Walking in Spain

Serella Castle Walk Short Walk and Serella Castle Circuit

Short Walk 2.2 kms - 200 Metres of Ascent.
Ideal for an evening walk or if you wisg to explore the castle ruins at a leisurely pace

Serella Castle Circuit 7.5 kms - 300 Metres of Ascent.
A longer walk on mainly level tracks but with a couple of steeper sections.

Introduction

The ruins of Serella Castle are hard to spot at first, but once you locate the obvious impressive fin of rock across the valley from Guadalest you have a good chance of seeing the remaining walls. Despite it's amazing postion perched on a huge precipice it is a surprisingly easy but spectacular mountain top walk, with only a couple of rocky steps right at the top. With care it is suitable for children, but you have to be aware of the obvious drops once at the castle ruins. View the photo gallery. The short walk is deal for hot days as much of it is shaded and you will get any breeze that is going. It can be made a longer walk by starting from near the reservoir or even at Guadalest.

Approach

Drive up the steep but well maintained zig zag track to the Guadalest/Castell de Castells col. This is accessed either by driving down the minor road from Abdet to the Reservoir, or from the Guadalest end via the road around the reservoir (drive out of Guadalest on the Callosa road and turn of at the sign to the Piscina Municipal).

It is also of course possible to walk any combination of the approach drives to make the walks into a full days expedition.

The track passes a water pumping station and is concreted for some of its length. Park a sort distance beyond the high point of the track at a junctio

Short Walk 2.2 kms - 200 Metres of Ascent

Serella Castle short walk is accessed by the first track on the left (West) on the Northern slopes of the ridge. It climbs steeply underneath some grey limestone cliffs and particularly in the spring you will have many varieties of flowers to examine and identify (see our Costa Blanca flower gallery).

After a couple of turns the track comes to a good viewpoint over the "Mal de Llop" valley. This looks very much like it has been formed by a glacier, but is certainly has not!

To access the castle you now need to leave the main track at this high point and follow the footpath between rocky walls until the first remains of the castle are reached. The first sizable remain is a large water tank which still holds water throughout most of the year (as well as some very large toadpoles). After passing a few more broken sections of wall you reach the small but remarkably level summit with a square tower at it's East end. Usually there is a visitors book to sign tucked away in the tower walls.

In spring you will be surrounded by butterflies (the swallowtail shown in the photo gallery is particularly beautiful), and on clear days (most days!) you will have great views of the surrounding valleys. Points to look for are Guadalest, Sierra Aitana and the notched peak of the Puig Campana to the South. To the west Abdet is just in view, and Confrides and the other villages are easily picked out. To the North you can see as far as Valenica on a clear day. Certainly Castel de Castells and coastal towns such as Denia are easily observed.

The Castle is very old - Al Azraq's, a Moorish leader handed this castle over to the prince of Aragón in 1245 and this and other castles in the area where the focus of many battles between the Moors and the Christians.

Return the same way or consider the Serella Castle loop (in reverse)

 


The ruins of Serella Castle


Evening view of the ridge from Confrides


Exploring the ruins of Serella Castle


Malla de Llop


Map of the route - click for large version

     

Serella Castle Circuit 7.5 kms - 300 Metres of Ascent

Approach and park as for Serella Castle Short Walk. Ignore the first junction on the left (this is your return). Walk down hill for just over 100 Metres and turn left along a level track. This descends very gradually as it contours along the hillside, in and out of the wide gullies, with ever changing views. On the first main bend you wll see a PRV footpath sign (route to Castel de Castells) but stay on the track. Further along this section you will also see some curious geology - some "jigsaw" limestone where the track has revealed the bed rock. Eventually you reach a large thicket of Pampas grass, take the left turn here and follow the track steeply uphill back onto the Serella ridge. From here you get good views of the amazing Malla de Llop valley.

Follow the ridge top track now heading East towards Serella Castle. At one point the track decends steeply (look for the ruined finca and threshing circle (Era) on the right, before heading steeply back up for 1 km to the walks high point. At this point you can leave the track to explore the Castle ruins.

Once back on the track descend steeply under the precipitous crags of the North side of the castle back to your starting point. On this section you have good views of the Sierra Aixorta (the next section of ridge to the East) with its hidden cliffs and pinnacles.

Some History

Al-Azraq, the 13th-century Moorish warlord who fought the Christian kings of Spain, certainly had an eye for a castle, and Serella Castle was one of his strongholds. However he was defeated by the Christians and Al Azraq retired to the remaining Muslim kingdom of Granada. Some 17 years later, in 1275, an incursion into Christian Spain was launched by the Almohade king from Marrakech. With the Christian powers in disarray, Al Azraq profited from the opportunity to return to his homeland and rally the local Moorish forces for a fresh insurrection. A siege was mounted against Alcoi. The battle that was fought there is re-created in Alcoi each April on the feast of Saint George, the legendary soldier-saint who, tradition has it, appeared from heaven to inspire the Christian defenders.

In 1609, Felipe III ordered all remaining Moors to be expelled. This led to another uprising of more than 20,000 Moors led by Mellini, a Moor from Guadalest. Mellini was defeated and most then set sail for Africa from the ports of Alicante and Dénia.

 


Ridge top track - Serella Castle loop walk


Unusual rock strata


Serella Castle walks photo gallery

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