Vistas of Valencia Walk
Just south of Valencia's architectural splendour, the spectacular mountains of the high Marina Alta guard citrus valleys, vineyards and steep almond terraces blossoming with pink in early spring. It's a contrasting and dramatic region where traditional villages, perched on sharp ridges and valley sides, seem a world away from the popular Mediterranean coastal resorts nearby.
The walks are led by your hosts Sue, David and their trusted guides and mostly follow the extensive network of ancient Arab trails and mule tracks that lace the surrounding sierras and villages. In spring and autumn, the paths are awash with daisies and spectacular orchids perfume the hillsides dotted with ancient ruins of deserted dwellings, farmhouses and inns. Spectacular views of coast and country are a constant and there is a wealth of flora and fauna to discover whilst a variety of wild birds circle overhead, including choughs, peregrine falcons, bonellis and short toed eagles. You'll also visit Valencia, a cosmopolitan city with an abundance of historic and futuristic buildings to discover.
Based in the heart of hilltop Parcent, a colourful Spanish pueblo where tourism is virtually unknown, a warm welcome is always waiting at Casa Carrascal, an exquisitely restored, traditionally decorated C17 hotel. There are just six en suite bedrooms, each lovingly adorned with antiques and a comfy lounge/library area where you can enjoy an aperitivo from the honesty bar. David presides in the kitchen and his mouthwatering menus are served either on the terrace or in the rustic dining room.
The walks on this holiday are on uneven mountain tracks, and paths are stony in parts. Walkers should be confident and moderately fit and have hill walking experience. Short stretches of Smuggler's Cove and the Bernia Ridge are unsuitable for people with a fear of heights. Walking boots are essential, walking poles are recommended.
Typical day-by-day itinerary
Day 1 - You arrive in Parcent
Arrive in Parcent where a light lunch is provided. You can then enjoy a stroll around the village before dinner.
Day 2 - El Somo Circuit 12km/7.5mi/5hr
Today's walk winds between three inland gorges each more spectacular than the last! Farm paths through cherry orchards lead over open ridges, with ever more expansive views of the coast before we picnic in a ruined farmhouse below a castle on a ragged vertical peak. From here, we wind past bright pink valerian above a sunken chasm, and descend through almond terraces perfumed with camomile back to the start.
Day 3 - Caballo Verde 15km/9.5mi/5.5hr
A ferocious battle between the Moors and Christians, the last on mainland Spain during the Spanish Reconquest, took place on the Caballo Verde Ridge high above Parcent village in 1609. Today we follow a steady stepped trail cut centuries ago by Arab traders through almond terraces leading up to this ancient battlefield, marked by a lonely cross on the rocky hillside. We picnic with views out to the distant Balearic islands before descending from a rocky ridge into Benichembla village for a drink in the lively local bar.
Day 4 - Coll de Rates 10km/6.5mi/4.5hr
We walk through orange groves into the Carrascal range, ascending the Barranco Negro and picking wild blackcurrants as bee-eaters wheel and chatter overhead. Look out for jonquils, perfect tiny daffodils, while thyme and wild Angelica line the mountain path almost all the way to the summit, from where we have views over several surrounding sierras. On returning to the village in the late afternoon, look out for the pelota players thrashing a ball to and fro along the main street to the cheers of local supporters!
Day 5 - Independent exploring in Valencia
After breakfast, we give you a lift to the station to catch the 45 minute train (tickets included) to the splendid city of Valencia. Visit the Plaza de Mercado, cathedral, Museo de Bellas Artes, with original works by Goya and El Greco, and the UNESCO world-heritage site of the Llotja de la Seda (Silk Market). The landmark of the city is undoubtedly the City of Arts and Sciences, an architecturally futuristic museum complex that attracts in excess of 4 million visitors a year.
