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The Gallinera Valley
Staff Reporter / 2008-05-11 19:17:19
The beautiful Gallinera Valley (Val de Gallinera) is located in the Marina Alta region of the northern Costa Blanca, about 50 kilometres north of Benidorm just inland from Gandia, Oliva and Denia. It is populated by a number of very small, picturesque villages, the main one being Planes, the others including Alcala, Alpatrí³, Benimarra, Benialí, Benissiva, Benitaia, Benissili, Llombai and La Carroja.
The Gallinera Valley is an area of exceptional beauty with spectacular mountains (Imirante and Sierra Foradá), winding roads and picturesque valleys. The valley is famous for its cherry trees which blossom in the spring giving a fantastic show of colour. Also grown along the valley are almonds, olives, figs and the ubiquitous orange.
The primary village Planes sits on a hill below the ruins of a 12th Century castle. It is a typical Spanish village with traditional white houses. Planes, also boasts a 16th Century aqueduct and a swimming hole in the valley below. Planes holds its Moors and Christians (Moros y Cristianos) festival on the first Sunday in October whilst most of the other villages hold their fiestas in August.
The Gallinera Valley was originally settled by the Moors during the Arab conquest, and their presence is still recognisable in the names of the villages and in the hill terraces and the irrigation system, which supplies them with much needed water. Due to the extreme remoteness of the area the Moors stayed on in the Gallinera Valley long after they had been driven out of the rest of Spain. In fact they remained until 1609 when they were finally expelled by Phillip II.
The valley was uninhabited for some time until the owner of the territory, the Duke of Gandia, introduced 150 families from Majorca to re-populate and settle the area. The accent and dialect of the Majorcans is still evident today.
Due to its peaceful tranquillity the Gallinera Valley has long been a popular destination for Spanish city dwellers, desperate to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, they come here to enjoy the peace and quiet and to take in the restful scenery. The area has a fine gastronomy and a wide range of flora and fauna. Wildlife that can be seen there includes eagles and wild boar.
For a wonderful picnic spot, try to find the Barranc del Encanta, the track leading to this 'Enchanted Ravine' is signposted just before the village of Planes and winds drunkenly down to a waterfall and a cool natural swimming hole.
The best way to get to the Gallinera Valley is via a spectacular winding road (CV700) which travels inland from the town of Pego and passes through Adsubia all the way up to the village of Planes. Travelling along this road enables you to take in the beauty of the area with its many fine views of the fantastic landscape, the beautiful, tree planted valleys and the spectacular surrounding Imirante and Sierra Foradá mountains.
By Steve Locke, for more information on the Costa Blanca visit: www.needahandspanishproperties.com