Maestrazgo and Srs de Gudar and Javalambre

1 Valencia to El Maestrazgo   2 Maestrazgo and Sierra de Gudar   3 Javalambre and return to Valencia

Torrijas, Sierra del Javalambre
The mountains of the Sierra de Gudar and El Maestrazgo lie due north of Valencia. Maestrazgo spans the boundary between Aragon and Valencia. It is one of the most sparsely populated areas of Spain, rich in historic detail and with a fine network of roads that link the ancient villages. Returning to Valencia from the west, via the Sierra de Javalambre, provides access to some quite different but equally impressive roads and scenery.

The area is quiet. For much of the tour, traffic encountered was around one vehicle per hour. Weekend visitors to the area, from cities such as Valencia and Barcelona, increased traffic slightly. More noticeable was the increased demand for accommodation. During the week, we were usually the only residents in our accommodation.

The area is hilly! Some days involved up to 1500 metres of total ascent, most of it to go over mountain passes. The highest of these, Puerto de Linares is at 1720 metres. Gradients were comfortable and a typical day was in the region of 70km. The quiet roads are often narrow but with a reasonable surface. A road improvement programme is in progress. This means that some roads are being widened and may also take a more direct route, rather than the often perfect and delightful contouring of the existing road.

Late May/early June was a good time to visit. The side of the road was like a giant rock garden in bloom, the temperatures were not too hot and if there is a tourist season, it certainly hadn't arrived. Any rain tended to be confined to thunderstorms in the late afternoon or through the night. Another advantage is that you can avoid the numerous bull tormenting festivities that take place during July and August. A few hotels weren't open in spite of their year round status in the tourist literature. This wasn't a problem. Apart from in Valencia, accommodation had not been booked.

An account of a cycle tour, May 2001.