River gorges, canyons, pine forests, mountains, natural spas… just some of the treasures that the Montanejos natural park has to offer.
Montanejos, situated in the heart of the Alto Mijares region in the Castellón province, forms one of the most interesting and spectacular landscapes in the whole of the Comunidad
Dramatic gorges and ravines wind their way through pine-covered mountains, a great number of chalk streams crisscross the landscape, and thermal springs dot the area.
Montanejos, at 69kms from the capital of the province, Castellón de la Plana, is a picturesque town of just 400 inhabitants, although tourists swell numbers at the weekends and holiday periods.
NATURAL BEAUTY AND SPORTS
Blessed with a wealth of stunning landscapes and natural features, Montanejos offers the tourist endless excursion possibilities, as well as a great variety of sporting activities.
Natural springs, streams, caves, canyons, ravines, gullies, mountain paths and stunning views wow the tourist, although Montanejos is perhaps most famous for its dramatic gorge valleys, which offer incredible panoramas and climbing opportunities for visitors.
Indeed, the area has earned a reputation as being the most important centre of rock climbing in Spain and today, sporting enthusiasts from around the world come to scale the rocky, almost vertical gorge valley walls.
Although rock-climbing is one of the most popular sports enjoyed at Montanejos, it is by no means exclusive. Those who like swimming should head for the River Mijares on a hot day, where they can bathe in the natural swimming pools from the Zorrico and los Baños springs.
In addition, horse-riding, mountain-cycling, fishing, hiking, caving, and abseiling are just some of the other activities that can be enjoyed.
The great natural beauty of Montanejos has made the area so popular for visitors, as has its famous springs situated in the proximities of the River Mijares. Indeed, the quality of the waters flowing from these springs, especially the most famous spring of all – that of Los Baños (main photo), originally attracted the attention of our predecessors.
It is said that a Moorish king, captivated by the healing properties of the waters, ordered the construction of a 15th century ‘spa’ resort, remains of which can be seen today. The spa was given royal status in 1853. Centuries later, authorities decided to recreate the spa resort, which has become a charming new tourist attraction, and in operation all year round.
Making the most of the abundance, quality and mineral-medicinal properties of the water, the magnificent modern thermal and hydrotherapy spa resort, which opened in 1997, attracts visitors from miles around. Visitors suffering from stress, joint problems, circulatory and skin disorders, amongst other illnesses, come to receive treatment.
In addition, the resort offers a comprehensive list of beauty treatments using THALGO products.
Visitors should not miss the old Arab tower in the town and the Santiago Apóstol Church, which dates to the 17th century, or the Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados Hermitage in La Alquería.
Leaving the town, visitors can marvel at the wonderful views of the Arenos marshes, the Morrón de Campos, or the Cabezo and Estrechos areas.
One of the most attractive walking routes is between Montanejos and the Arenos reservoir, which has been described by the traveller and writer José Soler Carnicer as: ‘one of the most impressive landscapes in the Comunidad Valenciana’.
Leave Montanejos via the road that leads to the Arenos reservoir (the largest in Castellón province) and to the Puebla de Arenoso. Pass the Fuente de Baños spring, cross the Maimona gully, and arrive at the spectacular spot known as ‘El Estrecho de Montanejos’ or ‘The Canyon’.
At this point, the River Mijares runs through narrow gorge valley sides, which are about 100m high. It is worth taking a look at the panorama from the dam, situated at 105 metres
above the River Mijares riverbed.
Submerged under the waters is the old town of Campos de Arenos, which was covered with water when the dam was built.
From the road one can see the ruins of the once great Castillo de Arenos. On one side of the castle looking towards the reservoir are the Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles hermitage and the Puebla de Arenoso, one of the towns that, historically, depended on the fortress.
Another spectacular route is across the Maimona gully from los Calpes hamlet to its confluence with the River Mijares on the outskirts of Montanejos, next to the Zucaina road and near the famous Baños spring.
Montanejos is a fundamental meeting point for hiking aficionados, since many come from around the world to enjoy the spectacular natural terrain and the G-7 hiking route, which joins Montanejos with Villahermosa del Río and Sant Joan de Penyagolosa to the north, and with Montán and Bejís to the south.
Another great hiking route from Montanejos is the GR-36, which passes the Sierra de Espadán via Torralba del Pinar and Villamalur, finishing at the Vila Vella and Nules (Plana Baixa).
Cyclists can also enjoy a great variety of routes.
• GETTING THERE:
The main access to Montanejos from the Costa Blanca is via the AP-7/A-7 (or N-340) past
Valencia to Onda on the CV-20, which leads to Puebla de Arenosa and the Arenos reservoir.
Hotel Rosaleda del Mijares (Montanejos)
Tel. 96 413 10 79
Hotel Xauen (Montanejos)
Tel. 96 413 11 51
Hostal La Valenciana (Montanejos)
Tel. 96 413 10 62
Youth hostel Refugio de Escaladores (Montanejos)
Tel. 96 413 13 17
• USEFUL NUMBERS:
Montanejos tourist information
Tel. 96 413 11 53
Montanejos spa resort
Tel. 96 413 12 75