The Sierra de Aitana is a mountainous group that is part of the Prebetic system, at its most eastern end within the Iberian Peninsula. It is framed in the north of the province of Alicante (Spain), and has an east-west layout. The mountain range extends over an area close to 2000 hectares, most of which are located in the Marina Baixa region, bordering the Hoya de Alcoy and the County of Cocentaina to the west. The peak of Aitana , the top of the mountain range, is the highest point in the entire province, at 1,558 meters . It is one of the most emblematic mountain ranges in the province of Alicante, due to the large number of hiking trails that can be done in the area.
The mountain range presents an extremely rugged relief and steep slopes . In addition, its proximity to the sea makes this mountain range a place of strong contrasts and beautiful views on clear days, when you can see Ibiza and even Mallorca with the naked eye. Its pointed vertices and vertical walls stand out, which contrast with some flat areas in which we find cultivated fields and some streams. The most rugged and abrupt sector is the northern one, where the main heights are found: apart from the highest peak that gives its name to the sierra (the Aitana), we also find the Peña Alta (1505 m. ), The Peña Cacha, the Peña del Mulero and Alto del Carrascal (1208 m. ).
The north face overlooks the Guadalest Valley , which is surrounded by an exceptional setting of mountains. To the north there is a fairly compact wall formed by the Sierra de la Serrella and Aixortá, an extension of the latter, while to the south the valley is closed by the Sierra de Aitana. In Poniente, at the head of the valley, the Aitana and Serrella mountains meet at Puerto de Confrides (966m), a natural pass between the Hoya de Alcoy and Cocentaina County regions towards the Marina Baixa . Nearby the river Guadalest is born.
The Sierra de Aitana is a mountain range of great geological complexity where calcareous and to a lesser extent dolomitic materials predominate , with a stepped morphology. Due to this stepped relief of the Sierra de Aitana, the water, ice and the movements of the hillside have been in charge of sculpting and modeling its rocks, until they acquire the dimensions and shapes that we can see today, being a slow but without pause In relation to the material that emerges from the mountain front, the development of scree is striking, evidence of periglacial activity in the mountains.
As it could not be otherwise, there are no shortage of water outlets such as springs, among which the Font de Matjelis (south of Confrides ) and the Font dels Xorrets (southwest of Benifato) stand out. As far as hydrogeology is concerned, we can also find the Simas de Partagat, less than 1 km away. east of the Aitana summit, and the Aitana Aquifer.
Aitana has played an important role as a refuge for species that have become extremely rare or that have disappeared in other nearby mountains. Aquila fasciata, hawks, red-legged partridge, hawks, owls and other birds of prey soar above these grounds, where owlets, owls, crows, crows, thrushes, robins, blackbirds, swifts and swallows also nest. On a whimsical relief that raises the ground to the highest peaks and cliffs and then sinks into valleys and breaks into ravines, there are also species such as the wildcat, the wild boar, the squirrel, the genet, the dormouse, the badger, the weasel, the rabbit and the fox. The highest peak in the province is also an important place of passage for birds in their migratory steps , following the Guadalest valley.
The great variety of plants and animals in the Sierra de Aitana gives it added value that makes it one of the most important mountains in the province of Alicante. Together with the Sierra de Serrella and Puig Campana, it has been declared a Site of Community Interest . Another aspect that supports the need to classify it as a natural park is the existence of several micro-reserves of flora included.
If you want to make a route in this beautiful place, we propose two:
Route to the summit of Aitana from the Font de Partegat.
Circular route of the Guadalest Reservoir.
5.1 sierra aitana: route to the summit
The duration of the route is more or less about 4 hours as it is a circular route of about 10.5 km. Its difficulty is medium as it has an unevenness of approximately 600 meters. We must try not to do this route on very hot days or with unfavorable weather conditions.
We will start from the Font de Partegat recreational area , where you will find a parking lot. We go up first along the track, and then along the path, until we reach the landing on which the Font de Forata sits. If you visit this route at the right time, you can see almond blossom in even snow.
The route is duly signposted with trails such as PR-CV21 and the Passet de la Rabosa botanical trail. After overcoming a small climb, we reached the Simas de Partegat. We will take advantage of the route back through the cordal, to ascend comfortably and in a very short time, to various vertices of this magnificent mountain range. These are, in order of ascent, Aitana Oriental (1547mts) and Peña Alta (1505mts). The authentic geodesic vertex is within a military facility (Air Surveillance Squadron No. 5). If you reach the top, you will literally be on the "roof" of the province of Alicante.
The descent will consist of reaching the Col de Tagarina and before concluding the route, we will pass through the slopes of Alto de Tagarina, where the “Runar dels Teixos” Flora Micro-Reserve is located and we will also visit, if we wish, one of the many buildings to store snow.
Itinerary: Partagat Fountain - Nogal Fountain - Forata Fountain - Pas de la Rabosa - Pico Aitana - Eastern Aitana - Peña Alta - Collado de Tagarina - Runar dels Tiexos - Refrigerator - Partagat Fountain.
5.2 sierra aitana: guadalest valley route
The Guadalest Valley is undoubtedly one of the most charming corners of the entire Alicante province. The route is very simple and ideal to enjoy a pleasant walk . It is ideal to be performed with children or also for the elderly, since it is quite affordable for any type of age and physical condition. Composed of very gentle slopes along its 11.5 km, it can be completed in about 4 hours. With maximum heights of 588 m. and a drop of about 490 m.
To begin this route we will have to start from the Guadalest reservoir dam, we walk around it along a paved track with very little traffic, between extensive pine groves and terraces of almond and olive trees, at the foot of the magnificent Aitana, Xortà mountain ranges and Serrella. The views that you will find along the way will undoubtedly leave you enchanted.
To complete the day, we recommend a visit to one of the villages in the valley. The Castell de Guadalest is the most touristy and well-known, but all of them contain aspects of interest that are worth discovering.