Day 6 - Smugglers' Cove Walk 7km/4.5mi/4hr
Many coves and beaches near Parcent were well used as smuggling depots in olden days. Our route winds down a rocky, narrow gorge filled with lavender and wild fig to a stunning turquoise bay, where the surrounding cliffs are honeycombed with illicit storage caves connected by mule tracks. We ascend to a superb seaside trail beneath the soaring cliffs and walk below tumbling waterfalls, before returning to the beach for a swim, and a transfer back to the hotel.
Day 7 - Bernia Ridge 12km/7.5mi/4.5hr
Few walks offer as many high impact views as today's circular route around the 1000m high Bernia Ridge near the coast where a steady ascent leads to an amazing natural cave. After ducking through (it's just 15 metres), fabulous coastal views stay with us to our picnic spot, a ruined C16 Moorish fortress! After exploring the extensive ruins we pass over a ridge to Echo Gorge and follow a breathtaking traverse to the sound of cicadas and skittering lizards, before an easy descent back to our starting point. Tonight David cooks a huge wagon-wheel sized paella on the terrace to round off your week!
Day 8 - Leave Parcent
Where you stay
This single-centre holiday is based at the following hotel. If you'd like to extend your stay here, or upgrade your room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.
Casa Carrascal (4 acorn)
Parcent is a traditional Spanish village in the Marina Alta region near Valencia.
The area is characterised by high limestone sierras and plunging valleys full of almond terraces and orange groves and vineyards. Parcent is a working village, and staying here for the week lets you enjoy a truly authentic experience of village life.
Casa Carrascal is a converted town house in the centre of the village, around a one hour drive north of Alicante airport. It has 6 double rooms and an apartment on the top floor with 2 bedrooms, all furnished with heavy antique furniture, beams and attractive tiled floors.
The restaurant and lounge are on the ground floor along with the honesty bar and a small library of books. Dinners are also served on the terrace at the back of the house.
Independent hotel reviews on Trip Advisor.
Transfers included from Alicante airport at 09:45, and back to Alicante airport at 07:15.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email email@example.com to arrange connecting flights.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Reviewed by Mr Smith on 07/10/2016
Great holiday and well worth doing. fantastic Views which are well worth the climbing to get to the top..
Reviewed by Ms Friend on 16/06/2016
Sue and Dave are the most welcoming, well organised, hardworking , capable and fun hosts I have yet to come across on a walking holiday. From the moment we met at the airport I felt confident that I was going to have a great holiday. They have perfected the art of gauging the ability of the group and pitching the pace of walks accordingly. By always having one leader at the front and one at the back everyone can walk at a pace that suits. The food was of a consistently high quality. Freshly squeezed orange juice, cafetiÃ¨re coffee, fresh fruit cut and beautifully presented, yoghurt , toast and jams and something cooked too, breakfast was wonderful. Baguettes etc ready to collect before walks, lovely home cooked evening meals. Dave and Sue excelled themselves and we were all very happy and well fed throughout. Daves jokes. Well, what can I say? There is no conversational topic that doesn't lead to a joke from his vast repertoire. And they all made me laugh! Sue and Dave signposted what we could expect each day and created a relaxed and happy ambience though out. This enable the group to gel well. Our job was just to enjoy ourselves as they did everything else. Dave took our requests for music for our last night paella party on the terrace, downloaded all our requests, even though we came up with way more than he asked for and we had a lot of fun dancing to them. Dave even sent us a you tube link to a slideshow he made of the photos from our walks. Thanks so much Sue and Dave, your efforts were much appreciated and way beyond the call of duty!
Reviewed by Mr Hall on 14/06/2016
Great holiday, wonderful guides, beautiful weather,gorgeous flowers ,perfect walks and fabulous views.
Reviewed by Mr Charlett on 31/05/2016
Vistas of Valencia was an excellent holiday. The hosts/guides were exceptional. The accommodation was comfortable and characterful. The food was excellent. The walks were sometimes quite challenging but accomplished without difficulty for people who are reasonably fit and walk regularly. The scenery was stunning.
