1. sierra helada natural park

Image by Julian Schultz
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Not everything in Benidorm is sun, beach and / or nightlife. There are also natural places with great wealth, both landscape and ecological. Either in the vicinity of Benidorm or in its surroundings, we can find corners where you can walk or relax like these. That is why we are going to talk about the Natural Park of 'Serra Gelada' or 'Sierra Helada' .

 

Geologically speaking, the 'Sierra Helada' constitutes a small mountainous alignment of Northeast - Southwest orientation that separates the bays of Benidorm and Altea. It is characterized by its asymmetrical profile along its 6 km length . Its southeast flank forms an impressive rugged coastline, while the northwest flank shows a much smoother slope, strongly dissected by the drainage network. The highest point is the 'Alto del Gobernador' where radio antennas are located with 430 meters of altitude.

 

The area of ​​'Serra Gelada' has been considered a Natural Park of the Valencian Community since 2005 (being the first maritime park in the Community). It is formed by an impressive relief that rises abruptly from the plain between Benidorm and Alfaz del Pi. In the mountains, steep cliffs can be formed up to more than 300 meters high and contains vegetation of exceptional value, such as the interesting hanging fossil dune and the peculiar vegetation that colonizes it.

In addition, the mountain range shares several unique species with the neighboring Peñón de Ifach, a natural park in neighboring Calpe, having two micro-reserves of flora.

 

The cliff creates a unique landscape , with its fractures, among which the fallas of Punta de la Escaleta and Punta del Albir stand out. The presence of eolianites and fossil dunes, the caves, in particular the Boca de la Balena, and the paleontological deposits and fossil traces distributed by the Cretaceous column of the mountain range. Also of interest are the caves of karst origin that open along the mountain range, among which it is worth highlighting the cave of Faro del Albir, recently explored and notable for the presence of stalactites and stalagmites inside. There is also the Torre de les Caletes, located at Punta de les Caletes in Benidorm, which has been of great importance for many years and is currently pending rehabilitation.

 

 

 

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Several islets are part of this protected area. The Island of Benidorm is part of this Natural Park of 'Sierra Helada'. Whose profile is submerged, revealing the structural continuity with the mountains and helping to interpret the landscape. Like the islet of Mitjana, both islands are of tectonic origin. On the other hand, the islet of La Olla is of Tertiary origin, from the Paleogene, and constitutes a flat island formed mainly by an old marine terrace.

 

The protected natural area also includes a marine area that generally has a moderate slope with a wide plain between 15 to 30 meters. Among the most notable underwater accidents, the rocky reef located to the south of the Island of Benidorm , known as La Losa, stands out . The western buttress of the Sierra Helada, is made up of the enclaves of Colina de la Cala , Punta Canfali , and the island of Benidorm itself; that constitute an area of ​​low and sandy coasts that give rise to the Levante and Poniente beaches of Benidorm.

 

These waters have a great variety of species of fish, crustaceans and other invertebrates that find here the right conditions to get ahead. These mean that, together with its natural value, there is an undeniable economic interest due to its nature as a fishing resource. In the terrestrial sphere, the majority fauna are seabirds . The most interesting species are the European petrel, the shag, and the Audouin's gull. Although the raptors are also relevant, such as the peregrine falcon.

 

Since the surface of Sierra Helada is shared by both Benidorm and its neighbor L'Albir, we will find three main routes :

 

  • The Punta del Cavall . Route on the coast of Benidorm.

  • The Albir Lighthouse . Route on the coast of Albir.

  • Sierra Helada . It joins both locations, therefore it is the longest and most complete.