Anything But Paella

Five Easy Walks in the Vega Baja

Walking in Spain really is really one of life’s simple pleasures. Not everyone wants to climb mountains so we thought we would share with you five easy walks around Guardamar del Segura and Rojales. All you need is a good pair of shoes, sunglasses and a hat, and a camera so you can create some wonderful memories! The Strava app has revolutionised this activity for me and made it so much easier to both record and share my walks. Where they are circular you can obviously park anywhere on the route to begin, but the linear walks really work best parking at either end.

1. Guardamar Dunes

When we first moved to Guardamar del Segura back in 2014, we lived on the edge of the pine forest which covers much of the expanse of sand dunes. This 8km circuit was one of our regular (and pre-Strava) walks so naturally it’s the best place to start this blog. We tend to park close to the Mas y Mas supermarket then head into the forest. Hiding among the trees is the impressive Rábita, a ruin from the times of Moorish occupation which was protected from the reconquest by the sands which kept it hidden for centuries. Plans are afoot for a visitors centre but until then, you’ll have to ask at Tourist Information if you want to visit. The whole walk is very easy under foot and also allows for some short diversions. You can go and see the picturesque but now storm-damaged fisherman’s cottages on Playa Babilonia or go further along the promenade for a coffee stop. Alternatively you can stop for a drink at Club Nautico overlooking the marina. Don’t forget to walk out to the “lighthouse” at the end of the pier and see if any of the fishermen are having any luck. Walking back along the southern bank of the River Segura, keep your eyes out for the rich birdlife which we will explore more in walk number 2.

North Bank of the Segura

Another very easy walk is this one along the north bank of the River Segura from Guardamar. It’s around 8km again, but very easy. The hard part is parking! We generally park near the Europa House complex and walk along the riverside path crossing just under the N332 bridge where a concrete walkway crosses the course of the river. On the other side it’s a really simple stroll past the campsite and down to the beach. On the way you are bound to see cormorants and the occasional heron, plus seagulls in great numbers. Coots and moorhens hide near the banks and, if you are lucky like we were, you might even see a gannet in the skies. On one occasion I was lucky enough to see a kingfisher but it was far too quick for the camera!! There are more dunes and pine forests to explore if you want to go off the beaten path, and you’ll also walk past Alevines de Guardamar where baby fish are produced (at least this is what we assume is going on!) to be taken out to the fish farms on the horizon. Be careful at the beach though. It soon becomes a naturist area. You might get more than you bargained for with your bird watching.

Oranges and Lemons plus some Archaeology

This walk starts from where we used to live! It’s easy to park there though and start your walk from the same place. I always found it fascinating to wander through the groves of oranges and lemons. The smell at certain times of year is sweet and powerful. There is a bit of a climb up to the ridge from where you get fantastic views over the Vega Baja area. The ridge comes back down to the road then up again to the area where archaeologists have been uncovering a Phoenician port. The Cabezo Pequeño del Estaño was just a small wall protruding from the earth when we first visited years ago. It seems that new parts are being uncovered all the time. Unfortunately certain parts of the route suffer from unsightly fly tipping – the curse of rural beauty spots.

El Recorral – Rojales

El Recorral is a park high up on the eastern extreme of Rojales. It has undergone a transformation in the last couple of years with newly created lakes, animal carvings, and ecological quiz trail for kids, and some lovely landscaping. A leisure destination in itself, complete with barbecue areas, it is the starting point for a beautiful walk which is very slightly more challenging than the others in this post. As well as stunning views of the Vega Baja, you will also clearly see the conical hill, Cabezo Soler, where the famous Dama de Guardamar was found. This circular walk will take you near a lot of bee hives so you’ll probably hear the inhabitants buzzing around. You may even see the bee keepers tending to their charges. With a bit of luck you’ll also see some birds of prey around. As you loop around and cut back over the hill to El Recorral, there are many tracks to choose from, but they do all seem to lead in the right direction.

Riverside Stroll from Formentera del Segura to Algorfa

The longest walk on this blog (15km!) is a simple and easy one, but it came with an unexpected twist for us at the end. The solution is far easier than what we did! Parking up in Formentera it’s quite straightforward to find your way to the riverside path and then wander all the way westward to Algorfa. It’s a beautiful walk and if you look up into the trees in January and February you are likely to see many oothecas. These tiny brown pods are praying mantis nests full of youngsters waiting to hatch in the spring. Judging by the number we saw, the population is thriving. Cross over to the South side in Algorfa or go on into town for some refreshments, then retrace your route on the opposite bank of the River Segura. The old Moorish waterwheel opposite Formentera is a wonderful piece of history. This is where we went wrong though! There is no access to the bridge taking you back to your car, so we retraced our steps to the road bridge over the Segura. Just beyond that a pipeline crosses the river and you can use the bridge associated with it. Had we continued along the path just a few hundred metres more, we would have found a far more convenient bridge. Don’t make the same mistake!!

So, grab your walking shoes and go out and get some exercise! You won’t regret it. Please come back here and let us know what you thought.

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