Discover Hidden Spain

 Real Spain lies hidden in quiet rural villages, like Tàrbena, where a traditional rural way of life continues.

This village centred self-guided walking holiday in Tàrbena takes you back to a Spain that has sustained rural life for centuries; traverse ancient footpaths through the intricate terracing built by the Moors a thousand years ago while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and the coast.
The rugged terrain and diversity of landscapes means that there is always something new just around the corner, an unexpected panorama or a refreshing spring bubbling from the mountainside.
With more than ten routes of varying length to choose from this is a great way to experience the Mediterranean way-of-life, get a first-hand insight into the countryside, and enjoy some of the excellent walking and hiking that Spain has to offer.
Tàrbena has plenty of bars and restaurants nearby so you can sample the local cuisine, try some tapas and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of rural life in this interesting and picturesque village.
Your accommodation is a traditional Mediterranean village house with patio garden and terrace with great views of the surrounding countryside. Welcoming and comfortable this perfectly appointed casa rural is the ideal base for self guided walking holidays.
How to get here.

The nearest airport is at Alicante, we will meet you in the Arrivals Hall for the transfer to the first hotel in Polop.

Alternatively, you can fly to Valencia Airport, transfer to Valencia Nord railway station and then take the train to Xeraco where from we will transfer to the start of your trekking holiday .

If you prefer to be met at Valencia there is a 50 € supplement for the transfer to your first hotel.

There are also international high speed trains (AVE) from Paris to Alicante and Valencia via Barcelona.
When to visit.

You can start and finish your trekking holiday any day of the week. We do not recommend late June, July or August unless you have experience of walking in high temperatures, otherwise any time from mid-September through to mid-June.

Nearby Callosa is famous for its colourful Moors and Christians festival held every year from October 8th to October 12th. Other notable dates are February, when good weather and the almond blossom make for a unique experience and May, to catch the abundant wildflower displays.

Calendar highlights include the olive harvest in October - November, the almond blossom in February, the cherry blossom in late March - April, the cherry harvest in May, and the orange blossom and harvest from February to May. For botanists there is always something in flower but visit from late February to the end of May for orchids and wildflowers.
Day 1. Arrive Alicante Airport, met for transfer to Tárbena.
Walking group at the castle above TàrbenaDay 2. Tárbena – Moorish Castle – Iberian settlement – Tárbena. This circular route through a diversity of countryside and landscapes includes visits to the impressive site of a Bronze Age settlement and a Moorish hilltop castle. Walking time: 3 hours. Distance: 7 km. Ascents and descents: 360m.
Walker at the rock arches between Tàrbena and Castells de CastellsDay 3. Plans d’Alt to Tárbena. 10 min car transfer to Plans d’Alt. Includes a visit to natural rock-arches and outstanding views of the Pas Tancat gorge. Walking time: 5 hours. Distance: 13.3 km. Ascents: 240m. Descents 370m.
Drystone Moorish irrigation tankDay 4. Tárbena – Font d’Olbis – Tàrbena. Great views of the Tárbena Valley, five freshwater springs and a diversity of countryside that includes limestone moorland, olive and almond groves and irrigated terraces of citrus trees. Walking time: 4½ hours. Distance: 12.4 km. Ascents: 515m. Descents 515 m.
A series of natural rock pools and cascadesDay 5. Tárbena to the Algar Falls. This route explores the Sacos Valley with a visit to a traditional carob farm to finish at the Algar Falls , a series of natural rock pools and cascades. Bring your swimming costume for a dip in the rock pools. Walking time: 5½ hours. Distance: 16 km. Ascents: 330m. Descents 770m.
Jalon Valley walk from the Col de RatesDay 6. Col de Rates to Jalon. Explore beautiful the Jalon Valley, known locally as the Vall de Pop, famous for its vineyards and the white Mistela wine. Todays route takes you along ancient cobbled mule trails and footpaths through the pinewoods that fringe the vineyards and citrus groves of the valley to finish in Jalon with its bodegas and typical Mediterranean architecture. Walking time: 3 hours. Distance: 10 km. Ascents: 79m. Descents: 523m
Walking group admiring the Barranc Tancat gorgeDay 7. Choose from any of four more local walks, for example visit the prehistoric cave paintings at Petracos and the Galitero gorge before returning to Tárbena (Walking time: 6 hours. Distance: 22 km. Ascents: 575m) or walk to the neighboring village of Bolulla Includes Garx, a gorge with 300m sheer cliffs, pinewoods and fragrant citrus groves to white-washed Bolulla (Walking time: 2½ hours. Distance: 8 km. Ascents: 118m. Descents: 623m) or a visit to the neighboring village of Parcent and the 1000m peak of the Sierra del Carrascal de Parcent from where you can see Ibiza on clear days. Please note that the walks itinerary can be varied to suit your preferences.
A well deserved beer at the end of a long walkDay 8. Transfer to Alicante Airport
Hidden Spain accommodation in casa rural As Tunel.Your accommodation is the very comfortable and welcoming holiday cottage As Túnel, close to the shops and with excellent views of the surrounding mountains from the terrace. It is fully equipped with everything you'll need for your stay.

