Please enjoy.
A gang of us walked to the Windmills that overlook the seaside town of Javea. We used a circular route, more or less.
It’s another follow your nose route. What could possibly go wrong?
The land around the Ghost Town and the Gerro Tower is very rocky, with clear paths that thread their way through; it is a slalom, with time to take in the the passing scenery. Once past the Ghost Town, you are onto a plateau, but with a terrain that is very uneven and broken. Wear shoes with a solid sole, as you’ll feel all those rocks with every step and your feet will be hurting by the end of your stroll. There is no scrambling or climbing, only walking.
From Denia, walk along the Rota (seaside promenade), or catch a bus to the end of the Rota/Mena restaurant. Stand with your back to the restaurant, and walk up the road in front of you, passing the bus shelter on your right side. Take the first left turning; and then, after 30 yards (ish), the road splits into 2, take the right hand road, Carrer Sextans. It becomes a rough cement lane and then a very rough track within a minute or two. The track slopes up away from you at a steady incline.
From here you follow your nose, and the map, until you find yourself at the windmills.
The view from the terrace that the windmills are built on, is stupendous, which is why we all have our backs to the camera and our cheerful, rosy cheeked faces to the bay of Javea.
Once you have filled your boots with your gourmet lunch, and the sumptuous vistas, you can either walk down into Javea and take the local bus back to Denia, or retrace your steps. Today, we retraced our steps to just beyond the eco houses and the end of the lane. Rather than bear left and walk back to the Ghost Town, we walked nearer to the sea, with that deep valley to our left side and the sea to our right; the path is obvious.
You can see the Gerro Tower for much of the final half of the walk, which makes navigation a doddle.
All you have to do now is wander down the zig-zagging path to the seafront and then back to Restaurant Mena where we recommend you have a well earned drink on their sunny seaside terrace.