Reviewed by Mr Homer on 24/05/2016
I find the website a bit 'clunky' to navigate but Ok once you get used to it. The holiday was accurately described and I enjoyed it. The casa Carrascal operation is very well run and gives a very good service to clients.
Reviewed by Mr Schafer on 14/04/2016
Summary: Beautiful Hikes, Great Meals. Wonderful Hosts The Hosts: Hardworking couple David and Sue will do their best to make sure the holiday meets all your expectations. The Hikes: With an exhaustive knowledge of the surrounding area David and Sue ensure that best hikes in the area are chosen each day. During our trip, low clouds enshrouded the peaks on one of the days and they substituted two shorter but equally beautiful hikes at a lower elevation. We are avid photographers and they customized one of the hikes, dividing the group so that those of us who wanted to take advantage of enjoying the beautiful wildflowers could do so, while the other were able to accomplish the longer hike. The two boot difficulty level properly described the hikes. Several hikes had some short but steep ascents and loose stones so a hiking pole(s) may be helpful. Lodging and Meals: Casa Carrascal is quirky updated townhouse in the middle of the small village of Parcent, Our room, the Segovia suite was furnished with a double bed and and antique couch and chairs. The ensuite bathroom was nice but required that you duck under a beam to reach the area with the toilet/shower. The weather was cool and overcast during our stay and we were unable to take advantage of the outdoor terrace and the indoor common space outside the dining areas is very limited. Although WIFI is available in the bar just up the street, it would have been nice to have it available in the house. The meals were excellent!!! Breakfast consisted of a choice of yogurts, fruits, cereals, and a hot items that changed daily. Pack lunches were a choice of baquettes along with fruit, a sweet snack and a large bottle of water. Dinners were absolutely fabulous! Wonderful appetizers, a choice of delicious entrees, and a nice dessert, all complemented with a choice of white or red wine.
Reviewed by Mrs Spencer on 22/03/2016
Casa Carascal was dark, oppressive and the time we were there, cold. Heaters and extra blankets were happily supplied, the fire was lit 1 hr before dinner. Not enough seating for number of guests indoors. Outside area totally enclosed by walls. Neither conducive to socialising before or after meals. Could do with updating re paint in rooms and new bed covers but they were I guess, in tradition with the building. I acknowledge that mountains demand respect and health and safety rules demand acknowledgement but felt Sue was a little over enthusiastic! In her approach. Prefer to make my own judgement re use of poles and my walking style over rough scrambles. She was however helpful to those who had difficulty. At dinner, it would have been good to have been offered tea or coffee at the end of the meal, it doesn't take long to arrange. It was grudgingly granted when asked for on the last night! Wifi would have been appreciated. Excellent food! Good portion sizes. Good wine.
Reviewed by Ms Brown on 23/02/2016
Perfect combination of varied and scenic walking, great hospitality, delicious food and comfortable accommodation.
Reviewed by Mr Moore on 23/10/2015
David and Sue are excellent hosts and guides. They have a real knowledge and enthusiasm for the area which is reflected in the walks. We had one day of rain and they quickly adapted the programme to suit the conditions. Walks were varied and excellent giving a real flavour of the area.
Reviewed by Ms McGrath on 20/10/2015
This was an excellent holiday that was really made by the superb service from the hosts, Sue and David. Nothing was too much trouble, they worked incredibly hard to ensure the whole group had the most enjoyment out of their holiday. Their knowledge of the walks was incredible and their good humour and patience second to none. The food was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed the week. I walked and climbed to a level I had not reached for a number of years and felt a tremendous sense of achievement . I have already passed on details of the holiday to work colleagues.
