For my birthday, Jürgen and I went biking around the mountain of Montgó. Separating the vacation cities of Dénia and Xàbia, the Montgó raises to over 2400 feet and has an impressive, plateau-like profile visible from miles in every direction.
The Volta al Montgó takes from 2-3 hours, though you should plan on 4 hours if (like us) you constantly pause for pictures. Besides a short but brutal climb into the hillside town of Jesús Pobre, the tour is easy — either flat or downhill. And the nature and beauty of the area is breathtaking.
We rode through grape fields, groves of olives and orange trees, and into some areas that felt untouched by the passage of time. I loved contemplating the Montgó’s various faces as we circled it, and the mountain’s constant, imposing presence was a comforting sign that we hadn’t gotten lost.
The land around the Montgó is a natural park which contains some of the most diverse flora and fauna in Spain. Over 50 endemic plant species join animals like eagles, owls, badgers and wild boar. The only wild creature I saw was a crazy photo-snapping German (Fotographus Alemanus), but that didn’t make the trip any less exciting.
Midway through the trip, we stopped for lunch in the quiet town of Jesús Pobre (I can’t get over that name). Situated on the foothills of the inland side of Montgó, the village boasts an excellent view over the landscape. Replenished by paella, we enjoyed an easy, downhill trip into the southern end of the mountain, La Vall de Sala. We stopped by a cemetery and arrived in Xàbia at around 5.
That left us enough time to lay on the beach and swim in its crystal blue water. Gorgeous, and the perfect reward for a day of exercise. But our trip wasn’t done yet! In order to return to Dénia, we hopped on a 40-minute ferry around the cape. Cliffs shot vertically from the water, with a blinking lighthouse atop them. The sun was beginning to wane a little, and it was an incredible ending to an incredible day.
We can really recommend this tour to bikers of any fitness level or experience. It’s easy, though not particularly well-marked — especially coming into Xàbia and in Jesús Pobre, a few important signs are missing. But bring a map, and you’ll be fine. The tourist offices in both Dénia and Xàbia have itineraries of the path.