The Sierra de Bernia and Ferrer is one of the most spectacular and complete hiking routes in the Valencian Community. This charming route through the Sierra de Bernia will take you to discover the views of the province from 360º. But the most impressive of all is the Forat de Bernia. This is the name given to the natural stone tunnel that crosses this mountain range. The views it offers when you go through it will leave you speechless.
Along the route you’ll also come across gems such as the Fort, or fortress. A fortress dating back to the 16th century and even cave paintings dating back more than 5,000 years! What are you waiting for to get your best shoes on and discover it?
How to get to the Sierra de Bernia?
There are two possible routes to reach the Sierra de Bernia. The first, which starts in Altea la Vella from the CV-755. Direction Callosa crossing the old town of Altea which will take us about an hour and a half from this point to the Font de la Barca, from here to the fort, there are only 30 minutes.
On the other hand, there is the route from Calpe to Benissa on the N-332. Before arriving we should turn left towards Xaló CV-750. Once we have reached this section, after approximately 150 metres, we take the CV-749 towards Pinós and follow this road for about 15 kilometres by car. You can’t get lost. You will find a car park near the Sierra Bernia restaurant where you can park and start the route on foot.
As this is a circular route, you can start at either of these two points, but we recommend the latter. The section through Pinós has the peculiarity of starting the path in a clockwise direction, so, starting from this point, you will be able to cross the forat de Bernia and be surprised by the views when you cross it.
Level of difficulty and technicality of the route
As we have already mentioned, the Sierra de Bernia route is circular. It has a distance of more or less 10 kilometres if it is completely covered. Don’t worry, as it is possible to adapt it according to your tastes and/or needs.
If, on the other hand, you simply want to access the Forat de Bernia and return, the route would be shortened to 5 kilometres from both points. If you want to know more, you can discover the track of this route on wikiloc.
This is a route of medium difficulty, the trails are mostly PR-CV 7 with some sections of unevenness of more than 400 metres and many cobbled and uneven areas so it is more than advisable to wear hiking shoes. Don’t forget!
This complete route through the Sierra de Bernia will take you 4 to 5 hours at a good pace. It is essential to bring some lunch, water and warm clothes. And very important, don’t forget your camera to take pictures of the landscape!
A route that will never cease to amaze you!
This mountain range is part of the Sierras de Bernia and Ferrer Protected Landscape, a protected status granted by the Generalitat Valenciana in 2006. In addition, this mountain has four micro reserves of flora.
Along this charming route through the Sierra de Bernia you will discover geographical and historical points of interest that will leave you open-mouthed. Do you want to discover them? Keep reading!
Start of the route: Fuente de la Barca
If you decide to start the route on the Benissa road, the first thing you will come across is the Font de la Barca. This spring does not have a large amount of water, but it marks the beginning of the route. Here you will find signs indicating the path to follow.
After climbing a few steps, the 1.5-kilometre route begins until you reach the Forat de Bernia. This stretch would undoubtedly be the most complicated due to some of the vertical walls to be climbed and the unevenness of the path.
Don’t worry, even children and adults are able to complete this route successfully. With courage, nothing is impossible! We are sure that the views from the top will compensate for all the effort.
Discovering the Forat de Bernia
The Forat de Bernia is the star and most photographed spot on this route. The forat, or hole in Spanish, is a natural tunnel of karstic formation. This type of formation occurs when the limestone rock is weathered or dissolved by the effect of water. Hence this impressive tunnel that has been formed over the years.
To cross it, it is necessary to remove the rucksack from your back and cross it squatting or slightly crouching. It is 15 metres long. Once inside, you begin to see light, so crossing it should not be difficult.
No matter how many times you have done the route, we are sure that when you get up you will be impressed by the views. The highlight is that you can see the whole bay of Altea, Benidorm Island, Serra Gelada and, further to the right, Puig Campana and the Sierra de Aitana.
It is advisable to go in good weather conditions, as on many occasions fog can blur part of the landscape or, going in the rain, make the route more difficult.
On the other hand, this point is ideal for recharging your batteries and having lunch while enjoying the views. If you do so, don’t forget to pick up your rubbish. The mountain belongs to everyone, we must take care of it and keep it clean.
Cave paintings of Penya de l’Ermita del Vicari
About 400 metres from the cave there is a detour that allows you to go up to see the cave paintings of Penya de l’Ermita del Vicari. Passing by them only takes a few minutes more on the route, and we highly recommend it!
Here you can see three characteristic representations typical of Neolithic art, specifically of farming and herding societies that inhabited the sierra more than 5,000 years ago. Impressive, isn’t it?
Impressive Fort of Bernia
Leaving the Forat de Bernia behind, we head for our next stop: the Fort of Bernia. To do so, we will have to leave this scenery behind us and walk for about 50 minutes. The route is easy, there are hardly any slopes on this stretch, but there are many small stones that can be annoying if you are not wearing the right footwear.
Today we can still see the remains of this fort, including the arches, the moat, the bastion, the cistern and the remains of the walls. It was 10 metres long and 110 metres wide.
As a curiosity, the fort of Bernia was ordered to be built by King Felipe II in 1562. Due to its privileged location it was used to defend the coast from Ottoman attacks, however, 50 years later, it was ordered to be demolished to prevent it from being used by the Moorish rebels.
On 23 June 1997 it was declared a Spanish Historical Heritage Site of Cultural Interest. Moreover, the views from the Fort of Bernia are quite a spectacle. If you do this route, you should not miss this section. From here you can see the whole skyline of Benidorm, as well as the whole coast from Calpe to Alicante. Incredible!
Final stretch through Coll de Xaló
If you have come this far, there are only a few kilometres left to successfully complete this charming route through the Sierra de Bernia. The way back runs along the Coll de Xaló path, a slight descent between terraces that will take us to Casas de Bernia where we previously left the car parked, thus concluding our route.
What do you think about this route? From the Villasol campsite we encourage you to do it whether you are from Alicante or just passing through. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover one of the most charming and complete hiking routes in the province of Alicante. Don’t miss one more hiking route with children that you can do near Benidorm, it will leave you speechless!