Reviewed by Mrs Kilpatrick on 01/10/2015
This was the best walking holiday I have had in recent years. Casa Carrascal is a lovingly restored house situated in a delightful Spanish village. Each bedroom in the hotel is different giving a lovely quirky feel to the place. While there is no Wifi (no bad thing in my opinion) this is available in the very welcoming hostelery just across the road. The walks, which are accurately described as two boot, are varied so that every day you are walking different terrain but always with spectacular views. I was slightly concerned that I might not be able to do all of them but David and Sue (who are excellent leaders) keep a close eye on everyone and present alternative walks if they think you might experience difficulties. Add to that tempting menus based on local produce cooked to perfection by David and you have the makings of a great holiday. All you have to do is enjoy it all!
Reviewed by Ms O'Dell on 01/10/2015
I was very pleased with the help and service I received from Headwater. The holiday was very enjoyable and I would certainly recommend the Valencia walking holiday.
Reviewed by Ms Duncan on 29/09/2015
Reviewed by Mr Cross on 28/09/2015
A super holiday - no faults found! Only comment is that 'two boots' did not quite fit our perception, compared with other Headwater 'two boots' holidays that we have taken. We would call this holiday 'two and a half boots'. Not because of distances but because of combination of gradients/ascents, narrow paths with steep drops, and much rough and rocky terrain which demands continuous concentration. Not a holiday for anyone suffering from vertigo.
Reviewed by Ms Nicolson on 23/09/2015
Having enjoyed many Headwater Holidays, this one surpassed expectations - which were high to begin with! David and Sue could not have been more helpful and sociable. Casa Carascal is a lovely base and the food exceptional. I learned more on this holiday than on any other - from local history, butterflies, birds and of course, David's jokes! Both David and Sue shared tips on walking properly on the different surfaces - their attention to health and safety for everyone was to be commended. The group gelled very well - that was a real bonus. New friends have been made. All in all, Headwater have a real winner with this holiday and I would not hesitate to recommend it.
Reviewed by Ms Jensen on 22/09/2015
Vistas of Valencia is one of the best walking holidays we have done with Headwater. Sue and Dave, our wonderful hosts just make everything work and nothing is too much trouble. The accommodation, food and walks are all excellent. Just a brilliant holiday.
Reviewed by Mrs Eidahl on 22/09/2015
Sue and David have an excellent concept. Have never met anyone so devoted to their customers as themselves. We could have eaten out on the evening we were at Valencia to give them an evening off. They were our chauffeurs our cooks, our guides, and entertained us too. Marvelous cooks, but we would have been just as happy with a choice of fewer alternatives of each course. I would return again. The walking on the Vistas of Valencia was really, really stunning. What can beat that??
Reviewed by Mrs Vandenberghe on 29/05/2015
I thoroughly enjoyed this holiday - the walking was tough in places, but manageable for me. The food and hospitality were superb and could not be faulted. Would go again!
Reviewed by Ms Perrin on 26/05/2015
Great week, excellent walks and perfect hosts, nothing was too much trouble for them and David's cooking is fabulous.
Reviewed by Mis Ross on 06/05/2015
David and Sue worked very hard to give us an excellent week. The walks were super and the food and accommodation were excellent. They get everything just right.
Reviewed by Ms Robbins on 05/05/2015
Walking level was good. Leaders excellent. Hotel / food very good.
Reviewed by Mrs Cant on 23/04/2015
The really good thing about Headwater holidays are the people who go on them. It is good to be in a small group so you get a chance to get to know everyone. On this holiday there variety of mountain flowers was amazing but I was surprised by the relatively few birds. David Eaton was really helpful to all those who had cameras making sure that the pictures were really good and providing advice on apps for sharing and editing.
