Cycling Costa Blanca – Vall d’Ebo and Vall de Pop from Xalo – Through A Beautiful Hidden Valley

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Thursday, 7 February 2019

Cycling Costa Blanca – Vall d’Ebo and Vall de Pop from Xalo – Through A Beautiful Hidden Valley

After our first two loops over the Coll de Rates and then the Serra Bernia, we already knew that the cycling options in the Jalon Valley/Vall de Pop area were good, but there’s something about finding such an unexpected gem of a ride that make it that much more special, which is exactly what happened to us today. Starting out heading west from Xalo on the CV-750 we soon reached Alcalali and then headed north onto the CV-715 towards Orba. The terrain was rolling and the roads were quiet as we coasted through Orba and continued further on the CV-715 towards Pego, which is where the real climbing would begin.



Out of Pego we turned left up the CV-712 towards the little village of La Vall d’Ebo. A sign at the start of the road gave us the facts about the climb ahead of us, up to the high point at Port de La Vall d’Ebo: 7.9km at a 6% average, with a maximum gradient of 11%. Not too bad really.

The road was soon snaking up the hillside, initially through pine forests and then (as usual) more open terrain with incredible views towards the coast. The road surface was excellent with white painted blocks marking the side of the tarmac. What was fun about the blocks was that it made it easy to pick out the road ahead, with little snippets of white curving around the higher mountain showing the way ahead.

In what seemed like no time we crested the climb and began a short, but lovely, descent into La Vall d’Ebo. Even in the short distance we couldn’t help but stop several times to photograph the idyllic vistas ahead of us, one being a deep green gorge which appeared just after the summit and the other being the view straight into our destination village.

So far our route plan had been ‘lifted’ from a cycling guide we’d picked up at the Xalo tourist office, but from La Vall d’Ebo we were very much ‘off-plan’. The official, suggested loop in the guide was a 100-km tour which continued on the CV-712 and looped back further north, but that was too far for us today. Instead, we picked up a minor, unnamed road in La Vall d’Ebo which headed south and, according to Google Maps, would deliver us to back to the Vall de Pop from where we knew it was only 20-km or so home.

Well, what came next was amazing. At first we were nervous as the road kicked up very, very steeply through some almond groves and we began to wonder if we hadn’t made a mistake, but after around 3 km we began to coast gradually downhill and entered a landscape hardly touched by humans, or so it seemed. Sure, there were lots of almond trees in blossom close to the road side, but beyond them were bare crags and cliffs extending off into untouched valleys and canyons. It was beautiful and I’m sure the photos say that better than I can.

For the next 5 km or so we rode slowly and in silence, apart from the frequent “oohs” and “look at that”. At one point we passed a sign for something called the “Pla de Petracos”, which we looked up later on to discover that some 7000 year old cave painting exist in the cave recessed overhanging the road we’d been cycling along. Amazing! Read more about them on TripAdvisor.

Eventually we rejoined a more major road (the CV-720) and began a rapid (50 kmh) descent with a tailwind all the way back to Parcent and then on to Xalo. The total loop was about 60 km which again took us about 3 hours, including the time it took to eat, take photos and appreciate the landscape around us. We’d had no idea what that tiny, unmarked road on GoogleMaps would be like, and it had been amazing!












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