4. puig campana

The Puig Campana is a mountain that is part of the Prebetic Cordilleras of the province of Alicante and in municipal terms it belongs to the town of Finestrat. With an altitude of 1,410 meters and separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a distance of 7.8 km in a straight line, it is the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula due to its proximity to the coast, and the second highest in the province of Alicante.

These orographic conditions, as well as its characteristic and visible profile from many parts of the province, including Benidorm, make it a unique mountain highly appreciated by the inhabitants of the entire region.

At its conical tip it has two peaks. The one located to the west has a large fracture or porthole, known by the historical and autochthonous name of ' El Portell' , although other names are also attributed to it today, being the subject of numerous popular stories and legends, many of them associating it to the iconic Benidorm Island.

Geologically it is made up of limestone rocks from the Jurassic era , but is found in conjunction with more modern materials, mostly from the Cretaceous era . To the south (towards Finestrat ), associated with a geological fault , red clay and gypsum from the Triassic outcrops.

Since 1992 it has been included in the list of Places of Community Interest of the Valencian Community . In 2006 , the 'Puig Campana' and 'el Ponotx' were declared Protected Landscapes by the Generalitat Valenciana .

It is home to numerous plant species, some of them endemic , such as the Cistanche (Cystanche phelypaea) and, especially, Teucrium lepicephalum .

The vegetation of Puig Campana varies depending on the orientation. Thus, on the south side, where it is more bathed by the sun, Aleppo pine forests and mature holm oaks dominate. On the northern slope, a more humid forest grows, composed of species such as maples , ash , strawberry trees , mostajos , lavender , ivy , honeysuckle or sarsaparilla . From an altitude of 1000 meters, the forest gives way to pastures and bushes, among which the ' nun's cushion ' stands out.

There are different routes to ascend Puig Campana, several of which converge before heading to the top. Maps are available at the Finestrat tourist office, as well as at the information point located at the beginning of the trail, in Font del Mol . Here we leave you the ascent route to Puig Campana from Finestrat .

4.1 puig campana: ascent route

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To begin, tell you that it is a quite demanding route for hiking lovers , to crown the peak you will have to do more than 1,000 meters of unevenness through complicated terrain. At some points there are even ropes to facilitate the passage. So we do not recommend it for people who are not used to going out to the mountains. However, and due to the circular nature of the top, we have the option of doing only the circular route, without climbing to the top . In this case, we would be facing a route of medium difficulty .

To begin the ascent, you have to travel to the town of Finestrat, adjacent to Benidorm. Without a doubt it is a municipality worth stopping to visit, and where we can regain strength once the route is finished.

From the urban area of ​​Finestrat, we take the detour towards the Font del Molí Recreational Area , the main spring that collects the waters of the 'great colossus' of the Marina Baixa. In the Font del Molí we find a car park and an information point.

From the Font del Molí , we go up the asphalt slope, which we leave at the first curve to continue straight. After crossing a small bridge over a canal, we turn right, following the indications of the PR-CV 289 path . We have to pass between some country houses, before taking the ascending path that leads us towards Foia del Cap (Foia Cac in the indicators). La Foia del Cap is a small plateau that is about 500 meters high. From here, the path becomes quite steep, and ascends in a zig zag to the elevation of approximately 800 meters, before softening its slope when we approach the Font de la Solsida .

We head along the east face of the mountain from Font de la Solsida, a small ascent and subsequent descent takes us to Coll del Pouet , an important crossroads on the north face of Puig Campana, and the place where the circular route ends, And once here, at an altitude of 883 meters, you can start your way to the top if you see yourself prepared.

At this point we will ascend some 400 meters more to the Bancal del Moro , which is the hill that separates the two peaks of Puig Campana: Pic Prim and Tajo de Roldán to the west, and the main peak to the east.

This part of the climb is also quite steep and quite eroded. There is a lot of loose stone, so it is advisable to be extremely careful not to slip and at the same time not to throw stones at other people who may follow us underneath.

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Once we have reached the Bancal del Moro , located at a little less than 1,300 meters high, we can almost say that we have reached the top, because from here, the views over the Mediterranean lead us in flight to the geodesic vertex, without barely noticing.

In this last section, however, it is advisable to be vigilant , since there are several unofficial trails that could mislead us. After a slight ascent, we flatten out and overcame a final slope to the summit . The panoramic view from the top of Puig Campana is impressive, you can see almost all the surrounding mountains: Ponoig and Cabal, Aitana, Serra de Bèrnia, Serra Gelada , Peñón de Ifach , La Serrella, Cabeçó d'Or ...

For the descent from the top, we have to undo the path to Coll del Pouet , paying close attention to the loose stones during the descent. You can take advantage of the situation to visit the old snow well, taking a small detour from the main path. As in other mountains, the snow wells are an important heritage legacy, witnesses to the fruitful snow trade in our province, between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

From the Coll del Pouet, a wide track leads us in a jiffy to the José Manuel Vera Refuge , owned by the Alicante Excursionist Center. From here, a path in continuous descent will take us back to the Font del Molí , ending one of the most demanding and at the same time most complete and rewarding excursions in the province of Alicante.