Reviewed by Mr Cooper on 23/04/2015
David and sue were really wonderful leaders for our walking in the mountains, and very friendly and helpful throughout. They cooked really good food, and we felt as though we were very well looked after all the time. Sue and david are such good cooks, I really liked everything. My wife, who is vegetarian, felt that some of the dishes provided could have been a little better, but this is said not as a criticism, more as a way of adding a further challenge for david.....we think he would welcome this.....huge thanks for fabulous holiday. Phil and Ana cooper
Reviewed by Mrs Shahbazian on 24/02/2015
I would like to make known to yourselves what an excellent team Sue and David in Valencia were, they really were amazing
Reviewed by Mrs Dicks on 21/10/2014
Very good - except for single room supplements which seem very high
Reviewed by Mr Lavender on 21/10/2014
We had a challenging and enjoyable week. The views from the mountains were spectacular and we were very lucky to see a family of wild boar. Sue & David were very informative during all aspects of our walks. The food was all prepared daily and was very good. We would recommend this walk.
Reviewed by Mrs Nanda on 03/10/2014
a superb holiday wonderful hotel and amazing hospitality
Reviewed by Mr Cundy on 05/05/2014
An excellent holiday. We were very well looked after by Sue and David , enjoyed exploring a new region of Spain and were encouraged to push ourselves to new heights - literally!
Reviewed by Mis Millington on 29/04/2014
A true holiday experience from start to finish. Superb hosts, food, walking, scenery and experiences. Everything in just the right balance.
Reviewed by Mr Walshe on 09/04/2014
This was a most enjoyable holiday. The walks were carefully selected by the guides with reference to weather and ability. Scenery is beautiful and there was an abundance of flowers and wildlife. Casa Carrascal is a delightful place to stay and David and Sue Eaton, the owners and guides, are very friendly, very knowledgeable and very efficient. The food, cooked by David, was superb and every evening was something to really look forward to. If you like walking in a fascinating area with top-class guides and a traditional hotel this is one of the best.
Reviewed by Ms Ettridge on 01/04/2014
Hugely enjoyable with a great bunch of like minded people
Reviewed by Mrs Harris on 25/03/2014
The hosts made this a unique holiday experience. Their generosity in time and effort to ensure everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly was matchless. The walking was varied and challenging amid beautiful scenery. The food was excellent. My sincere thanks to Sue and David and to Headwater.
Reviewed by Mr Cloake on 25/03/2014
One of the most enjoyable walking holidays we have taken(and we have a fair number under our belts).We loved the house party atmosphere at the Casa Carrascal with Sue and David not only welcoming and professional hosts but also experienced and knowledgeable local guides.The walks mostly in superb mountain terrain were interesting,enjoyable and with just the right degree of challenge.
Reviewed by Ms White on 24/02/2014
Lovely walks, excellent guides/hosts who continually went out of their way to make sure everyone was happy, food delicious, accommodation reasonable although not luxurious - altogether it was a most enjoyable week and a lot of fun was had by all. The photography was an added bonus and Sue Bishop a helpful, tactful and fun addition to the group.
Reviewed by Mrs Walter on 19/02/2014
A Brilliant totally enjoyable holiday. Sue and David were excellent hosts, hardworking and taking care of us all as they shepherded us around the various walks. The standard of food was also outstanding Sue Bishop was extremely helpful encouraging us to be more adventurous with our efforts and imparted her expertise with a very pleasant manner (must look out for her in the future) Our fellow guests were interesting and humorous and great comrades for the week All in all a thoroughly memorable experience
Reviewed by Mrs Riley on 26/09/2013
The holiday was good fun in a beautiful and interesting location with two wonderful guides who put themselves out to make the holiday one to remember fondly.
Reviewed by Mr Lucas on 25/09/2013
One of the best Headwater holidays we have had. An ideal combination of great walks, excellent food and brilliant hosts/guides.
Reviewed by Mr Naylor on 24/04/2013
This was a really good package! All inclusive meals, wine and pack lunch, great menu choice and great walking containing probably the best walk I have ever been on (The Bernia Ridge Walk). The hosts and guiders, David and Sue Eaton, are probably the most conscientious people in this business or certainly that I have come across. They were great hosts, very attentive to people's needs and capabilities and very knowledgable about the flora and fauna of this region and as if that's not enough, David is a pretty damn good chef too! We did have an accident whilst out walking. My wife slipped on some loose soil/gravel and suffered what at the time we thought was an ankle sprain. Sue administered some first aid on the scene, went ahead and got the car and took us home. The following morning, still concerned because of the swelling, Sue took my wife to hospital, made sure we got treatment and then crutches before then taking us back to Casa Carrascal - bottom line is that Sue and Dave also know how to respond to these situations - thanks guys!