Holiday cottage Sunny breakfast room.
Bedroom with en-suite bathroom.
Patio garden with access to terraces planted with almonds, soft fruit, figs and avocados.
View of the bedroom.
Patio garden
Terrace, with views of the surrounding mountains.
The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you'll need. We also provide a few basics like salt, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, tea and coffee.
This holiday includes airport transfers, walks transfers, seven night's accommodation, maps, route notes and handheld GPS.
Self-catering395.00 €per person per week
Single person supplement160.00 €per person per week
Extra nights S/C 85.00 €per night
The holiday cottage is close to the Tarbena village centre where there is a small supermarket, a baker, chemists, doctor's surgery bank and ATM cash machine for cash withdrawals. Free Internet WiFi is available in local bars.
Hidden Spain location map
To find Hidden Spain we'll be staying in Tàrbena. Situated at an altitude of 560 m and with a population of around 600 It is typical of the small farming communities that dot the valleys and sierras in the Costa Blanca Mountains. The mainstay of the economy is agriculture and livestock, the narrow terraces cut into the steep slopes exploit every square meter of cultivable land. They are planted with traditional Mediterranean crops like almonds, olives, figs, carobs, apricots, cherries and grapes.
Wherever a reliable source of water is found the terraces are set aside to grow vegetables. In the dry summers irrigation is indispensable and these terraces appear as deep green patches in the landscape. On closer inspection you will see abundant crops of potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, runner beans and cucumbers. Many of these are local varieties grown from seed passed down from generation to generation. The irrigation systems we see today were created by the Moors over 1000 years ago - citerns, drinking troughs, sluices and irrigation channels - and have conserved their original layout, a testament to their hydrological ingenuity and farming skills. One of the joys of discovering Hidden Spain is finding the archaeological traces left by the previous inhabitants of the area.
The altitude here guarantees plentiful winter rainfall which in turn supplies the abundant springs in the area with a reliable water source, in the village alone there are five springs and many more in the Tàrbena valley, allowing the Tàrbena Valley to support a peak population of 1,700 people in 1857.
The rugged terrain means that there is a huge diversity of ecosystems and landscapes in a relatively small area. The neighboring villages of Bolulla, Castells de Castells and Jalon set the boundaries to the Hidden Spain walking area and include every type of terrain. Valleys where vineyards predominate, like the Jalon Valley in the photo above, or the narrow valleys of Bolulla where citrus crops jostle for room on crowded terraces and the groves of almonds and olives found between Tàrbena and Castells de Castells.
The first written references to Tàrbena go back to the 11th century but has almost certainly been a settlement for much longer, the name "Tárbena" is of Iberian origin. The Iberians were the Bronze Age inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula and the village has a strategic importance, controlling north-south access over the mountainous spine that divides the Marina Alta and the Marina Baja. Before the main coast road was built in the 1920's the principal 'road' from north to south was the footpath that passed through Tàrbena and ascends to the pass at Col de Rates.
Walking around Tàrbena takes you back into a Hidden Spain that has sustained rural life for centuries. Traverse ancient footpaths amongst the intricate terracing built by the Moors a thousand years ago while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and the coast.
With over ten walks of varying length available the Hidden Spain walking holiday is a great way to experience the Mediterranean way-of-life, get a first-hand insight into the countryside, sample the outstanding local cuisine and enjoy some excellent hiking that Hidden Spain has to offer. The diversity of landscapes around the village means that there is always something new just around the corner and we can adjust the walks to suit all abilities.There are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby so you can enjoy the local cuisine, try some tapas and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of rural life in this interesting and picturesque village.

Sound interesting?  Get in touch  or download the brochure


Hidden Spain, Tarbena. Self guided walking holiday, the rock arches near Castells de Castells

Walking holidays in Tarbena