Castell del Granadella Javea

Javea and its surroundings lay claim to some of the most magnificent views on the Costa Blanca, or in any part of the world. Then there’s the added attraction that you can get to most of those viewpoints on just about any day of the year without hiring local guides or buying expensive gear. A decent pair of walking shoes and whatever clothing you’re comfortable in works fine; a camera is optional, but you’ll be sorry if you leave it behind.

One of the more rewarding vistas is known as Castell del Granadella, which is not really a castle but a fortress and watchtower, one of the many constructed on this coast. Like this one at Granadella, they were meant to guard the locals against attack by Barbary pirates coming from Northern Africa. And once you reach the site it’s easy to see why the tower was located where it is.

From the tower itself (or the grounds around it) you can look down into an almost perfectly sheltered small bay or cove, with a smooth sandy shoreline ideal for beaching small boats bringing pirates off a ship moored in calm waters.

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The Granadella tower was built sometime in the early 18th century, reputedly garrisoned by a handful of soldiers and equipped with two small cannons. The thick walls faced with Tuscan stone are still impressive, and a well that can hold about 24,000 liters of water is still in pretty good shape, but there is nothing much to see at the watchtower/fortress itself. It’s what surrounds you in the near distance and the far horizon that will make the climb worth every step.

Depending on your inclination and fitness level you can choose one of two or three marked trails to reach the fortress; they all start at the car park down at the bottom of the cove. The shortest one, at just three kilometers, is more than a stroll– there are some steep and potentially tricky parts where you’ll be glad you wore walking shoes, not flip-flops.

A conspicuous wooden sign is posted near the car park listing several destinations from that point. The route designated as PR-CV354 (a walking path) includes the route to Castell Granadella, and if you follow that sign you’ll be climbing a concrete roadway for around 600 meters, then keep following the distinctive yellow and white markings on posts, trees, pylons etc. The path will lead in back of some houses then turn into the trees.

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Keep on following the markers and you’ll come out of the trees on a cliff overlooking the beach (where there are some low railings to help keep you safe); keep going and you’ll soon reach another breath-taking natural viewpoint, looking across the bay of Ambolo and the tiny island of Descobridor just off the headland. Continue following the markers, and here the path is quite narrow and somewhat overgrown; there are some steep steps along the side of the ridge, and more railings.

Soon you’ll descend into a gorge, hop across a small stream and climb out the other side to meet some of the most spectacular views you’ll ever encounter. Note that in some bits of the trail there are steep drop-offs to the sea below, but sturdy chains have been put in place to help keep your footing secure, and another chain to grab whilst crossing a two-meter-high rock wall. Once you’ve done that it’s all view and no effort.

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When you’ve feasted your eyes on the peace and grandeur of this scene, you can either retrace your path back to the beginning, or you can take the longer route (which can also be used for access) by following the obvious path that heads inland for about 550 meters, past the Teuleria variant and on across some hilly terrain, always watching for the yellow and white markers. In another 100 meters you’ll see a sign for the Gurugu variant, which is the shortcut to take if you don’t feel up to another long and fairly difficult hike.

Ideally you’ll want to take in the views from Castell del Granadella on a clear day, but be aware that at most of the best viewpoints there is little or no shade, so sunglasses, sunblock, and a hat are recommended. Whenever you go you will certainly find that the reward is well worth the effort, but carrying a water bottle is also an excellent idea.

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