Reviewed by Mrs Johns on 23/03/2013
We had a wonderful holiday thanks to David and Sue who worked really hard to ensure that all their guests enjoyed the week to its maximum. The walks were varied and appropriate to our standard and where, on occasion, a guest was lacking confidence in a particular route,an alternative was always found without fuss or bother. David provided a range of meals that took into consideration all of our dietary needs and Dinner was a relaxed sociable event each evening. We could never have explored and enjoyed this wonderful walking area without the knowledge and expertise of David and Sue. We were also impressed with their level of organisation and professionalism. They are great ambasadors for Headwater.
Reviewed by Mrs Shepherd on 26/02/2013
David and Sue were excellent hosts. They could not do enough to assist us and they were a pleasure to walk with.
Reviewed by Mrs McDougal on 24/01/2013
Just what we expected from a Headwater holiday, well organised, excellent walking with good accommodation and food and excellent guides/hosts.
Reviewed by Mr Summers on 07/01/2013
This was the third time I have been to this holiday and I would go again
Reviewed by Mrs Acland on 07/01/2013
Super holiday. Our hosts Sue and David were brilliant, always helpful and informative. Dinners were always excellent and Christmas dinner, truly a feast, was superb. How David and Sue managed to guide us all during the day and still be able to present us with such a meal every evening was amazing. Susan in Felixstowe Christmas 2012
Reviewed by Mr Pritchard on 13/12/2012
David and Sue Eaton are very attentive hosts and guides and made us feel at home.
Reviewed by Mr Summers on 03/11/2012
Very good holiday. This was my second visit and I will be back in the spring next time to see the wild flowers!
Reviewed by Mr Taylor on 06/10/2012
the walks were varied and good. Our hosts at Casa carascal were excellant. I had only one negative comment and this couldn't be helped in that there was no garden or outsiude space in which to relax and no swimming pool but as the whole trip was good it really didn;t matter in the end.
Reviewed by Mrs Gatward on 06/10/2012
I did enjoy Carrascal enormously - as usual my fellow-travellers were a great and interesting bunch, and Sue and David were so hospitable - they seem to do everything (organise the walks, run the hotel,do the cooking, walk the dogs, etc!)and are ready to adapt the walks if the weather intervenes. Local knowledge is vital and adds so much enjoyment when you're only there for a week.
Reviewed by Mrs Grundy on 17/04/2012
The walking experience was excellent. Our hosts/guides were superb.
Reviewed by Mr Douglas on 17/04/2012
Very enjoyable, for a large part because the company of Dave & Sue Eaton plus our fellow guests was excellent
Reviewed by Mr Barlow on 25/02/2012
Disappointing that many of the walks were too challenging for my wife. We had completed a 2 Boot holiday in tehh summer, so we believed we would be OK for this one.
Reviewed by Mr Thomas on 25/02/2012
Reviewed by Dr Worthy on 25/02/2012
David & Sue were fantastic hosts- made us all very welcome. The walks were stunning. The food was great. It is a very beautiful area and was lovely to explore it. Sue & David guided the walks really well and encouraged those who struggled a bit. They really made the holiday special. We loved it!
Departure dates & prices
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Minimum group sizes
A minimum of 4 people (in total) are required for each departure.
Guided walking, single centre. Managed locally by hotelier.
selected Saturdays from 5 Nov '16 to 5 May '18, for 8 days (7 nights).
All continental breakfasts, 6 lunches and all evening meals with wine..
Starting your tour
Transfers included from Alicante airport at 09:45, and back to Alicante airport at 07:15.
Enquire about this holiday
Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.