1. sierra helada natural park
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.
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.
1.1 route the punta del cavall
This route, which is part of the Natural Park, could be considered the easiest , with an approximate duration of 2 hours, and a route of 5 km. round trip. And it will take us to the 'Mirador de Serra Gelada' , or also called 'Punta del Cavall' .
We will start the march in Benidorm, from the Levante area. Avenida Madrid, we go up and border the coast, and we will find the ' Cala Almadraba ' on our right. Later we will arrive at the beginning of the route itself, we will find an indicative sign and some chains blocking the passage of vehicles. Once at this point you have the possibility of visiting the ' Cala del Tío Ximo ', a small but beautiful beach, which is not as well known or crowded as the main ones, so you can swim without any problem.
This path will guide us to the Serra Gelada Viewpoint , where there is a 17th century watchtower . Here you will have a prefect point to contemplate impressive views of the cliffs of the Park.
1.2 route to the albir lighthouse
We can also consider it a route for the whole family , about 5 km in length between round trip. You can do it walking, practicing running or cycling. The route starts from the Albir Information Point, following the path that starts from the picnic area. All the routes are marked with yellow, so we follow the main road until we come across several viewpoints where we can enjoy wonderful views of Altea and the Bay of Albir.
On this road you will have the opportunity to appreciate the cliffs and the famous fossilized waves in this Sierra. And take several detours to appreciate the beach of ' La Cala La Mina ', the impressive cave (without a path to reach) the 'Boca de la Balena' or the old Ocre Mines , through the ' Camí de la Cantera '.
At the end of the tour we will find the Lighthouse that gives its name to the route, with an Interpretation Center where you will find the history and information about these places.
1.3 sierra helada route
The longest and hardest of all if you go on foot, but you can do it both on foot, by vehicle or bicycle. Tour the Natural Park from one end to the other ; only the one way is 8.4 km. And you can start it both from El Albir and from Benidorm , since this route connects both towns .
If you leave from Benidorm, you can start it as the first route, from the Levante area. It is marked with white and yellow signs from the Rincón de Loix Tourist Information point , located at the intersection of Calle Gerona and Avenida Derramador. From this point we will head towards the Sierra through Gerona Street, and then turn towards the beach through Avenida de L'Ametlla de Mar.
Once en route, on the way up we can head to the right to a viewpoint, from where we will have an excellent panoramic view of the cliffs or continue climbing to the left, where the end of the road will lead us to a small path that will take us to the famous Cross , an iconic point in Benidorm, whose story we will tell you in this other post , and where it is worth making a stop along the way to contemplate the beautiful Benidorm skyline. ( The road to Cruz de Benidorm can already be considered as a proper route, but we have included it as part of the complete route like El Faro del Albir ).
After this we can continue towards the 'path of the antennas' (named after the antennas installed there), always signposted, guiding us along the edge of the Sierra until we reach the highest point of the Park, the ' Alt del Governador 'or' Alto del Gobernador ', with 440 meters of height and where several telecommunications antennas of. From here you can appreciate almost everything, including the 'Illa Mitjana' and the 'Puig Campana'.
The descent is a "winding" path until we reach the Albir Lighthouse Route , which once completed we could say that we have made the journey.
You can find these routes and many others in 'Google Maps' or in 'Wikiloc', a portal where you can search for outdoor routes all over the world. We leave you the link of this last Sierra Helada Route:
Whether on vacation or not, if you want to spend a perfect day with nature and the sea as a setting, enjoy unique views, sunbathe or simply clear your mind, this is a plan that we advise you very seriously.