Montgo National Park Javea’s stunning Mountain
If you are in Northern Costa Blanca it is hard not to notice the skyline of the Montgo National Park as the mountain evenly splits Denia from Javea. The Montgo Mountain reaches heights of 750m and almost seems to lift off directly from the valley floor, and it houses some of the most unique fauna and flora in Spain along its eye-catching craggy cliff faces.
The Park makes up the Eastern–most point of the Cordillera Prebética Mountain Range before it reaches the Mediterranean. Along this coastal stretch of the park you will find natural harbours, unusual rock formations, near vertical cliffs, as well as caves and natural harbours, some of which are only viewable and reachable from the sea.
The actual Montgo National Park measures about 2150 hectares, which leaves plenty of room for both great ecosystems and interesting hiking trails. The park also encompasses large amounts of land that surrounds Montgo Mountain and even includes a stunning coastal section.
While the national park may be known mainly for the mountain, it also is home to the remains of ancient Iberian settlements, cave paintings, and even some Phoenician amphoras, or Greco-Roman jars as well as artefacts from the Muslim occupation period. It is believed that nomadic humans have visited the area since at least the Stone Age, probably due to excellent hunting grounds as well as a very mild climate, The Migdia cave is home to world famous cave paintings, evidence of human presence in past millennia can be seen in the famous paintings in Migdia cave.
The area was declared a nature reserve in 1987 because of these important archaeological findings and also for its great wealth of varied ecosystems, fauna, and flora.
The best way to see all of the beauty that the Montgo Mountain has to offer is by climbing it. There are trails that lead up to the peak of the mountain from all sides allowing for different experiences and an accessible hike from all access points at the base. During a hike you can expect to see several different eco-systems including scrub land, stony terrain, pine forests, and croplands.
Art and Death in The Montgo
It takes about four hours to get to the top of the Montgo Mountain, but it is worth the effort as the summit features the remains of an 8th century BC Iberian settlement. The summit also offers breath-taking views of the sea, coast, and on clear days you can even see Ibiza island.
Those who are not as ambitious about walking up mountains will still enjoy the many trails and hiking and viewing areas that dot the Montgo National Park. There are also options to climb the mountain from the Les Planes area of Denia, which is considered the easiest route to the top. Many others choose to mountain-bike or walk up the one way and then once at the coast-line take a boat back to their starting point.
Regardless of how you plan your trek make sure to keep your eyes open for the over 650 vegetation species that thrive on the mountain. Some of the top flora to look for are the Valencia rock violet, the black Sabine, maritime fennel, cistus, kermes oak, marine juniper, and the rock scabious. On the plains and lower reaches of the area you will find the blue Mediterranean fan palm, which is notable as the only palm tree found naturally growing wild in Europe.
Also, keep your eyes open for wildlife as you will see everything from a massive array of birds to reptiles, foxes, rabbits, amphibians, and more. Due to long term and ever increasing dry periods some amphibians are hard to spot, there are some relatively common sights such as the corridor and common toads. Other species that you may be able to hunt down are the ocelad lizard as well as the as the common small lizard , the horseshoe snake also calls the mountain home, as does the Iberian eslizón, or Iberian skink in English.
Along the coast you may see Sandwich tern’s, the yellow-footed gull, as well as Audouin’s gull. Up on the mountain you could easily catch sight of eight different species of birds of prey which call the park home. Half of them you may spot while walking, sparrow-hawk, goshawk, kestrel and peregrine falcon.
The other four are a little trickier as they are nocturnal, these are the tawny owl, European scops owl, little owl and most spectacularly eagle owl. Far more difficult to spotted but reputed to be found at Montgo are short-toed eagles, buzzards, as well as Eleanora’s falcon, all of these birds have been reported as breeding in the park.
Driving to the Montgo National Park is easy for visitors as it can be reached via highway CV-736 which is the winding mountain road that links Denia to Javea. The national park offers trails and hikers options from both sides of the park, but those who want to see something eye-catching may enjoy the Xabia side as legend often says that the Mongo Mountain appears to be an elephant’s trunk and head from a distance.
Those who are planning a visit to the Montgo National Park and a trek up the mountain should be aware that there is not much shade so it is important to wear sun cream and a hat. Always make sure to pack at least 1.5 litres of water per person and wear shoes that are appropriate for hiking. There are no refuge locations on the mountain so it is not a good idea to hike on days when there is a risk of fog, storms, or extreme temperatures.
The coastal resorts of Javea and Denia that line the sides of the Montgo Mountain offer a plethora of restaurants and hotels to help you relax after a day out at the national park.